Thursday, October 28, 2010

"I would like to buy a hamburger."

Paul the Octopus' death exposes our human sentimentalities

SHOOT: I think it's great that we care about a fellow Earth creature.  I think the text below exposes a few interesting qualities about us, and about our attitude to death in particular.  Notice that Paul has sent a message from the grave.  And notice, because of our emotional attachment, which is a good response, there's a need to create a place to remember this creature.  A grave.  But from the perspective of realism, Paul like any other creature, once it is dead, it's not there and certainly not there to care.  What the living do to make themselves feel better about the dead, and death, is really up to us, but our attitude to death - and the absurdity - says something of our attitude to life.  A realistic attitude to death helps us live in a way that is realistic for us as individuals, and hopefully, in a way that reinforces, affirms and sustains the communities in which we live.  Right now that appears not to be the case.  Perhaps because we don't think of death as a fundamental end of life after all, especially since there may be 'life after death', even for octupi.  Really?
Berlin - Paul the octopus, who shot to fame during this year's Soccer World Cup for his flawless record in predicting game results, has died peacefully in his sleep, his German aquarium said on Tuesday.

"Management and staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre were devastated to discover that oracle octopus Paul, who achieved global renown during the recent World Cup, had passed away overnight," the aquarium said in a statement.

"He appears to have passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes," said Sea Life manager Stefan Porwoll.

"His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself... We had all naturally grown very fond of him and he will be sorely missed."

Paul beat the odds during the World Cup by correctly forecasting all eight games he was asked to predict, including Spain's 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the final.

For the prediction, two boxes were lowered into the salty soothsayer's tank, each containing a mussel and the flags of the two opposing teams.

Watched by a myriad of reporters, Paul would head to one box, wrench open the lid and gobble the tasty morsel, with the box he plumped for being deemed the likely winner.

His astonishing ability made him a global media phenomenon. His later predictions were carried live on rolling news channels in Germany.

Within an hour of his death, more than 150 messages of condolence were posted on Paul's "official" Facebook page.

"Paul, we will never forget you. We love you," wrote one. "There will never be an octopus as cool as you again," wrote another.

Paul himself "wrote" from beyond the grave: "It seems, my time has come, finally. Take care everybody. Hugs and don't forget me."

The eight-legged oracle became a media superstar for his skills, but he naturally fell out with fans whose teams he failed to tip.

He was slammed in the British press for treason after tipping Germany to beat his "home country" which they duly did, 4-1.

He then fell offside with bitter German fans who threatened to turn him into sushi after he correctly predicted a semi-final defeat for the Mannschaft against Spain.

Stung by Paul's "treachery", some sections of the 350 000-strong crowd watching the game on giant screens in Berlin sang anti-octopus songs.

The honour of Paul's mother was also called into question in the stands, and Paul's home aquarium received death-threat emails saying "we want Paul for the pan."

No less an authority than Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero called for octopus bodyguards.

And Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian called for the creature to be given an "immediate" free transfer to Spain to "ensure his protection."

But Paul's fans need not despair too much at his death. The aquarium has already been grooming a successor, to be named Paul like his mentor.

Paul's body is now in cold storage while the aquarium decides "how best to mark his passing."

"We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds and erect a modest permanent shrine," said Porwoll.

"While this may seem a curious thing to do for a sea creature, Paul achieved such popularity during his short life that it may be deemed the most appropriate course of action."

Less oil in Alaska reserve than once thought

SHOOT: The title should read 'a SHITLOAD' less oil in Alaska reserve than once pontificated.

By RACHEL D'ORO, Associated Press Rachel D'oro, Associated Press Tue Oct 26, 11:36 pm ETANCHORAGE, Alaska – A sprawling federal energy reserve on Alaska's North Slope contains less than one-tenth the amount of oil previously estimated, federal scientists said Tuesday.
The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which covers an area slightly smaller than Indiana, has for years held much development promise for the oil industry. It was believed to contain billions of barrels of oil, prompting major energy players to put down stakes there.
But the U.S. Geological Survey said new data puts the amended estimate at just 896 million barrels of undiscovered oil. That's down from the agency's 2002 mean estimate of 10.6 billion barrels for the 23 million-acre reserve established in 1923 for energy development.
"This is both an abrupt — and for someone who does resource assessment — a disquieting change," said USGS research geologist Dave Houseknecht.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ode to the R63 [and the Corsa Utility]

The byways are the new highways - by Nick van der Leek

My job certainly takes me on less travelled roads, and it is surprising to find them in such immaculate condition.  The countries main roads [N1 and N2 for example] are being pounded into potholes and gravel by a continuous stream of trucks.  Driving at night there are more trucks on the road than ordinary vehicles.

