Monthly Archives: March 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Twitter!

I’d like to say happy birthday to an old friend – although when I say “old” we’ve only known each other for four years. During that time, the way I run my working life and communicate with friends, contacts, family and the wider world has been transformed. I’m talking about Twitter, which was born five years ago today.

2006: Jack Dorsey sends the world’s first (non-automated) tweet:

The message was cryptic. Two words. No context, no punctuation, just: "inviting coworkers"

But that short statement proved to be enough to launch a global phenomenon that has launched careers, reunited long-lost relatives, and even, some would argue, topple dictators.

It was the first tweet.

The name Twitter was inspired by Flickr, a photo-sharing service. Other names considered: FriendStalker and Dodgeball.

The dictionary definition of twitter is “a short burst of inconsequential information.”

A perfect name, said @Jack because “that’s exactly what the product was.”

Since March 21, 2006, Twitter users now send more than 140 million Tweets a day which adds up to a billion Tweets every 8 days—by comparison, it took 3 years, 2 months, and 1 day to reach the first billion Tweets. While it took about 18 months to sign up the first 500,000 accounts, we now see close to 500,000 accounts created every day.

Now twitter has become an endlessly flowing river of news, opinion, information, expertise, contacts, data, links, connections. You can not only find out what is happening, but connect to the people you’re trying to reach more directly.

What’s far more eminent however is not everything Twitter’s attained to date, its promise and legacy lies in all that it has yet to fulfill. Not only will it continue to change how we discover and interact, Twitter will continue to shape culture, the nature of relationships, and also further democratize business and media to revolve around the EGOsystem. The global real-time water cooler is changing the dynamics of media and “we the people” are now becoming part of the story. Perhaps where we will see Twitter’s greatest impact is in the cooperation between societies and governments. Any network that can bring an audience to an impassioned voice on demand will overpower any organization’s attempt to suppress it. Twitter’s inherent ability to unite voices, engender empathy and trigger action is nothing short of #revolutionary.

Top 10 Tweets ofthe Past 5 Years

Over the past five years, single tweets have led to marriage and divorce, fame and notoriety, revolution and rebuilding — here are 10 of our favorites.

1. @Jack: inviting coworkers

It was the tweet that launched a social media revolution. According to Twitter, this is the first official tweet sent out by the company’s co-founder Jack Dorsey on March 21, 2006.

2. @barack obama: We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion. All of this happened because of you. Thanks

Posted by President Barack Obama (or the individual who manages his Twitter account), immediately after his 2008 victory,this tweet speaks to the role of social media in that presidential election. Through Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube and other new media, Obama and his party rallied young people across the country. Since the election, Obama’s White House has continued to use social media to reach citizens directly.

3. @jkrums: – There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.

When Janis Krums of Sarasota, Fla., posted this tweet and picture, in January 2009, of the U.S. Airways jet landing in New York’s Hudson River, he didn’t just capture the so-called "Miracle on the Hudson," he caught the attention of the media. The iconic image was among the very first pictures of the event seen by the public and reinforced the role of citizen journalism and Twitter’s growing influence.

4. @aplusk: "Victory is ours!!!!!!!!"

Maybe it took Charlie Sheen only 24 hours to attract 1 million followers on Twitter, but back in 2009, Twitter followers weren’t so easy to come by. It took actor Ashton Kutcher more than three months to reach 1 million follwers and he was the first Twitter user to reach that milestone. In the lead-up to his first million followers, the media and Twitterati buzzed about the "race" between Kutcher and CNN (his closest rival). This is the tweet Kutcher posted when he crossed the million-follower mark.

5. #iranelection

It was the revolution that wasn’t just televised, but tweeted, too. In June 2009, the violence in Iranfollowing the election was tweeted, blogged, streamed and posted on countless websites despite government censorship attempts. According to Twitter, #iranelection was the top trending news topic in 2009.

6. @Astro_TJ: Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station — the 1st live tweet from Space! 🙂 More soon, send your ?s

In January 2010, Twitter officially went extraterrestrial. This tweet, made by NASA flight engineer T.J. Creamer from the International Space Station, was the real-time tweet sent from space.

7. @conanobrieng: Today I interviewed a squirrel in my backyard and then threw to commercial. Somebody help me.

After comedian Conan O’Brien lost the so-called late night wars and his position as the host of NBC’s "The Tonight Show," in February 2010, he took to Twitter to reach his fans. This was his very first tweet. O’Brien’s account quickly exploded with followers, but his wasn’t the only online profile Twitter helped boost. O’Brien famously follows just one person on Twitter, Sarah Slowik (@lovelybutton), who now has more than 42,000 followers herself.

8. @BPGlobalPR: Catastrophe is a strong word, let’s all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy.

