Stop Outsourcing Local News (or I Can See You Fine From Here)

The short of it?

For more on the subject, here is This American Life’s segment about local news getting reported by people literally on the other side of the world.

If you want to help put a stop to this practice before it becomes an industry standard, head over to’s petition to Sam Zell, The Tribune Company’s chairman, and tell him to stop outsourcing local news!

This Wesibte Makes Things Hella Easy

posted in: External Other, Smog 1

The Ape Con Myth blog has been around long enough now that our Akismet plugin just snagged its 1,000th spam comment, and to celebrate we are going to share a few.  Most are pretty obvious bottom-of-the-barrel commercial links.  Some, however, attempt to seem legit.  In the spam game, they are known as “ham”.  And despite the misspellings, some are very difficult to delete, due to their encouraging tone…

spam comments
That’s what they are going for though.  This is what every blogger wants to hear, more or less.  And this positive feedback is yours in exchange for exposing your readers to links they probably shouldn’t visit.

Sometimes though they are so weird it’s worth sharing…

spam comments

Anyway, here’s to being around for 1,000’s more!  Don’t forget to add your own thoughts in with all the ham.

Speaking of spam, if you like to make music and enjoy a good challenge, head over to SpamSong, where each month a new title is pulled from the junk folder for you to conceptually recycle into a song.  (Who ate all the pies, indeed?!)

What Have You Been Up To?

What do you remember from your day to day?  Can you recall what you did last year, last month or last week?  Nicholas Felton, aka Feltron, knows.  No, he doesn’t know what you did, but he knows exactly what he has been up to and since 2005 has shared the results in the Feltron Annual Report.

For more on the subject, we turn to Roman Mars and the 99% Invisible radio show

Below we have the on-the-ground report of Feltron’s 2008 comings and goings.  Open up his Annual Report archive in a new window to explore while you listen…

(click to jump into the 2008 report)

[ via 99% Invisible; Thanks, Timothy!]

Fracking, Not Frakking

The kids are always talking about propagating fractures in rock layers to release the natural gas trapped underneath, but what is “fracking” all about?  Thankfully someone has made a beautiful website to quickly walk you through the entire process…

Why should you care?  Because fracking got an exemption in the Safe Drinking Water Act, despite the hazardous stew it leaves underground.  Also, there already happens to be bills stagnating in Congress to take the exemption away.  Let’s go ahead and take care of this very specific little oversight.  Go direct to taking action here or enjoy Linda Dong‘s site, Dangers of Fracking, which will take you to the action and further resources at the end.

[via Daring Fireball]

Adolescent Issues (or A Note to Congress)

The following chart was sent in by a younger reader as a life hack for teenagers seeking more freedom.  It’s logic parents will have a difficult time fending off.

Is it the same for adults?  The earning of trust and taking on of responsibility are continual processes in all aspects of our life.  They form the basis of all our relationships.  But as adults, are we still proving our freedom?

Following laws keeps us out of jail.  Following requirements keeps our job.  Following etiquette keeps our friends.  Our freedom is never quite complete as the conventions of society create boundaries that we are free to cross, but only at a price. We prove our freedom to live within the context laid out by our community through maintaining the trust.

For the trust to be preserved, our responsibilities must be managed in the spirit of what earned the trust in the first place.  This is how perceived value is made real.  The follow-through is the proof, and perhaps as such our freedom.

…  Seems like this should have been sent to Congress too.  They don’t seem to understand the last step and endanger our freedom in the process.

[Guest chart from Mars]

Promising New College Stats

A recent marketing study found that 79% of college students do not know how to scan QR codes and 75% considered themselves “not likely” to scan one in the future.

Good for them.

Not only is that a logical conclusion, but a sign that they might have better things to do.  While there is plenty of fun to be had and useful things to be done with QR codes, when they are part of a marketing campaign, it’s a little like junk mail coming in the form of a puzzle you have to solve just to hear the pitch.  As if what everyone’s day needs more of is extra steps.

QR codes?  You know, for computers.

[via The Consumerist]

The Civilization Kit

What would you need to start your own civilization?  Not just a living in huts making fire with sticks scenario either.  Taking advantage of every technology we’ve come up with since those days, what would really be required to start from scratch?

Coming up with the list alone is a challenge.  Thankfully Marcin Jakubowski isn’t going to stop there.  He founded the Open Source Ecology project to create the Global Village Construction Set.  The current roster includes fifty machines covering habitat, agriculture, industry, energy, materials and transportation.

The plan is to produce prototypes of each machine and create documentation so that anyone could build them on their own.  They estimate on average that it will be eight times cheaper to do so.  Eight of the machines have been prototyped to date by groups around the country for building and testing at Open Source Ecology’s headquarters in Missouri, the Factor e Farm.

They’ve got a ways to go, but you can help them get there by joining in their already successful campaign on Kickstarter to continue their buildout.  In the meantime, you can go ahead and start thinking about what you are going to build with your Compressed Earth Block Press.

[Open Source Ecology via Boing Boing]
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