On a recent trip I drove around 4000km in the very flexible, and very zippy Chevy Corsa Utility.
This is definitely my kind of vehicle.  Tough, light on the juice, small-ish and flexible for everyday use.  It's a little weak on steep inclines, but it's no slouch on the highway.

The seats are very comfortable and the loading bay canvas very easy to remove and replace.  Your chances of running out of fuel in the utility are also reduced because a petrol light starts flashing when you're running low.

Engine noise is so quiet, when idling you can't always tell if the engine is on or not.  And the sound system is great.

Back to the R63

There is no construction on any of the secondary roads [and none needed] that I covered en route to Namibia.  The same can't be said for the few encounters I had with the N1 and N2.  Even in the 10 metre section where I crossed the N1 heading towards Victoria West the N1 was under construction.  In fact, several large sections between Bloemfontein and Cape Town the N1 has been reduced to 1 lane.  Not so with the R63.

A lovely road, a teeming with wild animals.  At one point I spotted a hare racing towards my headlights with a jackal behind it.  The hare didn't stop running, but the jackal finally pulled over and then dodged off the road.  The number of raptors haunting the R63 is also impressive.

This road starts in PE, goes up across the N1 via Graaf Reinet and then curves via Carnarvon and Williston.  I'm pitching a story of the R63 to a few publications, so hold thumbs.

Hooters waitress wins Toy Yoda

Hooters Girl Competes In Contest Thinking She'll Win A Toyota, Actually Wins Toy Yoda

This story is old as hell, but I'd never heard it and it's too good to pass up. So apparently a Florida Hooters waitress competed in a beer-sales competition in which the grand prize was a Toyota, only thing is, it was never spelled, only spoken.
UPDATE: Apparently Hooters settled for an undisclosed amount of money that was more than enough to buy a Toyota

My Cape Town [Music Video]

The true size of Africa

Impossible [VIDEO]

One of my favourite songs at the moment. So mournful and yet somehow, triumphant. Kinda like I'm feeling right now ;-)

And you were strong and I was not
My illusion, my mistake
I was careless, I forgot
I did
And now when all is done
There is nothing to say

Also liking:

Cool video, song is so-so.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Power of the Public's Voice

Last week civil organisations sent a petition to ANC officials during the national general council condemning what they viewed as a huge threat to media freedom, which is a "key aspect of SA's young democracy".
Media organisation Avaaz started the petition last Wednesday and had garnered 30276 signatures against the ANC's proposal by yesterday.
SA National Editors' Forum chairman Mondli Makhanya said the media was encouraged by the support from civil society, who will also be greatly affected by both proposals.

"We've been emphasising all along that the fight against the tribunal and secrecy bill was not just about journalists and the media, but about the public's right to know. Media freedom is not ours only," he said.
Makhanya said the uproar against the proposed media regulatory body had forced the ministry of state security to "tone down the bill" and for the ANC to "rethink" aspects of the tribunal.
"They've since withdrawn some of the clauses because one of the main concerns was the broadness of the term 'national interest'."

Makhanya said the fact that they saw fit to change it shows the power of the public's voice.
William Bird, the director of Media Monitoring Africa, said South Africans needed to engage on how best to curb the statutory nature of the media appeals tribunal.
"We know that our current systems [as media] are not 100%, but that does not warrant the statutory nature of the media appeals tribunal," he said.

Go to AVAAZ.

Ferial Haffajee, Anton Harber, Mark Weinberg and Jackson Mthembu on Media Freedom

Shark Encounter

Friday, October 15, 2010

Gill Moodie asks: Will the sun ever set on SAPA?

Note: Below is an extract from an excellent article by Gill Moodie.