In the aftermath of last year’s devastating oil spill in the gulf, thisfake Twitter account mocking BP’s public relations team took the Internet by storm. The parody account swiftly gained a following on Twitter with its satirical take on clean-up efforts in the gulf. This tweet was considered one of the year’s most powerful tweets by Twitter, in its 2010 "Year in Review" report. It was this account, not the official BP Twitter account, "that defined the discussion–spoofing the company’s attempts to improve its public image," Twitter said.

9. @sh*tmydadsays: Don’t focus on the one guy who hates you. You don’t go to the park and set your picnic down next to the only pile of dog sh*t.

By tweeting just one of his father’s crass comments a day, Justin Halperin, a one-time struggling L.A. writer, has attracted more than 2 million followers, published a best-selling book and launched a television series. This tweet was the most re-tweeted comment of 2010, according to Twitter.

10. @nadiralamrad: @speak2tweet "Phone lines are being cut in the city centre…I can’t reach friends there." #Cairo #Egypt #Jan25 #Tahrir

As with Iran, Twitter helped Egyptian opposition members reach one another and the world. As uprisings spread across the Mideast this year, Twitter and social media played a crucial role in helping people communicate despite attempts at government censorship. When people lost access to the Internet, engineers from Twitter, Google and Say Now worked together to launch Speak2Tweet — a way for people to send recorded messages via tweets. This was one of the very first messages in which a Twitter user translated a Speak2Tweet message to English and shared it with the world.

Why I love Twitter?

Twitter is a fantastic platform for open yet meaningful communication. It’s a great place to speak and an even better place to listen to what others have to say. Surely, it’s not as glamorous as Facebook, but then that doesn’t undermine its value in anyway.

Whether it’s news, marketing, communication or supporting the human cause, Twitter does justice to one and all.

Ottawa Citizen mentions “At five years old, Twitter is still a child full of promise and dreams of changing the world for the better.” and I couldn’t agree more on that. There’s no denying the last five years have been fun. At the same time, I firmly believe the best of Twitter is yet to come.

Please join me in wishing Twitter a Happy 5th Birthday! Do you love Twitter? If so, why? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.

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10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Star Trek

Written by Joshua Knode

Star trek is one of the biggest cultural phenomenons in the history of mass media. There are a lot of people who know a lot about Star Trek, but they often know less than they think. In a series spanning ten movies, a half dozen television series, not to mention comic books, video games and novels, a lot of perfectly fascinating bits of trivia get overlooked, and many intriguing mysteries crop up.

Set Phasers to Rock

There are a number of bands that dedicate themselves to a certain theme or fiction. Metallica wrote a number of songs using H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, Blind Guardian is well known for writing within the fiction of the Lord of the Rings, and California Punk band “No Kill I” is well known for writing songs exclusively about Star Trek. Drawing their name from a line in the original Series episode “The Devil in the Dark”, the band has been playing local venues in and around Sacramento California for years, though the band describes their own performances as “On-stage drinking contests” That “Ultimately descend into chaos”. Surprisingly, No Kill I is not the only star trek themed band. There is also No Kill I: the Next Generation, Warp 11, William Shatner’s Pants, The Romulans and Klingon-speaking death metal band: Stovokor.

The Slaver Weapon

One Particular episode of the Star Trek animated series “The Slaver Weapon” had a lot of Star Trek fans scratching their heads. The episode, dealing with Spock, Sulu and Uhura trying to keep a powerful ancient weapon from a cat-like race called the “Kzinti” it was entertaining enough, but it just didn’t feel like Star Trek. The Story was surprisingly sophisticated for a kid’s show, and included many elements that typically were not explored in Star Trek (Billion year old lost Technology, strange non-humanoid aliens, an adventure on a moon without an atmosphere) and several things that seemed somewhat out of character for the Star Trek Gang, such as Spock (a Pacifist) drop-kicking the bad guy and breaking several of his ribs. The reason the show was so different is simple: When asked to write an episode for the Animated Star Trek, popular Sci-fi author Larry Niven decided to adapt his classic short story “The Soft Weapon” into an episode, instead of writing something from scratch. Explaining why Niven’s favorite villains, the Kzinti, were now a race in Star Trek. Despite it being a bit strange for a Star Trek episode, “The Slaver Weapon” is a fan favorite.

Khan’s Plastic Chest


Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is considered by many fans one of the best star trek films ever made. Since it is the most popular Star Trek film it is perhaps the most abound with rumors. After it’s release the main way to watch the movie was on grainy VHS, where villainous lead Khan’s muscular chest looked a bit too shiny to be real. This spawned the rumor that actor Ricardo Montalban used a plastic chest appliance under his shirt. For years, this myth was a popular myth among fans, even being referenced in the Animaniacs “Star Truck” parody. However, when the movie was remastered many began to doubt the rumor, the clearer picture showed a more natural looking chest. Now it’s known that there was no “Plastic chest” just 100% Khan. Montalban is a “Very large and muscular man” according to a statement by “Wrath of Khan” director, Nicholas Meyer. When asked on the Johnny Carson show how he got such a physique at age 63, Montalban replied “Push-ups, lots of Push-ups”

