Friday, February 18, 2005

Traders 1, Greenpeace 0

While I believe in environmentalism, I must admit that I am seldom impressed by the amateurish tactics of many environmental organizations.

In the latest fiasco, Greenpeace attempted to disrupt the trading floor of the petroleum exchange in London. Bad idea--they got their asses kicked by the traders.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Two of the original "dogs playing poker" paintings sold for $590,400 to a private buyer.

"The (paintings') sequential narrative follows the same 'players' in the course of a hand of poker," said an auction note from Doyle. "In the first, our main character, the St. Bernard, holds a weak hand as the rest of the crew maintains their best poker faces. In the following scene, we see the St. Bernard raking in the large pot, much to the very obvious dismay of his fellow players."

While this alone is worthy of comment, it turns out that the artist behind dogs playing poker, Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, also invented the life-size cutouts that let people stick their heads through and be photographed as strongmen, mermaids, polar bears, and so on.

He created 9 "dogs playing poker" paintings in 1903, on behalf of a St. Paul advertising agency.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Why Virtual Worlds Will Eventually End Civilization As We Know It

The folks at Terra Nova linked to an interesting article on people dropping out of real life to spend their time playing EverQuest.

He makes the very good point that there are three reasons why people prefer the virtual world to the real world:

1. Increased effort inevitably produces increased rewards. Contrast this to real life, where success can seem unattainable and arbitrary.

2. True equality of opportunity and possibilities for accomplishment and advancement.

3. The people you meet all have something in common--they've chosen to play the game--and it's far easier to avoid jerks.

Perhaps the folks who decry online addiction would do better to figure out a way to make the real world more attractive to those who feel disenfranchised....

Monday, February 14, 2005

I couldn't resist this little anecdote:

Melanie Griffith threw a tantrum when she was unable to buy a pink iPod mini early last year, according to the sales associate who tried to serve her. The associate, who asked to remain anonymous, said Griffith came right up to him and "pretty much demanded" a pink iPod mini. The mini was in short supply, and the associate told her there were none in stock. "She then proceeded to get pissed off at me personally because we didn't have any in stock," the associate said. "She said we have a special stock of iPods for people like her.... I hadn't seen any celebrities there up until then, so at first I was like, 'Oh wow, cool, Melanie Griffith.' But then she opened her mouth and used me as a doormat, and I was like, 'What the fuck is this shit? Milk Money sucked.'"

Ah, the life of a washed-up celebrity!
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly....

Very cool article from Wired News on using genetically altered versions of the HIV virus to attach cancer cells. Wouldn't it be ironic if HIV turned out to give us the cure for cancer?

Many thanks to Slashdot for pointing out this article.