Across the world, and here in SA, we have media houses pooling resources across titles and creating sub-editors' hubs, political reporting teams, investigative journalism units. Some work better than others but the reality is that, in today's world, it makes no sense to duplicate resources.

An obvious area of cost saving is wire agency copy. South Africa's newspapers pay small fortunes for feeds from international agencies such as Reuters, AFP and for syndicated foreign copy from the world's most prestigious newspapers. So, for example, you will notice that the Sunday Times carries copy from The Times of London but no longer that of The New York Times - the latter went out with the recession.

Costs in constant review

Some of these costs are shared across titles, of course, but they are in constant review. Is what we're paying really worth what we're getting, editors and media executives ask themselves - how much of this will the readers miss and can we do it ourselves for cheaper?

SAPA is funded by the member newspapers of the big four - Media24, Independent Newspapers, Avusa and Caxton - but there have been musings from different quarters for many years as to whether it is worth the cost.

Certainly, the scope of the Media24 and Independent groups should make SAPA redundant. Both have newspapers in the three major cities: Joburg, Cape Town and Durban. Caxton has only The Citizen in Johannesburg (its community titles would be hard pressed to contribute to a group wire) and Avusa is strong only in Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape.

Even so, how much news from Parliament in Cape Town, for instance, do The Citizen's readers actually want? Copy could be bought piecemeal and the paper already outsources its business pages to the Moneyweb website, so there is a different model in the making there


Avusa, meanwhile, has appointed Charmain Naidoo, the former editor of The Herald, to head up the creation of the Avusa Media News Service. A precursor to pulling out of SAPA? Possibly, but it remains to be seen whether a traditional newspaper environment can really get the agency mindset right - of getting things out as fast as possible and giving up ownership of stories so that everyone can share in the spoils. 

Read the rest here.

SHOOT: During my 2 year plus stint at AVUSA I was appalled at the amount of mindless shovelling [of newswire and SAPA stories going on. It's a dirty habit, and the dirty secret of most editors who want to free up their time on the average day.  They will claim editorial independence [yes, to duplicate, regurgitate the same old story] but what it really is is unimaginative laziness.

In more than one instance the same 4 newspapers published exactly the same stories and photographs.  The Reitz Four comes to mind, so does the burning man incident.  But there are numerous others, and its an ongoing problem. News is becoming not firsthand, or second, but fifth-hand and worse.  It is no longer what it claims to be - its not news, its cud [as in chewing and rechewing the cud].

Newspapers complain that their profits are falling; when four newspapers duplicate their content what is the point of having four?  What is the point of having the same SAPA stories in four publications?  And what is the point of a publication if all it does is churn out vanilla news?

Interestingly, I knew one of the Reitz four; I had my own archive of photo, video and first hand experience with the guy.  You had the same vanilla story on front pages of all the major newspapers.  People were looking for something new.  When I offered material on this to my editor there was a shock.  Because that would mean actually writing a story and doing some real work.  Shovelling is the lazy way, no thinking is involved, but down the line, don't expect to keep your job, or your publication to succeed.  Sure enough, the team I belonged to was 15 strong when I joined.  It's now down to 3.  No surprises there.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Going Fishing with the Corsa Utility

Corsa Utility is just so...utilitarian - by Nick van der Leek
 There are three things I really like about this little vehicle. 
1. The back flap has a lock.  You may think it's a bum feature [excuse the pun] but have a look at a similar vehicle, like a Ford Bantam.  Not having a backflap that can lock is a bit of a bummer.  The ease of locking the canvas into place is also very nifty.
 2. The brake light over the cockpit is another nice touch, just adding a dash of safety when driving on the highway.  If you slow down it's that much more visible.
 3.  And finally, don't you find it irritating when you turn off the vehicle the radio gets turned off too?  Doesn't happen with the Corsa.  The sound system only deactivates once the key [in the off position] is removed from the ignition touch.  Nice going.

After 57 months on the market, this vehicle passed the milestone of 100 000 units sold.  Currently it's the second most popular light commercial vehicle in its class. More info here.

