Thursday, May 14, 2009


I want to be a cyborg so very much. There are so many ways we, as humans, measure out our world. There are also so many simple ways (and some not so simple, but quite effective) we could have those measurements at our fingertips every second of the day. They exist now, and they're fairly inexpensive. Here are some ideas:

  1. Compass: Through use of a device dubbed the "feelSpace belt", people are constantly aware of which direction is north. People who use the belt for a significant amount of time claim to have a vastly improved sense of direction, as well. An acquaintance of mine in San Francisco was working on an anklet version, and I want either device (belt or anklet) desperately.

  2. Magnetic Fingertip: Journalist Quinn Norton had a magnet implanted in her ring finger, an experience she wrote about for Wired Magazine. The implanted magnet made her suddenly aware of the electric and magnetic forces at work around her every day. There were unfortunate complications for her and others, but I hope greatly that those complications will be overcome, allowing anyone interested to start feeling electromagnetic fields.

  3. Impeccable Timing: A simple worn device that would administer a very weak electric shock at precise one-second intervals seems quite easy to create. Heck, for a while electrical muscle stimulators for abdominal toning were all the rage; one could probably hack an ab belt's interval and voltage on the cheap. Also, it's not as though a quartz clock is prohibitively expensive.

  4. Instant Night Vision: This one is blindingly simple, because all it requires is an eyepatch. If one eye is exposed to constant darkness, its pupil will stay open and its rods will not be saturated with light. A simple switch of the eyepatch when entering a lower-light area lets the ready eye absorb all the light it's capable of seeing. Even the Mythbusters have labelled this "probable"; Adam and Jamie experienced the difference an eyepatch makes.

  5. Wi-Finder: Shirts already do this. It wouldn't be hard to fit them with a small piezoelectric buzzer or such so that you'd be aware of the signal without staring down at your chest.

  6. Fingertip Laser Rangefinder: Imagine, as a builder or engineer, how wonderful it would be to simply squeeze a device on the back of your finger or hand, point down a board or a beam at a piece of paper, and get the distance from fingertip to paper. I'm not sure if laser rangefinding devices are small enough for this sort of thing yet, but if there was demand it seems certain that manufacturers would find a way to miniaturize them. They already exist in handheld form and are used in several sports; the public simply needs to call for versions that are successively smaller. Find a way to pair it with an ultrasonic tape measure and you'd have measurements for distances large and small.

  7. Level Glove: Another useful one for anyone performing a building project. Lay your finger flat against the appropriate surface and check the bubble for your reading. This wouldn't even need to be a glove; a short tube and two, maybe four elastic straps to hold it to a finger would probably suffice. (Sure, your iPhone or Android-equipped phone probably has an app for this, but it's hard to wear a phone on your hand all day on a job site.)

  8. Steady Step: When walking long distances, humans have to struggle to regulate their gait to maintain a straight line. A pair of aligned, hip- or chest-mounted lasers pointed at the ground could provide measured positions for a hiker's or a soldier's next footfall.

These are just simple ideas V. and I had in the car as we talked. Men like
Thad Starner are so far beyond these ideas that it's a little mind-boggling. In any case, I think I'll have to start a few of these projects sometime soon!

Monday, May 11, 2009

SONGS, Pt. I, or Chris Cornell is Insane

I love music. I especially love music with words. To me, a song is ten times better if it has lyrics, because then I can share the songs I love with the world without resorting to "doo-doo-doo"s and without trying to whistle through three full octaves. (I can only get two and a half most times, but I'm GOOD at "Livin' On A Prayer".)

There's a problem, though. Once I KNOW a song, or even part of it, there's a section of my mind that gets bored. Wheels begin turning, and before long I'm singing something about vaginas or cocaine or monkeys. Sometimes the rhythm of words and syllables stays; others, I'm just putting a literal spin on typical songwriting nonsense. (E. can't stand it.)

Here are some examples, with suggestions provided by some of my favorite Twitter users:


Hey, you think apples all have government microphones in them
But I sure like sticking it in your hoo-ha
When I dream, I'm doin' you all night
But next time, I might put socks on your paws first

- "Crazy Bitch", Buckcherry


Well, I guess what they say is true
I could never be the right kind of girl for you
I could never be a dingo
I could never be a dingo

- "Your Woman", White Town

We built this city!
We built this city on the site of the Big Bopper's plane craaAAAAAAASH!

- "We Built This City", Starship


In my eyes
On the head

- "Black Hole Sun", Soundgarden
I can't do any more of "Black Hole Sun". It's really ridiculous as-is. And don't get me started on goddamned "Spoon Man". (I think Chris Cornell may believe apples have gov't. mics in them.) Seriously, Jenny, your suggestions are already totally fucked. "Song Sung Blue" sounds like something you have to be an alien to do and on LSD to hear/see. It might also be about the Smurfs.

Honestly, though, most of the time I end up singing things like:

Icy, creamy ice cream
Fucked your mom!
(I'm going to go ahead and publish this because, after two days, I realized that I rarely have the mental acuity to even listen to music these days. The reason is a cute one, though.)