I'm not even going to attempt to summarize everything that's happened since my last post, but highlights included a certain party, and three really triumphant performances of Les Mis.
Really, I have no reason to be posting at all, other than to reassure anyone who's paying attention that I haven't actually disappeared, but in my recent meanderings-about in the intertubes
a couple of interesting things have caught my attention.
This season brings with it silly-costumed persons loitering in public places, harassing passerby with their incessantly ringing jingle bells and begging for money, pausing occasionally to inflict the most insidious of earworms upon everyone within earshot, with the feeble excuse that they're traditional.
...I refer of course to the "holiday season" (what did you
think I meant?) and specifically to the Salvation Army's ubiquitous bell-ringing, carol-singing, Santa Clauses.angry_biscuit
has some interesting things to say about the SA, and what they're doing with your pocket change.I recommend reading what he has to say.
Not the lightest of reading, and somewhat lacking in the reference-citing department, but worth a look.
The saga of the "hundred-dollar" laptop continues. Seriously, check this out. They've created a really neat
tool, and its potential to do good is tremendous.The One Laptop Per Child project homepage.
Through the end of the year, the machine is being made available to the general public. For $400, you too can have your very own XO-1 laptop to tinker with (and by all accounts they're designed to be eminently tinker-with-able), and subsidize a second for a child in the developing world. Makes me wish I had $400.The Give One, Get One program.
Reviews have been mixed. Here
is a link to a fairly comprehensive overview, plus or minus some editorial. Here
is an enthusiastic endorsement from a New York Times columnist (login may be required, but the video clip is worth the 30 seconds it takes to create a NY Times online account). And here
is everything Laptop magazine has to say on the subject.( Cut for micro-rant about reviews. )freerice.com
is addictive. Basically, they flog advertising space to make money. Visitors to the site play a simple vocabulary game. For every correct answer, they buy twenty grains of rice with the proceeds of their advertising and donate it to the United Nations World Food Program, which distributes it to those in need. It doesn't seem like much until you look at their running tally of how much rice they've donated thus far (5,773,015,170 grains as of this posting). It's a winning combination. You get to feel benevolent and virtuous while boosting your ego and possibly expanding your vocabulary (keep dictionary.com open in a second tab
for maximum virtue). Starving people get fed. Advertising is along the bottom of the page, and can be easily hidden by resizing the browser window. Everyone wins.
And in closing, Bunny: The Book of Random.
Sweet, surreal, hilarious, and geeky in equal measure. Definitely worth a look.
Okay, that's enough prattling.