Archive for January, 2014

January 30, 2014

Metrication Opposition

The spread of metrication [me-tri-key-shuhn] around the world in the last two centuries has been met with both support and opposition. All countries except Myanmar, Liberia, and the US have officially adopted the metric system. It has been partially adopted in the UK and Canada.

One argument used by opponents of the metric system is that traditional systems of measurement were developed organically from actual use. Early measures were human in scale. The prevalence in English of expressions such as a stone’s throw, within earshot, a cartload, or a handful illustrates both the intuitive accessibility and the inherently imprecise nature of analogous measurements and their units. 

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January 29, 2014

Swords to Plowshares

Swords to plowshares is a concept in which military weapons or technologies are converted for peaceful civilian applications. An expression of this concept can be seen a bronze statue in the United Nations garden called ‘Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares,’ a gift from the Soviet Union sculpted by Evgeniy Vuchetich, representing the figure of a man hammering a sword into the shape of a plowshare.

The phrase originates from the Book of Isaiah: ‘And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

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January 28, 2014



Marcel Lazăr Lehel (b. 1974) is a Romanian hacker known as Guccifer, who was responsible for a number of high-level security breaches involving both current and former members of the United States government. He was arrested in early 2014 by Romanian authorities. The hacker first appeared in news media in 2013 after ‘The Smoking Gun’ reported he was responsible for hacking the AOL account of Dorothy Bush Koch, sister of former president George W. Bush.

Family photos of former president George H. W. Bush, who was in the hospital at the time, were circulated to the internet. He also circulated a self-portrait painted by George W. Bush, depicting the former president taking a shower. Guccifer went on to hack a number of AOL, Yahoo, Flickr and Facebook accounts, giving him access to information about current and former high-level government officials.

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January 27, 2014



CuteCircuit is a fashion company based in London founded in 2004 by Ryan Genz and Francesca Rosella that designs wearable technology and interactive fashion. The company is among the first in fashion to offer smart textile-based garments with micro electronics. CuteCircuit designs dresses and costumes for international artist special performances or tours. Such as, Katy Perry’s catsuit for her performance on ‘American Idol,’ U2 leather jackets for their ‘U2 360 Tour,’ and Azealia Banks’ mermaid dress.

The Kinetic Dress, designed  in 2004, lights up and changes its patterns following the person’s movement. The Hug Shirt is a t-shirt that recreates the sensation of touch, warmth, and emotion of a hug from the distant one using Bluetooth and sensors technology. The 2008 M Dress accepts a standard SIM card and allows to make and receive calls. Designed in partnership with Ballantine’s, TshirtOS is the world’s first t-shirt, that can be programmed by an iOS app to show images and texts, play music, take photos and share them.

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January 25, 2014

People of Walmart

People of Walmart is an entertainment website founded in 2009 by brothers Andrew and Adam Kipple of Harrison City, PA featuring user-submitted photos of socially awkward or undesirable Walmart shoppers.

The brothers and their friend Luke Wherry started the site after seeing a woman in a t-shirt that read ‘go f*** yourself’ with a 2 year old in a harness and a man with a beard reminiscent of those worn by ZZ Top at a South Carolina Walmart. They created the website to share what they find truly remarkable, ignoring more stereotypical redneck or mullets. In addition to avoiding the ordinary, the trio refuse to post photos of people who are disabled or working Walmart employees.

January 24, 2014


robert bobby shaftoe by ben towle

Cryptonomicon is a 1999 novel by American author Neal Stephenson depicting the exploits of two groups of people in two different time periods, presented in alternating chapters. The first group is World War II-era Allied codebreakers and tactical-deception operatives affiliated with the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park in the UK and disillusioned Axis military and intelligence figures whom they encounter.

The second narrative is set in the late 1990s with descendants of the first narrative’s characters employing cryptologic, telecom, and computer technology to build an underground data haven in the fictional Sultanate of Kinakuta. Their goal is to facilitate anonymous Internet banking using electronic money and (later) digital gold currency, with a longer range objective to distribute Holocaust Education and Avoidance Pod (HEAP) media for instructing genocide-target populations on defensive warfare.

