I was reading Slashdot today, like I do most days. Today they had a discussion regarding the “Save” icon. Currently, almost every application uses a picture of a floppy disk to denote the icon, the subject of the discussion was what, if anything, should replace this now that so few people use floppies on a regular basis.
That’s not what I’m posting about…what I am posting about is that there was a website one of the people in the discussion posts which has a very unique way to deal with all of your excess 3.5inch floppies.
Turn them into Star Trek Enterprises!
mirrored here because the original content was hosted on a slightly-less-than-family-safe site
The National Map is a great example of government serving the people. In my quest to better characterize my bike trips, I wanted to figure out how steep the hills were leading up to my apartment. I did some quick searches on the web, but all I could find was poorly scanned images of topographic maps or maps for which you had to pay.
I had finally resigned myself to purchasing a map, thought I’d go to the US Geological Survey and see if I could purchase it directly from them. After a few clicks, I found The National Map, which is a compendium of most of the topographic data the USGS has on the US. You can overlay features, click between two points and get the difference in distance and altitute and all kinds of other great information. Found out I regularly bike a 5% grade to/from work (The Highwood Hill) which, at times, exceeds 8%. Found out, over my entire trip to/from work I actually go down about 50 ft, which helps explain why it always felt like I went up more hills in the evening than I did in the morning!
So, I guess the new fad on the coast is going to “Cuddle Parties”. Now, I guess I’m down with this, but there is one part of the story which struck me as really odd. See if you can spot it from the Reuters article below:
Cuddling Strangers Latest Craze for Singles
Mon Aug 9, 2004 09:59 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - It’s not about sex and all about the touchy-feely experience of snuggling up to perfect strangers wearing pajamas.
The grab fests are called cuddle parties, and since they started in New York in February, hundreds of people have paid $30 each to touch and embrace others in intimate gatherings.
Everyone needs to be cuddled, especially in lonely New York, say creators Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski who say it’s a good way to meet new and interesting people.
But the rules are clear. The PJs stay on the whole time and participants are reminded of Rule No. 7: “No dry humping!”
In case things get too steamy, a small chime is kept on hand. Before the cuddling begins, the chime is struck several times so everyone gets the message.
“We’ve never used it,” said Mihalko, who said sexual arousal does occur, and that participants shouldn’t be turned off or scared by erections. “They happen.”
The idea for cuddle parties loosely came about after Mihalko, a 14-year masseur, began giving massages to other masseurs who never got the chance to receive them.
Signs that people need to be touched were brought home one day when Mihalko said he noticed a woman bawling from the emotional release that a massage provided her at an outdoor stand in midtown Manhattan.
“It started out as a joke,” said Baczynski. “Now we talk about cuddling all the time. It’s just been amazing.”
Curiosity is a big driver for people who attend cuddle parties, and it is a better way to meet people than going to a bar, getting drunk and spending the night with someone just because of the need for some affection, she said.
A cuddle party is really about communication and not therapy, say the organizers.
Before any touching begins, participants gather in a circle to hear the rules and voice any questions or concerns. The first rule is that the event is not clothing optional, pajamas must stay on and sex is not permitted.
Participants team up into pairs and to ensure the boundaries of what is permissible are clear, they practice saying “no” to the question, “May I kiss you?”
An introduction to cuddling ensues, first by hugging three people. People then get in a circle on their hands and knees, rub shoulders and moo like cows. After a bit of swaying, everyone falls to their side, which puts them into an easy cuddling position.
Cuddle parties are intended for people who are emotionally sound. People in therapy or who are seeing a mental health professional are asked to consult their doctor before signing up for a party and to tell organizers of their situation.
‘PLAYING THE DOZENS’
One group on an overcast Sunday drew a mix of mostly single people in their 30s and a smattering of older people.
A repeat customer who called herself a born-again Christian said it was good to cuddle up to another person, albeit a perfect stranger, after a hectic week.
“I felt good. I had a particularly stressful week,” said the woman, who did not wish to be named.
Friends had warned her that the parties would be nothing more than thinly disguised preludes to sex, but she dismissed those worries as alarmist and unfounded, saying, “It’s not about sex.”
Like others, the chance to meet someone was a consideration in attending a cuddle party.
“People in a way are looking for a connection,” said Fernando. “It’s weird, but not unusual.”
A man named Dwayne H., who described himself as introverted, said he thought the parties would help him relax before strangers and help him express his feelings.
“I have a problem showing emotion,” he said.
Yes, that’s right. You have to get in a circle on your hands and knees and moo like cows!
Can someone tell me what in the heck acting like a cow has to do with cuddling?
There are many times during the day when I need a quick 5 minute distraction.
Sometimes this takes the form of intensely listening to a song, or maybe striking up a conversation about something completely unrelated to whatever I was concentrating on with someone nearby.
The last few days, this has been my distraction of choice: The flash-based game of Bubbles
I don’t even remember where I ran across this first, but it looks like the creator of the game has a website here. I downloaded the game to my desktop after playing it just one time, so it is always ready for a quick game without needing to connect to a remote site. The music is fun, graphics are cool, and there are lots of different ways to play. I especially love the “Druggie” bubbles!
I found the Election Result Map site by Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi and Mark Newman at the University of Michigan particularly fascinating.
