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31 May 2007

Men Doing Housework As Sports

And not just any sport - extreme sports! Women's role in contemporary society is an ongoing debate as more and more women take part in the workforce. After all, making a career for women is just as important as for men. At this point I stand on the Model B side of Talcott Parsons' views of gender roles, i.e. total disintegration of roles. All housework should be done by both parties in equal shares.

For those women who argue that men don't do any housework..well, I just found some evidence that will prove you wrong!


You can find more images of guys doing some extreme ironing at the Extreme Ironing Bureau. The site describes this as "the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt."

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29 May 2007

What Do You Think? Review Contest 4

Welcome to 4rd round of The Thinking Blog review contest. For those who are new to this contest and would like enter the next round, take a look at the original post for the contest guidelines (plus first winner) and check out the previous winner of the free blog re-design in round 3 and round 2 as well. Once again I would like to thank the following bloggers who took the time to write a review or just mentioned the contest:

Honorable Mentions:

The winning reviews are... drumroll please

Favicon Winners: Jessy Chow's Linky Love and BetShopBoy's I Thought, Therefore I Blog .

Blog Design Winner: Tamara Pruessner's Mommy's Getaway .


She wanted her blog re-design to look very similar to the upcoming design (not done by me) of her dot com site in exchange for this excellent review. I designed her blog according to what she asked: Pink, pink and more pink! So, check out the new blog design and favicon but make sure you don't leave without reading the content. One last thing - please comment on the posts as well.

Quick tips for those who didn't win a re-design or review The Thinking Blog yet: it's never too late. The contest is still going on and by reviewing this blog you get quality linkbacks to help your ranking and a chance to win a free blog re-design! Those who read, comment and link to the posts in the archives get extra points. The further down the road, the better. Graphic elements like screenshots or using the "Thinking Alien" logo earns you extra points. If you are really enjoy reading The Thinking Blog, showing some link love in your blogroll will help too!

Note: From now on you can also get a linkback just by mentioning the contest.

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27 May 2007

Random Thinking, Sharing and Drinks

New Features! In my pursuit to coding a more complete design for this blog, I've added some small features this weekend. Now you can read random posts by clicking "Don't Stop Thinking!" under the Random Post section of the sidebar (at the top most). Don't forget to leave your thoughts, questions and suggestions on the posts that you read. Kind of feels like StumbleUpon's "Stumble!" button after a while. You never know what's going to be next!

I've also added a text box under every post where you can easily copy the link code for specific posts to share them with your friends or readers. Not everyone might be aware that the posts' headlines are also permalinks to those posts. So if you would like to refer to a certain post in your blog (or would like to think about a post with your friends on IM), you can simply click the text box under the post and use copy/paste as standard using the CTRL + C and then CTRL + V (for Mac users it's APPLE + C and then APPLE + V) keyboard shortcuts to get the link. Remember our motto; Knowledge grows when shared!

Finally, check out the bottom most of my sidebar and buy me a drink if you enjoy reading The Thinking Blog.

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26 May 2007

Lessons From the Animal Kingdom

She is the ultimate predator - a sleek and stealthy killer. Pouncing on her prey, she silences the baboon with one swipe of a vicious paw. Then, suddenly, something stirs in the dead animal's fur, and the law of the jungle is rewritten. From the bedraggled pelt of her kill crawls a tiny infant - a one-day-old baboon. In that moment, this young leopard forgets she is a hunter, and nurtures the baby baboon as if it were her own cub.

It's not a stretch to see that animals are often more "humane" than us humans.

[ Introduction via: Daily Mail ]

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25 May 2007

Best Optical Illusions of 2007

Contests have been at the core of scientific tradition since the beginning, and that’s no coincidence: contests bring out the best in us. For example, the annual Nobel Prize winners are awarded a medal and a cash prize for a variety of scientific and creative endeavors. The Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest follows in this important tradition and hopes to bring visual science to public awareness.

The winner of the contest is remarkable. Not only it's an illusion but also explains more about our visual system.

From the page:

Here is a novel illusion that is as striking as it is simple. The two images of the Leaning Tower of Pisa are identical, yet one has the impression that the tower on the right leans more, as if photographed from a different angle.

The Leaning Tower Illusion

The reason for this is because the visual system treats the two images as if part of a single scene. Normally, if two adjacent towers rise at the same angle, their image outlines converge as they recede from view due to perspective, and this is taken into account by the visual system. So when confronted with two towers whose corresponding outlines are parallel, the visual system assumes they must be diverging as they rise from view, and this is what we see. The illusion is not restricted to towers photographed from below, but works well with other scenes, such as railway tracks receding into the distance. What this illusion reveals is less to do with perspective, but how the visual system tends to treat two side-by-side images as if part of the same scene. However hard we try to think of the two photographs of the Leaning Tower as separate, albeit identical images of the same object, our visual system regards them as the ‘Twin Towers of Pisa’, whose perspective can only be interpreted in terms of one tower leaning more than the other.

