Archive for October, 2008

Get Out and Vote! (But then Stuff Your Face)

Friday, October 31st, 2008 | SMASH Politics with 2 Comments

Krispy Election

Ah! The sugar! Ah! The saturated fat! The buttercream! Oh, wait, let me start over. Next Tuesday all Americans have a moral and civic duty to fulfill, by going over to their local polling places and marking their ballots for what is possibly the most important election of their lifetimes. Two candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain. Numerous Senate races all over this great land. Important statewide propositions, including here in California. You all –we all—have to do our part to get out the vote and, from what pundits are predicting, the turnout will be heavy, so get there early. Already voted by mail? Awesome. Well, this kinda applies to you too. Read the rest of this entry »

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What if John McCain were Black?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with 3 Comments

Hope Nope

Someone forwarded this e-mail to me this morning. It’s probably going around the Internet. Let me share it:

How Racism Clouds Judgment

What if things were switched around?
Think about it. Would the country’s collective point of view be different?
Ponder the following:

  • What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
  • What if Read the rest of this entry »

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Why It’s Obama

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Obama

In watching last night’s Barack Obama’s 30-minute prime-time TV ad, one couldn’t escape the sense that this was a culmination of sorts. We are now 5 days away from the most important election of our times, and never have I seen such intense interest in a presidential election. Then again never have I seen such an “advertisement”, or “commercial”, that was so seamlessly produced in a way that could capture the nation’s attention so close to an election by such a unique candidate. Should we reproach Obama for the fact that his campaign has the wherewithal to fund this ad and approach the seven TV and cable networks (CBS, NBC, Fox, MSNBC but not ABC or CNN) and say, “Can we buy 30 minutes of air time?”? Is it fair that his campaign, at last count, has now amassed something close to $600 million? If the largesse were McCain’s, don’t you think they would have done the same? It just strikes me that the McCain campaign has been engaging in some childish playground name-calling. They don’t like that this time it’s the Democrats who have clearly outspent them. They don’t like to acknowledge the fact that their candidate has been without a clear and defining message and that, though the race will probably tighten in the waning days, this campaign has been in a freefall. Read the rest of this entry »

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Surf Censored: Download The China Channel Firefox Plugin

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture, SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Ever wonder what it would be like to have your entire online world babysat, censored and ultimately severed by the biggest brother you could possibly imagine?

And no, I’m not referring to the brazen site blocking efforts put forth by our friends at Panera Bread

It should come as no surprise at the mention of the extreme and unrelenting efforts the Chinese government have gone through to make sure that its population remain “untainted” and live lifestyles that are “good for the national interest”.  No outside politics, no unfettered human rights declarations, and.. no religion too.

But as menacing and severe as this seems, Read the rest of this entry »

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Smash TV: Survivor: Gabon, Week 4

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Survivor Gabon Week 4

So there was this elephant on last week’s episode of “Survivor”. The Fang tribe discovered it. It was a pretty angry pachyderm, and it was busy tearing down large branches and their camp. The team sat there in bemusement, and even Ace and Matty took the kayak to get a closer look for absolutely no good reason. Sugar seemed afraid for Ace; GC was saying “leave the elephant alone”. And yet, this opening sequence was a metaphor of sorts. The “elephant in the room” for Fang is that they are rudderless and full of disarray. They are unable to deal with personality and management issues in their own tribe because they won’t face them. And this is to their own detriment, and once again, they were faced with doom: Tribal Council. Read the rest of this entry »

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Scan Your Dates Before Speaking to Them: W-41 ShotCodes

Monday, October 20th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

W-41 ShotCode Shirt

The scene: You notice the next love of your life sitting at the bar nursing a mixed martini.  Her eyes scan the room in an obvious attempt to find some companionship and conversation, only to be met by yours in an apparent act of fate.  Confidently you walk over to her and… snap a picture of the code on her shirt.

This is sort of the concept behind the new line of clothing put out by a Netherlands-based online apparel company called W-4. The clothing line features a technology developed by High Energy Magic of Cambridge University called ShotCodes, special 2d barcodes, to link people from offline materials to mobile Internet pages.