They have created a number of visualizations (like the above) of the election results using a variety of methods which account for the population density differences throughout the country. Sure seems more accurate and telling than the area-based maps I’ve seen thus far in most post-election analysis.
I’m not sure how I ran across this tonight when I was browsing, but it is great.
I not only wanted to promote it to my friends who are pregnant right now or recently given birth, but bookmark it for the future:
Salon has an article on geek cooking. It talks about my favorite show, Good Eats featuring Alton Brown, as well as a show that Davin and Michelle introduced me to during my recent trip down to visit them, America’s Test Kitchen.
I totally agree with the article’s point, that these two shows are a refreshing change from the normal “Bam!” showmanship of many of the cooking shows you find on TV. I wouldn’t be so into cooking as I am if it weren’t for finding Good Eats years ago. It explains the “why” of cooking. For example, there was an entire show where Alton made chocolate chip cookies. He started with the Nestle Tollhouse recipe, then explained 4 or 5 different changes you could make to the standard in order to alter the final result of the cookies to your liking. It was a great show, I feel more comfortable in the kitchen when I understand what’s going on in the mixing bowl of mine.
America’s Test Kitchen takes more of a hacker approach to cooking, which I found equally enjoyable, especially after I had a decent exposure to the hard science from Good Eats. In the particular show Davin shared with me, they made 20-some odd different kinds of white rice. They covered all the different types available, used various cooking methods and came up with 4-5 samples that they then used to explain the differences. They take a more qualitative approach than Good Eats, but it is equally as entertaining and interesting.
If so, the LieGirls are waiting for your call.
There is something ultimately beautiful watching the comet streak through a moving planetfield. The graceful arcs as it flies across the screen. The joy you get when the comet enters an almost perfect orbit around one of the objects…and the excitement when you see it get pulled away from its peaceful orbit by a passing planetoid.
Save it locally using your favorite method (I prefer Page Info trick in Firefox) and you can blow it up to a full-screen version which is a joy to play, even when you’re not connected to the net.
Sure, high scores won’t be sent if you run it from your local machine. But who are you really competing against, anyway, besides yourself?
Considering the current Star Wars theme around here as of late, which is likely to change after tonight’s inaugural WAKA Kickball Twin Cities game, I thought I’d take a moment to link to a few wonderful nuggets I’ve been introduced to in the lead-up to Episode 3’s release.
First, we have StoreWars. This is a wonderful spoof of the original Star Wars movies from the same group that brought us The Meatrix, both of which attempt to inform the viewer about organic and family farm issues.
Secondly, there is The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster. A blog written from Darth Vader’s point of view, set in the original movies once again. Quite humorous at times, other times quite informing.
Amazing what fans will put together when they really set their minds to it. Just like Troops from years ago, fan work is sometimes more entertaining than the original work.
Here’s a blow-by-blow blog of a REAL disaster management/recovery situation, direct from New Orleans.
Starting back on Tuesday, you can read all about their efforts to keep their data center up and running. Obtaining fuel for the generators, figuring out maintenance on said generators, physical security, upstream bandwidth availability, employee’s safety and family updates, even such secondary activities as payroll and webcamming views outside of the offices.
Otherwise, I have nothing else to say. My mind is filled, has been filled, will be filled with thoughts for those people who are living this disaster first-hand. Most people knew this kind of disaster was coming, but that doesn’t make the absolutely horrific situation down in New Orleans any easier to swallow.
My new cell phone came with a 1-megapixel camera, takes great pictures, saves me from having to carry around a camera for those “candid” shots I want to capture as I wander through life.
A great convenience, but I think I wouldn’t have missed it if I hadn’t gotten it. However, the new service, ScanR, is the killer app for cell phone cameras.
The best thing about all this? You can optionally give the service a different email address, or even a fax machine number and they will transmit the resulting PDF to those destinations as well.
As a whiteboard user, visual thinker, I just know my love affair with this service will continue, even after they eventually get around to charging for it. For now, feel free to try it - you’ll love it.
Some web entities that I wanna send some link love to:
Why didn’t I see this before Christmas?!?! Oh well, direct from the YouTube mothership…
“Charlie Brown Christmas - Performed by the Cast of Scrubs”
Relive your adolescence.
Looks like they did a great job of giving everyone on the team a bit of face time. I’m featured more than once, from various angles. (And from the editing, it looks like I’m in both rooms at once. How’s that for magic? When they show the first half of the basement, I’m in front, long white t-shirt, back to the camera…when they show the second half of the room, I’m sitting on the couch in a striped polo shirt) You can see my sister and Davin in numerous shots as well, and Kelly (who only joined us for 2 hours of play) is even in the clip calling in the “101 Dalmations” guess. My biking partner Kate, who is the one responsible for hooking me up with the team, is in there sticking out her tongue and calling in the answer “Paco de Luc√≠a”. Tim, the captain of the team, who was there when I met Kate on the Tour of Saints is the guy in the black t-shirt shouting out, “OK, we got number 1”. Dean, who Kate and I often play trivia with down at Leaning Tower of Pizza, is featured leaning in to listen to the radio during the Big Question, which is fitting considering his specialty is music.
All in all, I’m amazed at how well the piece came together. You can view the piece here on KARE-11’s website, or contact me if you’d like to see it in higher-quality, as I’ve got a number of clips of it saved off of the Tivo.