Star Trek In Japan


Japan is a country that loves science fiction and fantasy programing, their television staple includes few shows without some fantasy element. Star trek: the Next Generation aired there soon after it’s release in America, and was quite popular. However, the original series (Re-broadcast in Japan around the 1970s) had fairly poor ratings, and it lasted only a few weeks on the air. With the Popularity of “The Next Generation” in Japan mounting, Paramount encouraged Nippon TV to try the original series again, but it was still wildly unpopular. The reason? An article in Geek Magazine revealed that many young Japanese Trekkies, unfamiliar with the original series, dismissed it as a poorly done copy of The Next Generation! An old rumor in the Trek fandom states that, in Japan, the original series was called “The Adventures of Captain Sulu” This is, of course, false.

Season Four


As most Trek fans are aware, the original series didn’t get past season three, but there were plans for a fourth season. A couple of these ideas were revealed in an interview with Gene Roddenberry in “The making of Star Trek” A book originally published during the show’s first run. Roddenberry admitted he planned on including Leonard McCoy’s Daughter as a new crew member, and that there would be tension between him and Kirk who would be very attracted to McCoy’s daughter. He also stated that Spock would begin wearing a “Medallion of Vulcan origin” that would put him at odds with sticklers of regulation, since the Medallion would not be proper uniform. This latter idea was recycled for Lt. Worf on The Next Generation, who had special permission from Starfleet to wear a Klingon sash with his uniform. McCoy’s daughter was only mentioned once, on an episode of the animated series.

Star Trek: Phase two

There’s no doubt that Star Trek fans are some of the most dedicated in the world, and sometimes this fan dedication reaches amazing levels. None is more evident than a group of fans who got together in southern California to produce new Episodes of the original series. The Cast and crew of “Star Trek: Phase two” pay for props, film and costumes our of their own pockets, knowing that they can’t make a dime on their hard work due to copyright issues. The quality of the production has attracted actual star Trek alumni like Walter Konig, George Tekai, Grace Lee Whitney and Denise Crosby not just to cameo in the series, but play large roles. One episode is even written by famous Star trek Writer D.C. Fontana! Work on the sets were so accurate, the television show “Star Trek: Enterprise” used a few set pieces for their own show. Oddly enough the director of the show, James Cawley, who also plays Kirk, is an Elvis impersonator by trade.


In 1994, comic book writer Greg Weisman got his big break, creating the show “Gargoyles” for the Disney afternoon lineup. The show went on to the highest rated animated show Disney ever produced. Due to circumstances only known to the entertainment world, the show features a bizarre number of actors and actresses that were veterans of Star Trek. Jonathan Frakes, Marina Cirtis, Colm Meaney, Michael Dorn, Kate Mulgrew, Bret Spiner, Nichelle Nichols, David Warner and Avery Brooks all appeared. There are many rumors as to why this is true, some say Greg Weisman is a Trek fan, other say Jonathan Frakes (who was cast first as the shows main protagonist, David Xanatos) loved voice acting so much he encouraged other Trek alumni to give it a try. Some say it was an experiment/running gag by the producers to see how many Trek actors could be crammed into the show before anyone noticing the trend, but none of these have been substantiated. Greg Weisman always feigns ignorance when asked why so many Star Trek alumni are on the show, and Jonathan Frakes simply commented “It just kinda turned out that way,” There are a number of other trek-related jokes on the show, including one episode where a suspected alien is taunted by a character saying “Oh yeah? You and what Starfleet?”

3. Deep Space Nine’s business district

Deep Space 9 Promenade The Fallen

The set for Deep Space Nine’s promenade (the Space station’s commercial district) is one of the largest television sets ever built, and has perhaps one of the largest collection of geeky in-jokes of any set in history. The promenade’s directory has a large list of the stations businesses and operations centers In English, Klingonese, Vulcan, Ferengi, Cardassian and Bajoran. In English, some businesses reference other science fiction series, such as The Forbin Project (Colossus: The Forbin Project) Jupiter Mining Corp (Red Dwarf) Spacely Sprockets (The Jetsons) Millyways (Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy) and the much more obscure Banzai Institute (From cult sci-fi classic “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai”) and Tom Servo’s used robots (From late night cable show Mystery Science Theater 3000) There’s also references to real life establishments, “Pancho’s Happy bottom riding club”, a California bar Air Force test pilots frequented, and “Vince’s Gym” a gym on Ventura boulevard in Studio City, California, known for it’s famous clientele. Set Dresser Michael Ochuda is notorious for his screen readouts including geeky background jokes.

