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useless technology update

no matter how much skill you may think the human brain possesses, most of the time, it is only going to be used to invent crap.

latest case in point is canadian, unfortunately... a camera that tracks eyeball movement from passersby in the vicinity of billboard, so that advertisers can test their efficacy and, one assumes, take steps to make their billboards more attractive (in the sense that they will attract more eyeballs, not in the sense that they look any better).

i'm going to state a fact that i would have believed to be obvious, but which has apparently escaped the brain trust at queen's university: most people passing billboards are driving CARS. we don't need to design better billboards to take their eyes off the road, because most of them are not that safe behind the wheel to begin with. i have to deal with this crowd, who are apparently convinced that they can talk on their cell phones and drink their starbucks while the car drives itself and, trust me, it's bad enough already.

i forgive some stupid technological advances because they have legitimate and helpful uses. but the eye-cam seems to have no redeeming value whatsoever. it's sole purpose is to deliver information to advertisers, so that they can make more calculated decisions on how to distract us with their wares. bravo.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…