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January 23, 2014

Robert Smigel


Robert Smigel [smy-guhl] (b. 1960) is an American actor, humorist, comedian and writer known for his ‘Saturday Night Live’ ‘TV Funhouse’ cartoon shorts and as the puppeteer and voice behind ‘Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.’

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January 22, 2014

National Hobo Convention


The National Hobo Convention is held on the second weekend of every August since 1900 in the town of Britt, Iowa, organized by the local Chamber of Commerce, and known throughout the town as the annual ‘Hobo Days’ celebration. It is the largest American gathering of hobos, rail-riders, and tramps, who gather to celebrate the traveling worker. Traditionally there has been a parade on the Saturday at 10:00 a.m., where everyone can let their hobo spirit soar: ‘Some in rags, some in tags, some in velvet gowns.’

Other events during Hobo weekend include a Hobo 5K & Hobo 10K Walk/Run, Hobo King & Hobo Queen coronation, Hobo Museum, Hobo Auction, Hobo Memorial Service, Hobo Sunday Outdoor Church Service, Hobo Classic Car Show, Hobo Arts and Crafts Show, and various forms of  hobo musical entertainment. A Hobo Jungle (a temporary hobo meeting place) is open throughout the event.

January 21, 2014

Tiger Versus Lion

tiger vs lion

Historically, the comparative merits of the tiger versus the lion have been a popular topic of discussion by hunters, naturalists, artists and poets, and it continues to inspire the popular imagination in the present day. Lions and tigers have competed in the wild where their ranges have overlapped. They have also been pitted against each other in captivity, either as deliberate contests or as a result of accidental encounters.

In the circuses of Ancient Rome, exotic beasts were commonly pitted against each other. The contest of the lion against the tiger was a classic pairing and the betting usually favored the tiger. A tiger that belonged to the King of Oude in India killed thirty lions, and destroyed another after being transferred to the zoological garden in London.

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January 20, 2014

Snow White Design Language


The Snow White design language was an industrial design language (an overarching scheme or style that guides the design of a complement of products) developed by German-American industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger’s Frog Design. Used by Apple Computer from 1984 to 1990, the scheme has vertical and horizontal stripes for decoration, ventilation, and the illusion that the computer enclosure is smaller than it actually is.

The design language boosted Apple’s global reputation, set design trends for the computer industry, and molded the perception of computers in the manufacturing and business world. Among other design features, Esslinger’s presentation of the Apple logo—a three-dimensional logo inlaid into the product case with the product name printed onto its surface—was included on nearly every product for several years.

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January 17, 2014

The Republican Brain


The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science’ by journalist Chris Mooney is about the psychological basis for many Republicans’ rejection of mainstream scientific theories, as well as theories of economics and history.

The book was criticized by American conservative Jonah Goldberg, who called it ‘conservative phrenology.’ Mooney responded that Goldberg had misrepresented his book in several respects. He also stated that Goldberg exhibited ‘precisely the traits he seeks to deny: ideological defensiveness, a lack of nuance, and a deeply unwarranted and overconfident sense of certainty.’ Mooney later rebutted a similar criticism by Andrew Ferguson of ‘The Weekly Standard’ and stated that Ferguson dismissed science himself while attacking the book.

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January 16, 2014

Spike Jonze


Spike Jonze (b. 1969) is an American filmmaker best known for his collaborations with writer Charlie Kaufman, which include the 1999 film ‘Being John Malkovich’ and the 2002 film ‘Adaptation,’ and as the co-writer and director of the 2009 film ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ He is also well known for his music video collaborations with Fatboy Slim, Weezer, Beastie Boys, and Björk.

He was also a co-creator and executive producer of ‘MTV’s Jackass.’ Since 2007, he has been the creative director at, an online television network supplied by Vice and funded by MTV. He is also part owner of skateboard company Girl Skateboards with riders Rick Howard and Mike Carroll. He also co-founded Directors Label, with filmmakers Chris Cunningham and Michel Gondry, and the Palm Pictures company

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