Star Trek’s greatest Mystery


A good 40 years since the original broadcast of Star Trek, and there still is no clear answer to the big question: Is Shatner’s quaff of hair real or store bought? Accounts notoriously conflict, some co-stars say he had hair and went bald after the series was filmed, other say Shatner wore a hair weave due to having naturally thin hair that looks bad under stage lights. Star Trek Co-star George Tekei claimed in a radio interview that Shatner was balding since the beginning, but Make-up artist Fred Phillips describes using a bald cap on Shatner in an episode where Captain Kirk had to age rapidly. There have been many hoaxes dealing with this mystery, including boatloads of photoshopped images popping up on the internet, and an e-bay auction that claimed to be selling Shatner’s old toupee. There’s even a blog dedicated to solving this mystery here. Is he really bald, and if so, how bald and how long has he been bald? William Shatner, himself, is possibly the only man alive who knows the answer to all these questions, and he’s not talking.

1. Uhura and Martin Luther King Jr


These days television and movies go to great lengths to show how perse and racially sensitive they are, with casts becoming cultural rainbows of every race, religion, sexual orientation and political persuasion. However, in the 1960?s the world was just getting over crude racial stereotypes like Charlie Chan and the Frito Bandito. When African American actress Nichelle Nichols was cast in Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry said he did it because he wanted the Enterprise to include people from every nationality, not realizing how radical it was to depict a black woman as an equal on 60?s television. Nichols said she enjoyed the job, but thought television was a little tedious and was thinking of leaving the show. Nichols recollects that during a promotional trip to Memphis, an assistant told her that a fan wanted to meet her. Expecting to meet another doting young man, she was surprised to meet Martin Luther King Jr. She confided in the Revered that she was thinking of leaving the show, and was taken aback when he abruptly told her she could not. He told her “Don’t you understand? When you are there they see you as you should be seen, as an equal,”. Needless to say, she didn’t leave the show, and Star Trek took a bold step forward for persity.

Bonus: I made this video of movie titles said in movies. I hope you like it. It took forevvvver

Less is More: Creative and Inspiring Minimalist Print Ads

Collected by Aquil Akhter

We’ve all become aware of how important advertisements can be to help put any company’s message across. Many ads contain a lot of content as well as colour even though this is nota must. In fact, a simple ad can also do wonders — given that it carries a particular strong message. Take a look at these ads and share with us your opinions on minimalist designs!

Feel free to pass by our recent collection on more effective ads to boost your inspiration.

Minimalist Print Ads

CNN: Net – This minimalist ad illustrates CNN’s strong network saying that there is no story that can escape from the CNN network:

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Dig2go Glasses – This uniquely designed ad for Dig2go audiobooks suggests that Dig2go audiobooks allow listeners to read with their ears:

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Black Ribbon R.I.P. Michael Jackson – A wonderful example of a minimalist ad by MTV that represents the legendary singer Michael Jackson’s legs through a ribbon:

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Olay: The ‘Undo’ Effect – This ad brings to mind that Olay skin products can ‘undo’ the effects of aging. Creative use of Ctrl + Z:

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LA Bicycle: Folding bike – A folded sheet of white paper is a symbol of the simplicity of collapsing and constructing the cycling machine. A great example of minimal simplicity:

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Stairs : Parents Say / Children Do – A simple and creative use of colors and composition that embodies a health care plan for children:

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Columbia: Shades – The Prolam Y&R Santiago advertising agency has creatively illustrated this minimalist ad of titled shades for Columbia’s clothing and footwear:

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ATM: Connecting the City – This creative ad clearly represents the concept of ATMs being capable of ‘connecting the city’ with the help of a puzzle:

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Lego: Tank – This minimalist ad shows that real objects can be created by LEGO toys by showing a shadow of a tank:

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CNN Turk: Lightning – This creative piece of advertisement shows that 99% of the weather reports by CNN are accurate:

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Micro 16 GB USB Flash Drive – This visually alluring minimalist ad suggests that a relatively large amount of data can be stored in a SanDisk Flash Drive:

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Subaru Impreza STI: Scars – A truly unique concept for a car ad that does not feature the vehicle itself, rather just shows the stitched-up road that has been apparently damaged by the ‘unkind’ wheels of the Subaru Impreza:

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Assault in Israel: Two Seconds to Spot – The excellent use of negative spacing demonstrates the hand of a criminal holding the neck of a girl:

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Canon: There’s More Under Water – Simple and effective use of color palettes and the shape of a whale represent that there is more to see under water:

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FedEx: Statue of Sugarloaf – Another great concept portrayed with the help of minimum elements. This ad features two statues colored with the FedEx purple and orange colors:

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Nestlé Kit Kat: Vuvuzela – The controversial horn used in the FIFA World Cup 2010 has been featured in this ad — communicating the concept ‘Break a vuvuzela, have a Kit Kat’:

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CNN International – A simple and easy way to relate CNN’s concept to get a story behind a story:

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Garden Cafe: Opening – Opening of Garden Cafe is being represented in this ad with a handle of a mug:

