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Forever new

Designed deterioration - Some things -maybe even most things- get cooler with use.  Their design is such that the worn or broken-in look can be a good thing.  The article uses a cast iron skillet as an example.  I thought of jeans or sneakers. But technology, this piece argues, doesn't look better as it wears. I mostly agree, but my work keyboard is a good counter-example.  Not only are most of the letters worn off, but the keys have smooth spots from where my fingers touch them. The keys no longer click, they kind of clunk. I love that keyboard.  But my old TV remote, with dirt halos around the volume and channel buttons and some of the words (like Guide, Menu, exit) worn off, is not similarly endearing.  I'm not sure why. Some of the steam punk designs we've seen probably wear well.  Maybe the answer is that modern gadgets are expected to be obsolete before they develop any wear. What's the oldest piece of modern technology that you still use regularly?

In a related way, what piece of technology would you tattoo on the back of your neck and still feel good about ten years from now? I recently saw a hipster with a giant spark plug tattoo on her shoulder and thought it would be a cool artifact when she's old and we no longer use combustion engines. I wonder if a Sidekick will have the same nostalgia. Some people feel that way about old video game controllers though, right?

This is so great I can't stand it.  It's reverse celebrity photoshopping - that is, photoshopping celebrities to make them look normal. It looks like they use pictures of normal people and replace the faces with celebrities. I saw it on this page, but the source blog has more, great stuff.

Harry Potter corner:

  • TechCrunch gets a letter from the Harry Potter lawyers. I wonder if it has to do with publishing that photo.
  • Speaking of Harry Potter, a guy who sold one of the DeepDiscount Harry Potter books on eBay tells his story.
  • This book reviewer thought Harry Potter would never catch on, kicks himself regularly now. I'm relieved to report that waaay back about a billion years ago when the first Harry Potter movie came out I had slightly better foresight and had Robbie Coltrane in the MSNBC.com chat room. Though I do kick myself for not saving the audio recording after writing up the transcript. Toward the end, Dan Akroyd walks into Coltrane's hotel room and you can suddenly tell there's a real Hollywood scene going on.  That would be great audio to have now. I don't imagine he'd give us that much time these days.

I don't know how durable this massive rubber duck is, but it'd be great if they cut it loose to float around the earth after the art exhibit ends.

Most of the time when someone comes up with a terrible idea for a Web application, people just ignore it. So I can't think of another app that's been as openly mocked as 3D Mailbox.

Companies Claim Right to Interfere with eBay Auctions for Charging Too Little - We spend a lot of time focusing on how the Internet is allowing the subversion of traditional media but equally significant is the way the Internet is empowering small time retailers and individual entrepreneurs. This piece is a well explained look into some of the conflict taking place in that realm.

Speaking of claiming dubious rights, anti-war activists are really lit over this: Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq - Though I'm sure the White House argues that it's a necessary law enforcement tactic, folks who've heard their position on the war described as undermining and traitorious fear the White House wants to intimidate and suppress protest by confiscating people's stuff.

Speaking of being displeased with the White House, "below is a quick review of the extent of the White House's efforts to politicize the federal agencies."

"Bill Moyers gets perspective on the role of impeachment in American political life." 24 minute video.

The title calls this the floating ball trick but I've always known it as "contact juggling."

"It took an average of 50 computers nearly two decades to sift through the 500 billion billion possible draughts positions to come up with..." a computer program that never loses at checkers. Next assignment: world peace.

Original Transformers Boxed Collection Sold for $1,000,000 - Vindication for anyone who's ever argued "this will be worth something some day."

Speaking of Transformer links on Gizmodo, I guess you'd have to call a 59-foot Transformer "life sized." (It's not actually a transformer, it's from a different series called Gundam.

I didn't get it at first, but it's the first two pages of the Old Testament written in LOLcat language.

Speaking of religion, Top ten intelligent designs - What, you thought there was only one?

Here's one for the Clicked Feminism Debate Team: Is a video game of women slapping each other's faces misogynistic or... nothing?

The Hulk cow - Of course immediately brings to mind that crazy muscle dog. I hope it's not inhumane to say I think this is totally cool.

Weekend creative writing starting point: 1 Missed Call - It's the cell phone trigger for a roadside bomb.

Charlie Brown as anime - The Charlie Brown shirt with the vertical zig is the coolest.

While I don't want to be in the position of trying to defend or explain the war, couldn't this chart of daily attacks on US forces be an indication of a strategy of increased engagement rather than a strengthening resistance?

Why the heck does New York have steam pipes, anyway?

Another story of someone getting a hassle for taking a picture of a building. Y'know, if there's such sensitive stuff going on in these buildings, shouldn't they be located in the center of a mountain in North Dakota or something?

Things I hate about Star Trek

Mexico wants the world to know what food is authentic - In case you didn't know, Taco Bell isn't Mexican food. Then again, there's nothing more disappointing than being in the mood for a nice plate of nachos and when you sit down in the Mexican restaurant and look at the menu you realize they make real Mexican food. D'oh!

Speaking of food, Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less - My current apartment is kind of old and we don't have an air conditioner in the kitchen so we have to try to keep hot cooking to a minimum on really hot days.  This looks like just the trick.

From food to drink, I have to think that part of the point of the drinking map is to highlight the U.S. drinking age and what few other countries share that age. I don't think I've ever thought to myself, "What we need is more drunk 18-year-olds," but the map does make me wonder how we managed to pick 21 as our cut-off.

Speaking of global comparisons, police cars from around the world

"You know those kooks who go around not paying their taxes and saying there's no law to make them? Well, one of them just won."

Have you heard about the White Stripes doing little surprise shows?  The random appearance on a bus was kind of cool -even if the video is full of cursing and blubbering as a loud-mouthed fan has a meltdown- but a one-note concert seems a little jerky. Apparently the audience knew it would just be one note and didn't mind.

Ralph's recommendation for wasting the rest of Friday (NOTE: Ralph offers some hints but I wasn't sure if everyone would want them so I changed the color of that paragraph to white.  Drag your mouse over the blank space for Ralph's hints.):

Covert Front: WWI Spy Mystery
It's 1904, and you're tracking down an elusive German scientist. Break into his house and find out what he's been up to in this "escape the room" style mystery game.

Note: You'll find "key" items in the kitchen and the entrance to the basement. Also, the library puzzle is tricky, but you can solve it if you pay attention to all your surroundings.

Have fun... but be prepared to get sucked in!