Great Fish River [PHOTOGRAPHY]

Monday, October 11, 2010

Raynard, Raelert and Macca [PHOTOS ALONG THE QUEEN K]

The View from my Bicycle [COLUMN]

"Most of us only have a dozen or so interesting moments in our lives, the rest is filler" by Nick van der Leek

My goal, when I started my university career, was to have a boring life. Boring is probably the wrong word. 'Textbook' is probably better. In the days of LA Law and The Practice I wanted to be a professional, I wanted to have colleagues that looked like Lara Flynn Boyle and I've always been good at arguing. The problem was, I also had a conscience, and it's been my gift or my curse always to listen to it. By conscience I don't necessarily refer to a sense of moral zeitgeist, more a gut feel about what is happening in the world.

I ditched law after a year because I suspected I would be to sincere and to honest to be a good shark. And Apartheid South Africa and even Post Apartheid South Africa didn't seem the kind of place where an honest appreciation of truth, justice and the Seffrican would get you very far. I may have been wrong. I've paid lawyers around R12000 a day for their services. It takes me 3 or 4 articles in major magazines to earn that sort of moolah, and months of to-ing and fro-ing before payday.


I also studied economics, and while some may disparage it as a phantom job [similar to weather reporting, or preaching] I have found it invaluable in the insights it has given to me. In the same way that I ditched law, I also turned my back on banking. Something seemed wrong to me about a financial system where you charge people interest for the benefit of making loans, where credit makes the world go round. In short, I had a hunch that this house of credit cards, derivatives and debt-based wealth [if that makes any sense] wasn't going to last.
I may have been wrong on that count too. It's lasted long enough to make a lot of money, and I've seen friends that I've studied with grow exceedingly wealthy.


I also studied advertising, and although the creative aspect of this career inspired me, I found the people who work at these agencies ultra-shallow. Where will you find a more worldly person than in an advertising agency? Where people suck up to each other on the basis of the brand they're sucking up to. Steve is on the Coke account, so let's all suck Steve's dick. Excuse the crassness, but that is exactly what it involves. If people like you in advertising, you're confident, if they don't, you're arrogant. If you're good at what you do, the adworld sucks you in and spits out Mike Lipkin. I could see myself becoming him, and I guess I just wasn't interesting in being that worldly. Being creative is one thing; doing it in absolute service to the selling of stuff so consumers can consume...well that wasn't my thing.

The Poor Life

As you can imagine, I had a hard time finding anything that was worth doing. And being somewhat anti-establishment, somewhat anti-money, didn't make me rich. For me a job has always been more than a job. It is a statement of mission, of who we say we are. Because what we do is who we are. I didn't like what my job said about me.

Which is how I eventually came to be doing what I am doing now.  Although I am not a lawyer, or a banker, I still get to call myself a professional.  I sometimes stay in the swankiest places around; but equally, I enjoy roughing it in some of the most God forsaken places.  I explore, I discover, and then I share these discoveries. I write and photograph on my travels, I interview people.  Sometimes, often, without going anywhere, perhaps whilst running or watching the sun burning through the lightblue blanket of Monday morning sky, I will have an idea, and I will sell these - hopefully lucid thoughts - to editors who might be so overloaded and suffering from ADD and information overload that such lucidity may be in high demand.

I sell some of my coverage to magazines, or websites, or newspapers. Sometimes individuals or companies hire me to do private work for them. This may be photography, or writing, or both. A big part of my job is reflection. I look at what I see, and I reflect it back in photographs and words. I seem to have a talent at this; people seem to be appreciative of my work and as long as they are I can continue doing it.

Money makes the world go round [only it doesn't really]

The world being the way that it is, based on money, I have to earn some in order to survive. Which means occasionally I do work that I don't feel inclined to do. But on average, I'm able to tell the stories that interest and inspire me. It gives me a freedom to live unconfined by office space or trapped in timetables. I do have deadlines, but I tend to create them myself.

It is interesting to observe that many of my reservations related to the world are coming home to roost. Look out the Douglas Coupland post below this one [or click here].He talks about a few things I have suspected for some time, and I expect you have too. Things are getting worse. The middle class is disappearing. Being an individual in the future will become harder, but being alone will become easier. Expect less. But above all, this idea interested me:

It will become harder to view your life as “a story”
. Coupland reckons: The way we define our sense of self will continue to morph via new ways of socializing. The notion of your life needing to be a story will seem slightly corny and dated. Your life becomes however many friends you have online.