The same also works for three or more images of the Leaning Tower of Pisa:

The Leaning Towers Illusion

If you can't believe your eyes, then here is a flash animation to prove it:

At least it's not this kind of an optical illusion:

The Lifting Keyboard Illusion

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24 May 2007

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words - Post 7

"Pictures Worth A Thousand Words" series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ...... Love is Like Oxygen [ Via: Yasam ]

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22 May 2007

Mac vs PC: South Park Style

Finally one with a bit of truth. This is a fan project of South Park and parody of the Mac vs PC commercials at the same time. Created as the final project for a multimedia production class at California State University Northridge (CSUN). It's nice to see someone not siding with either OS and just having a good giggle at them both. There is an unbiased fanboyless theme to it. You expect the "Linux rocks" message to chime in at the end, but instead sticks true to the middle. I think it's better than the Get a PC spoofs.

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21 May 2007

Top 20 Stupid Client Quotes

There's no getting around it. At some point in your career, your patience will be tested with a stupid client who is so clueless that you'll question your sanity, career choice, and the future of mankind. Some clients have no concept of reality. You may have dealt with one already, one that just stuns you like a deer in headlights. They make up their mind, just to change it again to an even more hideous decision. And will end up blaming you for the mess. Can we honestly blame the client?

20. Submitted by: i quit being creative director

one of our clients is a local city who's starting up a lifeguard campaign. they wanted to make a color adjustment to their existing logo to use on their new rental beach chairs so the people in charge of renting the chairs could distinguish them from the other standard chairs, which were identical except for this logo. we sent the client his logo in about eight different colors, and he picked a burgundy version. he told us to send it to the guy who was going to put the logo on the beach chairs, so we did. the beach chair guy took the initiative to use photoshop and put the logo on a picture of a blank chair to show the client what it would look like. he named the file "red background.jpg" and sent it to our client. this morning, our client called us in a fit, saying that the logo on the chair was red, not the burgundy logo that he had approved. i pulled up the logo i sent him and compared it to the one on the chair – they were identical. i then went into photoshop myself and made the left half of his logo actually red and left the right side burgundy so he could see the difference. the chair guy then contacted our client and told him someone had accidentally mislabeled the file "red" instead of "burgundy", and he resent our client the original file he had already sent before, but changed the name of the file to "burgundy background.jpg". the client loved the "adjustment" and approved the project.

19. Submitted by: s

client after reviewing comp: make it sans serif. ok? sans serif. sans serif. sans serif. sans serif. ok? post-change: WHAT happened to those little things coming off the letters? Put those back!

18. Submitted by: eldamo

This is really about a stupid non-customer. Before working at the ISP in #4869 I sold computers. One day I had the following call: Me: "Good morning, [workplace], [me] speaking. How can I help you?" Stupid Caller: "I need to install Macintosh on my computer." Me: "Do you have a Macintosh computer?" It turned out that she did, in fact, not have a Mac, but a Packard Bell PC. I told the caller that she would be unable to install MacOS on that computer. SC: "But my friend gave me this program and he said it needs Macintosh, so you have to install Macintosh on my computer." Me: "Then you won't be able to run that program unless you go and buy a Macintosh computer. The one you have won't work." SC: "But I need to install Macintosh on my computer. I shouldn't have to buy another computer. You're a computer store so you have to help me." Me: "Did you buy the computer from us?" SC: "I won it in the McDonalds Scratch'n'Sniff competition." (It was actually called "McMatch'n'Win" by everyone else.) Me: "In that case we don't have to do anything. You didn't buy the computer from us, which means we have no obligation to you. Secondly, what you want can't be done, and thirdly, even if you had bought the computer from us what you want isn't covered under warranty so we'd charge you $150 an hour, with a minimum of 3 hours just to try whether it worked or not." (Our actual rate for non-warranty work was $80/hr, 2 hour minimum.) SC: "But I need to install Macintosh." Me: "Look, think of your computer like a car that runs on unleaded. If you put diesel in a car that runs on unleaded it won't work. Installing MacOS on your PC would be like filling an unleaded car with diesel - it wouldn't work and you'd ruin the motor." SC: "Oh." Me: "OK, then. Goodbye" *Hang up* An hour later she was back. Me: "Good morning, [workplace], [me] speaking. How can I help you?" Stupid Caller: "I need to install Macintosh on my computer." Clearly she's one of those people who can't hear what you say unless it's what they want to hear. Me: "OK, have you got your yellow Macintosh conversion CD?" SC: "No." Me: "Oh. You'll need that CD. It should have came with the computer. You got the PC from McDonalds, right?" SC: "Yes." Me: "In that case what you'll have to do is call McDonalds head office on [phone number] and tell them that you didn't get your Macintosh conversion CD like you're supposed to, and that you want them to send it out. Now, they might try to pretend that they don't have it, but they have to send it to you, so just keep calling them until they send it to you. Once you get the CD just put it in your computer and it will take care of itself." SC: "OK, I'll call them straight away." *Hangs up*

