Monthly Archives: November 2007

Hear This: 10 Ways to Become a Better Listener and Change Your Life Forever

Written by Brandon George

Ear_ListenLearning to listen – I mean really listen – is the single-most important thing you can do to improve communication in your life. It’s unreal how many varied aspects of our lives are directly and indirectly controlled by our ability (or, most often, inability) to listen.

Our romantic relationships run into communication problems everyday. Friendships can get too one-sided and devolve into arguments about taking too much. Even consumerism is dependent upon listening – advertising and referrals help us determine what to buy and where to buy it.

What’s that you say? You’re a great listener? I hate to break it to you, but that’s what we all think. And, as is often the case, we’re all wrong. There’s a big difference between the “passive” listening we offer to others and the “active” listening we hypocritically expect from others. Active listening involves dedicating yourself to improving your listening skills. It involves making a point of being extra vigilant about your reactions, and extra aware of your tendencies.

Hearing is easy. All that takes is a set of ears. We’ve all got them, for the most part (sorry in advance to my sans-eared readers). Listening requires yours ears and your brain. Unfortunately, that doesn’t come naturally to many people.

Ask a crisis hotline volunteer what it’s like to listen. Better yet, become a volunteer yourself. These people get practice in the art of listening every day, and we’d all do well to follow their lead.

So, it stands to reason that if each of us works to become a better listener, everyone will benefit. It’s a sad fact that most people in this world like talking more than listening. I’m the same way. It’s hard not to be; nature and nurture work together to ensure that. But even if we’re hardwired to be self-interested and ego-sensitive individuals, there’s no reason we can’t learn to listen better.

Just like with anything else, becoming a better listener happens one step at a time:

1. Work On Your Body Language
Practice facing the person you’re listening to, maintaining eye contact with them, and maybe even leaning closer toward them. It’s easy for your body language to give off the impression that you’re notBody Language listening, so fight that by actively giving a speaker your full attention. If you do this, people will respond more positively to you because you’ll be giving them what they all want: a free therapist (the old-school psychoanalytic type, that is).

2. Analyze Speaker’s Body Language
While it’s helpful to be aware of your own body language, making sure to observe the body language of others is a powerful tool to encourage listening. A huge part of being a good listener is having the ability to empathize, to ask, “How might they feel about this, and can I put myself in their shoes?” By focusing on their body language, you’ll remind yourself that maybe others aren’t so different from you after all. When that comes, people will begin to open up to you even more, because you make them feel secure, cared for and important.

3. Don’t Interrupt
Seriously, let people finish. If you hate it when people interrupt you, do you really think others love it when you cut them off? Stop taking other people for granted. Even if you don’t think you do this, take a step back and re-examine your tendency to interrupt.

This is something I’ve struggled with – and will continue to, I’m sure – for so long. Hell, I’m even aware of it now and still I find myself interrupting people. Or, worse, ignoring them because I’m so concerned about interrupting them. When others see that you’re inviting them to speak, their first instinct will be to open up even more. It’s a positive reciprocal cycle: you’ll help them by acting as a sounding board, and they’ll be more apt to trust you, which leads to better relationships.

Interrupting Cow

Interrupting cow.

4. Encourage Others to Speak
Karma works for listening, too. If you encourage others to speak, chances are you’ll reap the benefits of that somewhere down the road. Nod when others speak, or use affirming words like “Yeah” and “Right.” Doing these things triggers positive responses in others – you’re consistently reminding them that they’re being heard, which means they’ll appreciate your confidence and interest in them.

5. “Mirror”
Restate what you’re hearing from another person, and do it in your own words. Or, at the very least, precede your responses with, “I hear you’re saying?” or “It sounds to me like you?” Not only does this disarm people, it can Mirrorprevent or defuse any misunderstandings, which is especially useful for potentially hostile situations. Learn the right times to mirror others. Better yet, learn how to do it so well that they won’t even know you’re doing it. See how much more engaging and productive your conversations are with people if you just throw them a bone and explicitly show them that you’re listening.

6. Avoid Arguments
As much as we’d all like to sometimes, we can’t go around picking fights – or even giving in to them. Find catharsis in restraint and in your temper. If you find yourself looking to avoid arguments, you’ll stop worrying about yourself so much and focus on the concerns of others. It will be easier to communicate with them on equal footing. This sets the stage for helpful, enjoyable conversations, as opposed to vengeful, invalidating ones.

7. Notice the Little Things
The key to any person’s heart is through details. Humans are naturally inclined to focus on a detail rather than the big picture. That’s because details resound more strongly within us – the more we know about something, the moreLittle Things we’re apt to empathize with it. This idea is especially true in advertising. We’re bombarded with over 3,000 unique ad messages every day, so how can advertisers get us to notice them? By giving us some detail about a product that we can use to humanize it, and make it more personal.

Remember, though, we first have to be interested in the product, so always make sure that you remind others how much you care about the little things in their lives. All it takes is the occasional remark or simple, unexpected gesture.

8. Don’t Try to Solve Other People’s Problems (unless they ask)
Men are often guilty of this, and I’m probably more guilty of this than any man on Earth. I was raised to be a problem solver. In my family, solving your own problems is a badge of honor. It’s a way to prove your ability to handle “real life.” And that’s great, up to a certain point. But as soon as you start venturing into the realm of solving other people’s problems, you’ve crossed a line if you’re offering unsolicited advice.

