Walk Away From the Nakedness

The scene: at our local dance studio, a pair of teenage boys lingers outside the social space / changing and storage area as some girls block the entrance. Eventually we hear:

Some Girl: Walk away, Chris. They’re naked.

What some of you may already know is that telling a teenage boy that there are naked girls nearby virtually guarantees that he won’t walk away. In fact, I’m half surprised the pair didn’t immediately repel down a ventilation duct from the roof just to get around the blockaded entryway.

The Future Is Upon Us

Mark this date for posterity: we have officially entered The Future.

A company called James Law Cybertecture International (Special Projects) Ltd (whose terrible name we will overlook) has announced a product called the Cybertecture Mirror: Reflective window into a digital life.

The Cybertecture Mirror

The Cybertecture Mirror

The “mirror” aspect of this product is that light reflects off its surface to provide users with a picture of themselves. This technology has been known to mankind for generations.

But the “cyber” aspect is that it’s an Android-powered computer that can project onto the mirror’s surface realtime data like the weather, the owner’s current (and historical) weight, and messages from various social networks. And, being Android-powered, the extensibility is almost endless.

Now when you wake up and face your mirror in the morning, you can — as has been dreamed in decades of science fiction — see an up-to-the-minute picture of the world at large.

The only downside I see is that some percentage of the people you contact on Facebook may now be answering while naked after getting out of the shower. And that’s just a little creepy.

The New Economy


Non-Parent Adult: If you want to get that, it will cost $25.

12-Year-Old: Are you serious? That’s two allowances plus a full report card of A’s!

I wish my life worked like that. “Hi, I’ll have a grande mocha and a classic coffee cake, please. Here’s my report card with one A and a C to cover the cost.”

The Season of Breakups

In a TED Talk in July, designer David McCandless highlighted some interesting data, including data from Facebook analyzing when people end their relationships.

Breakups on Facebook

Breakups on Facebook

Plotting the information in 10,000 status updates shows what times of year see the most breakups, and it looks like we’re headed into one of the worst seasons. Apart from the strategically placed highs and lows (e.g., hardly anybody breaks up over Christmas) what I find most fascinating is the apparent constant, inescapable breakups that are happening every day of the year.

I’d love to see what the graph of people beginning relationships looks like. I’m betting some parts of it overlap (suggesting people are breaking up because they’ve found someone else) while others may show gaps indicating more people tend to be in (or out of) relationships at a particular time of year.

These data are reminiscent of those on the OkTrends site I found in April. Neither is an exercise in inarguable statistics from random samples, but for the people who are included (i.e., those who self-selected to use Facebook or OkCupid) we get a truly fascinating picture of their social lives we may never otherwise have seen.

(via The Atlantic, via designer Mathias Mikkelsen).

The Ballerina Project

The Ballerina Project showcases photographs of ballerinas posing in everyday locations throughout New York City and Boston. It’s an enthralling mixture of the surreal beauty of ballet and the very different beauty of a historic city.

Dane Shitagi is the photographer behind the project and describes it this way:

The New York City Ballerina Project grew from the idea of New York City as a magnet for creativity; each photograph is a collaborative work of dance, fashion design and photography played out against the city’s landscape.

One of the most striking features of the photographs is the almost complete lack of other people in the background. The dancers pose in apparent isolation, reminiscent of the magical departure from reality that ballet always seems to bring.

The Market Rate for Candy

Halloween has always been a great testament to the flexibility of our capitalist economy.

A Halloween Superstore took over a massive (previously abandoned) retail space at our town’s shopping mall this year — an anchor location that might once have been a Sears or a JCPenney. They converted half the space into an enormous stock room and the other half into display areas for packaged costumes, masks, wigs, makeup, accessories (like “Toto in a Basket” to accompany the quintessential Dorothy costume), and elaborate holiday decorations (like bloodied hands you can place strategically under your garage door to frighten unsuspecting children).

Of course, at dawn on November 1st, the entire operation became a liability. The remaining inventory was immediately reduced to 50% its original prices and sold off to people planning for next year. The store closed a couple days later.

The extra candy stockpiled at grocery stores across the country was also reduced to clearance prices on November 1st, kitschy candy buckets in the shapes of pumpkins and severed heads were thrown away to linger forever in landfills, and trick-or-treaters everywhere stuffed this year’s costumes back into dressers and closets to be forgotten until next year.

It’s capitalism at its finest. An industry emerges overnight and disappears by the next morning, all for the sake of profiting from a few hours of children’s entertainment.

But this doesn’t compare in brilliance to the economic transaction a friend of ours offers her children after every Halloween: “I’ll buy as much candy as you’re willing to sell for 5¢ apiece. Then you can use the money to go buy a toy you can keep forever, instead of candy that will be gone after you eat it.”

The kids get toys to play with and eat less sugar, while the parents get to devour Halloween treats without the guilt of taking candy from their babies.

The Four Quarters (reprise)

After discovering The Four Quarters earlier this year, I’ve checked in periodically to find new videos on their YouTube channel from time to time. The Canadian a cappella group just recently out of high school covers a delightful and spectacular mix of doo-wop tunes and Broadway favorites, all in four part harmony.

Their new CD, A Pocket Full of Change, became available through Crystal Ball Records just three days ago, and they’ve posted a new (and entirely perfect) arrangement of Mr. Sandman:

I suggest you immediately buy the new CD. For $17.45, how can you not?