Would A Twitter By Any Other Name Still Smell As Sweet?

What’s In A Name?

Ever had to think about the possibilities of a leopard eating a twittering bird, while wearing a red hat and being watched by an android who just happened to take a break from reading wikipedia and look out the windows of his pod? Yeah, that’s right. I just Taxi Driver’d web 2.0. Still, in case you wondering where new technology gets all of its wacky names, PC World has broken down the backstories of some of the most common (and most oddly-named) tech innovations of the past few years. It’s actually a really interesting article. Who knew so much thought (and fashion sense) went into the naming of Red Hat? Of course, the most interesting name in the whole article is the author’s — Thomas Wailgum. Clearly, someone is planning to launch some sort of crying gum machine in the near future…

WNYC – The Brian Lehrer Show Satire Slam

Check this out & vote. I’m voting for Bernie Madoff’s New Job. What are you voting for?

And here I thought the dreamphone was the height of cellular technology…(AKA: How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Fear The Phone Sex)

The KissPhone lets you send real kisses across the airwaves.

On one of my very first dates with a certain romantic interest who can only be described via the facebook parlance of “It’s Complicated,” I overheard him talking to his mom on the phone. Their sweet-as-pie signoff? He blew a kiss into the phone. Adorable, I know. Girls, I’ll give you a moment to pick the melted pieces of your heart up off the floor.

Now, thanks to a certain French inventor (whose other creations include the very sexy self-bolting door), that man could actually send his mother a real kiss over the cellular airwaves. Suck face with Georges Koussouros’ KissPhone, and the  device “detects the pressure, percussion speed, temperature and sucking force of the kiss, and transmits the data to the loved one at the other end of the line, where the kiss is reproduced exactly.”

All of a sudden, my friend’s endearing kiss-blowing ritual is looking a lot less cute and a lot more Bates motel. Kind of creepy, and definitely wrong on so many levels.

In fact, is there ever a time when a machine simulating the — ahem — more stimulating aspects of human behavior isn’t just plain icky? As much as I’m permanently plugged in to the various geeky gadgets I rely on to get through the day, there are still some things that are better left unprogrammed.

After all, once the machines are capable of making out, you know it’s only a matter of time until they’ll want to take things farther. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to trying to explain to my coffeemaker why I just want to be friends.

Windows 7 Will Smoke The Competition (well, someone at Windows has clearly been smoking something anyway…)

Apparently, the image above is one of the new default background images being included in Microsoft’s Windows 7 package. You know, the one with the awesome codenames (Blackcomb & Vienna anyone?), that’s already got all the tech geeks all atwitter. Windows 7 doesn’t actually get released until…well, whenever Microsoft decides that the hype has reached enough of a fever pitch. But clearly, the folks behind the design of  its default backgrounds have already started celebrating. Not that I’m objecting. After all, nothing says ‘Windows is fun again’ quite like reliving the last time you ‘shroomed.

Why The Government (At least in Malibu) Hates Facebook

poo1So, my mom is a journalista extroardinaire turned community organizer, who has lately undertaken the project of protecting the city I grew up in (Malibu, CA) from greedy developers and the even greedier politicians who cater to them. With her ancient computer and her trusty steed (also known as an electric bicycle), my mom has spent the past few months battling corruption in every corridor of City Hall. I couldn’t be prouder of her (and my ever-supportive, equally badass dad), and I couldn’t agree more with her cause.

I remember standing on PCH with her as a little kid, holding up signs imploring the people sitting in traffic to honk if they thought Malibu should separate from LA and become its own city. The idea at the time was that everything from our classroms to our coastline would be better served by a local government than it was by the massive machine of city bureaucracy. Turns out, local government can be just as bad as the big guys. Time and time again, I’ve watched while local officials chip away at the incredible beauty and independent spirit of Malibu (cheesy, I know, but totally true).  So, when my mom told me about their latest political ploy — building an environmentally and geographically unsound dog park/recreation facility in the hills above the neighorhood I grew up in — I was anxious to help inform my local elected officials that I did not approve of their plan. Being a web nerd, I sent out a facebook message to all the people I grew up with, asking that my fellow Malibu High School alums step in and join me in sending messages to the City Council’s swing vote, asking him to vote against the plan. Turns out someone forwarded him that message, and he was not pleased with the whole writing-your-elected-officials thing.

Mr. Sibert Himself

Mr. Sibert Himself

Of course, anyone who watched their Schoolhouse Rock knows that communication between a constituency and its councilpeople is one of the cornerstones of local democracy, especially since there’s that whole issue of elected officials being accountable to the folks who elect them. But hey, maybe Mr. Sibert forgot that part of his second grade education. Either way, he was apparently pissed enough to email my mom about it. For your reading pleasure, I have posted his email below. Please to enjoy. . .(Oh, and by the way, I may have accidentally included his email address in this post. But hey, I’m not asking you to email him or anything)…

From: John Sibert <jsibert@yahoo.com>
Subject: Continued misunderstanding of the process and my vote
To: “Cindy Vandor” <cdvandor@yahoo.com>
Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2009, 11:04 AM


Someone forwarded a copy of this to me.  I was aware that there was a concerted effort to try to influence my vote with a raft of emails on both sides (I saved them all).  Some included implied and overt threats, which is completely inappropriate!  I also understand creating an email campaign on an issue that one feels strongly about.  However, that does not influence my vote!  I was elected to listen to the issues and use my best judgment in voting, not to take a straw poll on every issue and decide based on the squeakiest wheels.