Since time immemorial 'Story' has grounded human beings, given us a sense of place, and context, value and meaning. Families have stories.  Cultures have stories.  Nations have stories. The Bible is a good example of a story that people use to infuse meaning into their everyday lives. Believe it or not, but you have a story, a narrative, that explains you to yourself, and the world. These thoughts and ideas clothe and represent you. Without your memories, and the way you 'frame' and interpret these pictures, you would not be who you are, and your sense of belonging would be very different.

In the end, we live one life. Probably, most of us will remember about a dozen interesting moments in our lives. We may look back on very occasions that we awoke through the mutual malaise of conspirational consumption, distraction and entertainment, and ever did something that was a credit to ourselves, or even better, our species. The herd mentality is good when the herd is good, but human beings have departed that road some time ago. The herd today is greedy and overweight, heads filled with noise, hearts filled with wanting things we don't want. We can only begin to move away from this selfishness when we begin to still the noise. We when can stop and see a bird on the side of the road, listen to its song and know its name. Without a connection to nature, nothing much matters, and we begin to lose our sense of place in the world. It is our separation from nature, its silence, and its goodness, that impoverishes and fragments us.

The answer is to move closer to the plants and animals, and to spend enough time in this journey to rediscover our own inner narratives, so that we begin to piece together a narrative that makes sense for everyone. Things are going to get worse, and the bad news is we're in this together. But, potentially, this can also be the good news.

