Wednesday Watercooler

Oh man, it’s been quite a while since I’ve done a ‘Wednesday Watercooler’ piece but as they say – there’s no time like the present, and the present has some ridiculous things going down!  First things first though, since we always do an entertaining manifest destiny through these here interwebz I thought it would be a nice little change to turn things inwards and do some self exploration for a bit!

A few weeks ago, one of my good friends posted a survey on Facebook about discovering your ‘Philosophical Archetype‘ – after I breezed through the 40 or so questions, I got my answer and it’s so perfectly fitting. I scored as the ‘Absurd Hero’, a throwback to Albert Camus’ ‘Myth of Sisyphus‘ and the idea of Absurdism, which by the way I totally ascribe to: it’s the dichomatic idea that as humans we ascribe to searching for a greater meaning of life though we cannot find it.  The Absurd Hero, in turn, finds humor and happiness in the absurd situations that life throws at them.  Me in a nutshell? You best believe it!  Another fun one to get your eyes on is the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, commonly abbreviated by MBPT. I scored as an ENFP – Extrovert/iNtuitive/Feeling/PercievingI took it again to double check and yup – still as true as ever! Some of our personality traits include, but are definitely not limited to: outgoing, easily talked into doing silly things, spontaneous, pleasure seeking, irresponsible, physically affectionate,  likely to have or want a tattoo, adventurous, unprepared,  prone to losing things, seductive, easily distracted, open, revealing, comfortable in unfamiliar situations, attracted to strange things, unconventional, energetic, impulsive, empathetic, loving. Head on over and take your Myers Briggs / Jung Personality test hereand now, on to the good stuff!

Dory Just Keeps Swimming

In case you were hiding under a rock yesterday when Mashable broke the news before my own company did, Disney and Pixar are pairing up one mo’gain to bring you the long anticipated, highly awaited sequel to Finding Nemo – Finding Dory!

Scheduled to hit theaters in November of 2015, the movie will feature role reprisals by our friends in the tank, Merlin, Nemo and how could you think of having this sequel without the lovely Ellen DeGeneres!

Sea Lions Get Down, Too

Even though some humans have two left feet, almost all of us can inherently find the rhythm; birds, too, can bob their beaks to the beat – well now there’s a new species to add to this animal party. A study out of UC Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Laboratory with a sea lion has proven for the first time that a non-human mammal can keep the rhythmic beat of a tune.  After teaching Ronan to bounce to the beat with click training, the scientists introduced new jams into the mix to test their theory and voila – welcome to the get down, Ronan! Check her out jammin’ to the Backstreet Boys and Earth, Wind and Fire!  And the final verdict – we now have proof that vocal mimicry isn’t necessary in order for one to keep the beat; comparative psychology, eat your heart out.

 

The Cell Phone is Having a Mid Life Crisis

Next time you reach into your pocket to check Instagram, or see if your best friend had a good date last night – think about this one: the mobile phone is forty years old this week!  On 4/3/73 in Motrorola’s New York division, Martin Cooper completed the first cell phone call – and it’s all been downhill for humanity from there 😉  As of 2013, there are at least 6.5 billion cell phone users – and I have to give some kudos to UK’s The Guardian for my favorite fact: By the end of 2011, there were 78 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people in the developing world. In the developed world there were 122 subscriptions per 100. Meaning every fifth person you meet has two phones and is probably a crystal meth dealer/having an affair.

Obama Gets Mindful

Don’t get me wrong, I love science, astronomy and the spectacle that is the universe – but it’s also good to know that I’m not the only one who wants to shift the focus from our surroundings to what’s going on inside those beautiful, big brains of ours.  Yesterday in an announcement at the White House, President Obama announced a brand spankin’ new scientific campaign set at understanding and analyzing the human brain.  With a $100 million proposed budget in hand, he’ll be reaching out to some of the top research institutes in the country, as well as private labs and non-profit efforts.  The goal of the study is to discover how interactions between neurons form the human psyche; the results would have a global benefit.

 

Feeding the Black Holes

Now that my brain has been satiated with news for the day, let’s look to the galaxy and beyond – there’s something absolutely nutty happening with black holes right now.  In one universe, Galaxy NGC 4845 – a black hole is currently devouring a planet. NBD. And finally, that little antimatter detector at the International Space Station is getting some interesting data: it’s tasted its first bit of dark matter; exciting!