We all have problems. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Just don’t go donning your superhero problem-solver cape every time somebody tries to talk to you. Sometimes people just want to talk?and talk?and be heard. So remember to leave room in your heart and in your head for the restraint to be “there” for someone without trying to solve all their problems.

9. Don’t Judge
If someone isn’t honest with you, it’s probably because they feel you’re going to judge them and make them feel inadequate. Maybe you’ve done that in the past. If so, that stops now. Humans are naturally terrified of rejection, so it’s vital to give others the same kind of affirmation that we’d want for ourselves. Reassuring other people that you’ve got an open mind is a good way to avoid judging and to establish trust.


10. Be Honest
Honesty is everything. If I’ve claimed that anything is more important to listening than honesty, then I was wrong. Truth begets truth, but being truthful is so terrifying, because it means trusting others with the important facts of our lives. But how can you expect honesty if you yourself refuse total, brutal honesty. Sure, there are times when white lies are okay, and sometimes even the best choice, but in situations where you’re demanding the truth, you’d do well to offer the truth first. There’s no greater feeling in the world than knowing you can confide in someone. Well, except for knowing they can confide in you.

Keep these thoughts in mind. Practice them on a daily basis. There’s nothing people love more than being listened to. That’s in part why so many people visit therapists and counselors. The more objective, active and engaged listener you work to be, the more fulfilling your conversations will become.Potato Head

All it takes is two ears, a brain, and a little effort and empathy.

I think we can all manage that.

These skills are crucial to workplace communication. Those who are interested in deeper study of workplace communication might consider coursework from a masters in organizational development program, such as that offered by Saint Joseph University online.

Block Facebook Beacon

Written by Nate Weiner

So here I am, burning some brain cells and taking some time to relax playing a game on Kongregate, when a little window pops up in the corner of my screen and says “Kongregate is sending this to your Facebook profile: Nate played Desktop Tower Defense 1.5 at Kongregate.” Which immediately elicited a “Hellll no” from my mouth.

Maybe what shocked me was the way it was worded, essentially saying that Kongregate was sending the data without even asking my permission (even though there is a ‘No Thanks’ button in the corner) but needless to say, I was not too thrilled about my surfing habits showing up on my Facebook profile.

So I clicked ‘No Thanks’, and hopped over to Facebook and looked at the privacy settings for this new program. And found they give you the options of choosing ‘allow’, ‘notify me’, or ‘never’.

The problem however is, that even though you can choose whether or not it is made public that you visited these sites, Facebook still has the data regardless of your privacy settings. Now I don’t mean to sound like I’m tin-foil-hat-wearing paranoid, but that does seem to encroach a little past what Facebook’s role in my life should be.

I want Facebook to sit still and let me check out how many of my friends enjoy the movie Sleepover and look at pictures of people I didn’t like in High School. I don’t need Facebook extrapolating data about me as I go about my business on the web.

For those of you that don’t know, this is part of Facebook’s new advertising platform. Don’t get me wrong, I actually think Facebook’s new Beacon system is a great idea and a powerful tool for online advertisers. It is a great way to allow users to add more about their lives to their profiles. Unfortunately, it’s being done in a ‘you can opt-out’ manner, when it should be ‘you can opt-in’.

As this gets rolled out to more and more sites, the potential for this being taken advantage of is pretty high. Because each site in the program will send requests to Facebook each time you arrive, which in-turn would allow Facebook to catalog a good chunk of the sites that you are surfing.

So the easiest thing to do is just block it. I peaked at the javascript that controls the communication between the used site and Facebook and see that it’s quite easy to prevent the communication. (This assumes you use Firefox. If you don’t, just look around for ways to block specific pages in your browser):

  1. Get Firefox
  2. Download and Install the BlockSite plugin for Firefox.
  3. After restarting Firefox select ‘Add-ons’ from the Tools menu.
  4. Click the ‘Options’ button on the BlockSite extension
  5. Click the ‘Add’ button
  6. Enter http://** into the input box
  7. Click ‘OK’
  8. Click ‘OK’ again and you are good to go.

If you look at the javascript that is used to make requests to Facebook, you will see that the requests are made to so by blocking just the beacon folder, you are preventing the site from sending requests to Facebook without blocking the rest of Facebook.

Update: As someone anonymously noted below, you should block both and, you can do that by replacing ‘www.’ with the wildcard character ‘*’ (see step 5 updated above)

5 Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions (That Would Actually Suck)

Written by CRACKED Staff, Keith Mclean

article image

Remember all those Star Trek gadgets you wished you had because they looked so cool? Well, it turns out looking cool is about all they’d be good for.

Here’s five inventions that will be available some day … though you may not want them when they get here.


Flying Cars

As seen in:
Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, Back to the Future II, Futurama, The Jetsons … it’s actually kind of difficult to list sci-fi that doesn’t feature some variation of the flying car.