Douglas Coupland's Guide to the next 10 years

The iconic writer reveals the shape of things to come, with 45 tips for survival and a matching glossary of the new words you'll need to talk about your messed-up future.
1) It's going to get worse
No silver linings and no lemonade. The elevator only goes down. The bright note is that the elevator will, at some point, stop.
2) The future isn't going to feel futuristic
It's simply going to feel weird and out-of-control-ish, the way it does now, because too many things are changing too quickly. The reason the future feels odd is because of its unpredictability. If the future didn't feel weirdly unexpected, then something would be wrong.
3) The future is going to happen no matter what we do. The future will feel even faster than it does now
The next sets of triumphing technologies are going to happen, no matter who invents them or where or how. Not that technology alone dictates the future, but in the end it always leaves its mark. The only unknown factor is the pace at which new technologies will appear. This technological determinism, with its sense of constantly awaiting a new era-changing technology every day, is one of the hallmarks of the next decade.
4)Move to Vancouver, San Diego, Shannon or Liverpool
There'll be just as much freaky extreme weather in these west-coast cities, but at least the west coasts won't be broiling hot and cryogenically cold.
5) You'll spend a lot of your time feeling like a dog leashed to a pole outside the grocery store – separation anxiety will become your permanent state
6) The middle class is over. It's not coming back
Remember travel agents? Remember how they just kind of vanished one day?
That's where all the other jobs that once made us middle-class are going – to that same, magical, class-killing, job-sucking wormhole into which travel-agency jobs vanished, never to return. However, this won't stop people from self-identifying as middle-class, and as the years pass we'll be entering a replay of the antebellum South, when people defined themselves by the social status of their ancestors three generations back. Enjoy the new monoclass!
7) Retail will start to resemble Mexican drugstores
In Mexico, if one wishes to buy a toothbrush, one goes to a drugstore where one of every item for sale is on display inside a glass display case that circles the store. One selects the toothbrush and one of an obvious surplus of staff runs to the back to fetch the toothbrush. It's not very efficient, but it does offer otherwise unemployed people something to do during the day.
8) Try to live near a subway entrance
In a world of crazy-expensive oil, it's the only real estate that will hold its value, if not increase.
9) The suburbs are doomed, especially thoseE.T. , California-style suburbs
This is a no-brainer, but the former homes will make amazing hangouts for gangs, weirdoes and people performing illegal activities. The pretend gates at the entranceways to gated communities will become real, and the charred stubs of previous white-collar homes will serve only to make the still-standing structures creepier and more exotic.
10) In the same way you can never go backward to a slower computer, you can never go backward to a lessened state of connectedness
11) Old people won't be quite so clueless
No more “the Google,” because they'll be just that little bit younger.
12) Expect less
Not zero, just less.
13) Enjoy lettuce while you still can
And anything else that arrives in your life from a truck, for that matter. For vegetables, get used to whatever it is they served in railway hotels in the 1890s. Jams. Preserves. Pickled everything.
14) Something smarter than us is going to emerge
Thank you, algorithms and cloud computing.
15) Make sure you've got someone to change your diaper
Sponsor a Class of 2112 med student. Adopt up a storm around the age of 50.
16) “You” will be turning into a cloud of data that circles the planet like a thin gauze
While it's already hard enough to tell how others perceive us physically, your global, phantom, information-self will prove equally vexing to you: your shopping trends, blog residues, CCTV appearances – it all works in tandem to create a virtual being that you may neither like nor recognize.
17) You may well burn out on the effort of being an individual
You've become a notch in the Internet's belt. Don't try to delude yourself that you're a romantic lone individual. To the new order, you're just a node. There is no escape
18) Untombed landfills will glut the market with 20th-century artifacts
19) The Arctic will become like Antarctica – an everyone/no one space
Who owns Antarctica? Everyone and no one. It's pie-sliced into unenforceable wedges. And before getting huffy, ask yourself, if you're a Canadian: Could you draw an even remotely convincing map of all those islands in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories? Quick, draw Ellesmere Island.
North America can easily fragment quickly as did the Eastern Bloc in 1989
Quebec will decide to quietly and quite pleasantly leave Canada. California contemplates splitting into two states, fiscal and non-fiscal. Cuba becomes a Club Med with weapons. The Hate States will form a coalition.
21) We will still be annoyed by people who pun, but we will be able to show them mercy because punning will be revealed to be some sort of connectopathic glitch: The punner, like someone with Tourette's, has no medical ability not to pun
22) Your sense of time will continue to shred. Years will feel like hours
23) Everyone will be feeling the same way as you
There's some comfort to be found there.
24) It is going to become much easier to explain why you are the way you are
Much of what we now consider “personality” will be explained away as structural and chemical functions of the brain.
25) Dreams will get better
26)Being alone will become easier
27)Hooking up will become ever more mechanical and binary
28) It will become harder to view your life as “a story”
The way we define our sense of self will continue to morph via new ways of socializing. The notion of your life needing to be a story will seem slightly corny and dated. Your life becomes however many friends you have online.
29) You will have more say in how long or short you wish your life to feel
Time perception is very much about how you sequence your activities, how many activities you layer overtop of others, and the types of gaps, if any, you leave in between activities.
30) Some existing medical conditions will be seen as sequencing malfunctions
The ability to create and remember sequences is an almost entirely human ability (some crows have been shown to sequence). Dogs, while highly intelligent, still cannot form sequences; it's the reason why well-trained dogs at shows are still led from station to station by handlers instead of completing the course themselves.
Dysfunctional mental states stem from malfunctions in the brain's sequencing capacity. One commonly known short-term sequencing dysfunction is dyslexia. People unable to sequence over a slightly longer term might be “not good with directions.” The ultimate sequencing dysfunction is the inability to look at one's life as a meaningful sequence or story.
31) The built world will continue looking more and more like Microsoft packaging
“We were flying over Phoenix, and it looked like the crumpled-up packaging from a 2006 MS Digital Image Suite.”
32) Musical appreciation will shed all age barriers
33) People who shun new technologies will be viewed as passive-aggressive control freaks trying to rope people into their world, much like vegetarian teenage girls in the early 1980s
1980: “We can't go to that restaurant. Karen's vegetarian and it doesn't have anything for her.”
2010: “What restaurant are we going to? I don't know. Karen was supposed to tell me, but she doesn't have a cell, so I can't ask her. I'm sick of her crazy control-freak behaviour. Let's go someplace else and not tell her where.”
34) You're going to miss the 1990s more than you ever thought
35) Stupid people will be in charge, only to be replaced by ever-stupider people. You will live in a world without kings, only princes in whom our faith is shattered
36) Metaphor drift will become pandemic
Words adopted by technology will increasingly drift into new realms to the point where they observe different grammatical laws, e.g., “one mouse”/“three mouses;” “memory hog”/“delete the spam.”
37) People will stop caring how they appear to others
The number of tribal categories one can belong to will become infinite. To use a high-school analogy, 40 years ago you had jocks and nerds. Nowadays, there are Goths, emos, punks, metal-heads, geeks and so forth.
38)Knowing everything will become dull
It all started out so graciously: At a dinner for six, a question arises about, say, that Japanese movie you saw in 1997 (Tampopo), or whether or not Joey Bishop is still alive (no). And before long, you know the answer to everything.
39) IKEA will become an ever-more-spiritual sanctuary
40) We will become more matter-of-fact, in general, about our bodies
41) The future of politics is the careful and effective implanting into the minds of voters images that can never be removed
42) You'll spend a lot of time shopping online from your jail cell
Over-criminalization of the populace, paired with the triumph of shopping as a dominant cultural activity, will create a world where the two poles of society are shopping and jail.
43) Getting to work will provide vibrant and fun new challenges
Gravel roads, potholes, outhouses, overcrowded buses, short-term hired bodyguards, highwaymen, kidnapping, overnight camping in fields, snaggle-toothed crazy ladies casting spells on you, frightened villagers, organ thieves, exhibitionists and lots of healthy fresh air.
44) Your dream life will increasingly look like Google Street View
45) We will accept the obvious truth that we brought this upon ourselves
Douglas Coupland is a writer and artist based in Vancouver, where he will deliver the first of five CBC Massey Lectures – a ‘novel in five hours' about the future – on Tuesday.