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MasterCard Canada: Darkness – This darkness ad was served up to the hungover masses in morning papers on New Year’s Day:

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McDonald’s: Medium – The menu in McDonalds in Israel has changed to less calories and fat and so the M represents a healthy diet:

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Levis Slim Jeans – This minimalist ad signifies that Levis Jeans simply cannot get any slimmer:

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BMW – This BMW ad is quite clever in having swapped the ‘M’ and ‘W’ to convey the message efficiently:

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Tzomet Sfarim Bookstore: Faceabook – This ad signifies the importance of reading a book and encourages people to disconnect from Facebook and the internet overall:

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Volkswagen Snow Tires: Crystal – This minimalist ad represents that Volkswagen’s snow tires have significantly improved their grip in winter:

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Orbits: Small – A straightforward ad for a device that shows you can start your car from a distance:

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95% Advertising Academy: D&AD – A cool iceberg aesthetic is used in this visually pleasing design:

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Smoke it Outside – This ad highlights the restriction of smoking inside pubs, clubs and restaurants from the 1st of July 2007:

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Listerine: Ashtray – With the minimal usage of elements this ad successfully portrays the message of the product:

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Zoo Bucuresti – This ad promotes love for the Bucharest Zoo by portraying a lipstick kiss with a bear’s muzzle:

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Bosch Electric Screwdriver: The Fly – This ad represents that Bosch cordless drills are pretty much faster than you think:

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Listerine: Fish – Listerine’s breath-freshening effects are being reflected by this speech bubble design:

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Jeep: Bushman & Eskimo – This minimal ad represents that the 4×4 is appropriate for adventures at all ends of the Earth:

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WWF: Shark – This WWF ad illustrates a game of fish and food to represent how important it is to consider the dying out of certain species:

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Coca-Cola Light Lemon: Lemon Peel – Another simple yet creative minimalist ad that only uses a twisted lemon peel forming the characteristic shape of Coca-Cola’s standard typeface against the plain background:

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3M Scotch Brite – Although the message of this ad is a bit ambiguous, the design is simply minimal and fun to look at:

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Bonus: This is the first known photograph ever taken of a surfer. Hawaii, 1890.

25 Ways To Get Hollywood To Make a Biopic About You


Leader image for 25 Ways To Get Hollywood To Make a Biopic About You

Nearly fifty years after the tragic murder of Sam Cooke — the “King of Soul,” whose musical contributions and Civil Rights successes continue to inspire todat — it looks like Hollywood is just one step closer to adapting his story into a biopic. This hesitant pace — when it comes to one of the greatest soul singers of all time — begs the question: “What the hell does it take to get a biopic made these days?” 25 answers to this all-important question lie ahead.

1. Kick your crack cocaine addiction and coach your half-brother to a welter-weight title.

2. Try life as a brilliant Austrian composer who is rich in fame but poor in finances. (Alternative: Become an Austrian composer who is bitterly jealous of former famous composer.)

3. Become the Queen of England.

4. Adopt a speech impediment and become the King of England.

5. Try being an eternally optimistic, cross-dressing film director who surrounds himself with strange characters.

6. Become a sadomasochistic middleweight boxer with mafia connections, rage issues and a habit of quoting Brando.

7. Research and write the tale of two lowlife criminals who savagely killed an entire family in Kansas.

8. Lead the tribes of Arabia against the Turks in World War II.

9. Time travel back to the ’70s and become an openly gay politician in San Francisco.

10. Find a job as a chemical technician and attempt to expose your employing nuclear plant’s many safety violations.

11. Invest in a push-up bra and win a $333 million class action settlement.

12. Adopt a morphine addiction and become the most popular French singer of the 20th century.

13. Succumb to severe obsessive-compulsive disorder and transform into a reclusive aviation pioneer/film producer.

14. Go undercover as a New York City cop who tries to take on his own police department.

15. Lead India’s independence movement.

16. Find work as a brave 13th century Scottish knight during the First War of Scottish Independence.

17. Get a gig as a minimum-wage cotton mill worker who fights for unionization.

18. Degrade women (who want to be degraded) on your radio show and give yourself the title of “King of All Media.”

19. Resign from your U.S. presidency after Watergate.

20. Become a nun and help a difficult death row prisoner find inner peace.

21. Experiment with postmodernist/neo-expressionist art and become friends with Andy Warhol.

22. Try life as an eccentric-but-successful U.S. general in World War II.

23. Infiltrate a mafia family as an FBI agent.

24. Establish yourself as the most influential personality of the silent-film era.

25. Sing country music.

Bonus: World’s Greatest Extra

6 Beloved Scientists Who Were Actually Total Jerks

Written by Evan Hoovler

6 beloved scientists who were actually total jerks

When you’ve spent your life as a famous scientist, historians tend to forget your bad personality traits. It makes sense: If you’re out there curing the black plague, who really cares if you have a problem with skin fungus or hookers (or both)?

