Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Four Links

If you like travel and geography, this site will suck all time from your life:

It plops you down on some random place in the world using Google Maps streetview.  You figure out where you are and guess.  I spent an hour playing with it when I had a lot of other stuff to do.

Where in the world is this?

If you watch Arrested Development, you can waste tons of time on this lovely App, from the most unlikely of sources, NPR:

I've often said that Arrested Development is the funniest show ever that constantly flirts with incest. It's a tiny category, to be sure.  This chart shows me all the times when it actually happens.  They even use the exact phrase I do, "...flirt with incest." 


This link isn't so much fun as bizarre.  I was at the Chicago Green Festival this weekend, and this was by far the weirdest thing I encountered:

Flameless Cremation

Instead of that messy fire to turn your body into ash, it uses "a combination of gentle water flow, temperature, and alkalinity" to turn you back into dust.  I had no idea that traditional cremation techniques were not good enough.  I thought the absence of caskets, embalming, and taking up space in the Earth was already better for the environment.

I checked out their website, and it all seems a bit... sketchy.  And creepy.  It seems like they're trying to solve a problem that isn't a problem.  And certain obvious questions-- like How is this better than fire?  And How long does the process take?-- are conspicuously absent from their website.   There's almost a defensiveness to their website, like they know it's creepy and they're trying to convince us otherwise.  They go out of their way to point out that using alkalis to decompose the body is not the same as boiling a body in acid.  They just use hot water and acids to turn the body into ashes.  They also point out, "These alkalis are also used in common cosmetic products, body washes, shaving creams, and many household products."  Um, yeah.  How is that better for the environment than good old fire?


Michael Pollan, of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food fame, is the subject of another interesting web app from the New York Times.  (Not to be confused with the Michael Palin of Monty Python fame.)

Here you can read some of Pollan's favorite rules about eating well:

They all seem to stem from his one core rule:  "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

Pollan has a new book out, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, which I plan to read soon.


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