When you close your eyes at night, what nightmares come creeping in? In the case of photographer Joshua Hoffine I think we can tell this very easily. That is because he painstakingly creates beautifully staged photographs of all manner of horrors with a little help from his friends and family. I encourage you to check out his website and blog showing the behind the scenes work that goes into each shot.
You ever thought about going postal, but didn’t because of the whole moral, ethical, and legal ramifications of it? Apparently there’s an app for that, and congratulations, you’re fairly sane. The Firepower iphone app, created by Magnificent Library (makers of Shotgun Infinity and iVomit), lets you shoot anyone, or anything for that matter, with a gatling gun – Dr Richard Gatling has never been prouder, I’m sure.
The gun barrel, cross hairs, and firing mechanism all appear on screen and as you fire blood sprays from your target. They’re toting the app as a form of augmented reality, but since it does not really interact with anything I think it’s stretching the term. I do, however, like Wired Magazine’s definition: Augmented Stupidity. I think this app would engage me for 5 minutes – tops. The best, or worst …yeah lets go with lamest; part of this whole application is the YouTube video put up by the developer. One would think that if you invested the time to develop the graphics and code for said app that you would at least make an attempt at an interesting video to market such genius. No? Wrong again! As you can see from the video above the promotional material is a little rough. If you need more intellectual stimulus, check out this video of the developer’s 3-year-old learning to count his ammo while playing Shotgun Infinity.
Halloween is a fun time of the year – especially the costumes! Here’s a few examples of Transformers costumes I came across. Even though I gave the second movie a well deserved harsh review, these costumes are cooler than most.
This more homemade version has an cool way to close the hood:
And this one is just fun – sometimes kids rock:
Is your emergency plan of zombie attack up to date? Rest assured if you are in the Gainesville, Florida area that the University of Florida has you covered in the event of an undead uprising. In fact they have reportedly developed a procedure to help you identify and detail how you “dispatched” a member of the living dead also known as “zombiesm” or Zombie Behavior Spectrum Disorder (ZBSD)
The document leads us through the stages of ZBSD:
Part 1 of this exercise will be to identify characteristics of a zombie outbreak that might precede official notification. These might include:
- Disappearance of isolated citizens, initially in relatively remote areas;
- Increasing numbers of gruesome unexplained deaths and disappearances, especially at night;
- Identification of difficult to kill, flesh-eating perpetrators;
- Recognition that the numbers of perpetrators is rapidly increasing and that those previously identified as victims have reappeared as perpetrators;
- Increasing isolation of survivors;
- Breakdown of peace-keeping and medical services;
- Documentation of lots of strange moaning.
Part 2 of the exercise will be a discussion of how the overall impact of a zombie outbreak will affect use of and support for the course management system and will address such issues as:
- In general, zombified users will be inarticulate and unable to clearly describe technology problems and use cases;
- Some support staff may be infected and unable to effectively and efficiently carry out their support responsibilities;
- The rapid breakdown of civil society and declining numbers of uninfected users may have adverse budget impacts resulting in a reduction in staffing levels;
- The spread of ZBSD to institutional administration may complicate policy making;
- Conversely, the spread of ZBSD to institutional administration may simplify and streamline policy making resulting in dramatic improvements in administrative responsiveness and service delivery;
- Additional security measures will need to be implemented at service delivery points (i.e. the Hub and SSRB).
Phase 3 of the exercise will cover important operational topics such as:
- Proper hygiene during an outbreak;
- Most effective hiding places and refuges should you encounter zombies at home;
- How to properly process and route inarticulate zombie-calls to avoid being accused of failing to adequately support infected UF faculty, staff, and students;
- Situational work practices such as covering windows, barricading doors, and distinguishing between zombie moans and other moaning encountered in the workplace;
- Dispelling myths. For example, contrary to Lawrence (2007), garlic will not stop true zombies, only vampires; and zombies do come out during the day, though they are most active a night because they typically do not like sunlight;
- Policies and procedures for dispatching an infected co-worker
My favorite part of the document is the “Infected Co-Worker Dispatch Form”, which includes:
“This is to verify that at the time and place indicated above I was required to kill (last name) (first name), UFID # (if known) because he / she was displaying the following…
Based on these symptoms I killed (name of dispatched zombie) using a…”
Many of these symptoms seem to be part of the standard college experience:
“Documentation of lots of strange moaning, users will be inarticulate and unable to clearly describe technology problems and use cases, some support staff may be [...] unable to effectively and efficiently carry out their support responsibilities.”
