Mike Elgan2012-08-27 09:10:09
Have You Been Lied To by the Media?

Is Apple really the most valuable company in history? Did the Indian government build millions of $35 tablets and distribute them to students? Did the Saudi Arabian government create a city for women only? 

No! These are lies told by the media. And in all cases, the truth was revealed by bloggers. 

Heres' why the media lies: http://www.datamation.com/feature/why-newspapers-lie-1.html
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  • Mike Elgan2012-06-04 17:53:24
    Don't look now, but here comes 'Captain China'!

    The first "Captain China" comic book has now become available as a Kindle book.

    The Amazon site says "Captain China" is "a propaganda-styled comic series aimed at capturing the main-stream consciousness of China. The stories will reflect and give insight to China’s current political stance, social environment, and cultural differences by blending complex characters, historical information, geographic locations, comic satire, and over-the-top explosive action!"

    In the comic, "Captain China" is last surviving member of a band of communist superheroes created by Mao during the Great Leap Forward (the catastrophic communist experiment that killed tens of millions of Chinese people), but has been in a cryogenic sleep (like Austin Powers) for 50 years.

    In the first edition, "Captain China" wakes up from a 50 years' sleep and saves US President Barack Obama's life during a visit to China.

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  • Mike Elgan2013-12-01 02:42:19
    BREAKING: 'Fast and the Furious' star Paul Walker dies in car accident.

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  • Mike Elgan2012-04-27 16:10:30
    How the junk food industry won the war against children.

    Wow! Reuters has published a scathing account on how the junk food industry bought the US government and defeated just about every initiative proposed to save children from the life-wrecking effects of their disease-causing products.

    This is a must-read column for anyone curious about how our corrupt government fails America's children.

  • 899 plusses - 435 comments - 456 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-12-06 19:00:14
    Now there's a TV show about bacon.

    A TV show called "The United States of Bacon" premiers December 30 on the Destination America channel. 

    It's about a guy who travels around the country to try different kinds of bacon.

    Does this sound like salty, greasy good fun to you, or yet another descent into the portrayal of consumerist gluttony as a harmless pursuit in the midst of an obesity-driven health crisis? 

  • 1031 plusses - 437 comments - 371 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-04-11 14:02:31
    My son's killer startup!

    I'm really happy to be talking about this -- finally!

    My son, +Kevin Elgan, has been working at a really cool Silicon Valley startup for about a year. They've been in "stealth mode," so he's banned me from blogging about it. 

    Well, their official public launch is today at 7am Pacific (as in right now), so finally I get to tell you about it!

    The company is +Tynker ( http://www.Tynker.com ), and their mission is awesome. They want to make software programming a standard part of the curriculum for children in elementary and middle schools.

    Tynker's software enables kids to build games and animated stories using something like electronic LEGO -- building blocks of environments, objects and actions that kids have fun playing and creating with. It all happens in the cloud. Once kids build projects, they can share them with friends to be played on Android phones, iPhones, laptops, Chromebooks -- whatever. 

    But while the kids are playing, they're actually learning programming skills, critical thinking and gaining a foundation for science and engineering education. 

    Tynker has been running pilot programs at over 20 schools, and apparently the kids are building some amazing things. 

    Teachers are apparently loving Tynker because it's a comprehensive, turn-key package of software, instruction and everything they need to teach these critical skills. Plus, it's easy for them to teach because the kids love using it. 

    The company was founded by the same geniuses who created Plusmo a few years back (which they sold to AT&T). 

    Anyway, you're going to be hearing a LOT about Tynker, but wanted you to hear it first from me. : ) 


    * * * 
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  • Mike Elgan2012-06-21 05:38:58
    Don't blame the kids for the Karen Huff Klein incident.

    Everyone is outraged about a video that surfaced showing a busload of kids viciously abusing a bus monitor. (Note, this is a truly upsetting video, so please view with caution.) 

    Everyone is piling on the kids, and soon, the parents of those kids. And, yes, the kids are rotten and should face some kind of reckoning. 

    Scenes like this are, in fact, very common. It's only when someone happens to record video that everyone gets upset. 

    The core problem, in my opinion, is that we have industrialized education. As a result, we're placing children in cultural situations for which they have not been designed. 

    Humans are designed to live in small groups or villages with close-nit community members and family members of all ages. In nearly every human society since the beginning of time, say, a 12-year-old would rarely find himself or herself in a situation with a lot of other 12-year olds. Humans are designed to exist in groups of multiple ages. A young person would always be within the reach of grandparents, friends of the family, neighbors. 

    But in modern society, we've industrialized education. Public schools are factories for mass-producing workers. 

    By the time they are adults, children have spent the majority of their socializing time with groups of people primarily consisting of others their own age. The 12-year-olds in this video exist in a cultural context similar to Lord of the Flies -- devoid of non-12-year-olds. 

    As a result, a kind of social insanity has become normal. Like monkeys in a zoo (an unnatural environment), public school children live in a social context that their brains are not wired to understand or comprehend. 

    We understand that grown adults sent to govern our nation require "checks and balances" -- with each group watching the others. Why don't we think middle school students need them? 

    Many people will recall that decades ago, schools were similarly industrialized and routinized, but scenes like the one in the video below were unheard of. 

    The reason kids were "better behaved" in the past is that they lived always under the threat of the larger society of parents, older kids, grand parents, younger kids. What's changed is the amount of time that kids spend in their artificial peer group.

    With social media and cell phones, kids are still psychologically "with" peers of their own age, even when in real life they're physically in the same room with people of other ages. 

    I don't know what the solution is. But it's not more punishment for the kids. Our educational system is fundamentally broken, and we're churning out more pathological douchebags than we are Rhodes Scholars and functional citizens. 

    That's what I think. What do you think? 

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  • Mike Elgan2013-07-19 21:44:25
    Microsoft's stock lost $32 billion in value today.

    Microsoft's stock dropped 11 percent today in the wake of a disastrous earnings report yesterday. 

    The drop puts Microsoft's market value at $261 billion, down from a record high of $616.3 billion in December of 1999 (one month before current CEO Steve Ballmer took over). 

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  • Mike Elgan2012-11-28 11:54:08
    Worst keyboard concept ever? Or best?

    Do you eat at your desk? (Oh, shut up -- you know you do!) If so, maybe you need Dutch designer Hella Jongerius' keyboard concept, which has a plate right in the middle where your face is as you hunch over your keyboard and eat junk food.

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  • Mike Elgan2012-08-28 15:41:56
    Deluxe Apartment In the Sky Lets You Keep an Eye On Your Car

    A luxury high-rise condominium complex in Singapore called the Hamilton Scotts features an elevator for cars that delivers your ride into a glass garage inside your unit.

    Using the lift requires a biometric scanner of some kind, so crooks can't gain access to your car -- or the inside of your condo. 


    Posted first on Google+ by +Sam Manohur. 
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  • Mike Elgan2014-03-23 20:19:11
    Why Android Wear will rule the smartwatch!

    The announcement of Android Wear, and smartwatches from LG and Motorola, was greeted by the public as: “Oh, look — a new kind of gadget!”

    But the wearable revolution in general and Google’s Android Wear initiative in particular, is barely even about gadgets.

    The smartwatch revolution is about three things: devices, smartphone apps and cloud services.

    You’ll note, however, that these are listed in order from least to most important. Here’s why Google’s total dominance of the third aspect of the smartwatch revolution will make them unbeatable: 


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  • Mike Elgan2012-05-21 02:47:15

    UPDATE: +Ciro Villa says this is fake and he appears to be right.

    Reshared text:
    alright.. here's another #eclipse picture... probably my favorite so far..

    from Kevin of FB:
    This is one of the most Spectacular photos taken from the Eclipse only yesterday!


    NZ 11.47am 21st AUST EST 9.47am 21st GMT 11.47pm MAY 20th
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  • Mike Elgan2013-01-31 21:43:06
    Microsoft's Surface tablet is failing hard - report.

    Way back in October, when everyone was giddy about the Microsoft Surface RT tablet, I predicted that the iPad Mini would sell at least ten times as many units as the Microsoft Surface RT. 


    It looks like that was accurate, but an understatement. A new report from IDC says Apple shipped about 22.9 million iPads of both Mini and Maxi varieties. Various reports say that the Mini outsold the Maxi. 