Why we thought we wanted it:
First, we don’t mean some kind of sissy half-plane, half-car hybrid that some people will try to tell you is a flying car. No, we mean real, float off the ground, how the crap is that happening, Jetsons sort of flying cars. Admit it, when you were 7 years old, there were only two things you were sure of: Transformers fucking ruled, and the future would be full of flying goddamn cars.

Of course, once you learned to drive you wanted one even more. Every time you’re stuck in traffic, you can picture yourself flipping a switch and swooping into the sky, leaving those honking bastards behind. You’d fly straight to work, free as a bird.

Why we were wrong:
Well, guess what: They’re not gonna let you do that. People just flying wherever the fuck they want would be a death warrant for every radio tower and power line in the country.

No, you’d have to fly according to a wussified autopilot, along pre-set pathways. Air-roads, in other words. And, once everybody has a flying car … well, have you ever been driving to work in a city at around, oh, eight or nine in the morning? Now, imagine if there was not just one layer of cars, but there was layer after layer of flying metal death traps creeping above and below you.

That’s not even the worst part. The many people who have tried to invent flying cars are finding out that every single thing that’s bad with cars (cost, safety, etc) is made worse when you try to make the things fly.

For instance, no matter what kind of engine they invent, a flying car will always burn more fuel than a regular car, especially on short trips (you’d burn a bunch of gas trying to overcome that whole gravity thing on takeoff).

Even worse, what would be a minor fender bender in regular cars would likely send two flying cars plummeting to the ground while the passengers scream in terror. Now imagine the poor guy on the ground, sitting there at a red light, as a flaming five-car pile-up hurdles down toward him from the sky like the wrath of God.

If you’re not scared yet, try to imagine what the insurance premiums are gonna look like.


Jet Packs

As seen in:
The Jetsons (again), The Rocketeer, James Bond used one in Thunderball, Boba Fett … too many to count. If you’ve never heard about and/or purchased a toy featuring a jet pack, you are from the 1800s.

Why we thought we wanted it:
Because every single human wants the ability to fly, pretty much from birth. We’re talking about the ability to fly here, not ride in a thing that flies.

Why we were wrong:
We’re going to skip past the obvious point that the rocketeer here would be left with charred stumps below the thigh, since that exhaust would have to be coming out of his jet pack at around 2,000 degrees.

Modern jet packs don’t use “jets” at all, for that very reason. They just use tanks of compressed gas that basically fart you into the air. If that sounds lame, it’s because it is lame. The prototypes they have now let you fly a whole 30 seconds.

But, let’s assume they overcome all that and make one that actually works. All those safety issues we have with the flying cars? You’ve got all that, only without a car around you to protect your fragile body. The only possible method of saving your ass when you crash/fall asleep/run out of fuel is probably a parachute, which means you’d need extensive training on how to land without impaling yourself on a tree branch.

The only alternative would have to be some kind of enormous air bag that instantly inflates around you in an emergency, letting you bounce gently to safety while you involuntarily shout, “WHEEEE!!!” The problem with that, of course, is that we’d be intentionally crashing all the time just to make that happen.



As seen in:
Most people know the holodeck as an invention out of the Star Trek series, but their writers probably took the idea from a Ray Bradbury short story called The Veldt where a family has a holodeck that simulates an African veldt, and then are (predictably) eaten by virtual lions.

Why we thought we wanted it:
The holodeck is just a big room that can simulate any number of environments and/or experiences for the user, and can trick all five senses into believing that it’s real. You don’t have to hook anything up to your brain, you can walk in and out of it like any room. A room that happens to be full of ninjas and naked women and everything else you don’t have in your real life.

Why we were wrong:
Of course, we here at Cracked were too busy practicing jujitsu and working on our dragsters to watch something as geeky as Star Trek. But, we’ve heard that the dangers of a holodeck were demonstrated in Episode 234 (“A Fistful of Datas,” aired Nov 9, 1992, Stardate 46271.5). This episode proved that if you get shot by a cowboy in the holodeck world, you really die.

Now, assuming the creators of the real holodeck are not completely retarded and they install something that makes it so the simulation cowboys do not shoot real bullets and that the veldt lions don’t really eat you (both of these would seem to be first-day considerations in the design phase), there is another problem.

Imagine how you’ll react if you’re in your holodeck and somebody interrupts you. Say, you’re halfway through your chess game with Darth Vader, when suddenly he disappears, Scarlett Johansson is no longer sitting in your lap, and pizza costs money again. You’d find the guy who turned off the machine and snap his damned neck. Dilbert creator Scott Adams jokingly points out in his book The Dilbert Future that the holodeck “will be society’s last invention.” It’s no joke; once we had it, there’d be no reason to have anything else.

It’s not just that it would be addictive; it’s that it would literally fill every possible human emotional need and utterly eliminate all motivation to ever do anything. Everyone’s only goal would be to do just enough work to keep food and electricity coming into the holodeck, to keep the amount of time you have to spend in the real world to a minimum.

People would stop reproducing, your virtual Scarlett Johansson could have perfect virtual kids who’d never wind up in jail or steal money from you to buy crack. If you get tired of them, tell the holodeck to blink them out of existence. If you’re saying that you’re a high-minded person who pursues spiritual goals and would never be sucked in by anything as crude as a simulation, hey, they’ve got a holodeck for you, too. You can sit down to dinner with Plato and Abe Lincoln and Gandhi and Jesus. Now imagine getting yanked out of that to go work at the post office all day. You’d barricade yourself in with a shotgun.