Stop Motion Chalk Tetris 

I’m not a huge fan of stop motion, but even I have to admit that this is rad! H/T to The Colossal:

Wednesday Watercooler

Baby, It’s Cold Outside
It’s been a frigid past few days in Southern California – Arctic Freeze 2013 is no joke; well, except to the rest of the country!  While we’re lamenting about trading in our perennial flip-flop wearing weather for a few days of finally flaunting our sexy winter coats and knee high boots, everyone else is mocking our inability to handle weather under 65 degrees.

Financial Trading Has Gone to the Cats

The early bird might very well get the worm, but apparently the early cat also gets the trade.  Last year, an adorable feline named Orlando got his little paws on an investment challenge sponsored by The Guardian.  As luck would have it, this cat wound up over $500 richer than the other participants which included a group of finance students, stock brokers and wealth managers.

A Solo Duet
Technology can be a wily minx; there’s this perpetual race to see what we can come up with next but there are only a few rare moments when I feel truly amazed.  This is one of those moments.  Equipped with a neuroheadset set to detect brainwaves, renowned Cellist Katinka Kleijn managed to perform both halves of a duet at once!  Her hands to performed one half of the duet, and the other was performed using her mind – brainwaves were interpreted by machine and translated into sounds.

Obama’s 23 Executive Actions on Gun Violence

This morning, after much anticipation and too many unfortunate events – President Obama outlined his 23 Executive Actions on Gun Violence in America.  I’m proud to report that almost a third of them pertain to Mental Health.  Keep in mind that this is a dialogue and a starting point; a means to and end but as a country – we need to actively work towards a future where all these things are possible.

Don’t Cough on Me
According to, well…basically everyone – Flu season is getting into full gear and it’s the worst it’s been in a long, long time. Thankfully, there are some social media tools at your disposal to help fight back!

My vote: Google.org‘s Google Flu Trends
First of all, I was pleased to discover the Philanthropic side of Google over at Google.org – what rocks have I been hiding under?! Secondly, with Google’s Flu Trends you can essentially monitor real time activity on a regional, national and international level.  For an all encompassing look at infection rates and outbreak areas, checkout their partner site – HealthMap.

Capture of the Week
Slowly but surely, I’ve gotten more into photography – the nuances of lighting and shadow, empty space and intricacies of shooting inanimate objects sporadically cause me to geek out.  I’m still a total noob, but with the assistance of friends (and the interwebz) I’ve gotten to hone in on my skills and perfect my craft.  Every once in a while a picture grabs me by the shoulders and screams “Aren’t I magnificent?!” The picture below  is an areal shot of New York’s Central Park, and most definitely one of those pictures.

Wednesday Watercooler: Election Edition

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One of the many great things about being an American is the right to vote and the freedom of opinion; yesterday, we got to exercise that right. From President to Senator, and right down to using condoms in pornography and labeling genetically modified foods – there were plenty of important measures and ideals on the ballot.  For some, today is a day of excitement and joy, for others – maybe not so much; but to me, today is two very important things – first, it’s the end of our quadrennial slew of grotesque political advertisements (amen!) and secondly (and of moreimportance to myself) there’s only one month left until my birthday!    More about the later at a later time – let’s get down to political business.

Go-BAMA: 

First, we elect our first black president – next, we reelect our first black president! He delivered one hell of a victory speech last night – and I have to say, Mittens’ concession speech wasn’t half bad either.  Sure, it was a little – erm – short…and potentially something he hadn’t prepared for – but I appreciated lines like the following: I believe in the people of America. And I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is overbut our principles endure.

Puff, Puff, Passed:

Last night in a historic vote, Colorado and Washington both passed laws yesterday that  tax and legalize the use of marijuana and Massachusets voted to become the 18th state to okay it’s medical use; Arkansas’  ballot measure, not surprisingly – but unfortunately, did not pass.

Legalize Love:

Marijuana laws weren’t the only sign of progress on the ballot last night. Three states – Washington, Maryland and Maine – voted to approve same sex marriage, and Minnesotans voted against a same-sex marriage ban.  This brings the number of states that allow same sex marriage up to 9almost 20% of the union for you math people; America, fuck yeah!

