Thursday, January 29, 2009

Why America is Really Not a Democracy

If you don't watch another YouTube video post this year, this 10-minute civics lesson is absolutely the best overview I've seen on governments in general and the American system in particular. A must-watch for everyone, young and old. Almost everyone will learn something new from it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today's Headlines

Check out Newseum to see the daily front page headlines from anywhere in the world. Some nice Flash coding!

44 Presidents from Washington to Obama

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tired of Paying $1 for 411 on Your Cell Phone?

This one's been around since 2007 but a lot of folks still aren't aware of Google's free 411 information service. I'm like the rest of you: Sick and tired of those ridiculous fees for calling your cell phone carrier's Directory Assistance service to find a number. Of course, they try to justify it by connecting your call directly for you so you don't have to look down at your phone (like you not supposed to while driving - you know who you are!). Anyway, Google added this service in the Fall of 2007 and it's been very successful because it works! I've had this added to my Speed Dial numbers (1-800-466-4411) for quite a while and I have no idea how much money it's saved me so far.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cool Use for Computers

I'm impressed. The BBC just used a flight simulator program to create a pilot's view video of US Airways Flight 1549 over the Hudson River in New York last week. This is worth the 2 minutes to watch it! Click HERE to get to the BBC video.

Friday, January 16, 2009

You're Not So Special

Wow! At last someone is bringing out some great, balanced parenting advice! The folks over at JuiceBoxJungle are producing some common sense ideas and videos on balanced parenting. I've long been against the commonly held notion that you have to praise and reward every little thing a kid does just to make them feel good for a moment while not doling out appropriate punishment when they've done something bad. Or rewarding real accomplishments. All you have to do these days is look around at some of the younger generation around us to see the Unintended Consequences.

Clueless ditzes cutting everyone off on the road without a hint of remorse or even any appreciation of what it is they've done - all while driving down the road putting on makeup and texting while they're driving. Idiots arguing with you over trivial points of view that would even make sense to a 6-year old. And my most common retort has always been, "Just because your Mommy told you how smart you were doesn't mean it's true!" (And my all-time favorite: "Just because your Daddy called you Son doesn't mean you're bright!")

Unfortunately, it's not a joke. (One of my favorite comedies of recent times is Idiocracy. My girlfriend hates it but I love the prophetic message.)

A lot of parents today seem to have been brought up praised to death and enabled to believe they can do anything they want. Anything. All without any thought of how it might affect anyone else or even what the consequences might be. And now these people have children. OMFG! Heaven help us!

We've watered our society down to new lows after decades of praising slow kids at the expense of smart kids and now we're seeing the results of those actions. In some ways, the old Soviet Socialist way of testing kids early in school to determine their place in life made some sense. "Young Comrade - your tests tell us you're best suited to be a garbage collector. So that's how we're going to educate you." Let's face it - not every kid can grow up to be a rocket scientist. While we sure don't want to lose that one little Einstein coming up through the system, imagine a kid with an average IQ constantly being groomed as the smartest kid in the world. And of course, his teachers in the school system won't tell him either because they don't want to look bad. But then the kid grows up with low self-esteem and goes postal one day and no one knows why... So we've built a system with little praise for real smarts and advancement while dumbing it all down for the lowest common denominator just to make sure little Johnny never feels stupid. Small wonder a lot of our kids can't read or spell or even make change at McDonalds!

That said, in many ways, some things haven't changed much over the years. It wasn't cool to be smart when I went to school either. You couldn't be too smart or you couldn't hang out with the cool kids. It was a whole, new world when the tech revolution finally happened in the 80's!

Anyway, you get my point. With that, here's an aptly titled 4-minute video from the good folks at JuiceBoxJungle:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Longest List of Worst Tech Support Calls

Every once in a while, I get another e-mail with a list of stupid tech support calls. Here's a loo-ong list of the Best of the Worst (probably the biggest collection I've found so far).

What Recession? Japanese Wagyu Beef at Costco

Want to really ring in the New Year? How about 15 pounds of USDA A5 Grade Japanese Wagyu Beef from Costco for a mere $2299.99! While you're at it, check out the vintage Dom Perignon at Costco.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An Oldie but Goodie - New and Improved

I still remember seeing this flash-coded spider-on-a-map site many years ago and spending a little too much time entranced by it. So it looks like they've updated it with a whole bunch of features that include being able to change the color, size and shape of the spider. Check out the site HERE and take him out for a drag!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

You Think It's Cold Where YOU Are?

How about Condition 1 at the US McMurdo Station down in Antarctica? (Conditon 3 is considered Normal. Condition 2 is Not So Nice. So you KNOW what Condition 1's gotta be!)

A New Approach to Search

Just watched the cool, new Knowledge Generation Bureau commercial (KGB - get it?) and really enjoyed it. They take a multiple option approach to search and it looks like they just might get a bit of traction if they can pique enough interest. Check out the commercial below the splash page. If their product is as cool and witty as their commercials, they just might carve out a decent niche ("The one on the right's Shinola!" Ha!)

Charles Barkley is Such an Asshole

Well, we've now all seen a lot of the latest drunk driving stuff on Charles Barkley and I don't think a lot of us are especially surprised. So I'm watching IFC this morning and they're showing a documentary from 2004, The Year of the Mao, about Yao Ming's crazy first year in the NBA as their first Chinese player. It wasn't easy for this 6-foot 10-inch rookie to adapt not only to the game but to the American way of life. And he could barely speak English when he first arrived.

The initial skepticism and some of the racism didn't let up for quite a while until he started to find his groove. And even in the documentary, the subtle and often not-so-subtle racism comes through, especially from many of the black players and commentators. Especially Charles Barkley.

So I watched with delight when Barkley lost his bet to Kenny Smith. He bet that Yao Ming would never, ever score 19 points in a game. The bet? He'd kiss Kenny Smith's ass. And of course, it's all up on YouTube. Heh Heh Heh.

Friday, January 09, 2009

I'm Speechless

I post a lot of funny and wacky stuff on this blog. And most of it comes from one of my numerous e-mail accounts. But moments ago, I got this e-mail from my son at work and I'm sitting here quietly savoring it:

"I went to Pike Place Market for lunch today with some people from work, and I found a wallet on the stairs in Post Alley. The wallet had her ID, credit cards, cash and some other stuff but nothing with her phone number on it and it made me feel kind of guilty for going through somebody else's stuff.

I looked her up in the White Pages online, but her number was unlisted. I called the police station asking what to do and to see if anyone had reported it missing. The police apparently don't keep track of such things and told me to either drop it off at the police station or try to get in contact with them myself! I thanked them and said I'd probably just try writing them a letter since I had her ID with her address on it.

At this point, I noticed that the American Express card was for a business account so I Googled the business name. I knew I had the right company since under contact info on their site, she was listed as the founder. I called the business up, she answered and I gave her directions to get to my work. She was really happy and surprised to get her wallet back with all her credit cards, ID, and cash still in it. I tried to turn her down for a tip but she was really insistent on giving me $5 for a latte."

His e-mail speaks for itself.

Who's Smokin'?

A great interactive graphic showing a state-by-state comparison on how many people smoke in each state as well as details such as the cost of a pack of smokes on

Flooding in Chehalis Video Jan. 8, 2009

Fortunately, those of us in Bellevue and most of Seattle didn't see much flooding... yet!

Thursday, January 01, 2009