Monthly Archives: January 2006 - Page 2

diamond rings

This makes me laugh because:

  • Its common knowledge (or at least I knew. the history channel told me)
  • No one really cares
  • People like status symbols. They always have, and always will

1. You’ve Been Psychologically Conditioned To Want a Diamond
The diamond engagement ring is a 63-year-old invention of N.W.Ayer advertising agency. The De Beers diamond cartel contracted [tag]N.W.Ayer[/tag] to create a demand for what are, essentially, useless hunks of rock.

2. Diamonds are Priced Well Above Their Value
The [tag]De Beers[/tag] cartel has systematically held diamond prices at levels far greater than their abundance would generate under anything even remotely resembling perfect competition. All diamonds not already under its control are bought by the cartel, and then the De Beers cartel carefully managed world diamond supply in order to keep prices steadily high.

3. Diamonds Have No Resale or Investment Value
Any diamond that you buy or receive will indeed be yours forever: De Beers’ advertising deliberately brain-washed women not to sell; the steady price is a tool to prevent speculation in diamonds; and no dealer will buy a diamond from you. You can only sell it at a diamond purchasing center or a pawn shop where you will receive a tiny fraction of its original “value.”

4. Diamond Miners are Disproportionately Exposed to HIV/AIDS
Many diamond mining camps enforce all-male, no-family rules. Men contract [tag]HIV/AIDS[/tag] from camp sex-workers, while women married to miners have no access to employment, no income outside of their husbands and no bargaining power for negotiating safe sex, and thus are at extremely high risk of contracting [tag]HIV[/tag].

5. Open-Pit Diamond Mines Pose Environmental Threats
Diamond mines are open pits where salts, heavy minerals, organisms, oil, and chemicals from mining equipment freely leach into ground-water, endangering people in nearby mining camps and villages, as well as downstream plants and animals.

6. Diamond Mine-Owners Violate Indigenous People’s Rights
Diamond mines in Australia, Canada, India and many countries in Africa are situated on lands traditionally associated with indigenous peoples. Many of these communities have been displaced, while others remain, often at great cost to their health, livelihoods and traditional cultures.

7. Slave Laborers Cut and Polish Diamonds
More than one-half of the world’s diamonds are processed in India where many of the cutters and polishers are bonded child laborers. Bonded children work to pay off the debts of their relatives, often unsuccessfully. When they reach adulthood their debt is passed on to their younger siblings or to their own children.

8. Conflict Diamonds Fund Civil Wars in Africa
There is no reliable way to insure that your diamond was not mined or stolen by government or rebel military forces in order to finance civil conflict. Conflict diamonds are traded either for guns or for cash to pay and feed soldiers.

9. Diamond Wars are Fought Using Child Warriors
Many diamond producing governments and rebel forces use children as soldiers, laborers in military camps, and sex slaves. Child soldiers are given drugs to overcome their fear and reluctance to participate in atrocities.

10. Small Arms Trade is Intimately Related to [tag]Diamond[/tag] Smuggling
Illicit diamonds inflame the clandestine trade of small arms. There are 500 billion small arms in the world today which are used to kill 500,000 people annually, the vast majority of whom are non-combatants.

I didn’t write any of this. It was all from an article on fguide.org

paris hiltons dead dog

I would be the first person to say its not funny to make fun of someones dead dog, but I also think that carrying your dog around with you everywhere in a purse is cruel, so I guess that evens things out.

Read this (from boingboing):

Purse shaped like Paris Hilton’s dead chihuahua Cory Doctorow: James Piatt designed this [tag]purse[/tag] (shaped like an upside-down, dead [tag]chihuahua[/tag] with a handle threaded through its stiffened legs) in “an attempt to capitalize on last years trend that involved carrying small accessory animals. To be more specific it pretty obviously represents [tag]Paris Hilton[/tag]’s discarded and dead chihuahua.” Link (Thanks, James!)

Sunflowers prevent AIDS from spreading

AIDS Drug from Sunflowers [tag]Sunflowers[/tag] can produce a substance which prevents the [tag]AIDS [/tag]pathogen [tag]HIV[/tag] from reproducing, at least in cell cultures. This is the result of research carried out by scientists at the University of Bonn in cooperation with the Caesar Research Centre. For several years now the hopes for a completely new group of AIDS drugs have been pinned to what is known as ‘[tag]DCQA[/tag]’. However, the substance is only available in very small quantities and is thus extremely expensive. By using the [tag]Bonn method[/tag] it could probably be produced for a fraction of the costs.

I don’t have to wear a coat if I don’t want to.

Quite often I don’t wear a coat when I am outside. Most of the time it is because I am either going from a building to my car, or my car to a building. Very rarely am I randomly walking around outside.