We’re #51!:

If Puerto Rico and the United States had a Facebook relationship status, last night’s vote pushed it from “It’s Complicated” to “In a Relationship.”  Last night, Puerto Ricans voted on a two part referendum to evolve it’s 114 year relationship with the USA and become the 51’st state. Before the election, President Obama gave the nod that he would support this decision in case of a clear majority.  With a 61% vote for statehood, 33% vote for sovereignty and a mediocre 5% vote for independence it looks like we should start planning for a revised American flag.

Wednesday Watercooler

Hello, hello and congratulations on making it through to the mid-week mark once again  There are a few incredibly significant things about today, October 3rd.  First of all, did you know that today is Mean Girls day?  If you’re anything like me, you didn’t – but hey, now you do.


Politics:

Reason number two that today is super important is that today is….(drumroll please)… debate day! Yes, that’s right – today marks the first of three debates between the Obama and Romney camps.  Truth be told, most of my interest in politics came from watching talking heads and CSPAN with my mother when I was younger.  As I left for college, I had an idea of why voting was important but I didn’t exactly give a damn.  That all changed once good old Dubya was reelected to a second term; so I don’t fly off the handle – all I can offer about him is that at least he said some stupid stuff that made me giggle…and then it made me sad, because we elected him president. ANYways, and per usual, I digress.  Every election pushes this country in a different direction – with new obstacles and different trajectories; they exemplify both our national, cultural similarities and dive into our vast differences.  Democrat, Liberal, Republican or Independent – I know there’s one thing I think we can all agree on: we all support parties.

So gather your friends – you know, the ones with political views that don’t make you want to maim a small animal – around, grab some brews and get your debate drinking game on.  Like most things, politics is better when I’m drunk.

Movies:

When’s the last time you went to a movie theater?  It hasn’t just been months since I’ve seen a feature film, it’s been almost a full year.  When even a matinee costs up to $10, it’s hard to convince myself that going to the movies is a stellar investment. First you have parking fees, then – I bet that butter  infused popcorn would be absolutely delicious with a warm pretzel and a large blue raspberry Icee; okay, good – so that’s about $25 a person and we haven’t even taken our seats yet.  Well, someone upstairs has obviously heard my grumbling because there’s not one, not two – but three movies coming out that I am so willing to shell out cash for.

My number one must-see movie for the fall is Cloud AtlasAs soon as I saw the trailer I kicked myself for passing over the book, written by David Mitchell.  Beyond being based off of a book I’ve been dying to read,  it stars my childhood role model, and top 5 girl crush, Halle Berry and the ever fab Tom Hanks; and to boot – it’s directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski, the ever dynamic duo behind the Matrix trilogy.

Then, there’s The Hobbit – I might’ve fallen asleep the first six times I watched Lord of the Rings, but the direction, production and acting were unreal. Over time, I eventually did see the movie the full way through, and the sequels – but I’m sure they would’ve affected me more if I had actually read the books.  I feel almost vindicated that they’re making a movie out of The Hobbit because it’s the only book by Tolkien that I actually finished.

And, last but certainly not least, the trailer for the highly anticipated Disney movie The Lone Ranger  was released this morning staring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer, from The Social Network, as John Reid – the Lone Ranger.  Let’s get real for a second – Tonto is essentially Jack Sparrow meets the Wild, Wild West but no matter, I’m still super stoked for it’s release next summer.

Social Media:

See that political drinking game up there?  Well let me tell you a story about it – my friend posted it to her page, and I decided it was worthy of hitting that ‘share‘ button.  But then I was taken to my page and prompted to help “promote” the post.  What does that mean, you ask? Good goddamn question – and I wasn’t sure either so per usual, I turned to the interwebs.  According to Tech Crunch, a favorite news repository, the feature was just added to accounts in the US.  If the user is willing to shell out $7, the post can be blasted to a larger audience. Um. What?!  For special interest pages – like Brands, Bands and Big Shots – sure, it makes sense; but for us common folk, I can’t say I support the feature but it’ll definitely be interesting to see what people choose to promote.