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All aboard the Madagascar Institute's jet-powered merry-go-round! (Thanks, Benjamin!)
Maja Einstein is the younger sister of great scientist Albert Einstein. Maja was the only friend of Albert during his childhood. When little Albert saw his sister for the first time he thought she was a kind of toy and asked: “Yes, but where does it have its small wheels?”
In December of 2007, Free Range Studio released the excellent video, "The Story of Stuff", in an attempt to educate people about over-consumption. It has been so well-received that many schools include it in their curricula.Take the 'The Story of Stuff' Quiz (Thanks, Chris!)
Now, in what may likely be an opening salvo in the coming attack on Cap & Trade legislation, Right Wing front-man Glenn Beck is attacking "The Story of Stuff" as socialist propaganda, suggesting that it is un-American.
Beck suggests, "The reason why America is not as happy as it was in 1950 or 1920 or whenever, 100 years ago, is because our priorities are wrong, but it has nothing to do with exploiting the planet and has everything to do with losing faith in God."
Photos, above and after the jump, shared with Boing Boing by Audrey N. Carpio of The Philippine Star. Her first-person account from the ongoing disaster follows, and includes recommendations on how you can help the victims. She shot the photos in this post two days after the typhoon, on a relief drive in a town called Tumana. Link to Flickr set.
Typhoon Ondoy by Audrey Carpio
Typhoon Ondoy, aka Tropical Storm Ketsana dumped 40 cm of rain on the Philippines last Saturday before he/she left to wreak watery havoc upon Vietnam and Cambodia. But Manila and its surrounding environs are still in various states of calamity, with many parts of the city still submerged under dirty brown water and others, while drying out, caked in leptospirosis-inducing mud. The government and its presidentiables have been slow to act upon what could've been their Hurricane Katrina-hero moment but quick to seize upon relief efforts for electioneering. Instead, it is thanks to the generosity and ingenuity of the Filipino people who mobilized themselves through Twitter and Facebook that hundreds of thousands of victims have been fed, clothed and sheltered.
As early as Saturday evening, when people began to realize that floods have flashed rather quickly and videos of drowning trucks emerged on YouTube, relief plans grew almost organically on the networks. Tweets encouraging people to gather food, blankets, and clothing for donations were some of the earliest; by the next day there was an updatable and sharable Google spreadsheet on all the drop-off and volunteer centers; by Monday, almost all status updates and tweets had to do with emergency hotline numbers, relatives of friends who were stranded on a rooftop, and traffic advisories warning which roads were impassable. A Google map of people in need of rescuing was uploaded, although its usefulness is questionable, considering the general low-techness of the National Disaster Coordinating Council's rescue squads they only had 13 rubber boats with which to deploy to the affected barangays â€ or villages (to put it into perspective, 1.9 million people were inundated with flood water, nearly 380,000 have been evacuated into schools, churches and other emergency shelters, and 246 people have died.
A TV commercial for a 900 number that makes people cry. (Via Filled with Chocolate Pudding!)
This American Life producer Alex Blumberg talks with Ed Ugel, who had a very unusual dream job: he bought jackpots from lottery winners. When you win the lottery, your prize is often paid out in yearly installments. And Ed would offer winners a lump sum in exchange for their yearly checks. He's talked with thousands of lottery winners, and the vast majority, he says, wish they'd never won. Ed is writing a book about his years in the "lump sum industry" called Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions. It comes out in September 2007.
Over at Wired's Danger Room blog, news that
The Royal Air Force accidentally killed a young girl in Afghanistan -- by dropping a box of leaflets on her. The British Ministry of Defence is carrying out a full investigation. Meanwhile, the seemingly-antiquated practice of leaflet bombing continues. In the 21st century, it remains one of the primary tools of psychological warfare; U.S. Special Operations Command is even looking to build leaflet-carrying missiles.(thanks, Noah Shachtman)