Anyway, many people say “put a coat on! you’re going to catch a cold!” I tried saying that doesn’t make sense, but it’s not like I have any credibility behind me that would back up my statement.

Not like Yahoo! knows any better than I do, but either way, its one more drop in the ‘ol bucket.

read this little Q&A:

Dear Yahoo!:
Is it true that catching a cold has nothing to do with being out in the cold?
Mark
Stockton, California
Dear Mark:
Yes. A cold is a viral disease. It is passed from one person to the next, usually by way of airborne droplets from a sneeze. You can also pick it up if your hands are dirty (with the virus) and you touch your eyes or nose. Catching a cold has nothing to do with the temperature outside, or whether or not your hair is wet. Colds are common during winter because people are living and working in close quarters. It’s chilly out there, so people tend to stay indoors. Proximity also makes schools, offices, and airplanes “great” places to catch a cold. Complicating matters, if you catch a cold, you’re contagious before you even know it. People are usually contagious about a day before the illness breaks, and a few days after they feel better. Plus, there are over 200 viruses that can cause a cold, and they’re constantly mutating.

So what’s the best way to avoid one? Steer clear of crowded places, wash your hands, keep your fingers out of your face (a good idea at all times, actually), and make sure your ventilation system is up to snuff. But the main thing is to keep those hands scrubbed.

You’re all dirty filthy bastards

Walmart Recommends African-American Films to Planet of the Apes Purchasers

this is one of the best stories ever. Since Wal-Mart is a family oriented store, they decided to have their web site direct buyers of of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Planet of the Apes” DVDs to consider DVDs with African American themes.

the NSA spies on people? it just can’t be!

I don’t get all the debate about this. Am I just paranoid, or hasn’t the NSA been spying on everyone for decades? don’t they have that building where they intercept cell phone/landline communications and red flag people when they say certain key words?

[tags]nsa,spying,paranoia,conspiracy[/tags]

The Department of Defense got a blockbuster card

Is it just me, or does this whole story wreak of that Jodie Foster movie “Contact“? I believe you can download all the plans for the spaceship off of the right radio frequency, so I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Just rent the movie, follow the plans, then you can talk to the aliens.

[tags]contact,dod,magnets,hyperdrive,jodie foster[/tags]

The Post Offices new “APC” Automated Postage Center

This has to be one of the best ideas that any of the [tag]shipping[/tag] companies have ever come up with.

Partly because of me [tag]selling[/tag] all the parts off of my Chevy Blazer project, and partly because my father and I are trying to start an [tag]ebay[/tag] business, I have been spending quite an amount of time at both the [tag]Fedex[/tag] and [tag]USPS[/tag] shipping centers.

[tag]Fedex[/tag] is fairly simple because once you apply for a Fedex account, if you ask for them they send you a couple hundred shipping labels that are made to work in a normal lazer/inkjet printer, and you login to your account on their website and fill in all the shipping info. You don’t really even need to bother with getting the box dimensions or the weight. You just get a shipping label and a tracking number, slap the shipping label on any old box, and walk into a Fedex location, drop it on the counter and leave. They just bill you monthly for any packages you sent out, and if you want, they will pick it up from your location as well.

But thats not what I am talking about today. Since I work about a block from the main USPS building in boston, I do most of my regular letter/small package mailings from their, because they are real cheap, open 24/7, and I think all the mail for my area goes through there in the end anyway. The only thing that sucks is that if you go there during certain parts of the day, they get pretty backed up, and you have to wait maybe 15 minutes for them to call your number, and then you have to “talk to a person” and who wants to do that?

So around christmas time I noticed they installed this “[tag]APC[/tag]” system in the lobby and they were really trying to get people to use it. As long as you are paying by debit/credit cart, you can do everything from it. [tag]Mail packages[/tag], buy stamps, send out express/priority mail stuff..etc, and there is hardly ever a line.

So this morning I go in there with 3 packages and an express mail envelope I needed to send out. I got my ticket to send things out the normal way at the counter, and noticed there was a good 17 people in front of me, so I said screw it (maybe out loud) and went into the lobby and tried using that APC machine. It’s the best thing ever created. You put your package on the little scale, type in the zip code to where it is going, pick any other options you want, and then it gives you the shipping costs for all the differant delivery methods. After you choose the delivery method you want, which if your selling books on amazon.com, you pretty much have to choose the cheapest because amazon likes to give you exactly the right amount of a shipping allowance. Then the machine prints out a “postage stamp” that you slap on your package, and you put it into the big delivery container they have. I also had the express envelope, which the machine happily printed me out the correct postage for, and then before I could even think of which box to put it in (since it was being sent by next day mail, i didn’t want to put it in the wrong box) some lady that worked for the post office comes over and takes it and says she’ll go put it through right now. Then the machine prints you out a receipt, and I left a happy guy. I don’t think my number had even been called yet inside either.