Cigar Guy Revealed [He's everywhere!]

Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee
Cigar Guy's secret identity has been revealed, and in the end, the truth was right in front of our faces all along.
Cigar Guy is, of course, the mysterious grinning stranger in the corner of that famous Daily Mail Tiger Woods photo from the Ryder Cup last week. Wearing what appeared to be a turban and smoking a cigar the size of a small tree, the absurdly out-of-place Cigar Guy kicked off a worldwide Internet game of Photoshop one-upsmanship. Within moments, Cigar Guy began showing up all throughout history, like here:
You can see plenty more of the same at Funny or Die, among many other places. Heck, at least one site is already selling a Cigar Guy t-shirt.  
But at long last, he's been found! The London Daily Mail did the investigative work, and it turns out that Cigar Guy is actually a mild-mannered, mildly embarrassed young man! (Isn't that always the way with our heroes?) Cigar Guy is Rupesh Shingadia, a 30-year-old investment analyst who -- no kidding -- still lives with his parents in South London.
The first clue that Cigar Guy was not all he seemed was the fact that the "turban" turned out to be a ponytail wig, as you can see here from this alternate angle:

And as it turned out, the mustache was fake too. Shingadia was a few weeks early for Halloween. But who was the inspiration for his costume? Why, someone that golf fans should have recognized instantly, of course:

That's right, he was dressed as Mig

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Game : Commonwealth Games

NEW DELHI (AP) — The British empire’s athletes first gathered 80 years ago, facing one another in friendly competitions as a way to bind together the king’s vast dominions.
It was 1930, a time when India was the jewel in the colonial crown, when the subcontinent was ruled by a small corps of English bureaucrats. The competition was known as the Empire Games, though even then, the empire had begun to fade.
Today, with India on the eve of opening what is now called the Commonwealth Games, that world is barely a memory. There are times when the former colonial subject speaks of its one-time master with barely hidden condescension.