    Meanwhile, Microsoft sold fewer than 1 million Surface tablets, according to IDC. 

  • 1103 plusses - 474 comments - 242 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-08-08 19:59:02
    How the Olympic Committee Violates the Fundamental Human Rights of Athletes

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC), drunk with greed and power, is forcing athletes to cover tattoos, remove headphones, take off wristwatches and generally stop showing any corporate logo of any company that isn't an Olympic sponsor.

    For example, the committee is currently investigating whether it will allow Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake (pictured) to continue to wear his own wristwatch during the games, as the watch maker is not a sponsor.

    The IOC required Team USA's track star Nick Symmonds to cover a temporary tattoo on his arm, because it showed the Twitter name of one of his sponsors.

    Dr. Dre sent free Beats headphones to some athletes. When a few people on the Great Britain team mentioned it, the IOC "sanctioned" them, and ordered them to wear the headphones provided by official sponsors.

    They also sanctioned Australian swimmer Libby Trickett for exercising her right to free speech in a Twitter post, in which she promoted a company sponsoring her.

    The IOC justifies this crackdown by citing Rule 40 of the IOC charter.

    You like rules and charters? I've got one for you, IOC. It's called Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which specifies that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

    Yes, I know athletes agree to your shameless rules, which are designed to extract the maximum amount of money from mostly unpaid athletes. But they suck, and your enforcement of them is ridiculous and extreme.


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  • Mike Elgan2012-06-27 22:15:13

    Plus-1 In Real Life?
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  • Mike Elgan2013-10-23 13:16:48
    This is just makeup, but should be a tattoo.
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  • Mike Elgan2012-05-19 05:35:13
    QR code reveals itself on glass only when it's filled with Guinness!

    Marketers take note! Guinness is running a marketing campaign called Guinness QR Cup. You can't see a QR code etched into the glass until you fill it with Guinness. (Most other beers aren't dark enough to work.) Then you can snap a pic with your smart phone, at which point "it tweets about your pint, updates your facebook status, checks you in via 4 square, downloads coupons and promotions, invites your friends to join, and even launches exclusive Guiness content."


    Posted first on Google+ by +James Moore.
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  • Mike Elgan2012-08-26 18:33:08
    McDonald's Selling Lamb Burgers In Australia

    What's next? Kangaroo nuggets?
  • 1018 plusses - 428 comments - 282 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-04-24 16:46:51
    Girl falls into sidewalk sinkhole in China.

    A surveillance camera captured an incredible accident: A girl walking down the sidewalk in Northern China while talking on a cell phone was suddenly swallowed up by a hole in the sidewalk 20 feet deep!

    Water had eroded the ground underneath the sidewalk, so the concrete had become unsupported.

    A crowd gathered to rescue her. A heroic taxi driver jumped in the hole and climbed to the bottom of the pit to rescue her. Firefighters arrived, and lowered a ladder down into the pit and the two climbed out.

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  • Mike Elgan2013-05-13 20:54:43
    It's time to decriminalize nature and legalize food.

    A dairy farmer in Wisconsin is facing two and a half years in prison for selling raw milk. 

    Even the charge is legally false. The "buyers" of the milk were actually part of a "buyer's club" who bought shares in the cows. 

    But let's be honest: The dairy farmer's crime was offering people an alternative to the massive and politically powerful US dairy industry. 

    The problem with raw milk production is that it cannot be industrialized. So it's not a product that giant companies can produce at scale. Therefore, they want it to be unsafe and illegal and they press government to make sure that happens. 

    How dangerous is raw milk? Between 1998 and 2011 there have been two fatalities nationwide. That's being used to justify the jailing of a farmer who sells raw milk to people who know the so-called risks and choose to buy and drink it anyway. 

    Meanwhile, Harvard researchers say that 25,000 US deaths each year are linked to sodas and other "sugary drinks." 

    Two deaths in 13 years = prison for selling a dangerous beverage. 

    25,000 deaths each year = massive subsidy from the government to encourage lower prices and higher consumption. 

    Raw milk is controversial and people aren't going to agree about it. But that's not what this is about. This is about whether corporations should be able to criminalize food -- any food -- because they don't want competition.

    And it's about whether the government for any reason should ban food that people want to eat, weather it's trans fats and Big Gulp sodas in New York (illegal), raw almonds in California (illegal) or raw milk anywhere. 

    I think the health food people and the junk food people should unite to end food fascism and legalize all food. 

    Don't you agree? 

    Hey, US government: The queen of England drinks raw milk. Maybe next time she's on a good will tour of the United States she should be bagged, tagged and shipped off to Guantanamo for her crimes against bovinity!



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  • Mike Elgan2013-01-31 17:33:45
    The transparent iPad design fiction is much newer than the transparent iPhone design fiction.

    Weird. +Interesting Engineering ► posted an ancient piece of design fiction (from last summer) of a transparent iPhone. (It's neither interesting, nor "engineering" -- it's a picture.) 



    The irony is that this stale meme hit the What's Hot list on the very day when Yanko Design published pictures of a transparent iPad design fiction. 

    Why publish the old thing when the new thing is... new? 


    Here comes the video! http://youtu.be/lEBS0s3kXqg
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  • Mike Elgan2012-08-11 22:33:02
    Saudi Arabia to Build City for Women Only

    The Saudi Arabian government has finally figured out a way to allow women to move around freely and have careers without violating their unique interpretation of Sharia law -- ban all men.

    The plan is to build a city where men are not allowed.

    Construction begins next year. The city is reportedly expected to create 5,000 jobs in various industries, where all the employees will be women.





    (Pic props: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/267161/20111214/saudi-woman-beheaded-witchcraft-sorcery.htm )
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  • Mike Elgan2013-02-28 08:37:07
    Why my next phone might not be a phone.

    About a month ago, I wrote a column called: Wait, so why do we need phones again? My point was that the "phone" inside smartphones is the most unnecessary part of the phone. After all, there are dozens of really good apps and connected services that replace nearly all aspects of phone-call making and text messaging.


    To me, the most important features of a phone are the camera, and also the ability to run all kinds of apps.

    So what's the downside of buying something like the Samsung Galaxy Camera EK-GC100, which is an Android-based, Android-app running, mobile broadband and Wi-Fi connecting digital camera that does not have a "phone" built into it. (Besides the bulk.)

    Am I missing something? Why not use this device, plus Google+, Google Voice and Skype to replace the phone feature?

  • 1275 plusses - 218 comments - 202 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-09-30 15:41:23
    Why Google+ is the best social anything ever.

    Google + is my favorite site on the Internet: http://goo.gl/aZECeb 

    I probably spend between six and 12 hours per day actively using it. I’m a certifiable Google+ nut and have been for two years.

    But why?

    The answer to that question is self-evident to anyone who really uses the site. Critics tend to be dabblers, non-users or people with some gripe against Google. To use Google+ is to love Google+, for most people. 

    In my first column for aNewDomain, I tell why I'm such a Google+ fan:

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  • Mike Elgan2012-12-17 20:37:47
    Why I'm looking forward to the end of the world Friday.

    The world ends Friday, according to idiots. 

    I love it when this happens. The first doomsday I remember was when I was a kid -- probably in the 4th grade or so -- and some Nostradamus-inspired hysteria gripped the nation. Two or three families left the street where I lived to head to higher ground (that end of the world involved flooding of some kind). 

    Since then, every few years or so, certain kinds of people get all worked up about some historical misinformation and convince each other that the world is going to end. 

    The most recent and the best apocalypse of my lifetime was last year. Radio preacher Harold Camping said he was absolutely certain that the Bible says the world was to end May 21. After realizing that the world didn't get the memo, he retreated into prayer and reflection and came back convinced he was wrong. In fact, he said, the world would end October 11. Again, the world stubbornly refused to end.

    Camping's cult headquarters were in the Bay Area, and there were dozens of billboards all over the place promising the end of the world. It was really funny to watch them take the billboards down after October 11th. 

    That doomsday was the best because the hysteria was spread by a single man, who genuinely seem to believe his own biblical numerology. Some of his followers quit school or gave away all their money, and were left undereducated and broke after their faith-based catastrophe failed to materialize. 

