What Is A Trichoplax?

A Trichoplax is one of the simplest organisms you can find. It has no discernible organs or structure, and is basically a flat blob of tissue that moves around. Is it alive? I don't know. But I thought I'd ruminate on other conundrums in this space.

I Agree

Time Poll Was Hacked

So if you take a look at a
recent poll by Time Magazine to determine the top 100 most influential people in the world, you'll notice that the first 21 people on the list spell out the peculiar phrase, "Marblecake also the game." Obviously, Time Magazine didn't intend for this to be. No, the vote was hacked by a group of hackers that go by the name 4chan, with their founder as the top result in the poll. Hilariously, Time is going ahead with the results, claiming to have avoided the hacks 4chan used. I find really amusing that old-school institutions are seemingly oblivious to how "new-school" tactics can totally change the game. You can read more about how 4chan pulled this off here.


Most people who know me know I use Macs and I love them. I also do PC repair so I know intimately how much a Windows computer can suck sometimes.

Yesterday Apple came out with some new "I'm a Mac" ads and the one that was particularly amusing to me was called "Legal Copy". Go ahead and check it out, I'll wait.

Anyway, if you don't bother to watch it, the ad involves PC making statements such as "incredibly easy to use" while legal copy increasingly grows in size at the bottom of the page. What's funny to me is what the legal copy actually says. A website called MacJournals.com actually took the time to read what it said, and came out with humorous, though sometimes admittedly exaggerated, gems like this:

Please note that when you first receive your PC there is some suggested work that needs to be done before PCs can perform at their peak. These steps include, but are not limited to, downloading and installing necessary drivers for peripherals. These drivers may include printers, scanners, cameras, storage devices, music players, and other media devices. There may be more depending on your needs. It is also recommended that first time users remove all unneeded bloatware and remove all operational components.

Ever Wondered What Being Inside A Tornado Was Like?

I've always enjoyed the movie Twister that came out a while ago, especially because of the improbable plot. Surviving the inside of a tornado by tying yourself to a pipe? Laughable but fun, especially with lots of whiz-bang effects.

As it turns out, the laughably improbable has happened. You can read a lengthy, but fascinating story here of a minister that survived a tornado in nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee by holding onto a tree. His description of the eye and of passing through the walls of the tornado are vivid and gripping, though some of his theological ideas are a little odd. (Telling people that their loved one's felt God's love if they were killed by a tornado? Might be a stretch.) If you just want to read it for the account of living through the tornado, you can start on page 6.

The Hallelujah Epiphany

For the Easter service at our church the choir sang the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah. It was, of course, majestic, but I was unexpectedly quite moved by the song.

While they were singing it, I was thinking about a story my friend Jason had referenced last week in a blog post. It's the story of a South American Indian who was hearing Handel's Messiah for the first time. Upon hearing the Hallelujah chorus she began to cry, and later explained that she'd heard the chorus before. She was, in fact, one of the famous Auca Indians, the tribe that had killed Jim Elliot and his fellow missionaries in 1956. (If you're not familiar with the story, read a short synopsis here.) She recounted that, as the missionaries were being speared to death on the Curaray river, she saw men in white on the opposite side. They were singing the Hallelujah chorus.

While the story is pretty neat, I didn't really think much of it. I cynically thought that it was a little cliche, the idea of angels singing the Hallelujah chorus. It wasn't until I heard the words of the chorus Sunday morning that I realized something that really shook me to my core:

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever.

Those angels weren't singing about Jim Elliot or Nate Saint. They weren't singing about the Auca Indians. They sang only about God. And I realized that was kind of the point. When those missionaries were getting murdered it looked like defeat. But those angels were proclaiming that God really was the ruler of this world, and that he would reign forever, even as His subjects were being humiliated by the forces of evil. We know, of course, that those Indians eventually became Christians by God's grace. In the end, God won.

That, I realized, was why angels would sing that song. Handel ripped those lyrics straight from Revelations and the point of that book is simply that no matter how things appear, in the end God wins.

Game of Miscommunication

Many of us remember playing the game of Telephone when we were younger, or perhaps we still play it on occasion. Either way, it was always a hoot to hear what the inevitably mangled result of an original phrase was as it was whispered down the line. Now you can experience the same thing, except online! Broken Picture Telephone is the name of a new website that accurately recreates the experience of mutilating language, but now with total strangers hiding behind bizarre avatars! I had a big laugh when I played one game, which went from the phrase: "She dreamt she was a bulldozer, alone in an empty bed..." to "An ambulance has run over a mutant rabbit, which bleeds acid and blood." Yes, that really happened. To see how, go here.

GEEK OUT: Networked Hard Drive Edition

So... occasionally I'll happen across something of a technological nature that I think is really awesome, but a great deal of people might not. For example, I described the gadget I'm soon to talk about to my wife last night and her response was a kind of "mmm hmmm" in so many words. But that's okay, prepare to have your collective minds blown.

What will do said exploding to you? Why, the Pogoplug® of course. Ha, you may scoff, how could something with such a retarded name be so profoundly awesome? (I may be exaggerating at this point, but bear with me). Well, let me describe what it does for you first. Essentially, it'll take any sort of hard drive or thumb drive and turn it into a network drive, no fuss, no muss. What that means is that any hard drive you have can be accessible by any computer on your home network or over the internet. Okay, perhaps you're a bit underwhelmed right now, but let me describe a few scenarios of how this could be really handy.

Scenario one: let's say you're chatting with your buddy about your awesome music collection and you'd really, really like to share an album with him, but you're nowhere near your computer. That's no problem with your Pogoplug®! You jump on his computer, log in to my.pogoplug.com and wala, all of your music collection is instantly available to download onto your friends computer because you have your hard drive with all your music plugged into your Pogoplug®. You can even preview the songs in the browser! The same goes for videos, documents, whatever; whatever you put on your hard drive instantly available over the internet through the Pogoplug®.

I'm sounding like an advertisement, but stick with me here. If you're a Mac user, you might be familiar with Time Machine, a really easy way to backup your stuff built into OS X Leopard. Well, with a Pogoplug®, you can now use Time Machine on any Mac you've got on your network and back that puppy up to your networked drive! That way, more than one computer at a time can work with the same backup hard drive. This, of course, would also work with Windows but it'd be a different process (read: not as easy).

Basically, the idea is that all of your information would be accessible from one central location and accessible anywhere you go, whether it's between computers in the same house, or you're at someone else's house. It's not that this hasn't been possible before, it certainly has. But it's now easier, and cheaper (only $99), to do this than it ever has been. Anybody can set this up (maybe).

So did anybody else out there see the potential in this device, or are you "mmm hmmming" me?

Desperate Times?

Did you know that you can use a "Berkshare" to pay for your purchase in Berkshire, Massachusetts instead of a dollar bill? In Detroit you can use a "Detroit Cheer" at the Bucharest Grill. In fact, apparently 75 local currency systems have started nationwide recently. They basically work like a coupon: you buy $100 for $95 and spend them at participating locations. But still, the idea of using something resembling a currency (that's not the dollar) here in America is both clever, and a bit surreal.