Ant Farm Formicarium, 41
In 1929 Frank Eugene Austin invented the first commercially sold ant farm, otherwise known as a formicrium in the scientific world. However wasn't until this March 2014 when ants first entered space. This debut sponsored by NASA in collaboration with Deborah Gordon Ph.D. of Stanford University. The objective was to compare behavior differences and group behavior in ants living in normal gravity and then in micro-gravity conditions, along with interaction rates, density, and path shape. The hypothesis is to use this data for robots.
I call bullshit. This is some crazy baby boomer kid who had an ant farm and was inspired to become a mad scientist, or better yet an astronaut. The end goal, ants in space purely to observed how dumb they look floating around. Sure it seems simple and there may be some potential positive outcomes for the data analysis and discoveries, but is this worth the price tag; a million or billion dollars. Next up for space will be dust mites, germs, and then on the opposite end of the spectrum blue whales and elephants. Let's not forget their are plenty of neglected and starving animals as well as people on earth.
One commercial and or lucrative outcome out of this, is that ant farms no longer require sand/dirt, food, and water. With the new Fascination Toys, TVQuariam, and Antworks Illuminated Gel Ant Farm all you need is ants and electricity; as well as $20-$40 clams. The clear plastic container is filled with a transparent clear gel which acts as the water, food, and soil for the ants. However ants are sold separately. Apparently this gel was invented and used in space, however my research concludes this is far fetched.
Planking is the social media phenomena where idiots across the globe pose for pictures, seemingly as if they just passed-out, in the weirdest of settings. The body is face down with one's arms by their side and their legs straight.
Planking has been attributed to the Canadian actor and comedian Tom Green where he supposedly planked during his MTV show. Unfortunately this footage never aired however it's not unlikely Green devised this antic. Also occurring in 1997, just across the pond, two teenage boys also decided to lay face-down in public places to amuse themselves. This game remained popular in the UK, where with the onset of Facebook, it blew up. This meme went from being called the lying down game, extreme lying down, face downs, to planking thanks to Sam Weckert of Australia.
It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. In 2011 20-year-old Acton Beale planked to death, after plunging off a seventh floor balcony in Bisbane Australia. This occurred just before 4:30 a.m., where the catch-phrase "nothing good happens after midnight" never made more sense.As a result Beale was awarded a Darwin Award. Unfortunately more plankers haven't died and their lack of common sense will continue to proliferate gene pool. With Aussie planking having close to a million Facebook likes and the American sports league planking having the equivalent, it is highly unlikely this trend will ever end. Even those skilled in preserving life have planked, in 2011 seven doctors and nurses were suspended in England after a planking episod. So regardless of the consequences keep planking! Also if you're open to planking, consider a variation such as teapotting or owling.
Although commonly associated with pleasure seeking pimps, the waterbed was invented in the 1800's by physician Neil Arnott as a way of preventing bedsores for invalids, while providing a cleaner and pressure free mattress that moves. So by escaping gravity and dust mites the waterbed is beneficial for those bed-bound and suffering from spinal/joint related issues.
However this medical benefit was far from the consumer's consciousness in the 1970s-80s, they saw SEX! Waterbeds were the tits of American culture. Although highly impractical, they allowed the owner to be one with Playboy bunnies and Hugh Hefner. Hefner even had an elliptical king-sized waterbed aboard his private Big Bunny Jet. The bed was fitted with custom seat-belts for turbulent times and was privately accessible for Hefer. So when this jet started rocking, the bunnies came a knocking.
Although seemingly luxurious and fun, it is only after sleeping upon a waterbed that one actually realize their absurdity; you are constantly moving, whereas some would say being rocked to sleep by the ocean, others would disagree saying it's like having motion sickness and the drunken spins all in one. Unless you live in a tropical climate, most waterbeds have to be heated in the winter, fall, and spring otherwise you're sleeping on an iceberg. This of course requires a ridiculous amount of electricity, not to mention the innovation required to get a garden hose into your bedroom and the days it takes to fill the damn thing up. Donald King of Stockton California actually suffocated to death after accidentally falling asleep while filling-up his bed.
Many leases and insurance policies discourage water-filled furniture. Why? Because waterbeds weight close to 1500-2000 lbs. without people. Most building floorboards and infrastructures cannot handle this, not to mention they are hard to move, have to be maintained and cleaned, and most importantly they are likely to leak. So if you like a bit of risk and you're dying to spice up your bedroom, plus you have a taste for nausea and napping, and a moldy wet wardrobe; waterbeds are for you.