    I had stumbled across Brother Camping's program many times over the years while driving around, and sometimes gave it a listen out of morbid fascination. Pretty much everything I ever heard him say was wrong or at least misguided, though he gained millions of followers all over the world. How wonderful for him to be actually proved wrong so publicly. 

    And now another end of the world is upon us. According to believers, the Mayans predicted that the world would end on December 21, 2012. 

    In reality, their calendar ended. It had to end. There isn't enough stone in the whole of Guatemala to chisel a calendar that never ends. 

    Nevertheless, the ignoramuses are coming out in force. 

    The Chinese government has arrested nearly 100 people for spreading rumors about the Mayan apocalypse. (That nutjob who knifed 23 school-children in China last week was reportedly "influenced" by the doomsday.) 

    Russians are buying up all the candles, matches, salt and torches to ward off the end somehow. 

    People all over the world are buying or building bunkers or survival pods. 

    And, of course, Twitter won't shut up about it: http://goo.gl/pw7gB

    The reason I love the end of the world so much is this: People preach stupid, ignorant, emotional, ill-informed nonsense all the time, and you can never convince them otherwise. You can argue, persuade, use logic -- nothing works. 

    But in this one case, the small-minded, superstitious, anti-science, demon-haunted world believers actually get proved totally and utterly wrong, and even they have to accept it. 

    So point and laugh at the believers. Make the most of it. The end of the world only happens every few years, on average. 

    I always look forward to the next apocalypse, and I've been looking forward to the Mayan end of the world for a long time. 

    Thank God it's Friday. 





    (Pic props to the Mayans for this irrefutable proof that the world will end Friday.)
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  • Mike Elgan2012-11-07 20:56:24
    What the next four years is going to do to the president.

    Bloomberg BusinessWeek has done some unhelpful Photoshop aging of President Obama, predicting what the ravages of presidential stress will do to the First Face over the next four years. 


  • 1054 plusses - 432 comments - 223 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-04-03 23:23:31
    Wow. Photographer takes pictures from the exact place as famous photos, then superimposes the historical details into the photos.

    Photographer Seth Taras made a series of pictures for a History Channel ad campaign.

    I've seen this kind of thing before, but never this well done.

  • 1182 plusses - 108 comments - 278 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-02-10 13:56:05
    The Supreme Court to decide if it's legal for a farmer to buy seeds and plant them.

    A farmer named Hugh Bowman bought soybean seeds not from the seed store but from the feed store -- soybeans being sold for feeding to livestock. He planted them.

    Most of those feed soybeans were GMOs created by Monsanto. So Monsanto sued Bowman, saying they own the DNA in those soybeans, and therefore can tell farmers like Bowman what to do with the soybeans they buy.

    To over-simplify, farmer Bowman's argument is that when he buys something, he should have the right to do whatever he wants with it.

    Monsanto's argument is that when Bowman plants seeds developed by Monsanto, he is making an illegal copy of their invention.

    The case is headed for the Supreme Court later this month.

    What's YOUR opinion?


    UPDATE #1: Supreme court rules in favor of Monsanto. (May 14, 2013)

    The Supreme court ruled in the case this week in favor of Monsanto. They agreed with Monsanto's position that their patented GMO seeds are an "invention" and when a farmer plants them they are copying Monsanto's intellectual property and therefor may only do so according Monsanto's contract (which requires that new seeds be purchased for each planting). 

    They ruled that their decision affects only this case and not other "self-replicating products." 

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  • Mike Elgan2014-05-28 02:26:15
    I wonder where Google got the inspiration for their self-driving car...

  • 1326 plusses - 95 comments - 184 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-03-02 23:25:22
    How Google Hangouts could rule the world.

    A dark cloud hangs over the future of mobile communication: the spectre of Facebook controlling it all.

    It’s not likely, actually. But Facebook’s intention to purchase WhatsApp for $16 billion or $19 billion dollars (depending on whether you factor in the stock-based bonuses for WhatsApp employees) involved some scary-big numbers.

    The biggest of these numbers happens when you add Facebook’s current user count plus WhatsApp’s projected user count (how many users Facebook believes the service will have if current growth rates continue). The number is: 2.3 billion users.

    Of course, the number is pure B.S.

    WhatsApp’s current growth probably won’t continue. Facebook’s current numbers are padded with duplicate users, fake users and non-active users. And there’s always going to be big overlap between WhatsApp and Facebook users — a dude who uses both is still just one dude.

    Still, when I ponder the number of people likely to be using Facebook-owned services (WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger) for messaging compared to those using Google-owned Hangouts, I find myself astonished and confused.

    How did this happen? And what can be done about it? 


    #Hangouts   #WhatsApp  
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  • Mike Elgan2012-11-16 08:00:50
    Australian students learn about the battle bots of the Russian Revolution.

    Australian high school students were surprised recently to learn that BattleTech Marauder robots were deployed in the Russian Revolution of 1917. 

    A major history exam included a picture of a painting called Storming the Winter palace on 25th October 1917 by Nikolai Kochergin, which included said robot joining the people in the uprising. 

    And this is why you shouldn't grab images from the Internet. 



    Posted first on Google+ by +Michael Kalus. 
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  • Mike Elgan2012-08-06 11:35:22
    Why Pankration Must Be Restored to the Olympics

    The first modern summer Olympics, held in Athens in 1896, included events selected at the first Olympic Congress organized by French historian Pierre de Coubertin. Nearly all the events selected were modern sports actively practiced in countries in Europe and in the United States, but many with roots in the ancient games. (One exception was the Marathon, the idea for which was proposed for the Olympics by French philologist Michel Jules Alfred Breal as a way to capture the glory of ancient Greece.)

    The Ancient Olympic Games, which started in 776 BC and lasted for nearly 12 centuries, included the following events throughout most of its history: 

    Stadion (a roughly 200-yard running race)

    Diaulos (twice the distance of a stadion)

    Dolichos (7 to 24 stadions)

    Long jump



    Pentathlon (long jump, javelin, discus, stadion and wrestling)




    Hoplitodromos (medium-distance race run by athletes in armor)

    Plus, a variety of horse races. 

    All the ancient human athletic events (as opposed to horse races) have direct modern equivalents except the Hoplitodromos. They're very familiar to us -- track and field, as well as wrestling and boxing. Ancient Olympians viewing the modern Olympics would recognize these events immediately. 

    There is a good reason why both Pankration and the Hoplitodromos were excluded from the founding of the modern Olympics: They had both long since disappeared as fully-functioning competitive sports. And Hoplitodromos is totally obsolete, as it involves running with bronze-age helmets, armor, shields and spears. 

    But over the past few decades, Pankration has staged a come-back. 

    Pankration, which means "all powers," is roughly a combination of wrestling and boxing. It might have been the world's first "martial art." It may have even been practiced more than a millennium before the first Ancient Olympic Games.

    Ancient Olympic Pankration had only two rules. No biting, and no gouging the eyes out. All Pankration athletes were pardoned preemptively for murder, should any of them kill opponents in the contest. Knockouts were common, but many Pankration matches went to the ground, where joint-locks, pins, body strikes and other moves were combined with choking. An athlete could raise his hand to the referee at any time to concede defeat. 

    Pakration is the only ancient Olympic sport that is growing and flourishing internationally in the modern world but not included in the Olympics.

    Martial arts tournaments around the world include sparring events. Mixed martial arts and Extreme Fighting are among the most popular spectator sports ever. These are all, more or less, Pankration. But one of the fastest growing sports in the world right now is Pankration itself. 

    Ancient Pankration has been modernized for safety. Practitioners in Greece and around the world are reviving Pankration with new teams and tournaments, new rules and regulations. 

    So here we have a central sport to the Ancient Olympic Games. It has undergone an enormous resurgence outside the Modern Olympic Games. What's wrong with this picture? 

    The Olympics includes the Japanese martial art of Judo, and the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do -- both fairly modern inventions -- but not the Greek martial art. The Olympic martial art.

    The International Olympics Committee reviews a wide range of submissions for new sports to be added to the Olympic Games. Pankration is different from all of these sports. Pankration should receive immediate and automatic inclusion in all future Olympic Games.

