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January 1 to 9, 2005
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Honolulu's Chinatown is cultivating an "art chic". This article notes that "the state is currently gathering data on what it calls the creative economy in Hawai'i to assess its economic impact". "People who never thought about it before will realize the vital importance of the creative economy in Hawai'i", says Judy Drosd of DBEDT.
Professor Francis Boyle, an expert on international law from the U. of Illinois, recently gave an informative talk on the restoration of the independent nation state of Hawaii under international law. Did you know that the U.S. views the Kingdom of Hawaii as a non-recognized sovereign state? He outlines steps to regain sovereignty, using as a guide the mostly successful efforts of Palestine to be internationally recognized:
The State of Virginia allows hybrid cars to drive in high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, and this has led to so many hybrid vehicles being bought that now Virginia's HOV lanes are clogged with them (they're ending the policy in 2006). That's a good problem!
Unfortunately, Hawaii law currently only allows electric vehicles in HOV lanes:
New Tech
Organic printable electronics give rise to printable RFID tags that cost less than five cents each:
The genome of a pollution-eating bacterium has been decoded, leading to more efficient garbage-eating biotools:
The Mantis, a portable electric bike with an 18-mile range:
Fluid flow simulation software is now open source. Implications for cheaper environmental studies and wind/water energy generation prototypes:
Modern Life
Here's what "Auld Lang Syne" really means. The song has a long, fascinating history:
"Meritocracy in America - Whatever happened to the belief that any American could get to the top?"
The Economist suggests the American dream is in trouble:
The recently opened Tropical Island Resort in Germany, a manmade environment in a massive modified hanger that could fit the Statue of Liberty:
Want to know where your package goes? This student mailed a disposable camera, encouraging all who handled it to take a photo. An insightful look into the U.S. Postal Service:
Nothing lasts - Buddhist monks who have meditated on corpses find themselves well-suited to help with cremating thousands of tsunami victims. "We just sort of live in denial of the fact that we have all these organs and bones and liquids and fluids," says monk Siripanyo Bhikkhu:
The story of 21 year-old Matt Leto, possibly the greatest video-game player ever. He likely holds over 800 world records and is set to make six digits in competitions this year:
Interactive charts of the International Phonetic Alphabet. You can listen to every sound that humans use to communicate:
Tricks of the Trade - professional secrets from those in the know:
Terrorism and You
A Marine is jailed for refusing to pick up a gun, citing religious reasons:
"The Bush Administration has decided that it will stand by its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood":
By the way, that $350 million the U.S. pledged for the tsunami effort equals 42.27 hours of the war in Iraq:
Here's a humongous chart showing exactly where your tax dollar goes:
Has Somender Singh, a mechanic from India, developed an invention that makes conventional engines 20% more fuel efficient?
Monsanto paid a $1.3 million penalty to settle charges of bribing the Indonesian government to help facilitate the cultivation of its genetically modified crops:
Before and after tsunami photos, matched up with each other:
"Extreme Homes of Exotic Islands"
This series explores some nicely designed homes, including the famous tree house in Waipio Valley on the Big Island:
Of all things, Olestra may actually remove toxins, including dioxins, from your body:
An architecture firm is turning the considerable amount of waste from Boston's massive Big Dig project into office buildings and groovy-looking modern housing:
More on Michelin's air-less tire, which lasts two to three times longer than conventional tires:
For the ultra-sustainable lifestyle, refer to
"Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants":
New eco-friendly cork tiles resist mildew naturally:
Dana Countryman's Virtual Museum of Unusual LP Cover Art!
Including such hits as "Broad Minded", "Gee, Dad!!!", and "Gershwin With Bongos":
Some of my favorites:
Here you can see the cultural influence of the beautiful classic medium of LP cover art, from Herb Alpert's popular "Whipped Cream & Other Delights" (1965):
To the comedy album "Sour Cream & Other Delights" (1966):
To Soul Asylum's "Clam Dip & Other Delights" (1988):
Here's a selection of artful LP cover art, with thoughtful commentary:
The results of the second holiday champagne chair contest, in which designers made chairs using only the material from one champagne bottle:
Vintage turn-of-the-century postcard images of Tokyo:
Biojewelry - grow a ring from your own bone tissue:
The StroboPick, perhaps the most accurate (and smallest) guitar tuner ever:
CD sales rose by 2.3% in the U.S. in 2004, yet pirated CD sales have hit a record high. So why is the RIAA still suing music downloaders instead of going after real pirates?
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