17. Submitted by: Synthohol

(from an IT tech making a six-figure salary to me...) IT Tech:"our printer is broken, jobs keep getting stuck in the "Kwayway" and won't print." me:"what's a Kwayway?" (biting tongue to stop laughing) IT Tech:"you are supposed to be a professional and you dont know what a Kwayway is?" me:"sorry 'bout that, at my salary level we call it a "Print QUEUE!" IT Tech: silence..........."nevermind" (click). I love my job!!

16. Submitted by: bakery madness

We've been working on changing our products over to trans-fat free status, testing out different kinds of oil, margarine, etc. Obviously, we have to wait for the change to be completely made in the product so that our QC assistant can update all the nutritional information to reflect the trans-fat free product. One day, I get this question from a customer (as part of a complaint that our products weren't trans-fat free yet)--"Can't you just change the information to 0g on the nutritional paper? That'll make it trans-fat free!"

15. Submitted by: IseeDeadPixels

So I worked for a cable company for a couple of years answering the phone. It convinced me that the amount of imbecility in this world proves that there are major flaws in the theory of evolution. I swear I had one customer ask me "on what channel is channel 15"? Another tried to argue that my name shouldn't be pronounced the way I did and ended up yelling at me furiously! Often old ladies subscribing only to basic cable would call asking why they didn't get the movie channels anymore. We would send a cable guy and, sure enough, he would find an illegal decoder, probably installed by a sibling, unbestknown to grandma. At night, old gay guys would call asking us to tell them what adult movies were on that night. They would get a kick out of hearing us (obligated to) politely say: "tonight sir, you may enjoy Backdoor delivery, or Shaving Ryan's privates for just 9.95$ on pay-per-view". Some of these old freaks would ask us to repeat it again, and again. The worst was when it was a holiday down in the US, and so the Price is right wasn't on in Canada. I swear I have had to argue with customers telling me that they wanted to be refunded for one day because The Price is Right is the only reason why they were subscribing to basic cable (you know your life is pathetic, when...). I have had to argue with a Muslim asking me to stop broadcasting scrambled porn movies because their child was masturbating to the blur. That's how I learned that masturbation is contrary to the teachings of the holy Koran (and incidentally that I can forget about the 17 virgins when my time comes). Once or twice a week I would get a call from some alcoholics anonymous or MADD mother giving me hell because there is too much alcohol on TV, a vegan angry about cooking shows, a lesbian about too many heterosexuals on tv, and so many other freaks of the sort were somehow convinced that I, the 14$ an hour loser who answered the phone, could do something about their nonsensical complaints. Man, I miss that job!

14. Submitted by: ethelred

I was once an employee at a large DIY store chain in the UK as a till jockey/general dogsbody. I had one customer ask me to scan a lawnmower's barcode to check the price was the same as on the shelf (they are drawn from the same system, so not likely to get a mismatch) it came up as £149.99. He told me that it was too expensive, even though it matched the price tag on the shelf (!?!) and asked me to remove it from his transaction. I proceeded to remove the item and scan a few other items. The amount came to £3.49. He paid me £3.50 and of course, got a penny change. As he was walking away, he looked at his receipt and then stormed back over to me while I was serving the next customer, barged them out the way, then started shouting "You've charged me for that lawnmower! Remove it immediately!" I then proceeded to inform him that if I had charged him, the total would have been £153.49, not £3.50. He then said "Bring me your manager, I am not happy!" It took my manager 10 minutes to explain this while I served the following queue of equally bemused customers.

13. Submitted by: go-kuri

So a client calls me on a Friday - 4PM. CLIENT: I'm about to talk to the pharma client, I need a computer graphics budget for an interactive CD-ROM. ME: Great, email me the project details, how many screens, client deadlines, etc. CLIENT: Well, can't you just give me a ballpark figure? ME: A ballpark figure? But, I don't know any of specs, nor any of the client info. Please send me what you have, I'll look over it this weekend and I'll have something for you first thing Monday morning. CLIENT: Well, we need to send them something today, by 4:30PM. Can't you just estimate it? ME: Okay, $100,000. CLIENT: $100,000! Why is it that much?

