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April 18 to 24, 2005
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High-Tech Junk
Hope everyone had a happy Earth Day. Not surprisingly, much news was devoted to how much high-tech junk is being generated and what to do about it:
There was some to-do about Apple's environmental practices, and Steve Jobs pimp-slapped an environmental group for talking trash:
The group's reply was a bit weak:
If you're switching to a Mac, it's now cheaper to get your HP or Dell PC recycled:
Here's what your recycled, shredded HP PC could look like. If these photos give you a cathartic release, then it's time to make the trade:
If you have a used mobile phone, you could try shipping it to this non-profit:
Is environmentalism really dead? Let's start the debate:
New Tech
Holographic storage technology is slowly making progress:
The miniMate adds extra storage and ports to your Mac mini. I wish the logo printed on it didn't suck though:
Use two microphones with your Mac with this cheap $16 gadget:
The Firebox is the most compact, fully-featured FireWire recording interface I've ever seen. Looks like it should be excellent for recording on the road with a laptop!
Verizon and Movielink announced a movie download service for broadband users:
Modern Life
Wal-Mart Watch launched this week. Check it out:
The EU last year fined Microsoft $700 million for abusing its near-monopoly in the software industry. Meanwhile, an EU Commissioner who could affect the amount of these fines was invited to a lavish, elite party thrown by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen:
Did you know that half of all schoolchildren in France are bloggers (bloguers)? Score one for "vocal civic discourse":
Consumating, the new dating site for hipsters:
Another case of copyright law going too far - in Ghana, folk artists could be imprisoned, fined, or both:
Terrorism and You
Just because you're a penguin doesn't mean that you're not a terrorist:
"By approving liquid marijuana, the Canadian government has just certified that virtually everything our own government has been telling us about marijuana is wrong":
Meanwhile, San Francisco is trying to figure out how to "rein in" its 43 medical marijuana dispensaries while remaining friendly with the feds:
What does it matter, when U.S. teens are taking more legal drugs than illegal ones? They're called "Generation Rx":
And email makes people way more stupid than pot anyway. Sorry!
Thanks to the newly approved Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, you will get more jail time for videotaping a movie in a theater than for killing somebody:
Meanwhile, police are being investigated for accepting bribes from the MPAA to arrest sellers of pirated DVDs:
ClearChannel will be tagging its music with color codes that reflect "indecent" content. Blue songs are OK, while orange songs can only be played after 10pm:
How U.S. restrictions on family planning are affecting the rest of the world, with dire consequences:
Partly thanks to its sale of hybrid cars, Toyota expects to see its best first quarter in 48 years. GM expects to lose $850 million that same quarter due to short term bets on "cheap" and "plentiful" gas:
Meanwhile, the military is developing a hybrid Humvee:
And despite the arrival of efficient electric cars, large manufacturers have discontinued their production:
Power utilities can fund the migration to greener technologies by selling "green power", like the Tennessee Valley Authority is doing:
The DIY solar cycle holds its own solar panels:
Loss of habitat and food has led to a steep decline in the Monarch butterfly population:
Ecologically responsible hostels can be efficient and beautiful (and a source of income and workers for organic farms):
Clothing made of bamboo is cheap and apparently feels pretty good too:
Rethinking The Everyday Things
The brilliant redesign of the prescription pill bottle:
A clever reworking of the umbrella:
A smarter thumbtack (from August 2001):
The moldable travel vase:
The sandal-combination-bottle opener! Perfect to wear with the TV/DVD-combination-beer fridge mentioned last week:
The scratchophone, the portable scratching bongo drum:
An impressive photographic archive of mistakes. Check out "lost my job" and "women live longer":
Another example of how people see only what they want (or are directed) to see - motion-induced blindness (and many other nifty optical illusions):
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