Despite this, the six scientists in this article were such abominable jerks that even their incredible contributions to humanity couldn’t eclipse their contributions to the world of douchebaggery.

1 .Thomas Edison


Why Do We Love Him So Much?

Working sleepless hours in his lab, Edison made a light bulb that could be produced for the masses. Finally, people were able to stay awake late enough to watch The Tonight Show. His numerous patents changed human life and inspired this really creepy memorial page.

But He Was Actually a Total Jerk Because …

He had a fondness for electrocuting animals.

Thomas Edison popularized and “sold” direct current for electric power. In what was probably the nerdiest battle in history, Edison got into it with George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla in what was dubbed the “War of Currents.” Judging solely by the name, one might think these men battled with strange devices that shot electricity at each other. But no, instead Edison toured the country using his competitor’s “alternating current” to electrocute animals. In a famous video that is in absolutely no way safe for work at all, Edison electrocuted an adorable elephant named “Topsy.”

Edison was propelled by furious rage coming from the fact that Tesla had once been Edison’s employee but left because Edison didn’t understand Tesla’s alternating current experiments. In fact, the reason Tesla left was because Edison had promised him $50,000 but reneged on the deal. To get him back, Tesla harnessed Niagara Falls to produce alternating current, proving he had the superior electricity. Alternating current is now standard in American homes today and is never involved in accidental elephant deaths.

In addition to all this dickery, Edison also had film technicians steal copies of the groundbreaking film Le Voyage dans la lune. Edison distributed the bootlegs for a tidy profit, while the revolutionary director was left bankrupt, with no way to return his significant investments. It takes a lot to look like a jerk by Hollywood standards, but Edison definitely fit the bill.

2. James D. Watson


Why Do We Love Him So Much?

Along with his LSD-induced partner, Watson discovered DNA. In terms of human self-understanding, they pretty much touched the monolith.

But He Was Actually a Total Jerk Because …

He refused to stop saying stuff that was vaguely racist, vaguely sexist and totally creepy.

Watson’s mouth had a veritable double helix of tongues, able to twist any scientific conference into an offensive sound bite. He first started raising eyebrows when he claimed that fetuses that test in the bottom 10 percent of intelligence should be aborted. Controversial, but it could easily be argued that he was making a statement for compassion and mercy, just in a really garbled way.

Unfortunately, that idea was soon put to bed when Watson started saying things that weren’t controversial, just flat-out weird. He made the statement that he had no problem with using genetic engineering to make all girls pretty. In his own sad, demented words, “Whenever you interview fat people, you feel bad because you know you’re not going to hire them.” Always the epitome of compassion, that James D. Watson.

Watson’s foot-in-mouthery doesn’t stop there. In 2000, he gave a presentation at a conference where he linked skin color with sex drive. Showing blown-up slides of bikini-clad women, Watson claimed that melanin was linked directly to sex drive, and used it to explain why Latins make better lovers than Englishmen. The final straw came when he complained that the intelligence of Africans was lower than their non-African counterparts. Intense pressure forced him to resign his job, he no doubt spends his ample leisure time engineering an army of supermodels.

3. Antoine Lavoisier


Why Do We Love Him So Much?

One of the greatest minds of all time, Lavoisier discovered and named the element oxygen and made the metric system. So every time you suck in a deep breath because some American doesn’t understand what a kilogram is, think of Antoine Lavoisier.

But He Was Actually a Total Jerk Because …

He was a ruthless merchant who didn’t mind making a buck off of poor people.

As administrator of France’s premier pre-revolutionary aristocratic council, Lavoisier’s economic policies were sometimes contradictory. On the one hand, he introduced taxation reform with the aim of helping the peasants. On the other hand, he tried to build a freaking wall around the city to keep poor people from smuggling in food and clothes.

When the French revolution came, it was not the best of times for Lavoisier. He was accused of selling watered-down tobacco, which is just wrong. Speaking of just wrong, when he was 28, he married a 13-year-old (some sources say 14, which isn’t any better). In addition, he was literally accused of trying to cut off Paris’ air supply by building the aforementioned wall around the city. The irony of this ridiculously non-scientific conclusion probably would’ve made Lavoisier’s head explode, if it wasn’t lying in a bucket.

4. Aristotle


Why Do We Love Him So Much?

For thousands of years, Aristotle’s views on science were considered the foundation for human experimentation. Before Aristotle, the answer to almost any question was pretty much “The gods did it,” which made quiz shows unbearably easy.

But He Was Actually a Total Jerk Because …

He may have been more racist than Hitler.

Now, to just flat-out fingerpoint at an ancient person for being racist is silly. During Aristotle’s time, there weren’t even that many other races to speak of, and it was quite common to look at others as barbarians. That said, Aristotle had such a derogatory opinion of other creeds that it even freaked out his fellow racist peers. Rumor has it even Alexander, not known for his tolerance of other cultures, wrote Aristotle a letter asking him to back off. Aristotle did not back off; he was bent on telling the world that other races deserved to be enslaved and that interbreeding meant poisoning one’s blood.