We’re thinking if aliens showed up to Earth 1,000 years after the invention of the holodeck, they’d find a silent planet with 10 billion mummified corpses laying on the floor of 10 billion dusty holodecks, with huge smiles on their faces.



As seen in:
Star Trek, The Fly, countless video games.

Why we thought we wanted it:
Here’s a technology that’d make the flying car and the jet pack both look like that retarded Flintstones car you drive with your feet. We’re talking instant transport to anywhere, any time. You can live on the beach in Hawaii and work in New York. Just sit there in the morning and sip coffee by the ocean until about five seconds before your morning meeting is set to start, then step into your transport and instantly you’re in the conference room in the city.

Why we were wrong:
Many later science fiction writers have declared that a device that can disassemble and reassemble a human molecule-by-molecule would be patently unsafe (the most famous and grotesque portrayal of a teleporter accident came, of course, in the film Spaceballs). But, even if they get the bugs worked out (What method of transportation is perfectly safe, after all?) there is a much larger and much weirder issue.

A teleporter wouldn’t actually break down your atoms and then shoot those same atoms thousands of miles through the air; even if it were possible, there’d be no reason to do it. It would instead just grab hydrogen and oxygen atoms from out of the air nearby and assemble you out of those. One hydrogen atom is the same as another, after all.

In other words, teleporters would work more like fax machines than mail. It would transmit a signal and the machine on the other end would spit out a copy. Only instead of a copy of a letter, it’s a copy of a person, right down to all their thoughts and memories. The original is destroyed. We heard that this was demonstrated in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Episode 250 (“Second Chances,” aired May 24, 1993, Stardate 46915.2) where they failed to destroy the original Will Riker and were left with two of him.

Are you grasping the weirdness of this? The original is destroyed. That means when you step into a teleporter, you die. But, the rest of the world won’t know you died, because a copy of you will step out of the other end of the machine. It won’t be you, though, it’ll be another you that happens to share your memories. To the outside observer the thing will always work fine, and the thing that steps out of the receiving end will think it worked fine. The one person who knows it didn’t work fine can’t tell anyone because they fucking died via total atomization the moment they stepped into the machine.

So, the first time Captain Kirk used the teleportation device to beam down to an alien planet, he was basically resigning himself to an immediate death and hoping that his twin would carry out the mission for him.


Matter Replicators

As seen in:
Again, Star Trek

Why we thought we wanted it:
You’re hungry, and you don’t really feel like cooking or even going out to get something. Well, no need to starve! This machine will replicate virtually any food that you can think of. Or, at least a series of foods that have previously been programmed into the machine.

Not just food, either. Anything. Need new batteries for your remote? Replicator. New pair of shoes? No problem. Forget your girlfriend’s birthday? Punch a button on the replicator and it’ll spit out a pair of flawless diamond earrings.

Why we were wrong:
Since it’s just assembling molecules, presumably it would be cheaper for this thing to make you a pair of diamond earrings than a hot dog, since fewer molecules and less energy would be required. It could print perfect counterfeit money. Hell, punch a button, and it’ll crank out a molecule-for-molecule replica of The Mona Lisa.

The bad news is, of course, it would eliminate your job. Your job, and all your friends’ jobs, and, well, almost everyone else’s. No need for farms or factories or stores. The only people who’d still be working are doctors and the people who make replicators. Oh, wait, you can just have a huge replicator that makes replicators. Nevermind.

It’s just as well, even if there were jobs, there would be no way to pay you. You could make bars of gold in your replicator. The concept of theft would become ridiculous. The concept of wealth would go out the window, along with the primary way society rewards people for hard work and risk and innovation. How would you get rich off an invention if people can make infinite, perfect copies of the first one you sell?

Yes, we’re talking about the utter collapse of the entire basis by which society has ever existed on the planet. The end of everything will come on the day when anyone can make anything. Except a flying car, those will still be useless.

9 creative staircases

Written by deputy-dog

stairs are generally pretty boring.

don’t get me wrong: if the staircase gets me from one level to another, it’s succeeded as a design. i just wish they were a bit more exciting.

here are a few examples that might actually keep me amused for a few minutes before i realise i’m wheezing.

1. storage staircase

designer: unicraft joinery

i can’t believe this type of staircase isn’t already widely used in homes – for people with very little storage space this could be extremely valuable. simply use each step as a drawer and no-one will even notice.

2. musical stairs

information about the musical staircase in the sony building in ginza, tokyo seems to be sparse. check out the video below for a demo. to actually make a tune on these steps would involve jumping up and down like a mental case trying to hit the correct note, possibly breaking bones on the way. it’s like a hardcore version of the king-size piano in ‘big’.

3. crooked stairs

designers: gabriella gustafson and mattias st?hlbom

these abstract stairs look brilliant but i can’t help thinking that the chances of falling down them would be significantly higher than normal. if i woke up crusty-eyed in the morning with these in my house i’m pretty sure i’d attempt to walk down the middle and quickly become unconcious again.

