Author Archives: formerwinnower

Can You Buy Wisdom For $400 (Or More)?

“One bit of truth I do hold self-evident for myself, however, is that the chance of finding Wisdom 1.0 or 2.0 while wearing a nametag at an indoor conference on a beautiful day is close to nil.” [Strickland/Civic Center]

In a graceful skewering of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, which is intended to address “the great challenge of our age: to not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world” (why not? I guess), Michael Strickland ponders the likelihood that one will actually find wisdom at a conference.

Tickets to Wisdom 2.0 ran from $400-$1500 (plus a $7.95 fee). The wisdom seeking activities Strickland proposes, “Swimming naked in the ocean, walking in a redwood forest, talking with a sympathetic friend, playing a game at a municipal golf course, or concentrating on a book,” are all pretty close to free.

Farewell, Dalek Designer

Dalek“’Before rehearsals started the cast and other members brought their children along and they were shown the Daleks and talked to the Dalek operators,’ he recalled. ‘But then when rehearsals started the operators got into the Daleks and started moving, and at that point all the children screamed and ran out of the studio.'” [The Telegraph]

Raymond Cusick, who designed the Daleks, the longstanding and beloved nemeses of Dr. Who, has died at age 84.

I love this — according the The Telegraph, Cusick originally explained to his BBC bosses how spooky the Daleks’ movements could by when “in the canteen, he picked up a condiment container, and steered it around the table.” EX TER MIN ATE!

Photo: studiofibonacci’s very sexy “exterminate!” patterned fabris, available at Spoonflower.

Social Media Isn’t Making You Miserable, Your Crappy Choices Are

“Whenever someone writes one of these screeds, they have to ignore that Twitter is entirely self-selecting. You chose who to follow. You chose to behave like a jerk, or a needy child, or a boor. Twitter didn’t make you an ass. Twitter gave you an opportunity to exhibit your lack of impulse control.” [Sicha/Awl]

As almost always (as much as I might like it, I cannot see into his soul, hence the “almost” qualifier) Choire Sicha nails it as he gently chides those who sob that social media is full of meanies.

I’ve been in an email conversation with an ex for a few days now about Facebook. He’s not on it at all, I am mostly because it’s kind of expected of someone in my line of “work.” I was telling him that he might like Twitter, because I like Twitter and I assume that someone I banged in the 80s and I are still on the same page about everything.
Continue reading

Why Aren’t You Reading This Magazine About What You Can Catch From Chickens And Corpses?

plagueThere is so much amazing stuff in February’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases” Journal from the CDC. By “amazing,” of course, I mean, stuff that will make you completely batshit (HA HA batshit!) paranoid.

I do not even know where to begin. Flu fun at the live poultry mart (oh, yeah, there’s a lot of poultry and pork stuff in this issue. Enjoy your Super Bowl ribs and wings platter)! A new strain of the plague! “Corpse-to-Human Transmission” of the Nipah virus!

If, like me, you read The Coming Plague like it was Stephen King (but written better) and are waiting for your copy of Spillover to arrive (I’m on the SF public library’s reserve list, it’s popular!), then fuck Vogue, this is the monthly for you. AND YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE.

Owl Crime Scene Investigated

“It died squirming and convulsing in the talons of an owl, locked in by the bone ratchets the owl shares with other raptors.” [Hill/Scientific American]

Yeah, it sounds like the prose you might find in one of those fat novels at the front of the grocery store with titles like “DEAD LADY BOOK.”* But it’s not, this is a blog post on Scientific American’s site, going all CSI-speculative on a quite lovely photo of an odd pattern captured in snow.

Do I hope this picture is real, because it is neat looking? You bet I do. But if I found out it wasn’t, and that at least one small rodent didn’t actually learn the hard way that “Hawk owls in particular eviscerate small mammals before eating their heads and organs, thereafter caching the remains,” well, that’s fine with me.

* If there were as many high-profile serial killers at work as books/TV would have you believe, there’s basically be no good looking women left, unless you count the guys wearing their skin.

Dog Poop DNA Matching: A Natural Fit For SF?

“I was a little surprised…usually because I pick up after myself…most people do. But I was surprised myself. Especially the fine. Being $250 is a little pricey.” [CBS DFW]

“I am so surprised this didn’t happen in SF first,” a friend said to me when I sent her this article on a Texas apartment complex that is using DNA evidence to nab folks who don’t pick up their dog’s shit.

PooPrints, the company providing the DNA matching service, has been mocked on the Colbert Report and has pissed of South Dakota pet owners with their registration fees, reportedly had clients in 28 states as of last year.

So what’s keeping San Francisco, a city known for pet ownership and shit (some of it dog) on the sidewalks? Maybe the problem is that the nearest PooPrints distributor is in LA.

But if you have 20 grand to spend, you can get your own PooPrints distro going. All you need to do is convince a local legislator that the tickets for unpicked poop are the key to municipal riches. I’m imagining that public comment period and snickering already.

Another Piece Of Your Childhood, Possibly Ruined

charlie_brownAccording to The U-T San Diego, Peter Robbins, the actor who gave voice to Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, is expected to appear in court today to face “four felony counts of making a threat to cause death or great bodily injury and one felony count of stalking.”

According to Wikipedia, “While Robbins was replaced by other child actors in the Peanuts specials produced after 1969, his trademark scream of “AAUGGGHH!!”, first used in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, continued to be used in the later specials for Charlie Brown and other characters.”

According to the San Diego County jail’s website, Robbins is presently being held on $500,000 bail.