You should also understand that my vote on one more public workshop was driven not by the rancorous comments, but by the fact that the park was being modified in ways that I am more comfortable with – reduced grading, decreasing the dog park and kids playground, and keeping as much of the landform as reasonable (the “debate” about ridge, vs. knoll, vs. hill is a red herring at best).  It was also clear that the opponents were going to try to use the “secret” meeting (another red herring) as an argument against the park.  This workshop on Thursday is to allow everyone to get their suggestions into the staff to try to get the best project we can for them to bring back to the Council on May 26..  The council will not be sitting or voting.

Also please understand that the Council has already approved a park and will be looking for ways to make it more acceptable to the majority of the residents (both of Malibu West and the rest of the citizens).  It will never satisfy everyone, but then nothing ever will.


Please Read — Important Message for MHS/Malibu Kids
Between Dave Bresler, Melissa Dissette, Larry Heath, Tina Reddington, Brett Smith, You, Spencer Silna, Spencer Culbert, Liora Ziv, Kaitlin Cullum, Dakota Martinez, Brett Cohen, Jacob Daniel, Issam Elie Knickerbocker, Olivia Damavandi, Michael Goldman, Joey Marin, Alexis Bolter and Mollie Vandor

Mollie Vandor
April 12 at 4:39pm
Hey All,
I know that most of us former MHS-ers have long since graduated, and moved on, but I Just wanted to give everyone a heads up that there’s something going on in Malibu that’s worthy of a few minutes of all of our time.

The City Council is going to bulldoze a big chunk of Trancas Canyon , in order to build a dog park, amongst other things. Sounds innocent enough, but it’s actually not.

The bulldozing will destroy environmentally sensitive habitat, the runoff from the park (including everything the dogs leave behind) will go into Trancas Creek and the ocean, the park’s a fire hazard, and it could cause landslides into Malibu West.

So, what can we do? Send a short email to City Councilman John Sibert (he’s the swing vote on the council). The address is jsibert@ci.malibu.ca.us, and your email can be as short and sweet as: I’m a kid who grew up in Malibu , and I am against the Trancas Park Plan.

There’s a City Council vote at 6:30 tomorrow night (4/13), so the plan is for everyone who can to inundate this guy with emails. If you want more info, email my mom (Cindy) at malibuwestfiresafe@gmail.c om, and please pass this on to every Malibuite you know.


-Mollie Vandor

Twitter Leads to Immorality? C’mon – ReadWriteWeb


Apparently, social media is bad for our moral compasses, which comes right on the heels of Fox News’ report that it’s also bad for our brains. And we all know that Fox news is the harbinger of all things intelligent and all things moral. After all, how would I know the difference between good and evil if I didn’t have Bill O’Reilly around to remind me what evil really looks like. Not to mention the difference between intelligent and…well…not.

I mean, come on people. Twitter is turning us all into automatons incapable of intelligent thought and basic human emotion? Allegedly, the sheer act of being forced to react to what’s going on around us in real-time is impeding our ability to process things. If you ask me, it was our inability to collectively react to what was going on around us for the past eight years that brought our country to where it is today. Had we all been more aware, more plugged in and more concerned about the day to day movements of our political, social and economic lives, maybe we wouldn’t all be left wondering where it all went wrong. Maybe we would have even been better able to stop certain things from happening before it was too late (Bush’s reelection, anyone?)

Sure, fully processing the emotional complexity of a major event like the Hudson River crash takes time. But, that doesn’t mean that knowing about it and reacting to it right away is a bad thing. In fact, being able to react to things as they unfold is the very thing that’s being lauded about Twitter in places like Moldova right now.

I don’t think @GazaMom, who tweeted throughout the entirety of her unfair detention in a Cairo Airport last week (imagine, being detained in an airport with two young kids just hours from your home), was doing a disservice to the emotional/moral complexity of her ordeal. In fact, despite being a staunchly pro-Israel Jew who spent many weeks living in Tel Aviv as a kid, I was deeply touched by her Tweets. If anything, she conveyed the emotional and moral complexity of an immediately-unfolding situation much better by doing it directly herself than any other person or medium could have.

As far as I’m concerned, all of this ‘social media is ruining society’ stuff is right up there with the classic “What you don’t know about your salad dressing will kill you” fearmongering that denigrates our collective, societal intelligence a whole lot more than Twitter ever could.

Now, I’m going to go tweet about this blog post to make sure everyone knows it.