Candy Crush, 38
Apparently if you spend four to five hours playing Candy Crush you're an addict, well I guess that makes a lot of us. Sure some folks have alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, whereas today's addictions not only include sex and masturbation but hoarding and the playing of video games.
What started out as research for this blog, turned into a new affliction. All I can think about is candy, not eating it, but crushing it. It is like a mixture of packing a moving van, Candy Land, and Apples to Apples the children's memory game. Sure Tettris was and is amazing, but they don't have some deep-voiced dude say SWEET and DELICIOUS when you make a nice move. And although slightly erotic the game can be rather difficult to master, hence why it is so addictive. In March, Candy Crush's estimated IPO value was $7.1bn, where apparently these things are certainly working in their favor.
There is a psychological formula to game design, where earlier this year the Dong Nuygen actually pulled his game Flappy Bird from the internet as a sort of moral high road escaping $50,000 in daily ad revenue and thus saving us all from ourselves. It's too bad these games, their gaming revenue, and the time wasted on them couldn't be better linked to the moral high road. Otherwise in the meantime you can find me this Memorial Day weekend crushing some candy, and for what, who knows, maybe just to crush some brain cells.
Nailed Nails, 37
Nailed it, NOT! Far from a stigmata, and yet a small cry for help. People across the globe are not only Vejazzling their private parts, they're bejazzling their finger nails. Sure it makes sense to adorn your hands with , some nail polish, and maybe a rhinestone or two. But piercing your finger nail, come on now.
We've all seen that person before, with extremely long finger nails and we think "How the hell do they wipe their ass? or How the hell do they get anything done?" Shown above is Lee Redmond who holds the Guinness Book of Records longest female fingernail growth recorded where she began growing them in 1979 to reach a total length of 28 ft. or 2.8 ft. per finger in 2009. Regrettably Redmond lost her nails in an automobile accident in 2009. I'm actually gagging while typing this.
So...whether you are going the gross social outcast route or just trying to stand out, fingers nails aren't necessarily this complicated people. Sure some people bite them, while others just don't fight them. There is one thing to be said for going "oh-natural" hippy route, but clippers, polish, and manicures are nothing to be ashamed of. However there is a fine-line between beauty and hurting yourself, such as nail piercing and acrylic nails; which have to be sanded with a power tool and the dust is hazardous to breathe. So my question for the piercing party is why do you want a little jewel hanging off you nail, when obviously we all know hang'nails are the worst?
So as summer approaches, tis' the season of sweat stains. If you're sick of bleaching your deodorant pit-stained t-shirts and wife-beaters; Hypercolor is for you. Embrace your body heat! Hypercolor was brought to us by Generra Sportswear, a Seattle based company who monopolized the Japanese innovation of thermochromatic pigment. Matsui Shikiso Chemical fabricated the pigment which when applied to fabric generates color changes denoted as hypercolor. The most amazing thing about Generra Sportswear is that between February and May of 1991 they sold $50 million in product, yet in 1992 went bankrupt. Allegedly it was due to their failing underwear and lingerie line. Fortunately or unfortunately these color changing underwear never fully caught on.
Thermocromatic pigment is essentially the same thing used to make mood rings. The magic liquid crystal juice is taken from fallen meteorites and moon dust. In other words you can think of Hypercolor as a mood ring for you body. This makes the human experience even more evident, so a woman's nipple not only get's hard but changes color, and a man's erect penis lights-up. Showing hey they're horny or have a sweating problem. Hence why Hypercolor's "sportswear" failed. Now if only hypercolor ventured into the home such as color changing sofas and carpets tracking footsteps and sitting.
Another downfall of hypercolor fabric is it's lack of luster. After one harsh wear, wild wash, and or ironic ironing session; poof the pixy dust or thermochromatic pigment is gone. So rather than becoming a chameleon or wearing your emotions literally on your sleeve, maybe Fruit of the Loon and Hanes is the way to go.
Segue into Segway, 35
Is a Segway in my near future? Sure they are the quint-essential douche-bag mobile. I once saw a shirtless man riding a Segway to board a cruise ship. Apparently it was prescribed by his doctor, I guess the same as a wheel chair. But did his Dr. prescribe it for cruise ship use? Or is he obvious to the man overboard risk? The movie Mall Cop perfectly depicts the Segway's appeal to fat and lazy people, especially cops, security guards, and basically anyone fine with standing on their feet but opposed to walking. Confusing I know. Why not sit or try in-line skates? Scooters? Skateboards? Bikes?