So, the USPS is really starting to give Fedex and [tag]UPS[/tag] a run for their money, especially since all of the USPS prices are so competitively priced now, and depending on the shipping you choose, they even deliver on Sunday now. I hope more of these Automated Postage Centers start popping up all over the place. I think this might even beat the [tag]self checkout[/tag] aisles at many stores now.
[tags]automated postage center[/tags]

Links of the day 1-4-2006

1. Drakojan Skies 2 – its a flash based game, but pretty fun, both a first person and a side scrolling shooter in one.
2. G.I Joe PSA’s: Redone – Kim sent this link to me today, and at first glance I thought it was the original fun PSA’s that were at the end of every G.I. Joe cartoon. Instead, some guys overdubbed them all with differant voices and such. Most of them suck, but there were a few gems like:

Who’s Kim you ask? you may never know…

screw the ipod and peter towshend. Get good headphones

One of the stories that is all the rage today is how Peter Townshend is speaking out about how there is going to be a [tag]hearing loss[/tag] epidemic because of “the iPod”.

Some might think it is a bit coincidental that all this buzz is coming out right around the same time that the who is annoucing their big “reunion tour”..which is funny by itself since they have a “reunion” almost every year. but that is a side note.

[tag]Pete Townshend[/tag] a complete tool for a variety of reasons which I will conveinantly list for you:

  1. He has been playing the guitar since what, the early 60s? so after over 35 years of being in and around loud music, live performances and god knows what else, he came to the conclusion that his hearing loss is because of “the headphones I used in the recording studio”
  2. He decided that he played a crucial role in “inventing and refining a type of [tag]music[/tag] that makes its principal components deaf” how full of yourself do you need to be? guess what, music was going along on its own road long before the who existed, and if they never did exist I would be willing to bet whatever people were listening to today would be played just as loud, and it would probably be the same music all together.
  3. he is yet another moron who refers to anything that plays music as “an [tag]iPod[/tag]”. When I still had my [tag]mp3[/tag] player, I had a Rio Karma, so I guess I shouldn’t be worrying about anything, because it wasn’t an iPod, and even though the music coming out of my computer and into my [tag]headphones[/tag] can get plenty loud, I still don’t have to worry. It’s not an iPod.

Deep within the crap he is preaching is a grain of truth. Headphones obviously can cause hearing loss. I don’t need any research to prove that. I also know that large amplifier stacks blasting music into your face during countless tours can cause hearing loss as well.

The real problem that around now, and yes, the infamous iPod is partially responsible for this (as is basically any piece of handheld personal audio equipment) is the use of “[tag]earbud[/tag]” style headphones. Sony and every other headphone manufacturer has been making them for years. For the record, the earbuds that come with the iPod are actually pretty crappy audio wise (and color wise, and in every other way)

The reason why earbud style headphones are a problem is because the driver in the headphones is partially in your ear. But they do nothing at all to block out any surrounding ambient noise, so in order to hear the music (or drown out your co-workers) you crank up the volume. That loud volume, combined with the driver being in your ear, equals to some really loud localized sounds hitting your ear for prolonged periods of time, which…causes hearing damage. I read all this in an article last month. It was from a reuters story, and actually has some research behind it, as opposed to some lame guitarist wildly making claims.

The easy solution is to buy good headphones. The fancy overpriced noise cancelling headphones that companies like Bose are making do a real good job of blocking out ambient noise, and so does the less expensive, but still plenty of money “in-ear” headphones that companies like [tag]Shure[/tag], [tag]Etymotic[/tag], and to a lesser extent even companies like [tag]Sony[/tag]. These are basically earplugs with headphones built into them. The sound is great, and it blocks out everything around you just like a pair of regular ear plugs would. Obviously if you really like listening to insanely loud music, either way your going to damage your hearing but for the regular average joe, you’ll be much better off, get superior sound quality to crappy ear-bud style headphones, and above all, be able to tune out everything going on in that harse cruel world around you.

The gist of my whole story is that Pete Townshend is a tool, the iPod sucks, the iPods headphones suck, go buy a decent pair of headphones, and you’ll be just fine.

Also, I have hearing damage. I also listen to music often, but I am willing to bet that the hearing damage was from when I took a “charge” from my fathers impact hammer, which is basically a bullet, and smashed it with a hammer in our not-yet-completed cellar. The cellar makes a great place to echo loud sounds. I would put the blame on that, not my headphones.

Or maybe I just got hearing damage from listening to The Who. Thankfully I don’t make a habit out of that one.

Now go read the real article, its much better than anything Petey boy has to say