    The creation of the Modern Olympic Games more than 100 years ago was a profoundly European idea. But Europe itself probably would never have existed without Pankration. The ancient Greeks used Pankration, among other skills and practices, to defeat invaders and defend Greece. And without Greece, there would have been no Roman Empire, no Europe, no Renaissance and no Modern Olympic Games. 

    Pankration should and must be restored to the Olympic Games.

    (Note: Nhis is a revised version of a post from The Spartan Diet blog in 2009: http://thespartandiet.blogspot.gr/2009/10/why-pankration-must-be-restored-to.html )

    (Pic props: http://arxaiopnevma.blogspot.com/2012/07/blog-post_9348.html )
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  • Mike Elgan2012-07-18 05:57:14
    Rotten Tomatoes shuts down Dark Knight comments as Batman fanboys overwhelm moderators.

    Movie criticism roundup site Rotten Tomatoes has shut down comments for the movie The Dark Knight Rises, saying that comment moderators just can't handle the volume of comments. 

    In a batshell, rabid Batman fanboys are verbally attacking the minority of critics who panned the movie, and doing so with so much volume, energy and negativity that Rotten Tomatoes decided that moderating the comments just wasn't worth it anymore. 

  • 1041 plusses - 290 comments - 262 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-11-28 20:56:04
    Is this iPhone 5 case worth $200?

    It's tactical! And it has an anti-glare privacy screen overlay, and other features. But is it worth the money?

  • 1000 plusses - 444 comments - 208 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-10-25 20:42:47
    Google rumored to be building a floating seawater-cooled data center in San Francisco Bay.

    +CNET is reporting that this structure is "likely" a Google project and possibly a floating barge data center being built by Google just off Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. 

    "Google did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But after going through lease agreements, tracking a contact tied to the project on LinkedIn, talking to locals on Treasure Island, and consulting with experts, it's all but certain that Google is the entity that is building the massive structure that's in plain sight, but behind tight security."


    This picture was today's Mystery Pic. Props to +Anthony Schaef for being first with a generally right answer and +Lauren Egan for being first with a specifically right one. 

  • 1290 plusses - 151 comments - 159 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-06-03 17:22:46
    How Bluetooth 4.0 will change your life.

    Wireless technologies have been transforming domestic life since the availability of home radios in the 1920s. Since then every new kind of wireless technology and every new application has brought more transformative changes to the home. 

    Television, for example, used to receive its signal wirelessly, which enabled its fast adoption in the 1950s. As the use of cable TV spread, transforming a wireless signal into a nonwireless one, wireless remote controls added another convenience. 

    Cordless phones changed when and where you could make and receive calls. Wireless garage door openers and other special-purpose wireless devices subtly improved people's lives in small ways. You probably have a Wi-Fi network in your home, which you use to connect computers, laptops, phones and possibly your TV to the Internet. 

    You probably also use another wireless technology called Bluetooth. If you have a wireless headset with your cell phone, or a wireless keyboard or mouse with your computer, you're using Bluetooth. 

    Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are geeky technologies working invisibly and behind the scenes to subtly and profoundly change homes all over the world. They've eliminated cables, reducing clutter. And they've freed you to place consumer electronics devices anywhere. 

    Here's how Bluetooth 4.0 is going to change your life: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2515194/list/How-Bluetooth-4-0-Will-Change-Remote-Control
  • 999 plusses - 192 comments - 311 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-05-10 21:53:27
    1 World Trade Center now the tallest tower in the US.

    The building constructed on the site of the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks today became the tallest tower in the United States. They finished putting the top on, which makes it 1,776 feet high.

  • 1198 plusses - 185 comments - 182 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-12-19 12:47:48
  • 1116 plusses - 443 comments - 110 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-04-19 18:15:57
    Web site simplifies argumentation.

    Most people who argue and debate online, including here on Google+, commit standard, well-understood logical fallacies.

    The problem with this is that debates never go anywhere, and they take forever to get there.

    By calling people on their logical fallacies, you can shorten arguments, and everyone can learn from debate.

    Great site.

  • 748 plusses - 213 comments - 437 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-06-17 01:40:15
    Movie about the craziest bicyclists ever.

    The premier for _Line of Sight) is July 1. The movie shoots illegal and dangerous urban bike riding, called "messenger racing," from helmet cams.

    Wow. Even the trailer will freak you out!

  • 834 plusses - 225 comments - 376 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-11-07 21:33:00
    Is Microsoft 2.0 going to be a kick-ass hardware company?

    Microsoft just might be evolving into a killer consumer electronics company.

    In the wake of two serial Apple announcements, the rumor mill has become an alien landscape. Instead of the usual chatter about amazing new Apple gadgets, everyone is now talking about even more amazing Microsoft hardware.

    Yes, they're rumors. But most of them originate with credible sources or plausible guesstimates.

    And these rumors are bolstered by hot hardware products known to be coming soon.

    Here's my column about what could, should and probably will be coming soon from Microsoft: 


    * * * 
  • 1023 plusses - 308 comments - 221 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-04-27 04:15:23
    'Brantrepreneurs' need your support!

    A few woman have invented this concept for a bra that can hold a mobile phone, as well as credit cards and other necessary items.

    It's a Kickstarter project to raise money to sell the concept as a product called the JoeyBra.

    Give them a hand!

  • 720 plusses - 447 comments - 343 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-08-25 15:28:26
    Why Apple Sues

    Apple’s critics generously assign a variety of motives to Apple for filing lawsuits.

    Apple sues because it wants to control the market, overcharge for its products, exclude competitors from the market or punish competitors for daring to not think different. It’s all part of Apple’s quest for global tech domination.

    But these aren’t actual motives. These are appeals to emotion. They’re legitimate perspectives, but expressed to negatively encapsulate spectacularly complex technical, legal and ethical issues into sound bites that make you want to agree with the author that Apple is bad and wrong. 

    Apple has only one motive for patent lawsuits, and I’m going to tell you what that motive is: 

  • 927 plusses - 461 comments - 208 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-03-22 17:39:47
    I'll admit, the humor in this picture is a little unorthodox.

    (Props to Reddit)
  • 891 plusses - 247 comments - 309 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-08-20 14:28:34
    New Dexter Season 7 Trailer Hits!
  • 884 plusses - 171 comments - 346 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-12-07 16:59:31
    Why are US media ignoring GMO mosquitos in Florida?

    Officials in Florida intend to release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes as soon as they get permission from the federal government. The mosquitoes are (literally) designed to reduce dengue fever in Key West. 

    The mosquitos have been engineered by the British company Oxitec to pass along a birth defect that kills their offspring before they can reproduce, thus reducing mosquito populations.

    The initiative carries all the normal controversy over GMO anything -- some fearing ignorant meddling with nature and the unintended consequences that could result, and others believing that genetic modification is better than, in this case, the horrible consequences of dengue fever. 

    What's interesting to me is that the story is being covered heavily by media in Canada, India, Russia, the UK and elsewhere, but coverage is practically non-existant in the US press, except for the New York Times, a couple of Florida papers and a smattering of natural-foods hippy blogs and rags. 

    WTF is the matter with the media in the US?

  • 827 plusses - 379 comments - 286 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-12-13 12:54:19
    Jackie Chan calls America the most corrupt country in the world. 

    Action star Jackie Chan reportedly said on a Hong Kong TV talk show that the United States is the most corrupt country in the world, far more corrupt than China. He also called on Chinese people to stop criticizing China. 

    Interestingly, Chinese Internet users pounced on Chan for acting as an apologist for Chinese corruption. One wrote: "Please, if you want to tell a good lie, tell an educated one. Go learn some knowledge before you contribute to Chinese Communist Party's corruption."

    Other commenters supported Chan's views. 

  • 965 plusses - 460 comments - 149 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-01-11 16:27:07
    Facebook charges you $100 to send a message on Facebook to a famous person.

    If you're sending a message to a random person on Facebook, they'll charge you $1 to skip the spam filter and actually have the email delivered into the inbox.

    But if the recipient has a lot of followers, Facebook will charge you $100.

    Facebook says they're just testing the service to see if they can get away with it.

    No, the recipient doesn't get a penny. The recipient gets the spam and Facebook gets the money.
  • 722 plusses - 386 comments - 326 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-06-12 16:17:31
    Spray-on tans may damage DNA.

