A few random offerings while pondering what life might be like in a country where one's sporting excitement is provided by an activity named "curling."
- Velocologne is not a body scent for cyclists, but a German manufacturer of recumbent bicycles. Their design is rather unusual, as evidence by the following video:Did you notice? The bike's pedals are integrated with the steering mechanism, so you can guide the bike with your feet. (If you look closely, you'll see that there are also underseat handlebars for more conventional steering.) This also means that the bike is front-wheel drive, with a very short and direct drive train, compared to most recumbent designs. The mechanical efficiency appears quite high, but I suspect it takes some getting used to. Makes for a nice, clean rear wheel setup, doesn't it? [Tip via Recumbent Blog]
- Codeorgan is a web application that goes conducts a rather complex and, frankly, arbitrary analysis of a website and then converts that site's code into music (or, at least, a series of tones and rhythms that might be considered music after a long day of, say, babysitting a roomful of two-year-olds). Here's what the Gazette sounds like. It's got a good beat and is easy to dance to, so I'll give it a seven, Dick. [Tip via Neatorama]
- Ever wonder about the "last meal request" rules for death row prisoners? I do, sometimes, if only because I once read a science fiction short story about such a prisoner who made a pact with the devil: in exchange for his soul, Old Scratch would ensure that his last meal and ability to eat it would be never-ending (OK, that is sort of illogical), under the premise that the execution couldn't take place until he finished the last supper. The twist was that the dim-witted prisoner couldn't think of anything to put on the menu except beans.
Anyway, Slate ran an article late last year about the topic -- last meals, not infinite beans -- and it has some interesting anecdotes about those last meal requests. As it turns out, most prisons make what can only be termed as reasonable attempts to accommodate requests. If you request filet mignon in Texas, you'll get a steak hamburger; in Virginia, you're limited to whatever's on the 28-day rotating menu (sort of like spending your last hours in a Luby's, I guess).
The article points out that Texas used to post last meal requests on a website, until 2004 when someone protested that the practice was offensive. (How internet times have changed.) But thanks to the apparently immutable law that holds that nothing ever disappears from the web, you can still peruse the old list.
(Long-time readers of the Gazette may recall that I blogged about this list back when it was still a real website. That post was deleted during the last site facelift, but I'm sure if you look hard enough, you'll find an archived version. Surely you have better things to do.)
- Reed.co.uk is a British job-hunting website, and it's sponsoring a short film contest with the rather expansive and ambiguous theme of "Workplace." You can view the shortlist of finalists at the preceding link, but I'll save you some time and embed the best of the lot (in my humble opinion) here:
This is worth watching a couple of times, just to catch the nuances of the acting and the script. It perfectly captures the basic dignity of honest work, regardless of where the job falls on an arbitrary social scale. I also recommend clicking over to the "director's cut" to see a slightly extended version, with an alternate ending.
If you agree with my assessment, go vote for it on the Reed website (I just checked and it's got a slight lead over the competition).
- In closing, I direct your attention to this article at Archaeology entitled Should We Clone Neanderthals? Besides providing an intellectual framework for discussing the practical and ethical issues surrounding the re-creation of a primitive life form, it also allows the imagination to run free with all manner of political and social commentary. [Insert your own Super Bowl ad joke here.]