Archives: 2010 June

Archive for June, 2010

Unicorn Scorn

It’s hard to believe that after four months of consistent weekday postage, we haven’t once mentioned unicorns here at Goodosphere. We’ve covered cats, preened the platypus, smiled with sloths, and even done the dinosaur, but, for whatever reason unicorns have escaped us Noah-style…until now:

It’s pretty hard to hate on a stallion of such majestic stature–just ask the NPH, NPR, or NRWL. This past April Fools’ Day, ThinkGeek appreciated all things unicorn enough to play an extensive prank on the elusive stud. The doodad distributor began selling unicorn meat, advertising the delicacy as “the new white meat.” Appreciating a good joke, the unicorn community was not up in arms about the prank, the grisly details, nor the detailed graphics:

So what’s the rub you ask? Well, there was one player in the scheme with its tail in a bunch: Big Pork. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, lawyers representing the National Pork Board sent a “detailed” cease-and-desist letter to ThinkGeek last month requesting that any usage alluding to the official pork slogan — “The Other White Meat” — be removed posthaste.

Thus far, it seems the proud pranksters at the brainiest of all brain trusts aren’t blinking. The brave knaves have claimed that the slogan is protected as parody under fair-use laws. More important, ThinkGeek has had to acknowledge that not one unicorn was harmed in the prank’s manufacture. Calls to the National Pork Board’s Washington offices were not returned. Representatives said the chief attorneys were out to lunch and really pigging out.

Of Webcams and Timelapses

While waiting until I have something personal to say this summah, here are two quick, fun internet finds from today.

Not just because of Apple fanboyism, I swear.

Courtesy of ABC

When a power outage struck his show today, Jimmy Kimmel decided to film the entire episode — guests, musical performance, audience and all — on his Macbook webcam. Full story here. A fun (and power saving!) solution, and what should be a very interesting episode tonight.

Second, a cool little timelapse video. Nothing as exciting as a volcano, just a little reminder of how interesting every day sights can be if you take a moment to really see them… through a lens or no.

Take that, Richard Patrick!

Brazilian Baby Zeal

What’s amazing about this little Brazilian fellow is not that he already knows how to throw some mean shapes — figure that babies learn through imitation, and this baby is surrounded by some gyrating gypsies. What’s extraordinary is his endurance. While watching this thing, I figured he was done at least three different times, but he’s money and he doesn’t even know it. Forget the digital meme, this dancing baby is the genuine article:

Obrigado, Slaker.

Rock and Roll Acrobatics

Testosterone…still alive and kicking in rock music.

Double Down: The Beautiful Game

Clive Rose/Getty Images

The World Cup is a big deal. This is no Winter Olympics, here. The beautiful game is all the rage because of its simplicity, its universality. Once every four years, the World Cup reminds us of our progress. Four years ago, we were head-butting in Berlin. Now, we’re euphoric and horny in South Africa. We’re threatening to out-tweet Twitter.

With an event of such magnitude, our nasty nemesis (read: bad) inevitably rears its ugly head. There’s a veritable smorgasbord of losers in South Africa that never even tie up their cleats: South Africa’s hidden homeless, Mother Nature, propriety. Still, it’s hard to argue that the bad trumps the good. Africa is psyched. Desmond Tutu is dancing. This are quite possibly transformative times.

Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

If you can’t get behind the ties and theatrics, get behind the spirit. Get behind the invisible phones. Get behind R. Kelly’s stupefying transmogrification from helplessly creepy sexaphor master to MJ-esque heal-the-world anthem ace:

Meow! Redux

This cat has an obsession too. He likes to watch…

Meow!

Last Friday the Guardian published a story sure to boost sales for Calvin Klein.

Zookeepers at the Bronx Zoo in New York have discovered that the scent of Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men is irresistable to Jaguars. Young men should be cautioned, a similar effect hasn’t been studied among cougars.

