Tag Archives | WTF

13 real technologies Woody Allen (of all people) predicted in the ’70s

ecodallaluna (CC BY-SA 2.0)

ecodallaluna (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via DVice:

Back in 1973, eternally eccentric filmmaker Woody Allen made Sleeper. Set in the year 2173, Sleeper is, to date, Allen’s sole venture into overt sci-fi. A slapstick comedy, Sleeper pokes fun at other sci-fi classics, notable amongst them Fahrenheit 451 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The political and social aspects of the film are thinly veiled 1970s sentiment, set in a dystopic inept police state.

What is truly interesting is Sleeper’s perspective on the progress of technology, 200 years from its production. While Woody Allen did not predict technological miniaturization, he did get a lot of things right. Was Woody Allen a tech prophet? Here’s a list of technologies predicted in Sleeper that already exist, 161 years ahead of schedule.

1. Sleeping Pods Not once, but twice in Sleeper are we given glimpses of long-term sleeping devices. I guess that’s appropriate, given the title.

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The Real Planet of the Apes – The Liberian Island Inhabited by Chimpanzees Formerly Used in Animal Testing

via Oddity Central:

Believe it or not, a real-life Planet of the Apes does exist in an isolated area located deep in the jungles of West Africa. It’s home to dozens of retired laboratory chimpanzees who were at one point used for medical research. These chimps are practically heroes – they’ve managed to survive disease, two civil wars and numerous medical tests and experiments.

The apes are former residents of The Liberian Institute of Biomedical Research (Vilab II) which played a pivotal role in developing treatments for ailments such as Hepatitis during the 1970s. It was shut down in the mid-2000s due to growing pressure from animal rights activists, and the apes were transferred to a remote Liberian island in the middle of Farmington River, to live a life of quiet retirement.

The island – known to locals as ‘Monkey Island’ – is home to over 60 chimps who only allow familiar caretakers to approach its shores.… Read the rest

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The Time Traveler: George Church Plans to Bring Back a Creature That Went Extinct 4,000 Years Ago


via Recode:

The engineers and scientists spilling out of Greater Boston’s world-class universities built the foundations of the modern computing era and amassed the densest cluster of life sciences companies in the world. The region lost some of its most promising startups to Silicon Valley, famously including Facebook. But business is booming — and researchers and entrepreneurs there are aiming far higher than the next social network. This Re/code special series takes a closer look at past, present and future innovation in the region.

On March 15, 2013, genetic engineer George Church stood in the middle of a circular red rug onstage at the Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium in Washington, D.C., describing a detailed plan for bringing a six-ton, 10-foot, fur-covered creature back from the dead.

By splicing genes responsible for traits like thicker hair, subcutaneous fat and curving tusks into the DNA of an Asian elephant, Church hopes to revive the long-extinct woolly mammoth, or at least create a version of the modern elephant that really likes the cold.

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The 1918 Flu Pandemic: History In Photos

Historical photo of the 1918 Spanish influenza ward at Camp Funston, Kansas, showing the many patients ill with the flu (: Original source description)

Historical photo of the 1918 Spanish influenza ward at Camp Funston, Kansas, showing the many patients ill with the flu (: Original source description)

via All That is Interesting:

According to the numbers provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, over five million souls died in WWI, excluding prisoners of war or missing persons. This is admittedly an incredibly high number, but it pales in comparison to the estimated 50 to 100 million more people the world over who lost their lives to the especially virulent influenza pandemic of 1918.

With modern medicinal practice still in its infancy, many misunderstood how individuals could contract and spread this illness, and often misdiagnosed it given its similarity to the common cold. It was originally thought that a certain bacteria – Pfeiffer’s bacillus – was the culprit, though no autopsies were able to find it in any of the bodies. The virus was not isolated until 1930 – far after the Spanish Flu would wreak havoc on the world’s population, eventually taking out 3-5% of it.

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The $2 Evilstick

evilstick

The horrifying Evilstick.

Have you heard of the “Evilstick” yet? If not, let me give you a quick recap (or you can just watch the videos below). A mom in Dayton, OH bought her child an “Evilstick” (yes, that is what this toy is called) from the local dollar store. To the mom’s horror, behind the foil covering, there was a photoshopped picture of a girl cutting herself. Well, as all weird stories do, this one took off in the social media world. I’m a little late on reporting about it, but on the plus side, I have more sources to work with.