    A chemical in spray-on tan products called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) can cause genetic changes and DNA damage, according to a report the US federal government was concealing until ABC News got a hold of it through the Freedom of Information Act.

    The chemical apparently gets into the bloodstream mostly through the lungs when the spray is applied.

    When the chemical was approved in the 70s, regulators didn't imagine it's use in spray-on form.

    Spray-on tans are just one part of the massive fake-health industry, which includes weight-loss products, make-up, hair products and more.

    Instead of spending money to create the appearance of health, why don't people instead pursue actual health by eating healthy food and exercising outdoors?

  • 693 plusses - 288 comments - 387 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-02-02 14:42:24
    Are transparent displays dumb or brilliant?

    A see-through iPhone hit the Google+ "What's Hot" list this week. One day later, a transparent-display iPad hit the list as well.

    Transparent-display iPhones and clear iPads don't exist, of course. They're "design fiction" -- drawings and videos created with the help of software to create the illusion of reality.

    But do transparent displays have a future in real life?

    Here's my column about see-through displays, where I say they're terrible for mobile devices, but fantastic for just about every other application. Plus, you can buy one now from Samsung!

  • 1105 plusses - 355 comments - 102 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-06-16 00:18:18
    The NSA says the Constitution does not apply to the agency.

    President Obama last week: "Nobody is listening to your telephone calls."

    +CNET headline today: "NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants."

    The National Security Agency told Congress in a secret meeting that the NSA does not need court authorization to tap phones and that "an analyst's decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required." 

    Holy. Shit. 



    #prismgate   #nsa   #obama  
  • 548 plusses - 176 comments - 521 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-12-21 15:22:58
    What you really want for Christmas: A video arcade cabinet with a beer tap!

    The Arkeg Drink n Game combines video arcade game play with beer on tap. From the front it looks like a pretty standard two-player arcade cabinet. But on the left side, you'll find a beer tap. Inside is a powerful computer in one compartment and a refrigerated beer dispensing system in another. 

    The console comes with 69 games installed, including Asteroids, Battlezone, Centipede, Missile Command, Paperboy — and even the original video game, Pong! 

    The system is PC based, so you can add more games from the Internet or get them on disc. The system can play up to 15,000 games, according to the company.

  • 913 plusses - 158 comments - 296 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-04-12 11:52:56
    Chinese pickpocket caught stealing iPhone. From a moving bicycle. With chopsticks.

    Someone snapped pictures of the (admittedly impressive) act. It ended upon the news. He later turned himself in.

  • 883 plusses - 215 comments - 280 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-02-02 10:29:20
    Samsung's Super Bowl Ad is not about Apple.

    Samsung's funny Super Bowl social viral campaign (on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) shows Samsung advertising executives (played by Bob Odenkirk, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd) trying to think of ideas for a Super Bowl ad, but without saying "Super Bowl" or the names of the teams playing, for fear of getting sued. 

    Many publications and blogs have said the ad is a slam at Apple and patent disputes: http://goo.gl/4RDRF

    The ad definitely makes fun of trademark litigation about the Super Bowl itself, which is real. 

    But it can't be about Apple for three reasons: 

    1. In court and in the press, Samsung has strongly said that they don't copy Apple, and instead invent their own designs and technologies. 

    But If this were an allegory about Apple, it would say that Samsung should be able to copy Apple, but ridiculous Apple lawsuits prevent them from being able to. That's not Samsung's position. 

    2. Referring to something is not the same as copying something. Apple has not sued Samsung for saying the words "Apple" or "iPhone." It's about copying designs and technology (or not doing so) -- it's not about referring to something with words. 

    3. Samsung is not at all against patent litigation, and sues other companies all the time over the same thing, including Apple, LG and others. So if this ad were about patent litigation, Samsung would be criticizing itself. 

    This ad makes fun of trademark litigation, not patent litigation. It's about the Super Bowl. Not Apple. 

  • 1052 plusses - 199 comments - 169 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-10-20 21:08:58
    What’s holding back Google’s iPhone-killer?

    Google is in the smartphone business, obviously. But are they in it to win it, or just f**king around?

    Sometimes I wonder.

    Google is obviously a visionary company with incredible technology and the capacity to build some of the greatest stuff out there.

    In fact, Google already has created all the elements of a monster, iPhone-killing super-phone. Yet some invisible, internal company flaw seems to be stopping the company from putting all those elements into an actual phone.

    The iPhone-killing elements are scattered all over different phones that Google sells, and some of the elements aren’t in the phones at all.

    As a result, Google’s fans are faced with an artificial choice between this feature or that feature — or just giving up and buying either a non-Google Android phone or an iPhone for a more compelling mobile experience.

    Here are the four actions Google needs to take to use what it’s got to create the ultimate iPhone killer superphone.


    #Google   #GoogleNow   #Android   #Aviatelauncher   #Motorola  
  • 991 plusses - 246 comments - 179 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-04-17 15:27:09
    Mini keyboard doubles as a wireless handset.

    Japan's Elecom rolled out this crazy all-purpose peripheral today. It's a wireless keyboard that works with just about any device via Bluetooth. And it doubles as a wireless handset -- you use it like a cell phone.

    Obviously, the best use for this would be with an iPad or an Android tablet. It fits in your pocket, gives you a physical keyboard and lets you use your tablet as a Skype phone.


    Sold only in Japan.



    Props to +Jiacheng Khoo
  • 736 plusses - 332 comments - 294 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-01-16 16:06:49
    The trouble with Facebook's Graph Search.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new feature yesterday called Graph Search.

    Graph Search magnifies everything good and bad about Facebook. It's Facebook on steroids.

    To the extent that Facebook is good for connecting with family and friends, Graph Search makes Facebook great for that purpose. To the extent that Facebook is an invasion of privacy, a playground for stalkers, snoops, spammers and scammers, Graph Search makes Facebook great for those purposes also.

    Here's my column that tells why if you love Facebook, you're going to love Graph Search. But if you hate Facebook -- oh, boy, are you going to hate Graph Search. 


    (Pic props to DC Comics)
  • 928 plusses - 208 comments - 226 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-06-22 21:23:20
    Extreme bike guy Danny MacAskill becomes the action figure of a boy's imagination.

    This is the coolest video you'll see all weekend. 
  • 625 plusses - 47 comments - 481 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-02-21 00:29:34
    Who else is enjoying Elementary?

    I'm a huge fan of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, and have read every story several times. As a result of my fandom, I've found the old black-and-white movies boring as f**k, and have a reaction of generalized nausea for Guy Richie's hideous kung fu fantasy supposedly related in some way to the Sherlock Holmes stories.

    As both a geek and a Holmes fan, I enjoyed the BBC series (of which far too few episodes were produced) staring the annoying but vaguely appealing Benedict Cumberbatch set in modern-day London.

    But the CBS version of Sherlock Holmes, called Elementary, is the best ever, in my opinion. It's based in modern New York City and Watson is a woman played appealingly by Lucy Liu.

    Holmes, played brilliantly by Jonny Lee Miller, is a recovering drug addict recently moved from London to New York, who plays the part with an incredible lack of self consciousness. (Note that the original Sherlock Holmes was a drug addict.) They dispense with all the superficial stuff about Sherlock Holmes (the funny hat, the pipe, etc.) but really nail the essential character -- his mind, his personality and his obsessions. The general temperament, attitudes and personalities of the original Holmes and Watson characters are faithfully reproduced in the modern era.

    Anyway, I'm really enjoying this show, and am wondering if anyone else is.

  • 1074 plusses - 320 comments - 80 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-03-21 13:50:20
    Apple patents the iPhone parachute.

    An Apple patent application published today reveals several methods for protecting electronic devices, such as iPhones, iPods and iPads, from falls.

    One of them is basically a parachute. When accelerometers in the device sense that it has been dropped, it deploys an airfoil to slow the descent.

    The patent application says: "The protective mechanism may activate an air foil to change the aerodynamics of the mobile electronic device. The air foil may help to reduce a velocity of the free-fall of the device by producing a lift force. In this example, the air foil may help to reduce the force of impact as the device hits the surface, as the momentum of the device may be reduced (as the velocity of the fall may be reduced)."