Adding to the body of evidence that Aristotle was kind of an overprivileged dillhole was his hilarious views on women. Women at the time were regarded as inferior to men, but Aristotle went so far as to try to make a science of it, claiming:

? Women are colder than men

? Women are like infertile men

? Women remember things longer than men (score one for women)

Aristotle had a whole caste-esque ranking of how important people were, based solely on race, gender and nobility. In fact, he often scribed that lower-class men would never reach their full potential, and fought to refuse voting rights to manual laborers. Aristotle’s vision of hell would probably closely resemble a NASCAR race.

5. Hans Geiger


Why Do We Love Him So Much?

His invention, the Geiger counter, has saved countless lives by giving an advanced warning for radiation. Designed in 1925, it is still being used in many capacities today. Who knows how many lab technicians would’ve accidentally been transformed into irradiated supervillains if not for the Geiger counter?

But He Was Actually a Total Jerk Because …

He was an unrepentant Nazi.

Hans Geiger seemed all right before World War II. He even authored a paper urging the Nazis to leave scientists alone, and presented it to Hitler.

But World War II flipped Geiger like it was the Stanford prison experiment. Geiger turned in his Jewish scientist colleagues, some who had worked alongside him before the war.

Despite a professed dislike for the military, Geiger supported the Nazi effort like a baseball fan during a pennant run. He worked adamantly to build a nuclear bomb. Despite the onset of rheumatism, Geiger continued to work on the project until a lack of uranium forced its cessation. Now, if there only were a meter that could detect weirdos like him.

6. Benjamin Franklin


Why Do We Love Him So Much?

Ben “C-Note” Franklin practically embodies the American spirit of unbridled adventure. He flew a kite in a rainstorm, he co-authored the Constitution, and he loved beer. He freed the colonists, freed his slaves and freed his mind with a little hemp now and then. What’s not to love about Benjamin Franklin?

But He Was Actually a Total Jerk Because …

He was an insufferable, petty whore of a man whom his peers loathed. Also, he may or may not have let people saw up dead children in his home.

Ben Franklin was not a guy you wanted to get in an argument with. He established a lengthy pattern of going to extreme lengths to win petty squabbles. Once Franklin tried to get the entire government switched from proprietary to royal, just to grab some land from William Penn. His antics annoyed fellow legislators to the point where he would get kicked out of assemblies. Franklin was one of those geniuses whose ideas were sometimes revolutionary and most of the time awful: He once tried to sell Noah Webster on the concept of replacing six letters in the alphabet. Ben Franklin certainly had tenacity, whether he was trying to liberate America or just annoy the crap out of people.

Ben Franklin was also a notorious lech, even for the colonial equivalent of a rock star. He had an illegitimate son, then disowned him for supporting the king of England. He wrote a lengthy letter to a friend giving detailed advice on how to choose a mistress (hint: Franklin seems to be into cougars). In a famous rumor, Franklin allegedly tried desperately to win the sexual affections of a married woman 40 years younger than he.

John Adams stated that Benjamin Franklin was “slippery and opportunistic.” Frankly, this can be said about all of the scientists on this list. It makes one wonder if “angry, abusive scientist” will become a regular TV show character.

Bonus: Chatroulette Love Song

the most tragic picture I have seen from Japan

This image has largely disappeared from the web. It is the most tragic picture I have seen from Japan. Yes, I cried.

the most tragic picture I have seen from Japan


Seeing one of the pictures from the Japan quake reminded me of a picture I saw from the bombing of Nagasaki during WWII.

Seeing one of the pictures from the Japan quake reminded me of a picture I saw from the bombing of Nagasaki during WWII.



Cat Survives Tsunami On A Wall

Cat Survives Tsunami On A Wall

How To Survive The Apocalypse on $20 and the stuff in your apartment

Written by Tom Price

This is your prep list for the How To Survive The Apocalypse..for just 72 hours. Our goal is just to get you to First Base—a grab and go kit that will take care of you for the first three days. Why do all earthquake prep kits say to plan for that amount of time? Think about it like this: even without an earthquake, if RIGHT NOW the National Guard was ordered to assemble materials and deliver food/medicine/water/health care to the City of San Francisco, it would take them AT LEAST three days to get that together. It just takes time to pull out the stuff, load the trucks, decide where to go, get set up, etc etc. And in an earthquake of any size, likely SFO, OAK, and the Bay Bridge will be out of operation. And the electrical grid. Oh, and fires—you get the idea. But after three days things will start to sort themselves out.