4. slide staircase

designer: rodney miller @ wood innovations

multi-millionnaire scott jones decided to splash his cash on a spiral staircase-slide and instantly made a lot of people jealous. local craftsman rodney miller was called upon to create this 17 ft mahogany toy, a job which took a whopping 15 months to finish. the slide also includes fibre-optic lights which can change to 8 different colours.

5. internal log staircase

designer: dave stewart

thought to be the world’s only internal log staircase, this beauty has been carved from one giant 140 ton kauri log. the beast took a total of 500 man hours to carve and finish and can be found at ‘ancient kauri kingdom’ in new zealand.

6. retractable staircase

designer: aaron tang

industrial designer aaron tang created these futuristic retractable stairs using ‘simple hinges and pistons’. they could be used where living space is limited or where access to a certain level of a building needs to be restricted.

7. steel ribbon stairs

designer: thomas heatherwick

london-based designer thomas heatherwick created this amazing 55 ton steel staircase for the opening of the new longchamps store in new york last year and has since recieved praise from all angles. the construction of the staircase was apparently a logistical nightmare, each of the 17 seperate units having to be installed precisely, stretching up to the ceiling.

8. suspended stairs

designers: j?rg conzett and rolf bachofner

it’s not often you see a stairway used to bridge a gorge. swiss designers jurg conzett and rolf bachofner decided this would be the best way to cross the traversinertobel in switzerland as the only safe opposing points were at different elevations, meaning a traditional bridge could cause a few problems. the incredible staircase-bridge measures 56 metres in length.

9. ‘impossible’ spiral staircase

designer: unknown

there are many mysteries surrounding the construction of the spiral staircase at loretto chapel and many believe the appearance of it to be a miracle. design-wise, the staircase is extremely impressive – there is no visible central beam to hold the staircase up and no nails have been used during its creation. however the central spiral is so narrow that it does indeed act as a support beam for the staircase.

sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

20 Things You Didn’t Know About Living In Space

Written by Corey S. Powell

Exploding boobs, toilet target practice, the second birth…

1 Nearly every astronaut experiences some space sickness, caused by the wildly confusing information reaching their inner ears. In addition to nausea, symptoms include headaches and trouble locating your own limbs. Just like college, really.

2 And those are the least of your worries. In weightlessness, fluids shift upward, causing nasal congestion and a puffy face; bones lose calcium, forming kidney stones; and muscles atrophy, slowing the bowels and shrinking the heart.

3 At least you’ll be puffy, constipated, and tall: The decreased pressure on the spine in zero-g causes most space travelers to grow about two inches.

4 Lab rats sent into space during midpregnancy, while their fetuses’ inner ears are developing, spawn some seriously tipsy babies (pdf).

5 No humans have yet been conceived in space, so we can only imagine.

6 So that’s what it takes: A 2001 study showed that astronauts who snored on Earth snoozed silently in space.

7 But astronauts sleep less soundly; 16 sunrises a day throws a major wrench into their circadian rhythms.

8 And Ziggy played guitar. At the start of the workday on the space shuttle, mission control in Houston broadcasts wake-up music, usually selected with a particular astronaut in mind. On the all-work, no-play International Space Station, crews wake to an alarm clock.

9 If you are ever exposed to the vacuum of space without a suit on, don’t hold your breath: Sudden decompression would cause your lungs to rupture.

10 In addition, water on the tongue, in the nose, and in the eyes would boil away. This actually happened in 1965, when a space suit failed during a NASA experiment and the tester was exposed to a near vacuum for 15 seconds.

11 Contrary to Hollywood, though, you wouldn’t explode. Lack of oxygen in the blood is what would kill you, but it would take about two minutes.

12 More explosion paranoia: Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s space-tourism company, reportedly considered barring women with breast implants due to fears that they might blow up.

13 John Glenn found it hard to choke down his food, but not because of the lack of gravity: Early astronauts relied on aluminum tubes of semiliquid mush, food cubes, and dehydrated meals.

14 Today astronauts can spice up their meals with salt and pepper-in liquid form. Sprinkled grains would float away, tickling noses and clogging vents.

15 Missing something? Those vents on the space shuttle and International Space Station serve as the lost and found, sucking up anything that’s floating about unsecured.

16 The shuttle commode requires that astronauts align themselves precisely in the dead center of the seat. A mock-up of the shuttle toilet, complete with built-in camera, is used to train them how to position themselves.

17 NASA tried building a bathroom into its space suits-a fitted condom attached to a bladder for men, a molded gynecological insert for women-but gave up and passed out diapers to all.

18 Returning astronauts report extreme difficulty moving their arms and legs right after touchdown, one reason why they call landing “the second birth.”

19 But some long-duration cosmonauts report that the hardest thing to readjust to about life on Earth is that when you let go of objects, they fall.

20 Better just to stay up there? Eighteen people have died on space missions, but never in space-always on the way up or the way down.

Girlfriend v7.0 vs. Wife v1.0

Written by Willliam Kessler

Here’s a funny joke that was sent to me via email. I apologize for sending people to my blog, but this was was the only place I could think of putting it. Enjoy

Dear Tech Support:

Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0. I soon noticed that the new program began unexpected child processing that took up a lot of space and valuable resources.