    The other method involves a compressed gas jet to flip the phone over like a cat so it doesn't land on its screen.

    You can't make this stuff up, people.


    (Props: http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/03/21/apple-looks-to-protect-dropped-iphones-by-shifting-their-orientation-mid-flight )
  • 772 plusses - 312 comments - 268 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-06-26 15:44:51
    Motorola releases a demo video of the Moto 360.

    Who's getting this? 
  • 984 plusses - 164 comments - 204 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-07-13 05:07:08
    The coolest idea for a movie ever!

    The movie is called Oz, the Great and Powerful, and it's the Wizard of Oz from the Wizard's perspective!

    Here comes the trailer: 
  • 790 plusses - 181 comments - 314 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-03-25 02:30:39
    Which animals are OK to kill?

    Killing animals is an extremely controversial practice. By controversial, I mean it's an emotionally charged subject with disagreement about what the ethical "rules" are.

    For example, many people who eat beef without concern are horrified about the killing of horses for food. So the "rule" is apparently "food" animals are OK to kill, but "sport" animals aren't? Or is it that cows are ugly and horses are "majestic"?

    California Fish and Game Commission president Dan Richards is in trouble for killing a mountain lion on a hunting trip. It's legal in Idaho, where he killed, it, but illegal in California, where there's a huge public outcry, with many calling for him to be fired. Most of the people who are upset about this wouldn't have cared at all if he had killed, say, a wild boar. So the "rule" for these people is that "pretty" or "cute" animals shouldn't be killed, but killing ugly ones is OK?

    Many people who are OK with the killing of tuna are horrified by the killing of dolphins. Is there an unwritten "rule" that "intelligent" animals are to be spared, but "stupid" ones are OK to kill?

    What should the "rules" be for the killing of animals?

    Is the visual appeal of animals to humans the right criterion -- we can kill fugly animals but not cute or majestic ones? Is intelligence the right criterion?

    What are YOUR "rules" for which animals should never be killed?
  • 725 plusses - 439 comments - 237 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-08-11 12:33:02
    Is the Public Too Stupid to Understand Food Ingredients?

    There has been a lot of debate lately about food and beverage labeling. Should ingredients be listed? Or are people too dumb to understand, so it's better to conceal from the public what they're putting into their own bodies?

    I have to admit that I've been pretty shocked lately by public support for the latter idea. Many people will actually argue that certain ingredients should not be on food labels because people don't understand that the ingredients are safe.

    One example is genetically modified foods. California's upcoming Proposition 37 would require that GMO foods are labeled as such. Opponents to the proposition argue that people will falsely believe that GMOs are harmful, so they shouldn't be told.

    Another debate is raging in the wine industry. There are currently about 200 ingredients you can add to wine without having to list it on the label. Advocates for the status quo argue that some people will falsely believe that ingredients commonly added to wine (clay, acid, lab-cultivated yeasts, enzymes, sugar, gelatin, charcoal, a fish bladder extract called "isinglass" and many others) are harmful or undesirable, and therefore shouldn't know they're there.

    Now, I understand why food and beverage companies don't want labeling. They want to add anything they want without losing sales to people concerned about those ingredients. They don't want market advantages conferred on natural food producers who make foods without ingredients that are objectionable to some customers. Customer ignorance is more profitable than customer knowledge.

    What I don't understand is the acceptability of that argument among the general public.

    In fact, it's outrageous. Why? Because people are trying to win the argument through legislation.

    GMOs are controversial. Some people say they're fine. Other's say they might not be. We're all arguing about it. But some people who embrace the "GMOs are fine" opinion want to win the argument by removing knowledge about which foods contain GMOs. They want people who don't want GMOs to eat them without knowing it because they've already decided that their side is right, and the other side is wrong. Argument over.

    When food ingredients are controversial, it means by definition that the argument has NOT been settled. Don't let the advocates of ignorance end the argument in their favor by a legally sanctioned suppression of facts. Oppose the advocacy of ignorance argument, especially as it relates to food.

    Your right to know what you put into your own body is more important than their right to secretly slip ingredients and chemicals into your body that they've decided you shouldn't worry your pretty little head about.

    Californians: Vote YES on Proposition 37. And everybody: Harass your congressmen to stop allowing food and beverage producers to hide what they put into YOUR body.
  • 875 plusses - 278 comments - 217 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-12-13 14:46:33
    It actually snowed in Cairo, Egypt!

    Snow fell in Cairo, Egypt, today for the first time in 112 years. 

  • 915 plusses - 133 comments - 251 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-05-24 16:50:47
    Laptop stickers are stupid.

    I'm setting up a Samsung Windows laptop for my son, and, as I have done dozens of times before, I'm spending 10 or 15 minutes removing the stickers that Microsoft and Intel require their OEM partners to blight their hardware with.

    These stickers are stupid.

    Samsung and other companies actually design and build some really good-looking hardware. But then these garish, ugly, sloppily applied, visually annoying stickers are right there destroying the aesthetic of the hardware, and killing the out-of-box experience.

    I know, it's a small thing. But it's also a symbolic thing.

    As a consumer, the stickers tell me that the coalition of companies that contributed to the product are incapable of working together even on small details to improve my user experience. It tells me they have no respect for their own product. It tells me they don't appreciate aesthetics. It tells me they're stupid.

    The strangest thing about it is that the stupidity exists solely to tell me exactly who is so stupid.

    OK, so Intel: You're stupid. And Microsoft: You're stupid. It says so, right there on my laptop.

    Apple is trying to take over the market in large measure through aesthetically pleasing hardware and great out-of-box experience, and you're too stupid to even do the simplest and cheapest thing imaginable to compete in these areas.


    (Pic props: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pchow98/5895034009/ )
  • 898 plusses - 370 comments - 141 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-02-08 06:15:48
    Wow. That was fast.

    There's already a t-shirt!
  • 909 plusses - 106 comments - 251 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-05-16 23:25:40
    Crazy Google+ growth continues, unabated.

    All the FUD about Google being neglected, neutered or killed hasn't apparently slowed down the rate at which Google+ grows. 

    This is just one data point, but for the past couple of years I've averaged a circle-count growth rate of about 2,000 additional circles per day. 

    One major reason is that I'm on Google's Suggested Users List, which is presented to people who sign up to use Google+. Some small minority of new Google+ users happen to select the "Technology" category of people to follow. And when they do that, I get added to their circle. 

    Note that these are not "accidental" Google+ members, but those who sign up, then take action to select groups of people to circle. 

    Here's the thing: Since all the rumors and speculation about Google+ hit, my circle count has continued at an average of 2,000 per day. (Since last week, I've gained 14,447 followers.) 
  • 1138 plusses - 80 comments - 122 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-07-18 23:04:16
    Picture of the day.

    Props: http://instagram.com/p/bPFJLqKune/
  • 998 plusses - 62 comments - 212 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-03-17 19:42:11
    Amazon loses control of another set of reviews.

    Every once in a while, a loony product on Amazon attracts the attention of the Internet's hecklers and sarcasm enthusiasts, resulting in hilarious Customer Reviews for the product.

    The latest victim is Amazon's page for the BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen, the ballpoint pen for ladies.

    Here's one example:

    "I love BIC Cristal for Her! The delicate shape and pretty pastel colors make it perfect for writing recipe cards, checks to my psychologist (I'm seeing him for a case of the hysterics), and tracking my monthly cycle. Obviously, I don't use it for vulgar endeavors like math or filling out a voter application, but BIC Cristal for Her is a lovely little writing utensil all the same. Ask your husband for some extra pocket money so you can buy one today!"

  • 933 plusses - 126 comments - 221 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-05-23 08:37:58
    The Phone that could turn me into an Android fanboy.

    A rumor is now circulating that a "Google Edition" of the HTC One could be announced in a few weeks. 

    Google announced at Google I/O that the Samsung Galaxy S4 would soon ship with a Google install (like the Nexus 4) instead of the shitty Samsung-generated UI. 

    Now, a rumor is circulating that the HTC One would also ship as a "Google Edition" phone. 

    This would be an Android phone I could not resist. If this rumor is true, I will likely throw my iPhone in the trash and buy this phone as soon as I can. 


    UPDATE 1: The rumor was true. HTC announced it will ship HTC One with Nexus User Experience June 26 for $599.

