Sunday, May 31, 2009

A centaur with a difference.

During a visit to the 'House on the Rock' tourist attraction in Wisconsin a friend (you know who you are) pointed out this carousal not-horse.

I apologise for the poor quality of the picture but the damn thing was spinning around rather quickly under conditions of near darkness. It is one of 250-odd (and I do mean odd) carousal figures on what is billed as the world largest indoor carousal.

Anatomically speaking you must admit this this centaur lady is made of pure, 100% WTF. But then the House on the Rock is pretty high grade WTF throughout. (More about that later).

Friday, May 29, 2009

The price of beauty

I was falling a sleep when I heard a late-night TV advertisement for Latisse, a drug to lengthen and darken eyelashes. At first I thought I must have misheard. Does this seem like a good idea to you.

Latisse, unlike many beauty drugs, does seem to work but:

* Nobody knows its mechanism of action (as stated here)
* Its known side effects are that it can cause eye swelling, and brown coloration of eyelids that is (probably) reversable and brown color change or the iris of the eye which is not reversible.

No, don't get me wrong, I think people with various disorders and complaint causing hair loss could benefit. Yes, Latisse is FDA approved but this does not mean it 100% safe, it means that it can help with a disease or disorder. The Latisse site says: "LATISSE™ is an FDA-approved prescription treatment for hypotrichosis used to grow eyelashes, making them longer, thicker and darker. Hypotrichosis is another name for having inadequate or not enough eyelashes."

But the advertisement I saw was clearly aimed at encouraging purely cosmetic use by people with normal but not enormous, eyelashes--not people with a disorder effecting their eyelash appearance. Unless anyone is suggesting Brooke Shields had hypotrichosis and beauty maven Anastasia is an expert in diagnosing this condition? Who would risk an unknown drug with weird side effects when the same effect can be produced with mascara? And is it responsible to run an expensive ad campaign encouraging them to take a prescription medication instead?

The FDA clearly has in mind that this drug be used to compensate for deficits in eyebrow appearance caused by a medical condition. Anastasia seems to have something rather less humanitarian in mind when she urges women: "If you're not happy with the lashes you were born with — and let's face it, many of us aren't — LATISSE™ is a great option that delivers real results."

The message is: want more, get more, imitate celebrities, follow the prescription advice celebrity beauticians, give us your money, take drugs you don't understand, hope you don't get sick. Only beauty is important. I am not at all surprise to see this is brought to us by Allergan, makers of Botox, wrinkle-filling injections and fake boobs. All of which have reconstructive surgey uses, but I doubt that is where the "real" money is made.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not So Classic Cover II

Guy #1 has a pistol, guy #2 has come kind of semi-automatic rifle, and the girl has a killer pedicure and the crazy eyes. I know which I think is more scary. (Actually I think it's the plaid pants)

Monday, May 25, 2009

What would you like to see more of on this blog?

* Book covers
* News and current evens (gender/sexuality issues)
* Original art and writing
* rants, raves, gripes and WTFs
* Comics and cartoons (like gay zombi penguins)
* Book and product reviews
* Fisking content from other blogs
* Other?

Yet Another Rant About Recaptcha

Imagine a stranger came up to you and said: "I am going to install this switch in your house.

"Now every time you want to turn on your light you will have to click the switch twice, not once like before--then the light will come on. Oh, and sometimes if you don't move around enough the light will spontaneously go off and you will have to switch it on again. And I will gradually change all of the light switches in your house to this system, and perhaps the garbage disposal and garage door operator too.

And he adds apologetically, "sometimes you won't flick the switch in quite the right way. But that is okay, just doing it again and it should eventually work."

Now you might ask why the hell he is going to do this. And he might say, "oh, mostly we will harness this energy and use it to good things like provide power to poor people. But some undisclosed amount of the time we will just use it to make some money. And I am going to keep the money. But we have convinced the power company to require you to use these switches, so you really do not have any choice."

How would you feel about that?

Because you know those recaptcha field where you type in two words? One of those word is a security precaution, the other is you digitalising a scanned document for someone else. And at least some pf the time that someone else is a commercial entity like the new York Times who "paid an undisclosed sum to von Ahn's CMU team to complete its project."

Recaptacha is portrayed as being so clever because it uses a worthless and wasted resource (our time) to make something valuable (money for them). First it was on Wordpress, and Craiglist, then, now Shutterstock. Companies are taking the easy road of giving away their contributors' and customers' time for a cheap security option. Cheap to them that it, as is usual the workers end up bearing the cost in units of a few second here and there throughout their day. But to the tune of decoding millions of words per day--both for the public good and for profit.

And nobody seems to mind? Is it because
* Young white men from universities must be obeyed?
* We truly think our time is worthless?
* Typing barely legibly word is fun?
* We like saving large commercial companies money?

Just say no to Recaptcha. In this economy companies should hire people to fix their security and the New York Times can get my labor for free when they post the resulting archives on the open internet, also for free. Until them the digital proletariat need to protest, not thank "the man" for exploiting them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Not So Classic Covers

What is going on with the woman on this cover? She seems to be pregnant, 8 feet tall and have one (male) leg that she is wearing backwards.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mrs Misses

I had two calls tonight from utility companies. The first was a mistake as it was a service I don't use. It went like this:

"Can I speak to the person in the household that pays the XXXX bill."
"I don't pay that bill."
"Can I speak to your husband then?"
"I don't pay that bill. A bill from that company doesn't come to this address."
"So who pays that bill."
"Nobody, I am not one of you customers."

The second was a company trying to tell me something unnecessary about a minor change in their terms of service, it went like this.

"I am calling about your XXXX service."
"Yes, okay."
"So is this Mrs XXX."
"Actually Dr. XXX"
"Dr. XXX?"
[silent pause]
"I am calling about your XXXX service."
"So I gather."

Seriously. Is this still the type of script phone staff are being given? Out-dated much?

Male Chauvinist Pig slaughter

The decision by the Egyptian authorities to slaughter all of the pigs in the country is stupid on many different levels--and with a sexist little twist. It seems that the culling outstripped the capacity of slaughterhouses to use any kind of humane methods.

"Only the males are killed in accordance with the rules," said journalist Heba Nasreddin, while "the piglets and sows are hit with an iron bar and left to bleed to death."

So when it comes to non-halal animals it seems women and children come last?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On the theme of school admin busy-bodies....

"Dozens of Gig Harbor High School students demonstrated outside the school Monday to protest an official's decision to show parents surveillance video of their daughter kissing another girl ... The parents moved the girl to a different school district after watching it." [KOMOnews]

See also:
Gig Harbor school tape of kiss leads to complaint

Wednesday, May 6, 2009