In addition, Wife 1.0 installed itself into all other programs and now monitors all other system activity. Applications such as Poker Night 10.3 , Football 5.0 , Hunting and Fishing 7.5 , and Racing 3.6.

I can’t seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my favorite applications. I’m thinking about going back to Girlfriend 7.0 , but the uninstall doesn’t work on Wife 1.0 . Please help!

Troubled User?..

___________________ __________________
Dear Troubled User:

This is a very common problem that men complain about.

Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0, thinking that it is just a Utilities and Entertainment program. Wife 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its Creator to run EVERYTHING !!! It is also impossible to delete Wife 1.0 and to return to Girlfrie nd 7.0 . It is impossible to uninstall, or purge the program files from the system once installed.

You cannot go back to Girlfriend 7.0 because Wife 1.0 is designed to not allow this. Look in your Wife 1.0 manual under Warnings-Alimony/Child Support . I recommend that you keep Wife 1.0 and work on improving the situation. I suggest installing the background application “Yes Dear”
to alleviate software augmentation.

The best course of action is to enter the command C:\APOLOGIZE! because ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal anyway.

Wife 1.0 is a great program, but it tends to be very high maintenance. Wife 1.0 comes with several support programs, such as Clean and Sweep 3.0 , Cook It 1.5 ! and Do Bills 4.2 .

However, be very careful how you use these programs. Improper use will cause the system to launch the program Nag Nag 9.5. Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0 is to purchase additional software. I recommend Flowers 2.1 and Diamonds 5.0 !

WARNING!!! DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Secretary With Short Skirt 3.3 . This application is not supported by Wife 1.0 and will cause irreversible damage to the operating system!

Best of luck,

Tech Support

10 Hilariously Terrible Ads From Old Comic Books

Written by Lukas Kaiser

What’s the best way to see how far our society’s come? By looking at ads from old comic books, of course. Don’t believe me? Check these out?

?Dubble Bubble Gum

Gum ads these days have a simple message–eat our gum. Sure, it’s to the point, but it’s nowhere near as exciting as the Xenophobic concepts expressed in these Fleer Dubble Bubble Gum classics.

I will say this though…I’ve been to the pyramids and I’ve had some 1950s era Dubble Bubble gum and while I won’t just hand it to the Dubble Bubble, I’m gonna have to say it’s a tie between the two.


This one comes from a late ’60s comic. Just as the Karate craze was blossoming in America, crooked entrepreneurs decided to get in on the fun. Thus was born the KARATOK hand power workout system. It’s a glove with a circle around it, attached to springs. The best part is that the ad claims to give you, and I quote, “that ‘bodyguard fist’ that COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE SOMEDAY.'” First off, what’s bodyguard fist (and how can I get it)? And second off, does anyone else see that “save your life someday” part as a veiled threat? Like, the company is gonna track you down from your shipping address and put your bodyguard fist to the test. You better be ready, boyo!

?Lifebuoy Soap

I’ve never heard of Lifebuoy “Health Soap” before, so I’m guessing it didn’t make from the ’60s until now. Possible reason it might’ve failed? Maybe the subtext of this comic book ad explains it all; inside this seemingly regular ad for a soap that stops “B.O.” (according to wikipedia the makers of Lifebuoy coined the term “B.O.”), there are several references to the fact that Lifebuoy no longer smells “medicinal” (from the boy holding the sign that says “The ‘Medicinal’ Oder is GONE!” to the girl smelling the soap and exclaiming “M-m-m-m! The “medicinal” odor is gone!” to the little text box in the lower right hand corner that proclaims, well “the ‘medicinal’ odor is gone). I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Lifebuoy soap must’ve smelled fucking awful. How awful, and what exactly is a “medicinal” odor? Also, keep an eye out for the use of the term “invisible dirt.” Hah! Invisible dirt. That’s preposterous.

?Very, Very Queer Fitness Ads

The archetypical old comic book ad is the Charles Atlas fitness campaign, where the dude gets sand kicked in his face. That ad is funny in a “gosh, gee whiz” sort of way. Now this more obscure fitness ad is far more hilarious. Why? Because it’s very, very gay. The top half of the ad shows some of the queerest poses I’ve ever seen (and the guys are all wearing thongs) and the bottom half of the ad has several demonstrations as to how you can lift and break things using your penis. The copy is even igayer. Choice examples? “Watch those muscles grow and bulge!” “You will be filled with pride as you see husky muscles grow and ripple over your body in paths of power.” And “You can measure your results daily in competition with your friends. The pal who before could handle you with ease, will get the surprise of his life as you handle him easier than he ever did you.” Hell, there’s even a reference to explicit gay terminology (“Enjoy the fun of being ‘tops’ in any company and in any physical emergency”). Not that there’s anything wrong with being gay, because there isn’t. But this ad? Still funny.

?Sendaway Beard

Hey kids, are you tired of being 8 years old? Would you prefer to appear like you’re a 43-year-old midget with a mustache, sideburns and a “Van Dyke”? Well, then it’s time to hit up Masculiner Co of East Orange, New Jersey (yes, that’s the company’s real name). It’s amazing that they try to appeal to the kid who’s reading the ad’s possible desire to appear “romantic.” Why would anyone other than a depressed teenager want to appear romantic? I do agree, though, that wearing a fake Van Dyke is rather “impressive.” Totally on the same page with you there, Masculiner Co.


