• Farewell, it's been real

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    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    I will be adding "Guest blogged for Boing Boing" to my personal list of Scary and Surprising Things Accomplished in the New Millennium, right under "Gave birth to daughter sans epidural after 46-hour labor" and "Attended county fair." It has indeed been terrifying to produce content for such smart, sassy readers (Yeah, I called you sassy. What of it?). But aside from the whole terrifying aspect, it's been heaps of fun writing here (and reading all your comments), and I'm grateful to have had the chance to contribute to a blog that I love so dearly.

    Bugs & Fishes,

    Connie

    Twitter & Facebook

  • My future cheese cave

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    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    If you're not already planning to convert that old fridge into a kegerator, perhaps you should consider making your own cheese "cave." Why? Because cheese deserves your adoration, and you could use another hobby. I am planning to steal my husband's mini-fridge for this purpose (this is probably news to him) because it would be so appropriate for the rock star of dairy products to hang out in a unit that looks like an amp. If anyone can figure out how to effectively lower fridge temperature without purchasing a separate thermostat, I would be happy to send you some amateurish homemade cheese.

  • Avalanche caught on helmet cam


    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    Whenever I'm hanging out on a chairlift I like to shout that I'm going to go die a cold, snowy death. Mostly so that if I were to actually perish on the ride down I could say, "I told you so." But also because I am genuinely (and in my case, irrationally) afraid that something terrible like this will happen. The guy in the video is an experienced backcountry skier named Chris Cardello. In his words:

    When the slide propagated, I tried to remain as composed as possible and make sure my AvaLung was in. As I was getting buried and the slide slowed, I threw one hand up and with my other hand I grasped the AvaLung, which had been ripped out of my mouth during the turbulent ride. While I was buried, I tried to be as calm as possible; I knew my hand was exposed so my crew would be digging me out shortly. I was able to breathe through the AvaLung, but it was difficult due to the snow jammed down my throat.

    (via freeskier.com)

  • Kiwis training their young to ZORB

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    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    A friend of mine snapped this photo in New Zealand a few weeks ago. It's exactly what it appears to be: children in giant hamster balls on a pool of water. It may not be full-on ZORBing, but it sure beats the ball pit Chuck E. Cheese.

  • Damning interview with Baby Einstein founder

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    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    As a young entrepreneur years ago, I found this interview with Julie Aigner-Clark (founder of Baby Einstein, who sold her $20 million enterprise to Disney in 2001) to be pretty inspiring, but it's turned funny in light of last week's news about the big Baby Einstein refund — what The New York Times says is "a tacit admission that [Baby Einstein products] did not increase infant intellect." No kidding. Here's a bit of that old Aigner-Clark interview:

    "I didn't have a video background, but my husband and I borrowed video equipment and started to shoot scenes on a tabletop in my basement. I put a puppet on my hand and plopped my cat down in front of the camera. My husband and I used our home computer to edit our first video… Everything I did in the first videos was based on my experience as a mom. I didn't do any research. I knew my baby. I knew what she liked to look at. I assumed that what my baby liked to look at, most other babies would, too."

    It's pretty clear that Baby Einstein was not rooted in cognitive research as they had boldly claimed and many parents believed. Worse yet, scientists at the University of Washington concluded that these videos actually hindered language development in infants. Lucky for me, I came across the interview before I my daughter was born so every time a friend offered us hand-me-down Baby Einstein products, I would immediately picture this woman wagging puppets in front of a Handycam in her basement and would politely decline.

  • Civil War buff fires cannonball into neighbor's home

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    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    Civil war enthusiast William Maser, 54, accidentally fired a cannonball into his neighbor's house and is now being charged with a felony count of discharging a firearm into an occupied structure. That's in addition to the charges of reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct that he was already facing for this incident. What I'm really curious about is Mr. Maser's first reaction to the effectiveness of his homemade cannon. Was it jubilation ("Holy sh*t, I did it!") or dismay ("Holy sh*t, now I've done it.")?

    Cannonball through House (via WinkNews). In other essential news: Ice skating bear kills Russian circus hand and Wheelchair user, 92, arrested for smuggling coke.

    Image courtesy of chadh via Flickr / CC 2.0

  • Woman with dystonia can only walk backwards


    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    This video about a young woman who suffers from dystonia
    and can only walk backwards is really interesting, but I offer it up with a
    sprinkling of disclaimers. 1. It's a clip from the evening news, so naturally
    it reeks of sensationalism. 2. This shouldn't necessarily discourage you from
    getting the flu vaccine. 3. Some numbskull tweaked about a second of this video
    so that it sounds like the reporter is saying this should discourage you from getting the flu vaccine.

    If you want to explore some neurological case studies that represent patients as actual people, rather than as tragic spectacles, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks is a great read.

