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April 11 to 17, 2005
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The New Hippies
This week saw a number of profiles of a new generation of activists. Some use the latest technology to promote the environment, some are resorting to radical measures to make their voices heard, and others are tuning back into the spirit of "countercultural questioning of values and priorities".

Julia Butterfly Hill and friends retrofitted a bus to run on vegetable oil and is traveling across the country on an educational tour:
Here's more details on how the bus was retrofit with energy-efficient, sustainable materials and technology:
This couple started an eco-porn site for rain forest protection and have already raised almost $100,000:
In related news, thanks to Google Maps, you can see how the forestry industry is de-greening British Columbia via clear-cutting. Hopefully activists will make use of this new tool to help enforce government and corporate accountability:
Christopher Swain swims through miles of polluted sewage to bring attention to clean water issues:
"A new generation of flower children keeps psychedelic folk alive"
I get some traffic to this site from people looking for information on Devendra Banhart. Here's a great beginner's overview of "freak folk", with information on artists, albums, influences, and music samples:
New Tech
Could new photographic techniques shed light on ancient Greek texts and bring about the "second Renaissance"?
The "stratellite" can replace satellites at 1/10 the cost. Hopefully, it will make cellphone towers obsolete:
SVG will radically change how the Web looks and feels. It will be making its debut in Web browsers very soon:
Here's the Firefox logo in SVG:
New physics chips are taking reality simulation to the next level:
There's something about the TV/DVD player/beer fridge that is strangely compelling:
It now seems possible to start and maintain a scalable company using nothing but hosted Web applications. Who needs machine rooms any more? As the net gets faster, physical location becomes more irrelevant:
Modern Life
How and why Asian countries are keeping the U.S. dollar from collapsing:
Stats on how many forms of mainstream media are doing in terms of popularity:
It's official - all the greatest new technology will be here in five years:
The addictive ADD drug Adderall is becoming popular among college students, who use it to concentrate and stay awake for long periods at a time:
"Confessions of an EBay opium addict"
Thanks to eBay there seems to be a healthy demand for poppy bulbs by opium addicts:
Terrorism and You
"Half of U.S. taxpayers filing online":
If you file via Intuit or H&R Block though, your online behavior will be secretly tracked:
And the new Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 reports your document-viewing activities to third parties without your knowledge:
The government gives lame reasons for making passports remotely readable. Also noted is that your birth date and photo can be picked up remotely. That means (identity) thieves could make instant comparisons to data in public records and get even more information from places like ZabaSearch:
If case you're wondering why I'm so concerned about this topic, that's because I work for an RFID startup and know full well the problems this can cause:
Did you know that samples of a flu virus were mistakenly sent to 3,700 labs around the world and that some have gone missing? This normally would not cause worry except for the fact that the virus is "similar" to one that killed four million people in 1957:
Efficient hydroponic growing - did you know that clorophyll runs on red light? Lettuce matures three times faster when growing under red LEDs, which also cut electric bills by 60%:
A request for proposals to turn health fitness centers and gyms into power plants:
Hey, developers - check out the Green Building Products directory:
Hey, remodelers - check out "Green Remodeling":
Laptop design is causing posture-related problems:
I highly recommend the Oyster Dock for laptop users:
These stands are the best for PowerBook users:
The Mother Jones graphic expose on the modern house:
The number one buyer of rice in the U.S. threatens a boycott if GMO crops are grown:
A reader poll reveals the ugliest cars of 2005. I definitely agree with the top four:
Portraits of normal, everyday people by Naomi Harris:
Contenders in the Rubik's Cube World Championships:
I enjoy these, being an ex-cube solver myself. In the upper right is Jessica Fridrich of the popular "Fridrich method":
See her solve the cube in 16 seconds:
Give your photos the comic treatment with Photoshop:
Interactive textiles are changing the shape and texture of electronic gadgets:
Here's a pompom light switch:
Here's the lightest, smallest portable sound system any world traveler could want:
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails made a song available in Apple's GarageBand format. This is likely the first time a musician has released the editable digital raw tracks to a song online. Let's see more of this!
Download the file directly here (it's 70MB):
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