Maybe I attended school with zombies without even realizing it! Though highly unlikely that this is an actual UF policy, it’s nice to see that someone is preparing for any emergency.
Halloween. It’s a time for fun, candy, costumes, and an excuse to party (as if we needed one). For kids, costumes usually concentrate around their heroes from tv, books, movies, and music. As adults we tend to add in some sexiness or humor, especially humor with its roots in politics and pop culture. This week Target and BuySeasons, Inc were asked by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles to pull one of their costumes off the shelf because of its political humor.
The costume in question consists of an alien head, green card, and prison style jump suit with “illegal alien” emblazoned across the chest. The Coalition calls this “distasteful, mean-spirited, and ignorant of social stigmas and current debate on immigration reform.” A report by Minneapolis based Star Tribune cites other immigrant groups up in arms over the issue.
What I don’t understand is why one group would feel that this costume is directly targeting them. The costume has an alien mask, though the mask is not green it does not depict a specific race. There is nothing on the costume or props that suggest a specific ethnicity is being harassed by it. It is not saying “all aliens” or “legal aliens” – just illegal aliens. “Illegal Alien” is a blanket term. In fact according to the 2007 statistics, between 2005 and 2006 the number of illegal aliens from Mexico diminished from 7M to 6.5M while the number from India rose 125%. Between 2005 and 2006 China, India, and the Philippines were all ranked in the top six countries for illegal immigrants, not to mention the nearly 75,000 undocumented Canadians.
So what do you think? Is this costume directly offensive to a certain culture, or merely a satirical embodiment of a political issue? In a pole on the AOL website out of 186,945 people this offends 9% of them while an overwhelming 91% of voters find this costume inoffensive – 91%! That’s nearly a third higher than Obama’s approval rating in January 2009.
Carbonated beverages are no stranger to outlandish and controversial behavior, however this might be new terrain for the non-alcoholic variety. Pepsi owned energy drink Amp has released an iphone app to give anyone in need of a female companion a competitive edge, it’s been nicknamed the iFornicate.
The app, Amp Up Before You Score, has been the topic of much controversy the last few days. In fact the twitter hashtag #pepsifail is a virtual cornucopia of comments ranging from support to disgust. My favorite blog post title so far is: Douchebaggery: There’s an App for That. Here are some tweets from both sides of the aisle:
“Can’t even believe how amazing the Amp App is… Now I know why I prefer Pepsi to Coke”
“Pepsi scores plenty of buzz by offending 50% of the population with new app. No such thing as bad press?”
“Interesting article abt #mobilemarketing gone wrong great app tho LOL! #Pepsifail apology does more harm than good”
Here’ a another fun tweet, and corresponding blog post, by @laureni “#Pepsi suffers memory lapse, forgets it’s not Burger King: [link]” The post points out that this kind of stunt would be expected by CP+B not R/GA, who designed the app.
So what would an app do that causes such controversy? I mean its not shaking babies. The app allows the user to determine which type of female he will be targeting that evening; he has 24 to choose from. After her denomination has been determined – sorority girl, twins, Out-Of-Your-League Girl, etc – you can find out what that person might be in to, what to talk about, how to approach her, pick-up lines, and whatnot. After you finish the evening you can add her name to a list and broadcast the details out through twitter or facebook.
This app oddly reminds me of last weeks episode of The Big Bang Theory where Howard and Raj decide to dress Goth and go to a Goth Club to pick up women. They even checked wikipedia for information – ahh, how art parallels life.
Although Amp apologized through its twitter page by saying “Our app tried 2 show the humorous lengths guys go 2 pick up women. We apologize if it’s in bad taste & appreciate your feedback.” many people feel this apology wasn’t enough. In the course of all this publicity, negative or otherwise, the app is remaining available for download – at least for now. I’m sure there will be more news on this in the following days, I here NPR has even picked it up.