So, don’t be surprised if it’s not the end all be all; it’s not supposed to be. But it will be a strong foundation. And has been learned from countless disasters, planned and unplanned ( ie: Hurricane Katrina, Burning Man), those people who have done even the tiniest bit of preparation are SO much better prepared mentally to deal with what’s happening. Once you have even a basic kit together, you’ll find yourself adding to it, and mentally patting it ( like checking for your wallet ) anytime you get a twinge of anxiety. Trust me, it’s a good feeling to have. In three days, you’ll be able to stay warm, dry, clean, and focused, and help build the communities of people taking care of each other, which are so key to survival. Because really, it’s going to be people who just step up, not the people who are “supposed” to be in charge, who’re really going to make the difference.

As an aside, you may enjoy reading Rebecca Solnit’s phenomenal new book, “A Paradise Made In Hell: the extraordinary communities that arise in disasters.”


Again, let’s focus: you can save your ass for just $20, and the stuff already in your house. Don’t believe me? Try this: Go through item by item, and put all this stuff in a pile. Then, put it in a backpack. Turns out, you already have almost everything you need squirreled away somewhere. For about $20, you’ll be able to get all the key items that you don’t already have. Put it together, keep it in the hall closet or someplace near your way out the door. Done. There, doesn’t that feel better?


A $3 backpack from Goodwill. Because once you have one of these, everything else just falls into it. Seriously, it’s like some kind of energetic law of nature—when the vessel arrives, so does the water.


Backpack (school size)

Space Blanket


20’ String or Rope

Ski Hat

Flashlight—preferably wind up, or an LED one



Metal pan to boil water/cook in

Plastic plate

Coffee mug


Pocket knife

Battery-operated or wind up radio

can opener

zip ties

duct tape

deck of cards


We’re aiming for 2,000 calories per person, per day, and it has to be in a form that will keep for a long time. Familiar foods are important, so use this as a rule of thumb, not something set in stone.

Can opener

Cans of tuna

Canned fruit

Cans of soup

Dehydrated meals

Macaroni and Cheese

Energy Bars

Energy Gels

Packets of Instant Coffee (6)


Chewing gum

Packets of salt and pepper

Cans of Sterno—REI has them, as to all hardware stores

Three feet aluminum foil


This one is surprisingly easy. Put a single two liter bottle of water in your backpack—that’s it. Here’s a secret: every single house and apartment in SF comes with a built in 30-gallon supply of water, earthquake proofed. It’s called your hot water heater, and each has a little tap to get at that clean, filtered H20 right on the bottom. Each is also required to be anchored to the wall, so it’s unlikely to be damaged in a quake.

Here’s another secret tip—ever see a circle of bricks in SF in the street, and wonder what it’s for? They were put in after the 1906 quake and fire—they’re underground cisterns, full of water; enjoy.


FRS radio, with batteries. You’d be surprised how many have them—and how handy they’ll be when your iPhone doesn’t work. Make a plan with your friends NOW about what channel to use Whistle Sharpies—use to write on the outside of the place you live a note to friends/loved ones, saying WHEN you went and WHERE.


Here are general basics to get you started. Split up loose items into ziplock baggies. Include any medicines you use, and a few spare pair of contact lenses.

Band Aids-all sizes.

Adhesive Tape, a couple feet

Gauze Pads

Triangular Bandage, Non-Sterile

Antacid, Calcium Carbonate

Ibuprofen (200 mg), Pkg./2

Acetaminophen (500 mg), Pkg./2

Antihistamine (Diphenhydramine 25 mg)

Aspirin (325 mg), Pkg./2

Cold Medicine Pkg./2

After Bite® Sting and Itch Relief Wipe

Anti-diarrhea medication



Germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Hydrocortizone Ointment

CPR Barrier, Shield

Surgical Gloves



Safety Pins, #2


1 tube of superglue—superglue was designed as a first aid tool; just dump it in any small cut, smoosh closed,

and done.


Toilet paper roll


Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)


Household chlorine bleach

Soap, Shampoo (you know all those samples you keep picking up and bringing home from hotels? Now is the

time to clear out your stash).



Grab your sleeping bag and pad from your camping gear—when you go camping, get it FROM your disaster kit, not the other way around.

Next, go find that lame tshirt you don’t like wearing, and a thin jacket, and a pair of undies, and some socks, and put it in there. Shazam: you now have a clean change of clothes. Do the same for your partner/kids.

Advanced Class

Now that you have all that sorted, here’s a few extra items to consider. We keep a 5 gallon can of fuel stashed outside our house—that’s enough to give us 100 miles of range. Also, since we’re burners, we have a 1000W Honda Wisperwatt generator outside—cause what good is a disaster without a string of Christmas lights and some beats? We also put out a chainsaw, because you don’t want to go through a 2×4 with a hand tool. And we

also have a full disaster kit in the trunk of our car, because just looking at the odds, we’re equally likely to be away from home as at home.

But all that comes later. First things first—go to Goodwill on your way home. Get a big packpack, and start packing.

See you at the afterparty!