  • 852 plusses - 201 comments - 233 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-02-10 11:49:11
    Nearly four-fifths of the antibiotics sold in the US are now given to meat animals.

    Animals can't survive the cramped, unhealthy conditions of factory farms, so the industrial meat industry gives animals antibiotics to keep them alive until they can be slaughtered.

    While the amount of antibiotics administered to humans by doctors is steady, the amount consumed by the livestock industry grows every year. 

    Antibiotic-resistant pathogens. It's what's for dinner. 

  • 707 plusses - 186 comments - 328 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-02-27 11:22:53
    Hollywood has gotten so dumb they now know and use only one adjective.

    This video is amazing: 
  • 871 plusses - 240 comments - 202 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-04-14 16:09:32
    Are you ready for a 'quantified life'?

    That smartphone you carry around is a box full of sensors.

    Those sensors are just sitting there doing nothing, or performing mundane tasks like giving you turn-by-turn directions or turning off your screen when you're yakking on the phone.

    But what if you could use phone sensors to their full potential?

    Soon you'll find out. A Silicon Valley startup called Alohar enables developers to create apps that not only use phone sensor data, but use Alohar's power analysis engine to make sense of it all.

    For example, based on the speed at which you're moving and the pattern of your phone's motion sensor, Alohar's software can tell if you're walking, skateboarding, biking, driving or flying. The GPS can tell where this is taking place. The clock tells when.

    It can also auto-categorize locations as "home," "work," "restaurant," "gym" and other groupings, and provide you with statistics about, for example, how many hours you spend at work each month.

    By combining GPS, light sensor and temperature data, the software can tell if you're inside or outside.

    The technology has a practical emergency application: It can tell if you've been in a car accident. If your deceleration is fast enough, then, by definition, you've been in a collision. It would be theoretically possible to develop an app that calls 911 when you've been in a crash and relays information about your location and perhaps some details of the incident.

    The system can also out-Siri Siri -- theoretically. Virtual personal assistants in the age of Siri derive value from understanding regular human speech. But tomorrow's assistants will earn their keep by understanding actual human behavior.

    The combination of ambient sensing, powerful analytics, strong encryption and good privacy policies could usher in a world where our smartphones can be more than just handy gadgets. They could be life-transforming tools that enable us to use our own data for our own purposes.

    Are you ready to quantify your life?

    Please read my column and tell me what you think! http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9226189/Are_you_ready_for_a_quantified_life_?taxonomyId=15

    Pic props: http://j.mp/IWpPIA
  • 765 plusses - 239 comments - 265 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-07-14 20:29:30
    An Open Letter to Handset Makers: Why Your Phone Is a Loser. 

    Dear Handset Maker:

    Your company and hundreds of others are engaged in an epic battle for the smartphone handset market, which within a year or two will exceed a billion customers and $150 billion a year in revenue.

    Don’t you want a big piece of that? Because if you do, you’re not acting like it.

    Samsung gets most of the market share and some of the profits. Apple gets most of the profits and some of the market share. But Samsung fears with justification that its lead is slipping away to lower-cost and more aggressive vendors. Apple’s momentum has slowed horribly with the onslaught of Android phones.

    The rest of you handset makers — let’s face it — are scrambling for crumbs on the floor.

    Instead of taking one of the known-bad losing strategies, why don’t you try the obvious winning strategy?

    I’m going to describe the losing strategies, then spell out the winning one.

  • 725 plusses - 152 comments - 328 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-06-05 19:20:27
    Greatest invention ever for lazy alcoholics.

    The DropCatch is a wall-mounted bottle opener with a built-in magnet to catch the falling cap. 

    It's on Kickstarter and they're having no trouble raising money. 

  • 851 plusses - 113 comments - 267 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-07-08 02:55:40
    Damn. The iPhone 6's sapphire display looks unbelievable.

    Marques Brownlee got his hands on a real iPhone 6 sapphire display. He tries to scratch it with a knife and with keys, and tries to break it -- and he can't. This looks amazing. 
  • 939 plusses - 151 comments - 193 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-12-30 04:50:46
    Android In the Car gets real at CES – reports.

    Google and Audi plan to announce at CES January 7 a partnership to build in-car dashboard systems based on Android, according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal.

    Here are the other ways Google is driving rapid adoption of Android in car dashboards. 


  • 1013 plusses - 105 comments - 167 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-11-22 18:43:06
    Why 'smart light bulbs' are awesome.

    A regular lightbulb tends to come in one color and one brightness level. But now new LED bulbs promise to become any color and any brightness at any time you like. And best of all, they can be controlled by the phone in your pocket.

    The most interesting thing about smart bulbs is that software companies can make all kinds of interesting applications to control them. For example, imagine a virtual flash application that replaces the camera's flash on your phone. You could set it to suddenly brighten all the bulbs in the room with white light at the moment you take a picture.

    Another likely app idea is that you could take a picture of a page in a magazine or somebody's actual home and essentially tell your lightbulbs: "Give me this lighting or color scheme."

    The bottom line is that smart bulbs turn lighting into an app. And with apps, anything is possible.

    Here's my piece about smart light bulbs, featuring the one product you can buy now in time for the holidays and two more promised for early in the new year.

  • 913 plusses - 160 comments - 203 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-04-05 20:20:17
    Captain Puerto Rico!!

    Reshared text:
    LOL!!! #captainamerica #marvel #epicfail
  • 979 plusses - 58 comments - 204 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-12-21 06:21:45
    Why Google+ is the best place to send video via email.

    Good email services play videos right inside the email message. For example, if you send someone a simple YouTube link, and they're a Gmail user, Gmail will display a thumbnail of the video which, if clicked, plays the normal-size video right there in the message. 

    Nice! But there's a better way. 

    If you paste that same link into a Google+ post, address it to your friends' email addresses and hit send, they get video with benefits. 

    For starters, the video is displayed initially full size -- no thumbnail. 

    It shows a thumbnail of your G+ profile picture. 

    And there's a comment box below. If one of your friends types a comment, they'll be able to do that right in the email message. And you'll see the comment on your post. 

    (BTW, here's the Jerry Seinfeld video shown in the picture, in case you're interested: http://youtu.be/itWxXyCfW5s )
  • 788 plusses - 119 comments - 293 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-12-16 20:43:20
    Worst child's Christmas gift ever.

    Props to Reddit: http://i.imgur.com/OhonH.jpg )
  • 773 plusses - 264 comments - 236 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-08-12 12:10:17
    Oh, great. Now there are ducks on Mars!

    I told you earlier about the "rats of Mars" -- extraterrestrial rodents spotted by conspiracy theory types in NASA photographs. Well now they're seeing ducks!

    Unlike Earth ducks, the ducks of Mars live in caves!

    The existence of Mars ducks is great news, because it means any future astronauts building a colony on Mars can look forward to all the foie gras they can eat -- and well beyond the reach of PETA. 



  • 784 plusses - 265 comments - 227 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-03-01 22:59:51
    Why I'm not unplugging.

    Today at sunset, we're all supposed to unplug for 24 hours. It's called the National Day of Unplugging. 

    Screw that. I'm not unplugging jack squat. Here's why. 

    Organizers say the purpose of the Unplugging is to "start living a different life: connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child." 

    I don't want to live "a different life." I was born in the 1960s. I spent most of my life "unplugged." Yet I'm young enough to understand what being "unplugged" means. It means ignorance, wasted time, wasted opportunities and being a prisoner to time and place.

    I've travelled all over the world, and have seen how the majority of people on this planet live -- unplugged. If only they could afford Internet connectivity, their lives would be transformed for the better. 

    I'm supposed to "connect with the people in my street." But why are people in my street better than the people in my circles? They're not. What kind of narcissist believes that people physically near me deserve special attention?

    The unplug movement assumes we're all prisoners of connectivity. I don't know about you, but being connected has set me free. It lets me go anywhere, work anywhere, live anywhere, and yet stay in constant contact with my sons and my family and friends. 

    By all means, unplug if you want to. As for me, I'll unplug when I'm dead.

    What I really want is more connectivity. A LOT more. I want faster speeds, and cheaper satellite data and longer battery life. I want to be able to connect from the middle of the Sahara and the top of Kilimanjaro and the middle of the ocean. I want to be "plugged" 24/7 and 365 days a year. 