  • Steering wheel tray

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    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    Meet the AutoExec WM-01 Wheelmate Steering Wheel Desk Tray. This hunk o' plastic with a fancy name must be A) brilliant in its simplicity, or B) hopelessly dumb. But I can't quite decide which. Either way, the grab bag of serious sarcastic/ambiguous product reviews is enjoyable. One customer writes, "This has been a total lifesaver. It allows me to prop my sheet music against the wheel, allowing me to play the guitar with both hands while driving." Deadpan humor? Perhaps… or it might just be this guy.

    (via Random
    Good Stuff
    )

  • WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

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    Boing Boing guestblogger
    Connie
    Choe
    is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    Having lived in suburbia for the past 20 years, I often hear desperation-tinged fantasies (my own, mostly)of wanting to flee this neatly manicured existence to someplace that is rather different and very beautiful, but that's not too expensive and preferably not mucked up by other travelers.

    For anyone else who seconds this emotion, I believe the answer to our yearnings is WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Here's how it works: You choose a host organic farm in whichever country you like and arrange a temporary stay (ranging from a few days up to several months) during which you will work without pay in exchange for food and shelter. It's all the fun of being an indentured servant or
    migrant laborer without all the obligations!

    (more…)

  • Disney gags on "Ho White" beer

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    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    According to Slashfood, an Australian brewery has reportedly set off the alarms in Disney's legal department with a Raspberry Ale ad campaign featuring Ho White, an "anything but sweet" character who blows smoke rings while reclined in bed with the seven dwarves.

  • T-shirt design contest for Fender


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    Connie
    Choe
    is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    The Fender Music Foundation is
    seeking a rockstar-worthy t-shirt design. The winning artist gets $300 cash money
    and a Squier by Fender Deluxe Hot Rails Strat Electric Guitar (whew!) with a
    decal of their winning design on it. Submissions are due by October 30th.
    Last I checked they had fewer than 15 entries, so even if your art skills are a
    little rusty, you're still roughly eleventybillion times more likely to win
    this than the lottery.

    Goodjoe
    Design for a Greater Good Presents The Fender Music Foundation

    Image courtesy of tskdesign via Flickr / CC 2.0

  • Squirrel for dinner

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    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    Thumbnail images can be
    deceiving. Whilst perusing squirrel photographs on Flickr last night, I came
    across a thumbnail of this image. "Aww,
    teeny baby squirrels," I thought to myself, foolishly clicking to get a better
    look. Wrong. So, so wrong.

    After picking myself up off the floor, I confess that I found myself admiring how fit these little suckers are/were. Besides the feet and head (which are no longer an issue), they look like they were pure muscle. These must have been dashing-through-the-wilderness type squirrels. Or perhaps, hit-the-gym-7-days-a-week type squirrels. Not like the mangy little booger (fueled by
    Cheetos
    and Mountain Dew, no doubt) that tore a hole in my backpack years
    ago while trying to pilfer a candy bar.

    Even with 8000+ cuddly faced squirrel photos coo over, this is the one picture that I can't stop staring at. It is called "Squirrel for Dinner." Enjoy.

  • Reading Radar API mashup

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    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night. 

    "Mashup posterboy" John Herren has created a site called Reading Radar that splices The New York Times bestseller list with selected, up-to-date information from Amazon.com in one clean, clutter-free place.

    This is stupendous because the NYT bestseller list basically just tells you that a lot of people are buying a particular book, but it never tells you how many of those people sincerely regretted purchasing the aforementioned book. For example, the current #1 bestseller on the hardcover fiction list is Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, which famously sold 1 million copies in its first day of release. High sales volume doesn't automatically mean it's worth reading though. Especially when Reading Radar juxtaposes its NYT bestseller status with its Amazon customer review status (a measly 2.5 out of 5 stars).

    Herren — who created TagCloud as a weekend project a few years ago — says that Reading Radar took just "a few nights of hacking" and describes the process in detail on his blog. "It was trivial to slap together," he comments, "To the point where I'd hardly consider it programming. But hey, at least I deployed something."

  • Digging through baby poo in the name of science

    Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

    The nice folks over at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have gone through and screened over five thousand samples of frozen baby poop dating back to 1974 in an effort to find out how fast norovirus (the bug responsible for stomach flu) is evolving.

    The stool samples have been maintained in a unique collection by NIAID's Albert Z. Kapikian, M.D., the doctor responsible for identifying norovirus back in 1972. What the researchers discovered about this group of rapidly evolving and mutating bugs could help them to eventually develop antiviral drugs or even a vaccine against this "very unpleasant" and "sometimes deadly" disease.

    Dr. K must be pretty excited that his baby poo collection is finally going to good use, but can you imagine all the muttering and dirty looks he must have endured from his lab assistants for all those years? Kudos to you, Dr. Kapikian, for your foresight and thick skin. Emetophobes, school teachers and cruise ship passengers around the world will join together in songs of your praise when they no longer have to fear the wrath of stomach flu.

    Frozen Assets: Decades-old Frozen Infant Stool Samples Provide Clues To Norovirus Evolution.