How does it work?

If you eye one of these unique logos while you’re on the town, quickly snap a photo of it with your camera phone and a tiny app directs you to the wearer’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or MySpace profile. Based on your findings, you can then decide whether to say hello or press delete. Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Debate #3: Not Close and No Cigar

Sunday, October 19th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Presidential Debate #3

Bob Schieffer of CBS News moderated this third debate, a fairly lively one, from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Coming into this, McCain had to make up for some lost ground in the last couple of weeks amid a financial crisis that has made most Americans edgy about having a Republican in charge. McCain’s numbers have been down; some would say that his negative campaigning and declining confidence in running mate Palin have caused somewhat of a free fall. In contrast, Obama’s numbers have either risen slightly or remain stable. What McCain had to do was something more aggressive in this debate, which would focus on domestic policy, that would set Obama on edge and keep him constantly on the defensive. As a bonus, if he could throw the normally unflustered Obama, McCain could score some much-needed points. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Rachel Maddow Rocks

Saturday, October 18th, 2008 | SMASH Politics, SMASH Pop Culture with 1 Comment

Rachel Maddow

The start of the “Rachel Maddow Show” on October 10 made for some pretty arresting TV. The daily MSNBC talk show, which premiered in late September, had as its lead topic the increasingly hateful and obnoxious crowds that have been whipped up as some sort of strategy by both John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin. Things had reached a breaking point, and so too, had the 31-year old host, herself an incisive political analyst, Stanford-educated and a former Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. That Friday was also the day that John McCain ran into a nasty crowd and tried to placate it by saying that that Obama “was an honorable man” while supporters tried to boo him. One elderly woman went so far as to call Obama an “Arab” as she stood there, microphone in hand, as McCain quickly tried to correct her. It was both an uncomfortable and remarkable moment. This is where the McCain/Palin campaign, so bereft of message and purpose and cynical enough to have us believe it’s better to simply smear, that it has now been able to rile up people in ways that have become coarse and divisive, and sometimes downright dangerous. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Strange Career of Robin Thicke

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with 1 Comment

It was about five years ago that I first discovered Robin Thicke. I didn’t quite know what to make of him then –and perhaps even now. Featured as a VH-1 artist “You Oughta Know”, he appeared in a heavily-hyped video for a song called “When I Get You Alone”, which itself was pretty bold. An ambitious take on Walter Murphy’s disco anthem “A Fifth of Beethoven”, “When I Get You Alone” showed a long-haired Thicke rolling up and down Manhattan streets on a bicycle working as a courier. The long hair was memorable, especially since now he prefers a much shorter, controlled ‘do, but the song also seemed to defy any classification. Perhaps because of this, Thicke’s first single and album, “Cherry Blue Skies” were not successes when released in 2002, despite the marketing efforts of hip-hop producer and President of Uptown Records,  Andre Harrell, who became the guru and mastermind behind Thicke’s career.

Read the rest of this entry »

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It Ain’t A Transformer: The Confederate Fighter Motorcycle

Saturday, October 11th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Confederate Fighter Motorcycle

190 mph for only $110K

Don’t expect to see the 2009 Confederate Fighter parked next to you at the next red light.  In fact, unless you’re willing to fork over the cash (and you have some great connections) odds are you’ll never get to see one up close. And too bad, for this is a street-legal sci-fi dream come true.

You must know you have something special when you have even non-bike enthusiasts drooling.  The Fighter joins the first 31 BMW 7 Series models and is featured in limited edition in the Neiman Marcus Christmas book.

And when they say limited edition, they mean it.  There will be 45 created and then there will be no more. Read the rest of this entry »

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Smash TV: Survivor: Gabon, Week 3

Saturday, October 11th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Survivor Gabon

With Paloma gone last week, Kota seemed to be ridding itself of someone weak and nattering. Yes, she complained a lot, and so did Kelly, who was a bit of a confidante or partner in crime in hating on Ace. Kelly the sales rep had a target on her, and Ace was apparently determined to go after her. She was not the cute sidekick to him that Sugar was. Hell, without the Idol that Sugar found, what use was Kelly anyways?