    What about you? 

  • 822 plusses - 213 comments - 225 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-01-05 21:43:40
    Why Apple should stop making iOS apps.

    When you open a new iPhone and boot it up for the first time, you’ll notice that Apple has already installed a bunch of apps for you.

    It’s a great idea, because it lets you use apps right out of the box. Even the newest, most confused user can tap on an app icon and start trying various things.

    Here’s the problem: Most users don’t replace the default apps with third-party alternatives. They mostly use the apps that came with the phone.

    And this is why Apple should stop making apps: The default Apple-made apps are giving iPhone users a second-rate experience.

  • 869 plusses - 359 comments - 126 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-11-05 05:03:09
    Google launches Helpouts!

    Google's eagerly awaited Helpouts was just officially announced! https://helpouts.google.com/

    The idea is to use Google+ video hangouts for connecting people who need help with stuff with those who can provide it. The help takes place live and one-on-one. 

    You can search for the kind of help you need, then choose who helps you based their fee, and also on qualifications, which you determine via ratings and reviews. It comes with a money-back guarantee.

    From the helper side, the Helpouts system will launch a thousand small businesses, which people with skills can do from anywhere. 

  • 414 plusses - 56 comments - 538 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-02-11 22:11:37
    FoxNews.com accidentally uses a picture of a lesbian wedding for article about 'how to choose a husband.'

    Best of all, the article was posted with the headline: "To Be Happy, We Must Admit Women and Men Aren't Equal." The editors failed to notice that the bride and groom in the picture were equally female.

    Bottom line: Any of you gals out there looking for advice on "how to choose a husband" might not want to consult FoxNews.com. 

  • 837 plusses - 264 comments - 184 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-07-09 13:18:32
    A fun look at the CGI that turns ordinary scenes into The Game of Thrones.

  • 761 plusses - 38 comments - 329 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-06-11 11:42:32
    Wow. Nice wave!

    The video is in slow motion, but still...

    This was taken in Namibia by Benji Brand using a GoPro. 
  • 899 plusses - 282 comments - 135 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-05-19 02:11:23
    What is a Google+ post?

    It's very simple for me: A G+ post is either a conversation or show and tell. 

    I use G+ heavily for private conversations with family and friends. And those are something else. 

    But when I post publicly, I'm starting a conversation or showing people something or both. But mostly it's about the conversation. 

    I use Friends+Me to automatically link to my Google+ posts from Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. The link takes them back to the G+ post. 

    One prominent tech writer complained on Twitter that I referred to a story, but that instead of linking to the story from my Twitter post, I linked to the G+ post, which he considered an intermediate step requiring another click to see the story I mentioned in my tweet.

    But I don't post in order to find stories for people to read. I'm not a news service.

    My tweets, Facebook posts and Linkedin posts are just invitations for the people who follow me on those services to come have a conversation about whatever the post is about. 

    Some people who follow me prefer those other services. And that's fine. But I don't want to have four conversations on the same topic. That's why I link everybody to the one conversation. 

    Yes, posts often have a link, and sometimes to stuff I've written myself. But the goal of all these posts is conversation. 

    So what's the value of conversation? To me, it's everything. It's where my ideas and beliefs are challenged, and where I serendipitously discover new ideas and new information by simply engaging with people on the topics we're all interested in. 

    Call it the Google+ University of Awesome. 

    In the process, I also discover new people, and by circling them, more learning. 

    That's what a public Google+ post is to me. What are your posts to you? 
  • 989 plusses - 142 comments - 139 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-06-03 14:12:56
    Memory card sends pictures from your camera to your phone (no Internet required!).

    Remember Eye-Fi cards, which sent pictures from your regular camera to your PC over the Internet? The new one requires neither the PC nor the Internet!

    Called the Eye-Fi Mobi, the card looks and works like a regular storage card, but acts as a WiFi hotspot. You connect your phone or tablet to the card using a free app, and your pictures are constantly moved to the mobile device. 

    The Mobi card costs $50 for 8GB and $80 for 16GB and ships today. 

    I wonder if your regular photos will then be instant-uploaded to Google+ and Auto Awesomed, just like your phone pictures. 

  • 782 plusses - 108 comments - 280 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-04-18 17:39:22
    The Spanish countryside looks like Windows XP wallpaper!

    On the train from Madrid to Sevilla today, I looked out my window and there it was: The Windows XP default "Bliss" wallpaper. ; ) 

  • 1093 plusses - 110 comments - 86 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-06-07 14:19:57
    How Microsoft, Apple and Google will connect all your screens.

    Suddenly, the thrilling future of consumer electronics is becoming clear. We’re entering a world in which any content -- movies, TV, music, books, games and more -- will be available on any device at any time.

    This is a huge transformation, and it’s coming very soon.

    It used to be that different devices were used for entirely different things. Go back ten years. We used TVs for -- wait for it! -- watching TV. Desktop computers were used mostly for "real work," office applications, web surfing, gaming and other uses. Laptops were either desktop replacements for some, or traveling devices for others. Phones were used for making calls, texting and other mobile-specific uses.

    By this time next year, nearly all these devices will do nearly all these functions.

    We'll use the TV for texting and video phone calls. We'll watch “cable” TV on tablets. We’ll do work on office suites with phones. We’ll check our shopping lists on the TV. We’ll DVR-record shows with our phones. Our tablets will do everything.

    This anything, anywhere, anytime future is closer than you think. In fact, it could start Monday: 


    * * * 
  • 838 plusses - 192 comments - 204 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-05-10 22:56:02
    Man implants magnets into his wrist to hold his iPod nano.

    A guy named Dave Huban drilled holes into his wrist and installed magnets to hold his iPod nano. He calls it the iDermal, rather than the iDumb, for some reason.

    Here comes the video: http://www.cultofmac.com/166352/this-guy-got-4-magnets-implanted-in-his-wrist-to-hold-his-ipod-nano-video/

    Posted first on Google+ by +David Zappala
  • 549 plusses - 387 comments - 291 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-06-15 05:07:41
    Wow! Microsoft to make its own tablets!

    +AllThingsD's +Ina Fried reports that Microsoft will announce Monday that it's making its own Windows 8 tablet hardware! 

  • 677 plusses - 365 comments - 219 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-01-13 19:40:07
    Only In China: an unauthorized World of Warcraft- and Starcraft-themed amusement park!

    A theme park in China called World Joyland is based on World of Warcraft. But you'll never hear the W word at the park, nor will you hear any Warcraft- or Starcraft-related jargon. Because the park owners don't have permission or a licensing agreement from Blizzard to profit from the popularity of Blizzard's intellectual property, they call the Warcraft-themed park "Terrain of Magic," and the obvious Starcraft part of the park "Universe of Starship."


    This picture was today's Mystery Pic. Props to +Brian Goodman for being first with the right answer!

  • 799 plusses - 104 comments - 257 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2012-12-10 14:36:32
    Say hello to my little. . . pony?

    Just in time for Christmas, someone customized this pistol with My Little Pony branding, for some reason.

    Anyone know the origin of this stocking stuffer?

  • 800 plusses - 256 comments - 188 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-02-22 16:33:58
    Google phone project could transform smartphones.

    Google got out of the phone business and into the phone technology business. http://goo.gl/4T5LZW

    Google's Project Tango phone has Kinect-like sensors for mapping 3D spaces.

    This can be used for augmented reality with more reality, vision for the blind, real-world mobile video games and more.

    Here are the details behind Google's Project Tango:


    #ProjectTango   #Google  
  • 978 plusses - 87 comments - 154 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2013-06-05 22:06:18
  • 685 plusses - 164 comments - 293 shares | Read in G+
  • Mike Elgan2014-05-09 13:35:37
    Why I'm so optimistic about the future of Google+

    There’s been a lot of speculative chatter about Google+ being closed, killed or at least neglected by Google.

    I'm happy to report that it's not true. All evidence and reason lead to the same conclusion: Google+ isn’t going anywhere. 

    First, I'm going to tell you why people are saying so many dumb and ill-informed things about Google+. And then I'll tell you why I'm super optimistic about the future of G+: 


  • 1022 plusses - 83 comments - 122 shares | Read in G+