When I came across this ad, I shouted out with glee. Sure, Kabala isn’t spelled the same as the modern day mystical religion of Kabbalah, but it doesn’t matter…the ad for a clearly fake mystical board game totally fits with the Celebrity-driven sect of Jewish mysticism. Also, the practices of “real” Kabbalah worshipers isn’t that different than what goes on in this game. Sure, in “real” Kabbalah you don’t turn out the lights, put your hands on a board and watch a ball spin around a circle. But you do drink mystical spring water to cure cancer and wear magical red string bracelets to cure…well, I don’t really know why they wear those. Regardless, “you are under the spell of Kabbalah! ” Bwahahaha!!!

?Realistic Shrunken Head

I’m not even gonna touch on the possible racism stuff here and just point out the amazing copy. “Something new and startling to hang in your car or in your room. A horrible and unusual gift in a box.” Fucking classic.

?Nature’s Prize Pupil!

This one is simply unheard of amazing. All the old comics had public service announcement type ads, usually about proper nutrition or why you shouldn’t fight with your siblings. Well, this time, the PSA writer was feeling a bit bitter, mostly about how people are always giving credit to nature, how cool it is. Well, fuck that! I mean, sure, a frog can live at 15 below zero, but man can protect himself with clothing so he can live in EVEN COLDER climates! Take that, frog!! It’s hilarious how misleading the writer of this ad is as well…it’s like, sure, a “water ouzel” can stay under water for less time than a guy with an oxygen mask can. But what about a dolphin? Hmmmm…But I do agree in the end that Man is the most amazing thing in all of nature. Amen.

?Snow Storm Tablets

“Just place one of these on the end of a burning cigarette, and watch the snow fly.” Got it. So first I’ve gotta steal some cigs from my parents, right? Then buy these tablets…then smoke up and “watch the snow fly.” K…cool.

?Brotherhood Quotient

This is the find of the century. The first part of the quiz alone is amazing. I don’t want to spoil it with any jokes…this truly hilariously terrible ad speaks for itself.

25 Photographs Taken at the Exact Right Time

Written by Sawse – Stir it Up!


Timing is everything, particularly in the case of amazing photography. Sometimes that means waiting through a whole sports game and getting lucky to catch just the right shot. Other times than means trudging through nature for weeks to get the perfect environmental photograph. Here are 25 examples of perfectly timed images from around the world and in various genres.








With extreme sports it is the danger and challenge that tends to excite people. Often the most amazing and bizarre images are taken right at the moment when disaster strikes. Sometimes these are tragic and painful though some are just plain funny.






With conventional sports there is always the opportunity for comedy but also the potential for artful photography. The spray of sand during a long-jump or that moment before the splash when someone is diving both provide a moment of calm in a fast-paced sport that is normally impossible to see.



In war it is often hard to find or revel in humor or traditional beauty. Instead, it is often the images that capture grave or impressive moments in time that stir us most deeply. This can come in the form of a rocket frozen in space or the geometry of a cloud of smoke from a tank.




With people comedy tends to be the rule and other things the exception. Humans tend to be at their most interesting when they are at their funniest. Whether this means a young man falling into a fountain or an old woman riding a sled, it’s worth keeping your eyes open in public places for the perfect shot!











Nature images truly span the spectrum of artistic possibility. Sometimes animals are funny, sometimes scary, often tragic and sometimes downright strange. Whether they be shot in a conventional park or bedroom or taken deep in the wilds, environmental images taken at just the right time can provide unique insights into nature and the relationship of humans and animals.

Top 23 Snacks for All-Night Gaming

Written by startcooking

The weekend is coming and you and your friends have an all-night gaming session planned. You know you’re going to get peckish or even hungry at some point, but not enough for full meals – which would leave you dull afterwards. What do you eat instead?

Here are a variety of choices, many of them fairly light but deliciously satisfying. We can’t promise every item on the list is healthy, and some require a touch of preparation, but they’re all worthwhile just the same!

The Classics


  1. Pizza Rolls. They’re easy to pop in the microwave or toaster oven. Since they can be eaten with one hand with little mess, they’re a popular choice for gaming. There are great pizza roll recipes online if you want to make your own.
  2. Gummy Bears. Gummy Bears are chewy and delicious. They don’t melt and the good quality ones won’t leave residue on your hands – making them perfect for continuing your favorite games uninterrupted.
  3. Bawls Mints. Every video gamer knows about Bawls Mints. These mints contain caffeine and pack a unique fizzy flavor. The caffeine keeps you awake and alert so you can destroy the other team.
  4. Energy Drinks. Pulling an all-night gaming session means being able to stay awake. Gamers often turn to highly-caffeinated Jolt Cola or their favorite energy drinks, also over-caffeinated. Recognizing this, manufacturers are marketing new soda flavors specifically to gamers.
  5. Popcorn. Includes just a few minutes of prep time, can be found at home, and comes in several flavors of cheesy and buttery goodness. Leave fingers greasy and corn kernels for clean-up, but can definitely be eaten one-handed.
  6. Frozen pizza. Frozen pizza is ideal for gaming, as it’s easy to prepare and easy to eat one-handed – not to mention, comes in many brands and flavors. Unfortunately, it has a bad habit of leaving grease and cheese on the controller and keyboard.
  7. Nachos and cheese. A combination of chips and hot cheese. Inexpensive, prep time includes heating cheese, and they can be eaten one handed. Hands might become greasy or cheesy, and be sure to have drinks on hand.
  8. Potato Chips and Doritos. Potato chips are quick – whether you make your own or buy – can be eaten one-handed, can be found easily in cupboards, and don’t require prep time. They also come in several brands and flavors. Unfortunately, like pizza, they can be greasy, and they make gamers thirsty.