Now, scientists are using the cologne to lure big cats of the Guatemalan jungle near camera traps in an effort to better study them. Researchers say that the scent has elicited “cheek-rubbing behavior” from the cats. Whoah. If this doesn’t spur a new marketing campaign from CK, I’m going to lose a bet.

There are a few dirtier jokes to be wrung out of this story but I better stop here. If you’ve got some Obsession in the medicine cabinet, dab a little on and let us set the mood:

(Credit to M.B. for the find!)

The American Dream Lives

Ok, so the picture hasn’t looked very bright lately for residential home values, new construction, and well… people. That’s right I said people! Turns out, people thrive in a stable economy*, which probably, at the individual level, means a job* and a nice safe place to live. But this is Goodosphere, the home of the positive and uplifting so we won’t dwell on that. Instead I thought you might like to know about a recent bit of good news for people, especially people who still believe in the American Dream. I know the term might be a little trite and maybe somewhat outdated, but who doesn’t want to someday own their own home, however humble?
[*See pre-2008 America.]

Recently, a Santa Ana data company called CoreLogic released information that indicates new improvements in housing sales. -Pause to soak that in for a moment. Okay, resume- And, for your convienience, they’ve also posted a top 10 list of cities with the most improved housing markets. Denver, Boston, St. Louis, Pittsburg and Sunnyvale, CA round out the top 5. CoreLogic credits government subsidies and low interest rates with the much welcomed boost.

So, could it be that this is the -dare I say it?- beginning of the end of these dark times when nobody but nobody could buy a house? Well, they aren’t saying that the picture is rosy. . . yet. But here at Goodosphere we like to look on the bright side. So, don’t blow the contents of your savings account on a weekend in Vegas just yet. You might be needing a down payment…

Cooperation

Friday was a good day for stories about cooperation. Trouble was, Sean already had a great Double Down in the works and frankly, Fridays should be reserved for the most fun-filled of posts. Let’s be honest, I have a tendency of posting the drier, more sciency side of good. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that Fridays aren’t academic- Fridays are all about the platypus.

Back to the cooperation though- the underpinning of any good cooperative effort is the principle that two or more partners can achieve greater results together than they could alone. Normally, it’s rare that government agencies or corporate giants engage in this sort of thing. But recently, they’ve been doing just that.


(A team of international space adventurers. Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Speaking from the Berlin Airshow last week, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver told reporters that NASA’s new direction would allow it to expand international partnerships beyond what had previously been possible. It gives me a warm feeling to know there will be more international cooperation in the space program. If exploring the vastness of space can’t bring this pale blue dot together what can? Furthermore, I hope this leads to the speedy establishment of an Intergalactic House of Pancakes.

The second, and infinitely more surprising, example of cooperation that I stumbled upon came out of the pharmaceutical industry- a sector rarely recognized for it’s feats of teamwork.


(Getty Images).

As it turns out, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research are pretty challenging pursuits. These brain disorders can affect people of dramatically varied ages and may progress differently depending on the patient. Studies often focus on small groups of patients which can make it hard for researchers to draw meaningful conclusions about either disorder as a whole.

Now, the Coalition Against Major Diseases has brought pillars of big pharma such as AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer together to share the data they’ve collected studying these diseases. By pooling their findings, these pharmaceutical giants will be more able to effectively analyze and develop new approaches to combating these widespread and debilitating medical mysteries. Even if this collaboration is motivated by the promise of profits, patients will be the inevitable beneficiaries from any resulting medical breakthroughs.

Today, there are many reasons to cooperate. With a tough economic climate and increasingly entrenched political divisions, cooperation might be a necessity for institutions hoping to weather the storm. At the end of the day though, cooperation carries emotional benefits too- at the intersection of teamwork and togetherness is a powerful force of good.

Majestic Eruption

Time-lapse footage of the dubious Icelandic volcano.

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull – May 1st and 2nd, 2010 from Sean Stiegemeier on Vimeo.