Here’s the initial video:

One lovely chap from Ohio went to the dollar store and found that most of the Evilsticks did not include the famed wristcutting photo. Instead many of them had “crappy Resident Evil concept art,” “weird Zombie monsters,” or Anime characters.

The Evilstick is made in China.… Read the rest

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A Virus That Makes You Stupid

Major Redneck (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Major Redneck (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via CNet:

Do you have days when you just can’t get anything right?

Are there times when you stare at yourself in the mirror somewhere around midnight and say: “Why the hell did I do that?”

I’d like to offer you hope. It may be that you’re not innately stupid, silly, dumb, brain-dead or even gormless. Indeed, it may well be that you’ve got an algae virus that’s messing with your cognitive systems.

My own brain was moved, you see, by the Independent which muttered that scientists had discovered a virus that “makes you stupid.”

I immediately inserted medical instruments inside my cranium — without anesthetic — to see if I could find this virus, which might be my excuse for a thousand silly actions.

Well, I wanted to.

Instead, I went to look at the study, published by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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Cops Arrest 90-Year-Old Advocate and Clergy For Scary Crime of Feeding the Hungry

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

Bound by faith and virtue to resist newly passed “homeless hate laws” in Fort Lauderdale, a 90-year-old homeless advocate and two ministers were arrested by a phalanx of burly cops for resolutely continuing to share food with homeless people in public, part of a “week of resistance” to a growing body of laws there and in at least 20 other cities that criminalize poor people by restricting their panhandling, camping, storing belongings, going to the bathroom and other activities deemed  “life sustaining” to the homeless – that is, essentially, for existing. The ordinance against food-sharing, which went into effect Friday, sparked a call for a week-long series of actions and protests by churches and advocacy groups; among them, Food Not Bombs vowed to mark the law’s passage on its first day, Halloween, by holding their usual weekly food share and greeting the city “with our middle fingers fully extended.”

Read more.… Read the rest

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Global Epidemic: Every 5 Minutes a Child is Killed by Violence

The UNICEF report reveals that the vast majority of children are killed outside warzones and that physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities.  (Image: UNICEF UK)

The UNICEF report reveals that the vast majority of children are killed outside warzones and that physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities. (Image: UNICEF UK)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Violence against children is a global epidemic in which a young person is killed by violent conflict every five minutes, according to a new study released Tuesday by U.K. branch of UNICEF.

The global assessment—titled “Children in Danger: Act to End Violence Against Children”—reveals that an estimated 345 children under the age of twenty-years-old die nearly every day across the world. According to the report, the vast majority of these young victims are killed outside war zones, indicating that physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities.

“We live in a world where some children are too scared to walk out of their own front doors or play on their streets,” said David Bull, executive director of UNICEF UK.

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FBI director to citizens: Let us spy on you

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey (left), alongside President Barack Obama (center) and outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (right) at Comey's nomination to become the Seventh Director of the FBI.

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey (left), alongside President Barack Obama (center) and outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (right) at Comey’s nomination to become the Seventh Director of the FBI. Via Wikimedia Commons

Wow.

via Ars Technica:

The expanding options for communicating over the Internet and the increasing adoption of encryption technologies could leave law enforcement agents “in the dark” and unable to collect evidence against criminals, the Director of the FBI said in a speech on Thursday.

In a post-Snowden plea for a policy more permissive of spying, FBI Director James B. Comey raised the specters of child predators, violent criminals, and crafty terrorists to argue that companies should build surveillance capabilities into the design of their products and allow lawful interception of communications. In his speech given at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, Comey listed four cases where having access to a mobile phone or laptop proved crucial to an investigation and another case where such access was critical to exonerating wrongly accused teens.

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Fracking Chemicals, Brought to You By Susan G. Komen

Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes

And yet, another reason for me not to support the Komen Foundation.

via Mother Jones:

Here’s some news that frankly, I initially thought was a spoof: for the second year in a row, breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure—which caused massive outrage when it defunded Planned Parenthood in 2012—has partnered with Baker Hughes, a leader in the fracking industry. The Houston-based oilfield services company will donate $100,000 to Komen over the year and sell 1,000 pink-painted drill bits used for fracking.

According to Baker Hughes’ “Doing Our Bit for the Cure” campaign website, “The pink bits serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting research, treatment, screening, and education to help find the cures for this disease, which claims a life every 60 seconds.”

The irony here is that one of the primary criticisms of fracking is that the fracking process injects possible and known carcinogens, including benzene, formaldehyde, and sulfuric acid, into the ground and surrounding environment.

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