No Preparation Required!

  1. Nuts. Nuts are popular gaming snacks: just toss a few into your mouth. Most are not so greasy that your equipment will suffer, and nuts are healthy, unless you eat an entire can. You need protein to stay awake anyway, which nuts have in droves. The popular brand, Planters, offers games online, if you tire of the games you’re playing.
  2. Pretzels. For a less greasy but still salty snack, pretzels are a favorite. While original pretzels are a nice treat, the flavored kind are even better. Hot Buffalo Wing flavor is a favorite among gamers, as well as Honey Mustard and Onion.
  3. Beef Jerky. Beef jerky is dried out, salted meat, which doesn’t spoil short-term — as long as you seal the bag. It requires no preparation and almost no clean-up time, unless you make jerky at home.
  4. Bagels and cream cheese. This combo is satisfying if you’re feeling more than peckish but not all-out hungry. You have lots of flavors to choose from, and you could replace the cream cheese with smoked salmon (above), or tomato or cuke slices sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper. Buy or make your own bagels.
  5. Cheese and Crackers. Can be quick or gourmet, often found right at home, so they don’t take much prep time, and they’re inexpensive. They can be eaten one-handed, but are prone to making gamers thirsty – thus requiring another hand for a drink.

Healthy Snacks to Keep On Playing

vegetable platter

  1. Salsa. Salsa is easy to make fresh – or buy – and offers tasty nutrition with the right ingredients. Be adventurous, try some that combine sweet fruits and hot chilies. Serve with corn chips, mini tacos, quesadillas, or as an all-around sort of condiment.
  2. Hummus. Hummus is healthy, high in protein, inexpensive and easy to make at home . Use pocket breads to keep gaming equipment clean, fill with hummus, thinly sliced cucumbers and red onions, a squeeze of lemon or lime, a drizzle of olive oil, and a bit of coarse fresh ground black pepper.
  3. Feta cheese. Crumble or cube calcium-rich feta and serve with sliced or chopped red onion, Greek olives, and chopped or wedged tomatoes over puffy, middle-eastern style pita breads. Run this under a (toaster) oven broiler for a minute or so, drizzled with the best olive oil you’ve got. Fast, simple, nutritious and delicious.
  4. Rich, crusty, whole grain breads. Cut thick slices. Let gamers make their own hearty snacks, choosing from such things as asiago cheese, sharp Italian provolone cheese, roasted red peppers, prosciutto, salami, extra-virgin olive oil and cracked black peppercorns. Or keep it simple –- a rich, whole grain bread has a flavor all its own. Spread with real butter — warmed to room temperature — and put out some good quality preserves, and perhaps a plate of fresh fruit and cheese.
  5. Fruit and Vegetables. Mostly for the health conscious gamers, fruit and vegetables make the list of top snacks. They are easy to eat and provide nutrients to keep you going. Mix it up and add dips for a real vegetable platter, and you have yourself an excellent snack.

A Taste of the More Exotic


  1. Yogurt Dip. This is a magnesium-rich energy food, a tart and tangy yogurt dip is great for a vegetable platter of endurance, enhancing broccoli, cauliflower, carrot sticks, celery, and cherry tomatoes. A sweeter yogurt dip complements an energy boosting fruit plate of kiwi slices, grapes, strawberries, banana rounds, and pineapple chunks.
  2. Pakora. Yes, these vegetable treats are fried, but fats have some energy giving value, too. Serve with a selection of delicious chutneys for dipping or drizzling. Easy to order in, but best made at home. (Caution: frying in hot oil when you’ve been up all night may be dangerous!) Pakoras are beginner-friendly, but be sure to use Indian style chick pea flour, called besan, which is very high in protein. Try banana pakora, made with sweet, ripe bananas rolled in besan, with hot spices mixed in, and then fried.
  3. Smoked salmon bites. Feed the brain while impressing the taste buds with this fast and easy 15-minute finger food. Saute a skillet of whole, fresh mushrooms in butter, perhaps a splash of wine, to go along. Complete the table with a tray of chilled cut fruits.
  4. Sushi. Fish is brain food, but if eating it sushi-style doesn’t appeal to you, try the “spring” rolls. These veggie options are wonderful and if a healthy dose of wasabi doesn’t make you feel alert and alive, nothing will.
  5. Dim Sum. These tiny, tasty treats are perfect for gaming. Whether you order from the local Chinese take-out or make them at home, offer a broad variety or just a few favorites. Players are going to enjoy them. Some varieties can even be made ahead and frozen until game day.