How many bloggers does it take to replace all the light bulbs in America? Seth Godin is leading a blog-wide awareness campaign to boost the use of energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs - the one Wal-Mart is also helping promote. Did you know they're only 2 bucks now? Since the exercise calls for writing a bit about the bulbs here's my contribution:
Godin floats a semi-rhetorical question about the slow adoption of these superior bulbs. Obviously he feels awareness is a significant obstacle. I'd offer that the real reason for slow adoption is that no one is going to throw away a bulb that's working, so first all the bulbs that are currently in use have to burn out. Then we also have to use up all those extra bulbs in the pantry closet. Then, provided the new CF bulbs actually fit in the lamps we have, we might pick some up next time there's a sale. Ironically, it's the desire to get our money's worth from the bulbs we've got that keeps us from buying bulbs that get us more for our money.
Silent Star Wars - (It'd be cool to hear a ragtime rendition of some of the soundtrack.)
And of course, speaking of Star Wars, you saw the Rose Bowl parade, right?
I know we've looked at the phenomenon of people accidentally flinging their Wii video game controllers through their TV sets, but I don't remember if I pointed out that the name for someone who does this is called by the unfortunate pun "wiitard" as in, "Your mom's a wiitard." Apologies to the mentally challenged, that's just what they call it and kids are cruel.
I keep bumping into this link on New York City blogs, but really it doesn't require you be a New Yorker. The photographer asked people how they feel about their faces and put the copy along with the portrait he took. Obviously he picked the interesting ones. I wonder how many boring ones he rejected. I'd love to see this as a Flickr pool or something on a mass scale that everyone can contribute to.
In a similar vein, a reader named Dr. Charles wrote to me today about a fledgling project he's started. "It's a project that aims to creatively examine the human scar." Here's the link. It's not as gross as it sounds.
Remember that Dove video of the normal woman who undergoes all manner of manipulation before the image is posted on a billboard? Here's a funny twist on that idea.
TV ban on adverts for cheese, the latest 'junk food' - It's hard to argue with the "high salt, high fat" point. I wonder if this seems absurd because of all the Dairy Council propaganda we've consumed as Americans or if it's because cheese is such an obvious dietary stable anyway.
God inc. - "A comedy about life in the corporate offices of God." - This is episode one. Episode 2 came out the other day. It's a little like "The Office" but just a little.
Speaking of not taking God seriously, Digg and YouTube Powering Atheism 2.0 - I was glad to see this headline because it's certainly been my anecdotal experience that there's a rising tide of atheism online. I don't know if there's any study that is actually keeping track of the actual number of atheists in the world, but this piece does a good job of rounding up links that support the impression of growing ranks. Also pointed out is the surprising prevalence of Richard Dawkins and his writings among social sites. It's certainly interesting that the guy is a bona fide celebrity online but I'm pretty sure most people in the mainstream would think you were talking about the Family Feud guy.
Speaking of Richard Dawkins, here's the latest from him receiving wide online attention: Executing Saddam Hussein was an act of vandalism - Here's his point: "I want to add another and less obvious reason why we should not have executed Saddam Hussein. His mind would have been a unique resource for historical, political and psychological research: a resource that is now forever unavailable to scholars." The Hannibal Lecter theory.
Speaking of giving serious thought to religion, I'm informed by mail that, "FYI: The thirteenth Biblical Studies Carnival has been posted at Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot. This Carnival highlights over 70 posts relating to academic biblical studies in the blogosphere for the month of December 2006. There is also a "Biblical Studies Carnival: Best of 2006" post coming in the next day or two."
Speaking of studying the Bible. It took me a minute for me to figure out how to use the Bible Map, but try something like Acts 13 and you'll see some hyperlinked text. It's slow to load, but it'll zoom the map. Cool mash-up.
Speaking of cool maps, the map of happiness asks you if you're happy and then color codes your response on a map based (I'm guessing) on your IP.
Five Hackers Who Left a Mark on 2006 - Includes one female for those of you with daughters looking for impressive, non-bikini wearing figures in computer sciences.
Web pilots and their unruly passengers - NOTE: This is a great story that includes some Web culture history and a mention of "The September that never ended" that you don't hear often in day to day online chatter, so I'm including the link. If you just read the text of the story, all is well and you'll be satisfied with a tale of justice exacted on the sloppily incompetent. The story has to do with someone linking directly to one of this fellow's images without his permission and putting a huge strain on his bandwidth. To punish them, he replaced the image with the most unholy awful obscene terrible psyche scarring image known to mankind. More foul than even the most advanced science could match. So NOTE: In this story, after some warning from the author, are the words, " See what I replaced the Grim Reaper with." You should not click these words under any circumstances. If you understand that it's a terrible image, that's enough to understand the rest of the story. I'm not winkingly telling you to click it. Take my words at face value. If you're worried you might get these instructions wrong, just skip this one. OK, here's the link to the story.
Alan hits another one out of the park with his coverage of Blue Origin. That's the name of the space tourism venture undertaken by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.
Speaking of turning our eyes toward space, on the heel's of yesterday's focus on the Chicago UFO sightings comes this story of an unidentified piece of space lump falling through someone's roof.
And speaking of stuff from space crashing to Earth, a UFO reportedly crashed in South Africa on Saturday.
And before we stop speaking about strangeness from space, how about the mystery of Planet X? (Should I have "speaking of" segued these to the religion links above?)
Wow, here's one for the water cooler or a long car ride: Parents defend decision to keep girl a child - The crux of the matter:
The reason for the controversy is this: three years ago, when Ashley began to display early signs of puberty, her parents instructed doctors to remove her uterus, appendix and still-forming breasts, then treat her with high doses of oestrogen to stunt her growth.
In other words, Ashley was sterilised and frozen in time, for ever to remain a child. She was only 6.
The reason is that Ashley has a severe brain impairment and her parents didn't want to have to deal with her condition in an adult. Obviously I'm simplifying something much more complicated. Here's the blog of her parents if you're interested.
My colleagues in the health section ran this story back in November before the Ashley's identity was known. Note that there's a message board on that story if there's no one hanging around your water cooler. UPDATE: Oops, looks like they picked it up again. Here's the new story and some medical ethicist commentary. They're calling it "Peter Pan" surgery.
Plastic Logic raises $100 million to enable the first "take anywhere, read anywhere" electronic reader products - This is a press release, not a news story, but the exciting part is that they're ready to begin manufacturing on a commercial scale. I'm not sure what that means in terms of when it'll be in your local Best Buy, but at least it's that much closer to being a real product and not some futuristic tech show prototype.
How to beat the claw game - Can this really be true? I'm skeptical that there'd be an actual knob that says how often to allow a winning grab. Isn't that fraud?
The first 12 issues of Thrasher Magazine - that's 1981.
I don't know if you've seen one of those new Tickle Me Elmos, but they're really freaky to see on fire.
Nielsen BuzzMetrics' Top Blog Posts of the Year - Remarkably lacking in diversity.
Speaking of Nielsen BuzzMetrics, I'm going put up these links so far and then read through this one before chasing down some of today's other hot links: Nielsen BuzzMetrics Tries to Measure Buzz in Social Media