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FILE -- In this Saturday Aug. 8, 2008 file photo fireworks explode over the National Stadium during opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. China and India are Asian neighbors, rivals and emerging global powers. When it comes to organizing major international sporting events, though, there is no comparison. While China launched its global coming-out party with the spectacular and grandiose Beijing Olympics in 2008, India has endured international embarrassment with the chaotic, last-minute preparations for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, file)
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India Om Prakash singh Karhana competes during the Men's shot put qualification event of the Track and Field competition of the XIX Commonwealth games on October, 6 2010 in New Delhi. The blue-riband athletics program was given the go-head at the Commonwealth Games Wednesday after frantic last-minute repairs to fix the damaged track during Sunday's spectacular opening ceremony. AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
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UNDERWATER CAMERA PHOTOGRAPH Australian swimmer Matthew Cowdrey competes in the final of the Men's 50 metre freestyle S9 for The Commonwealth Games at The S.P. Mukherjee Aquatics Centre Stadium in New Delhi on October 6, 2010. The Commonwealth Games are taking place in the Indian capital from October 3-14. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images)
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DELHI, INDIA - OCTOBER 06: Workers carry out repairs to the main athletics track at the JN Stadium during day three of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 6, 2010 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Graham Crouch/Getty Images)
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DELHI, INDIA - OCTOBER 06: Althea Charles of Antigua competes in the women's hammer during day three of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 6, 2010 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
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DELHI, INDIA - OCTOBER 03: Entertainers perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
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DELHI, INDIA - OCTOBER 05: Samuel Belkin (L) of New Zealand looks on as Teibana Mase of Solomon Islands receives treatment for an injury in the Greco-Roman 96 kg repechage bout at the Inidra Ghandi Sports Complex during day two of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 5, 2010 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
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Australia's Joshua Jefferis performs on the rings to win the bronze medal in the men's Individual all-round final during the Commonwealth Games at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
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England's Mark Anthony Lewis-Francis (3rd R) copetes during the Men's 100m qualification event of the Track and Field competition of the XIX Commonwealth games on October, 6 2010 in New Delhi. The blue-riband athletics program was given the go-head at the Commonwealth Games Wednesday after frantic last-minute repairs to fix the damaged track during Sunday's spectacular opening ceremony. AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
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From L to R : Parasport Shot Put athletes New Zealand's Jess Hamill (silver) Australia Louise Ellery and England Gemma Prescott (bronze) pose with their medals on the podium of the Parasport shot put women final event of the Track and Field competition of the XIX Commonwealth games on October, 6 2010 in New Delhi. Uganda's Moses Kipsiro won the men's 5000m title at the Commonwealth Games with Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge second and Kenyan Mark Kiptoo, third. AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
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DELHI, INDIA - OCTOBER 05: Sam Harrison of Wales (L) and Simon Yates of England (R) compete in the Mens Points Race at the IG Sports Complex during day two of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games on October 5, 2010 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
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Gold winner in the men's individual all-round final England's Luke Folwell celebrates after performing his last routine on the Horizontal Bar during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
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Li Karen of New Zealand eyes the ball as she serves to India's Madhurika Suhas Patkar during the table tennis women's team match of the XIX Commonwealth Games at the Yamuna Sports Complex in New Delhi on October 4, 2010. The Commonwealth Games are taking place in the Indian capital October 3-14. AFP PHOTO / Pedro UGARTE (Photo credit should read PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Ghana's Seth Degbe Fetrie falls after he misses a lift during the men's 69 kg weightlifting clean and jerk event during the Commonwealth Games at Jawaharlal Nehru sports complex in New Delhi on October 6, 2010. The Indian capital is hosting the October 3-14 Commonwealth Games, the biggest sporting event in the city since the 1982 Asian Games. AFP PHOTO/ Manpreet ROMANA (Photo credit should read MANPREET ROMANA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Ivan Popov of Australia (L) celebrates after defeating India's Dharmender Dalal (R) in the 120 kg men's wrestling semi-finals at the Indira Gandhi sports Complex during the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi on October 6, 2010. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN (Photo credit should read RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Australia's Georgia Bonora performs on the balancing beam in the gymnastics women's team final event of the Commonwealth Games at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
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Riders from various countries compete in the men's 40 km points race heats at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Oct. 5 , 2010.(AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
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From left to right, England's Robert Bale, Australia's Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Scotland's Andrew Hunter dive in the pool as they compete in the men's 4x200m freestyle final at the Commonwealth Games at the Dr. S.P. Mukherjee Aquatics Center in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
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Athletes compete in the Men's 5000m Final of the Track and Field competition of the XIX Commonwealth games on October, 6 2010 in New Delhi. Uganda's Moses Kipsiro won the men's 5000m title at the Commonwealth Games with Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge second and Kenyan Mark Kiptoo, third. AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)