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March 14 to 20, 2005
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A nice quote from the Molokai land flap mentioned last week: "The controversy is hard to explain from the Western perspective that land is something to be bought, owned and sold to make profit... [the] Hawaiian perspective is that land is to be cared for so it will care for the people. Land is not a commodity." If you could learn only one thing about Hawaiian culture and its relationship to the rest of the world, that is probably all you need to know:
Did you know that Hawaiian is the sole growing indigenous language in the U.S.? Still, there are only about 8,000 Hawaiian-language speakers right now:
Only in Hawaii - people made corned beef sushi with green rice for St. Patrick's day. I think it should be a symbol of world unity or something. Note that this type of sushi (musubi) is usually made with spam, and is quite tasty when done right:
New Tech
The first modern robotic shoe changes shape to match the terrain you're running on:
James Dyson's new vacuum cleaner's called "The Ball" - instead of pushing it back and forth, you roll it around:
The first RFID reader/writer in SD card format:
New technology allows the paralyzed to move and communicate by thinking:
Samsung launches monitors for the color blind. Why doesn't every LCD monitor have these features?
Another hydrogen fuel-cell bike prototype:
For Web developers: a new interactive way of making forms that submit automatically (this example doesn't work in Safari though):
Modern Life
Towards tolerance - "Under armed guard, a woman broke with more than a thousand years of Islamic tradition to lead men and women in a prayer service yesterday in Manhattan":
Towards fundamentalism - "IMAX theaters Reject Science Shows under Religious Pressure":
For the first time, people can visualize the characters in most of the written languages of the world at once:
More and more young kids want cell phones these days:
Here's the Firefly cell phone for kids:
TV shows for modern kids - this children's show features music by a hip roster of post-punk acts.
Fugazi's Ian McKaye sings about vowels in this rockin' video:
Here's the story of Simlish, the fictional language of the very popular video game "The Sims", and the people behind it:
Some songs sung in Simlish are being groomed for mainstream radio play in English, like this one:
So far over 10 million creations are under the Creative Commons license, the sensible alternative to traditional copyright restrictions:
Here's a nice summary of how your hard drive works:
"India vs America: Let the battle begin!"
Hey America - India isn't going to take the same kind of economic smackdown you gave Japan not so long ago:
Terrorism and You
How fast can mistakes travel in this digital age? Thanks to a transcriptionist's typo, a 1962 nuclear test blast called "Project Sedan" was renamed "Project Sudan", causing an international incident the day after:
Using the BlueSniper rifle, hackers were able to extract information from PDAs and cell phones from people in the U.S. Bank building in L.A. from over a mile away:
A planned device allegedly "destroys" RFID tags:
"Mount Kilimanjaro Photo Wake-Up Call for Action Against Global Warming" - in case you needed visual proof:
Here's a few more before and during pictures of other places from the BBC:
And here's photos of all those wildflowers that have been blooming in Death Valley lately:
And the story behind the "rare wildflower display":
"Mercury Pollution, Autism Link Found - U.S. Study":
Could trapped frozen natural gas under the sea be a solution to the world's energy problems?
Breast-enhancing bubble gum is popular in Japan these days:
Take a break to read the underrated poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, "the German language's greatest poet of the 20th century". His unique style of writing translates exceptionally well:
Beautiful aquatic creatures made from hubcaps:
Shiny handmade aluminum guitars:
Use this magnetic paint to make any surface sensitive to magnetism. No idea if it's eco-friendly though:
Peep surgery - this one's a classic, still funny, and just in time for Easter:
Merge 50 photos of any given topic, and you get artful atmospheric pictures of concepts:
This photographer is doing a booming business capturing 144 megapixel photos - they're so sharp that a picture of an entire building can be used to inspect cracks:
Some artists are slicing up billboards, recombining them into new images:
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