The earliest Segway prototype found its way to the market via the media, which is actually backwards compared to usual. It, of course, debuted on Good Morning America in 2001, where having a lack of actual so called "news" spurred the need for filler material. Developers saw a news anchor rolling around in Bryant Park NYC and then decided to pursue and purchased the design. The first comercialized Segway hit the market in 2002, where it was later sold to Jimi Heselden. The good thing to come out of the Segway is the engineering and prototying for better wheel chairs and medical devices to help those less mobile, such as the iBot which will be marketed to climb stairs.
But back to Heselden, he was a coal miner, self made millionaire. A stand up dude, having developed Hesco a company that manufactured civilian and military devices such as the gabion used for flood control and base fortification. Heselden supported the troops by contributing to various non-profits and donations, he fully believed in giving back. Unfortunately his time was cut short, when ironically on September 26, 2010 Heselden was out "walking" his dog when his Segway fell 80 feet off the side of cliff where he died immediatly with impact. This goes to show you that innovation is great and formitable, but there is a time and a place, and sometimes the little things like the "walking" the dog shouldn't be so complex.
Mexican Jumping Beans, 34
In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, predominately an American-made holiday, lets discuss Mexican Jumping Beans. It is not a bean, but rather a seed seed which jumps around when heated. Basically the tiny moth larva living inside generates the movement. Although not actually a bean, the seed is native to Mexico coming from the mountain states of Sonor, Sinaloa, and Chihuaha. Sonora is the "Jumping Bean Capital of the World."
Aside from tequila, tacos, narcotics, mescal and manual labor; Mexican Jumping Beans' are Mexico's fifth largest export. Sold across the United States as well as North, Central, and South America. Everyone loves the bean, even longtime Debbie-Downer and Negative-Nancy, Karl Pilkington from the English television program an Idiot Abroad seeks the cute little trinket during his visit.
Agriculture and animal-rights groups have interest in banning Mexican Jumping Beans. The US Department of Agriculture along with the Department of Food and Drug administration have an uphill battle. The moths infest and destroy crops, peoples' homes, all the while idiot Americans' are so confused by the word bean, they just boil up these bad-boys with some rice and fried chicken, thus making a toxic moth-Molotov cocktail. Now PETA, otherwise known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have denounced the purchasing and personal enjoyment found with Mexican Jumping Beans. Essentially you are tampering with the moth's home which is detrimental their their mental and physical well-being, essentially torture. Imagine having someone constantly heating and shaking your home. PETA asks us "How is a moth's life any less valuable than yours?" So this Cinco de Mayo forgo the Mexican Jumping Beans for Margarita.
Most men get their haircut quite frequently, whereas I on the other hand go only twice a year. I know, I know, this is a long time, but visits to the salon and barber can be quite expensive. The last time I went I dropped $250 not including tip. Now you can see why I don't frequent fashionable frocks.
Well look no further because in 1987 Rick E. Hunts, a San Diego carpenter design and patented the Flowbee. After vacuming sawdust out of his hair, he then thought of the cleanliness of having a motorized razor attached to a vacuum, i.e. "haircut system." The interesting fact is the Flowbee can be attached to your home vacuum,hoowever they do make a mini vac to go with the attachment as well. A Flowbee will run you abotu $100+ with taxes, shipping and handling. The Flowbee is not only geared for human hair, but animals' as well. So now. both pet and zoo gorillas, can not only bite your face off but also give themselves and you a haircut.
What is truly amazing is this product is still on the market after 25 years. The biggest question is, who buys this and does it work? Well...testimonies from Stan at Beacon Electonics, and CE Crow "this is the best bang for your buck." Crow estimates "saving about $2000 and 120 hours or about a month of productive time" and Molley say "let alone the travel to and from a barber and the wait til hes available." The Flowbee has a following one reviewer has been dedicated for 10 years and anothern for 22. These guys even set up the Flowbee convention in Corpus Christie Texas. They've sold millions of Flowbees and still managed to maintain the "local, mom & pop" storefront appeal, well at lease this transcends in their website, which looks like the first one ever created. You really can't go wrong with buying a Flowbee, there's a 30 day money back guarantee.
But if you have hair longer than 6 inches additional attachments are needed. Most folks start out doing a little cleaning and vacuuming and all of a sudden hey find themselves trimming everything right in the tub; dogs, hogs, pubic hair, back hair, thus ending with head hair. You'll never feel so dirty with short hair.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.