Sunday, January 27, 2008

Robot barber

I picture something that fits over a person's head and uses some means (static electricity?) to separate the 100000 or so strands of hair on a person's head and catalog each of them in a custom database for that individual. The hairs would also be analyzed for color, split ends, oiliness or dryness, and type of curl, so that all of this information could be combined to present the user with a palette of possible choices for their hairstyle

When the selection is made, a vast number of nanobots would go to work on the person's hair, clipping, coloring (or bleaching), crimping (or straightening), and application of product, while a gentle airflow carries away the clipped ends and the spent chemicals. If you had a number of bots comparable to the number of hairs, it should only take a couple of minutes before the final result might be ready for styling into a unified hairdo. All the bots would be suctioned away, or maybe a few thousand maintenance units might be left in to keep things in order after the visit.

Or it could be the kind with the silver arms and a straight razor like this one, I don't know. It all depends on what one would willing to pay for the tech. Given the right programming, I think one could achieve results that would make today's extreme hairstyles look tame.

Update: It seems to have been devised independently, static included, sadly sans nanobots.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dada donkey dude

All the cool kids are doing the album cover meme, so here goes.

translate to this

The picture and the title go together suspiciously well, but I swear I didn't cheat. Much.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Our plans to go to the movies this weekend paid off in the anti-caption department, where I received another namecheck, including the coveted last spot. (The fruit of posting very late in the week.)

The movie I cited did manage to turn my stomach, though I believe it was a matter of carnage and menace and more one of stale popcorn smell, shakycam, and too much sashimi right before we went to see the show. It was an interesting concept. Still, my gripe stands.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's what wool is for

electric chest hair 141
electric chest hair 141,
originally uploaded by fuzzbearchest.
Many long-distance runners have a problem, which some attempt to address using unorthodox garb. Besides the risk of embarrassment, it seems to me that such measures involve a bit too much inconvenience.

Why not take advantage of nature's natural version of fiberglass insulation? Those who are not naturally furry in the right place could turn to pharmaceutical enhancement. Or instead if one does not care so much about the trouble of preparation, but still has concerns about maintaining a natural masculine look, there are artificial means toward the same end.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A small request

Midtown Shadow
Midtown Shadow,
originally uploaded by Automatt.
This weekend's release of Cloverfield reminds me of a little peeve I've had for the past couple of years, echoed by this article: haven't we had enough destruction of New York City up on the screen by now? So, we're still broken up by the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, sure, but there were two other places devastated that day, not to mention all the other worthy places which have been visited with catastrophe and at least as photogenic as New York. I'm just asking for a bit of a moratorium, during which time I ask that the screenwriters of Hollywood incorporate a little more variety in their plots, a change of venue, or perhaps a plot where the metropolis is menaced but escapes disaster. (Right after the Writers Guild settles, that is.)

At least Steven Spielberg's H. G. Welles's remake only busted up Bayonne, over on this side of the river.

Oh, and while you're at it, could you maybe leave Ms. Liberty alone? Please?

True, the city in question has some things to answer for (such as the mayor, the former mayor, the crazy team owner, and the mogul), but that doesn't mean you have to keep dropping rocks and other unpleasant objects on the place so regularly.

I don't even get into NYC that often myself, but it's always out there on my horizon, and I know my wife has twinges of worry now and again about making her way back and forth every day. It would make it easier to conduct negotiations on what movies we'd like to go see, that's certain.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fake book covers

When you're out in public reading something you perhaps would rather not be associated with, it might come in handy if you could slap a paper jacket around you reading material to camouflage what you are doing. Maybe you're a writer or undercover investigator and want to disguise the notebook you are using to write down people's words or actions. Or maybe you just like the way books look on your coffee table, but haven't seen something sufficiently eye-catching to fit your decor. I propose a line of almost-real book covers that look nearly convincing enough to pass as the real thing.

How about Sappho's Guide to Grilling on a Budget?
Free Image Hosting at
PDF version
Classy, huh? Simply get it printed out on legal-size paper (or maybe A3), trim as needed, and fold it around your book.

Oh, and by the way, it's chicken (courtesy

In the same series:

  • The Prom Queen Wore Poplar

  • The Webster Subversion

  • Tau is for Toxikologos

  • Living is the Lure You Can do Least Without

  • A Child's Garden of Virtualization, and my favorite

  • God Ran Over My Neighbor's Dog (And Made It Look Like I Did It Myself)

If you're dying to see one of these, let me know in the comments and I'll see what can be done.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Dead tree media lives

One of my photos on Flickr is included in the 4th edition of the Schmap New York Guide. Look for the listing for Strand Books to show up (in the little widget shown here) or in the list (using the direct link) - my offering shows a few dozen inches of the 18 miles of shelves.
You may now lift off
I was captured by the analogy between travel in outer space and travel in the mind through books.
On my latest trip there, incidentally, I didn't buy any books from the section depicted, opting instead for some history, finance, and humor. It would be hard for me to imagine spending any length of time in there, however, and emerging empty-handed.