New Orleans

It's more than a little mind-numbing that a major American city has been completely devastated.  The New York Times quotes the mayor as estimating that 80% of the city is underwater.  The same article says that some officials were trying to institute martial law, especially after widespread looting broke out.  And then there's this quote from Peter Teahen of the American Red Cross: “We are looking now at a disaster above any magnitude that we've seen in the United States. We've been saying that the response is going to be the largest Red Cross response in the history of the organization.”

I experienced something strange over the past few days with regard to this story. Obviously the hurricaine story has loomed large in the news, but I basically ignored it until this morning. I passed it off as another overblown media story where the correspondents would go out in a poncho and scream into the microphone, and some power lines would go down and that would be it. I'm sure there's a lesson in it for me, but I have no idea what it is. I'm tempted to blame the media, which is constantly crying wolf, but I also need to become less cynical when it comes to these sort of things.

Anyway, if you want to find out how to help, it's not hard. Visit just about any major news website, and look for a “How to Help” link.


Is World of Warcraft Addictive? Part Deux

Penny-Arcade seems to think so…


p.s. Satan as marketer ties into my last post :-)

Some Marketing I Can Live With

Via Jeff Jarvis, there is a great post on Creating Passionate Users about Neomarketing.  A sample:

In this new open-source/cluetrain world, I am a marketer. And so are you. If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source project, or getting your significant other to agree to the vacation you want to go on… congratulations. You're in marketing. Now go kill yourself.

Noooooooo!  But wait!

Except with a Find and Replace:
“Buyers” becomes–> “readers” or “users” or “community participants”
“Sellers” becomes–> “authors” or “developers” or “organizations”

So far, so good…

Remember — when people are passionate about something, and in a state of flow–and you have contributed to that by helping users/members learn and grow and kick ass–these are some of the happiest moments in their lives. Trying to promote more of that is something we should feel wonderful about, not guilty.

Awesome!  I can live with that :-)


p.s. No I can't.  Marketing sucks.

Drink Yer Coffee

Show your love for the coffee bean.  The AP reports (hosted here on Wired) that “coffee not only helps clear the mind and perk up the energy, it also provides more healthful antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the American diet, according to a study released Sunday”.

However, if you read further, the article seems to say that this is based “on typical food consumption patterns”.  In other words, if you drink ten cups of coffee and eat one small salad, you'll get more antioxidants from the coffee, even though salad has more per serving.  In other words, coffee isn't healthier than salad, despite what the article's headline seems to indicate.  I could be wrong, but some skepticism is probably in order.



Can a Stepmania (think Dance Dance Revolution) gamer really type a precise sequence of keys at a rate of sixteen per second?  Or is this some elaborate hoax?  You Decide!


Who Needs Sleep When You Have Drugs?

Viva la CX717!  Not as catchy as Ambien or Lumesta or EZ-Doze, I know.  But probably more honest :-D  “Ask your doctor about TY936” would probably result in a large drop in sales, no (not that I find names like “Zantac” or “Prilosec” particularly cuddly).

I'm rambling a bit (tired, sorry), but my point is that market-friendly drug names tend to distract the “customer” from the fact that these things can have side effects like dry mouth, constipation (I tried spelling the opposite of constipation, and forget it), and addiction (in the case of Ambien).  I'm against direct marketing of drugs to patients, who generally don't know what the *** they're doing when it comes to these things.  And I'm not thrilled about doctors getting bombarded with all sorts of drug-related goodies either.  At the very least, it's not in the spirit of science.

Anyway, I would regard this new kid on the block with considerable caution – it's unlikely that this will be a real replacement for sleep, and severe lack of sleep is known to cause all sorts of bad things to happen to your brain.  Not least of which is nodding off just as your boss's boss's boss walks by.  D'oh!  But seriously… sleeeep (good idea).


p.s. I'm gonna read this tomorrow and realize how incoherent it is… assuming I get enough sleep.  In any case, this post will be a good example of why you need to get enough sleep.

C3PO Finds Love

This is apparently ANCIENT news, but there's a famous mistake in Topps' original series of Star Wars collector's cards. Behold, C3PO, starring in Card #207. Warning – send the kids to bed before following this link.


p.s. I think it has something to do with the angle of the shot, but I didn't want to look toooo much…

Your Lightbulb is on Line 2

At last! Engadget reports that Fujitsu is working on a lightbulb that can text message you upon its demise. Sort of like Last Rites. I find that a text message is too impersonal for something like this. How about a blood-curdling scream of agony?

To quote Jack Handy, “If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.”


Not Sure What to Make Of This…

We Report, You Freak Out.


It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a… Bug

That's right – high-speed flying insect photography. And even better – how to do it yourself. Via Make.