Over at Fang, fresh from two victories last week, you’d think they would settle their petty differences about, well, eating rice. They’re getting emaciated out there and someone at least (Randy) thinks they are going their food supply too fast. Except that a mini group of Ken, GC and Crystal –the non-white members, natch—don’t think so. They seemed to be pitted against evil-minded Randy (again), Matty the personal trainer, Dan the attorney-who-needs-to-find-himself and Susie, who brings up the rear because she doesn’t want her housewife-ness to get ousted. These cleavages within Fang are familiar. Read the rest of this entry »

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Diddy Still Buggin’

Thursday, October 9th, 2008 | SMASH Politics, SMASH Pop Culture with No Comments »

Diddy VoteYes, indeed, the sane and thoughtful political discourse in this country is alive and well, thanks to Diddy’s latest video blog entry from his site on Bad Boy Records. John McCain, and not Sarah Palin, he says, scares him because of the “That one” remark from Tuesday’s debate. Diddy has TiVo? Looks like he just replayed it. Incredulous, he likens this remark to something that could be said “in 1962” when in fact “it’s 2008”. What is a multi-millionaire mogul rapper-stylist-baggy-clothes-designer-NY-bon-vivant-general nuisance supposed to do? He tells us he really could “say something” here that’s “insane”, but, whew, he spares us what he is really thinking. What a relief.

Memo to Diddy:

If you really want to see something scary, try turning on your TV to Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Debate #2: A Subdued Affair

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with 1 Comment

Presidential Debate 2

Tom Brokaw had it right tonight. As Obama and McCain walked onstage in Nashville for their second debate of the campaign, the mood of the country had changed tremendously since their first encounter on September 26. The Dow plunged over 500 points today and the index is closer to 9000 than 10,000; people are concerned about the economy in ways that they haven’t since the Great Depression and voters especially are anxious for answers out of these somewhat desperate times. As a result, there was a somber feel to this evening’s affair given the crisis; a distinct pallor or dark cloud seemed to hang over the heads of the two candidates. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Phone That Can See Through Walls

Monday, October 6th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

Phone That Can See Through Walls

This past week’s CEATEC technology show just outside Tokyo is home to some of the most bizarre tech you’ll ever come across. One of the most notable devices (in the mobile technology category) is a phone that promises to allow its owners to see through walls.

Better than X-Ray Specs

Thermal ImagingIt’s about time, isn’t it? We’ve seen enough spy flicks featuring FBI or NSA agents sporting heat-sensing, thermal imaging gear that can track a human target from floor to floor from a van parked on the curb.

The fancy software, ‘Real Space See-through Mobile’ comes from KDDI’s R&D laboratory and Tokyo University and is still just a prototype.

Using geomagnetic sensors, accelerometers, and GPS (ouch on the battery life front) the phone is able to determine its position and render its surroundings on the screen in OpenGL, including areas that are currently out of sight. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart: A First Look

Monday, October 6th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart

[Via dailykos]

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Smash TV: Survivor: Gabon, Week 2

Monday, October 6th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Survivor Gabon Week 2

We are still in the getting-to-know-you phase of Survivor. Jeff Probst is firmly at the helm of the reality show juggernaut, commenting at every turn about how both Fang and Kota tribes are settling in at their camps, winning or losing challenges, having some skirmishes between purported “:leaders” or followers. Each tribe is trying valiantly to win both reward and immunity challenges because they need the momentum and moral boost to carry them through these initial weeks.

In last week’s double episodes, Kota burst out of the starting gate with relative ease. People found their roles to play in setting up a shelter, finding water, digging latrines, and the stronger personalities prevailed over the lesser ones because of basic survival instincts. You need water and you want to complain that Ace, the worldly and slightly stuck-up photographer, is bossy? No. Let’s get this all done first. And let’s win all the challenges –and then figure out whether Ace or anyone else manages to rise to the cream of the proverbial crop. Read the rest of this entry »

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