Monthly Archives: October 2012

Vote Halo 4 President: 30 Crucial Reasons To Support Master Chief On Election Day

Halo 4 comes out on Election Day.  Coincidence? I think not! Check out my full GIF-packed list on BuzzFeed.

“You’re such a pragmatist, Chief”


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Greening Cities Through the Power of Public Urination

via The Atlantic Cities

via The Atlantic Cities

John Metcalfe writes in The Atlantic Cities

If you live in an American metropolis, chances are you’ve inhaled the pungent odor of human toilet.  For the homeless and the drunk, the city’s alleyways are makeshift bathrooms.  But what if public urination could be used for good?

Designers in San Francisco have that in mind.  The PPlanter team has created “a rapidly deployable, reconfigurable public urinal and sink that uses modular bamboo biofilters to treat urine and waste-water.”

As Metcalfe explains:

How does this amazing technology work? In short, somebody who needs to really go – the inventors are targeting beer drinkers and homeless people – holds it in long enough to reach a PPlanter. Guys level a stream into the urinal (ladies, you get the pleasure of using a “disposal funnel”) where a possibly bamboo filtration system converts it into drank that’s delicious for plants.

What’s unclear to me (after reading their Indiegogo) is whether or not the treated pee pee can be used to nourish other plants, or if the PPlanter is merely a sophisticated urinal that is merely a bamboo in a planter pot.

My guess is that, in large public gatherings, dozens of PPlanters would feed a large expanse of greenery, replacing the gag-inducing columns of teal porta-potties.

But even in the less ambitious scenario, having a publicly available waste-water system is preferable to treating the city like a gutter.

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New HALO 4 Trailer Produced By David Fincher

WOW. Looks Like Master Chief’s in a pickle. It also looks like he’s had a troubled childhood.

16 days til Halo 4.

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Foursquare Offers Personalized Coupons

Hamish Mckenzie writes on PandoDaily

The company is doing a trial with about 25 paying customers, including Best Buy and Old Navy, to see if users respond to sponsored results. “The point now is not for us to be generating a ton of revenue,” he said. “It’s to learn how these tools are supposed to work and to learn how the users are responding to the experiment of these promotions.”

Ultimately, he said, Foursquare’s proposed monetization scheme looks a lot like Google AdWords, but “targeted just at local, and exclusively on mobile.” The goal is to be able to let merchants target a specific 20-percent discount promotion to a specific user set, such as only the most loyal customers.

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Objectivity Is Concensus. Truth is Persuasion.

Are there questions political reporters shouldn’t try to answer? Michael Scherer of Time magazine seems to think so.

Determining which politicians are being misleading involves unreliable subjective judgment. Because no objective metric exists to sniff out deception, reporters are better off not tackling the subject.

He’s basically saying Fox News fact checkers will pummel Obama. And MSNBC fact checkers will crush Romney. So it’s best that reporters not call out politicians and just report the news.

…I feel I can say with confidence that the likelihood that someone believes they know who is misleading more is directly related to their own partisan feelings in this campaign. There are just too many subjective judgements that have to be made to come to any conclusion, and as I point out in my piece, we are predisposed to forgive those deceivers that share our worldviews and punish those who do not.

John McQuaid of Forbes disagrees. Just because something is hard to answer, that is, not able to be proven using numbers, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bother to answer.

That a question is difficult, and in this case super-controversial, are certainly powerful incentives not to make judgments. But I don’t think that makes this question effectively impossible to address. Moreover, to put such a question off-limits is arbitrary. Why this question, and not thousands of other subjective questions that have no empirical “answers” that are entirely routine in campaign reportage?

If you’ve been reading Draper’s Den, you’ll know that I think the first perspective is barf-worthy status quo horse-race news garbage, and that the second perspective describes the kind of stuff Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow do.

Yes, their judgments are subjective. They do not pretend to be cyborg-news readers without opinions or preferences or judgments. But they do their best to guide you through their thinking. You don’t have to agree with their conclusions, on which politicians are liars or what campaign is being phony, but they show you how they themselves got there. With video evidence and quotes and cultural observation they walk you through their thought process.

It’s called critical thinking.

In this kind of journalism objectivity is not pretending to remain neutral, it’s not depicting false equivalency, or acting “dumb” by merely stating what “he said” and what “she said.” Objectivity becomes forging a consensus: Trying to get everyone’s subjective opinion to mesh with yours because your descriptions are useful, insightful and open to criticism.

In this kind of journalism truth is not some magical representation of what’s REALLY REAL. It’s not merely reporting the news with a flat tone, devoid of the first person. The truth is not just quoting experts and citing studies. Truth becomes the most accurate and persuasive and useful description. We say things are “true” because we want people to believe us, to join us, to get others to do things. And the truth emerges when descriptions are agreed upon, when predictable outcomes occur, when facts “check out.”

Journalists need to define themselves as assertive, critical thinking story tellers, not just purveyors of campaign happenings, hiding behind bullshit ideas like objectivity.

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Red Bull Stratos Delayed Once Again

Tim Keeney writes on Bleacher Report

For the second time in as many days, you’re going to have to wait to watch Felix Baumgartner free-fall over 22 miles from the sky to the earth.

It appeared as though the daredevil’s Red Bull sponsored skydive from the stratosphere—man, that’s fun to say—was going to go off without a hitch on Wednesday afternoon, but as the wind kicked up, the crew was forced to cancel the mission for the second consecutive day…

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A Skydive From The Edge of Space: Red Bull Stratos

Redbull Stratos Felix Baumgartner


Mike Wall write on Fox News

On Tuesday morning, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break the world record for highest-ever skydive, leaping from a balloon nearly 23 miles above Earth’s surface.

If all goes according to plan, Baumgartner will step into the void 120,000 feet (36,576 meters) above southeastern New Mexico early Tuesday, then plummet to Earth in a harrowing freefall that will see him become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier.

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Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Episode 1

Leading up to the release of Halo 4, Microsoft has produced a 5 part live-action web series: Forward Unto Dawn.

The flashback episodes will follow the Master Chief and a young UNSC cadet, Thomas Lasky, who grows up to become the captain of the UNSC Starship Infinity.  If you’ve seen the Halo 4 trailer, you’ll know that this same ship crash lands on the new alien planet, right alongside Chief.

Forward Unto Dawn will be a compelling series, “filling-in” new fans on the back story and will provide cinematic glory for the uber-nerd fan hordes.

Episode 1 premiered on Friday.  My favorite part was, of course, the warthog.

Halo 4 drops on November 6.

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