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Was blind but now...

Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision - Last Thursday I took my wife to get laser surgery on her eyes. The facility allows family members to watch the surgery on a TV screen. I didn't think I'd watch because eyeballs are a weak spot for me. I get squeamish just watching my wife put contact lenses in. I imagined it'd be something like that scene in that Salvador Dali movie when the razor blade goes across that lady's eye. Or worse, that scene in Minority Report with the stomach turning popping and squishing eyeballs rolling on the dirty floor and in the little zip lock baggie in his pocket... urk!

So I watched the beginning of the surgery through barely parted fingers. But it was surprisingly clean and simple. A circle the size of her iris was cut nearly all the way around and then peeled back with what looked kind of like the pick a dentist uses. That sounds horrible but it didn't look much different from a contact lens, just a floppy clear membrane, no goo or blood or anything gross. They scrape (smooth?) the surface under the lens with the side of the pick, which also sounds horrifying but the texture looks a little like what a grape looks like with no skin. Again, no goo, no stringy gobs of sinew. Even the laser wasn't what I expected. Instead of something intense and cutting it was little circular bluish flashes straight at the eye's surface (removing layers of cells, as I understand).

For what it's worth, because I've come to learn that this is something everyone wants to know, the recovery was close, but not quite what it had been hyped to be. After the procedure my wife was told to sit with her eyes closed for ten minutes, during which time they watered like crazy. It's true that we were out of there only a few minutes later and she could indeed already see better than before, but really, her eyes were in no shape for looking. She said it felt like she had her contacts in inside out and she kept her eyes, still watering, closed for the drive home. After a nap (medicine aside, it's mentally exhausting to have your eyes cut open) she awoke with no more discomfort in her eyes and the kind of good vision you hear about. The quality of that vision seems to be improving with each day of healing. The healing is helped, apparently, by the regular application of special eye drops.

One unexpected consequence of the event is how it has put all other purchases into perspective. "Hey, I bought a motorcycle fender." "Oh? I bought the gift of human sight." I mean really, other than a life saving organ transplant or maybe the cost of adoption, is there anything more valuable? Yesterday my son was helping to flip the morning French toast and waved his spatula a little close to his mom's face. No harm, no foul, but for a moment I had that reflex, "Hey, we just paid good money for those eyes, don't go whacking them with the spatula!" But that would hardly have been the point, would it? There's no question that the eye surgery place is a total money factory (They had patients lined up one after another. I saw them in the waiting rooms we had just been sitting in looking nervous in their sterile shower caps.) but it's very odd to try to assign a monetary value being able to see unaided.

Wow, here's one for the tech bloggers. Not only is Web 3.0 described here but Web 4.0 too. All in a handy chart. (Note the piece's recommendation of Semantic Web: What Is The Killer App?  It's always easier to understand with examples.) Web 4.0 is what they're calling "The Ubiquitous Web." It's not hard to imagine a Web that's everywhere if you're walking around with a wifi robot eyeball like the one in the link above. (This was a much cleaner "speaking of" segue before I decided to insert the laser surgery story.)

I was only half paying attention to the Sunday morning talk shows but I didn't hear it mentioned that in fact Obama won Nevada, not Clinton. (Ok, so there might be some question about what it means to "win" a state. Clinton got more votes, but since the point of the primary is to get more delegates, which is what Obama did, surely that gives him the win, no? For that matter, I see that Obama won the same number of delegates in N.H. as Clinton even though he had fewer votes. What a screwy system we have.)

Urban Legend ER - If every urban legend was true. NOTE: One exclaimed F bomb.
Macbook Air parody ad

HairMixer - Take a face from one photo and hair style from another photo and mix them. It's preloaded with celebrity photos but you can upload your own as well. Theoretically a good way to try out a new haircut.

Remember my complaint to the guy working the Canon booth at CES about the flashes on their Rebel XT cameras? The "business card solution" is one of several camera flash tricks mentioned here.
The idea behind Price Hub is that you shared how much you paid for a car or truck so others can know what the going rate is and make sure they get a reasonable price. I remember seeing something like this built around salaries for different job titles as well.

HDRcreme is a photo hosting service and community exclusively for HDR photos.

I've heard a lot about this Optimus Maximus keyboard but this is the first time I've seen it demonstrated in detail (more than I needed actually). The idea is that each key is a little screen so you can design its appearance as well as designate its function. And it gives you a few extra keys to program how you want as well.

Did you ever see this Couch Surfing Project? Travel the world sleeping on people's couches? Those numbers are pretty extraordinary. Looks like it started back in 2004. Related: 8 Tools to Help You Travel Forever and Live Rent Free

It's OK if you don't know who Corey Delaney is and if you want to skip this item it's OK if you never know who he is. In short he's the latest person to be elevated to fame by the internet for basically being a tool. I think it was this interview that kicked it all off. The show's anchor tries to get him to apologize for being a party dude upsetting his neighbors with a massive party that ended with a police raid. Now people slap his digital effigy to make themselves feel good. Try it.

Speaking of "what are you famous for again?" Migabon is a young girl (I think, there's debate about her age) who just sits and stares at the camera. According to the YouTube counter, hundreds of thousands of people want to see her do this. Recently she spoke but that doesn't give much more insight into her popularity. Explanations range from "pedophile bait" to "secret messages with her eyes."

Trendy Web thing you probably should pay attention to because it's only going to get bigger before it goes away: Little cartoon animations from Japan. Best thing since Ren and Stimpy?

Maybe I'm tired from a long week but I laughed out loud twice during this trailer for the new Tina Fey movie.

Feminism issue of the day: Are you troubled by a Target ad's placement of a woman's spread legs at the center of a bull's eye?  To my eye there's no denying the intended visual focus of the ad - I definitely look "there" first when I look at the ad. I'm less certain about the message that's coming with it. I wouldn't exactly call it a sexy ad but the more arguments I read the more I'm coming around to the interpretation that it encourages women to "think with the little head."

How to mind control customer service reps
Pioneering research shows 'Google Generation' is a myth - Not surprising really since we've already noticed that a generation raised on typing text messages to each other and reading from a screen isn't necessarily better at writing or more literate. The Web's affect on patience and attention span is interesting though.

One thing I'll never understand, if ads can be so clever, why are there boring ads?
I'm more forgiving of boring wood stacking but apparently there's room for creativity there too.