12. Submitted by: CanadianMan

After making an application live for a select number of employees I get an email from one saying that he is experiencing some bugs (mind you he is the only one). I personally go to his workspace and sit with him and see if we can recreate any of these "bugs". After a hour or two we come to the conclusion that everything has "magically" started to work correctly. I tell him that if anything like this happens again to please take a screen shot and email me. He then asks how to do that. After taking a few minutes to write down the steps and show him how, we end up with an email window containing a screen shot of my application addressed to me. I then politely ask him to close out of the email because there was no need to send it. He then starts clicking the screen shot of my application wondering why it's frozen/unresponsive. I tell him that it's just a picture it's not really the program and to please close out of the email. He then proceeds to click on the close button of my application in the screen shot. . . . .

11. Submitted by: unrepentant

Name changed to protect the idiots... "Hello. What is my user name?" "All usernames are first initial plus surname..." "So it's 'Joe Bloggs'?" "'s 'jbloggs' - J being you first initial." "Huh? I don't get it...when I try and log on as 'joebloggs" it says username not recognised." "You need to log on as Jbloggs..not Joe Bloggs.." "Errrr..." " You first name is Joe - right? Which makes your first initial 'J'." "Yes" "And your surname is Bloggs, so your username is jbloggs..." "Nup. Don't get it." *slams head against wall*

10. Submitted by: MaiKätzChen

We had a major ice storm January 12 2007 that took most of the city off the power grid for three weeks. on the eighth day of the outage I sent out an e-mail to our colocation customers saying in part: "We have come to the end of our power backup resources. We had an agreement with the company providing diesel fuel, that they would provide us seven days supply in an emergency. Unfortunately the seven days is up, and the road conditions are making getting the fuel to town difficult. Our supplier will attempt to keep us up, but government, emergency and health care customers have to come first. We now have six hours fuel left in our tanks; and if we do not have a fuel delivery by 4:00, we will start an orderly shutdown of all servers. We will restore service as soon as possible" By 6:00, after we were off line for about an hour, we had a customer e-mail us, (Which I read nine days later -- after we got power back and were restarting all the servers.) "A large amount of our sales come from our website, and we stand to lose considerable income if you do not restore our service immediately. If our server is not back on the air within the hour we will bring legal action." He did bring action against us, but the judge threw it out as frivolous.

9. Submitted by: Nico

Client: "My internets disconnected" Me: "ok, well the ping test shows you're connected and are able to constact websites" Client: "It's disconnected I'm telling you!" Me: "How so?" Client: "I don't have MSN Messenger open and Internet Explorer is closed" Me: "That doesn't mean you're not connected to the internet" Client: "Listen mate, I've been using computers for years, dont tell me whats right and wrong"

8. Submitted by: Ninja Style

Woman can't access her voicemail. I call her voicemail and using her passcode access her messages. This means the voicemail is working, obviously. I call the woman and have her try to access the messages. She tells me that it still doesn't work. I look at the number she dialed. She was dialing 4020 while her phone number is 3220. I ask her why she is dialing 4020 as this is not her number. This conversation follows: Woman: Well that's how I use to get to it! I dialed that, put in my password and it took me to my messages. Me: OK did you change your phone number? Woman: Yes. Me: And what was it before? Woman: 4020 Me: Your voicemail box follows the new number. You need to dial that number. Woman: But 4020 use to work! Me: Ma'am when we changed your number, we closed the old voicemail box. Woman: Well then how are people going to reach me? Me: They call your new number and leave a message on the voicemail box at that number. Woman: But 4020 worked! Me: I know ma'am. Can you try calling 3220 for me? *watches her dial 4020* Woman: It doesn't work. Me: You dialed 4020. Woman: Yes... Me: Now try 3220. NOT 4020. *Watches her dial 4020* Woman: Nothing. Me: Again ma'am you dialed 4020. Woman: Why won't it work? Me: Because it doesn't exist there any more. Please dial 3220. Woman: I just don't understand. Me: Ma'am can you please dial 3220 for me? *Watches her dial 4020 and feels the need to punch something* Woman: Nothing. Me: I'm sending you a tech.

7. Submitted by: Weezo1

i was working in a warehouse like home depot in the painting department... A costumer came in to ask for concrete pool paint. So i just give it to him... everything was normal until he asked me if he had to remove the water inside the pool befour painting it...

6. Submitted by: eldamo

Scenario: I was on an ISP's tech support line. I need to get the customer to type 'X3' (no quotes, of course) into the modem configuration Extra Settings field so it will stop erroneously reporting "No dial tone". After slowly and painfully guiding the customer to the appropriate place I tell him to type "X, as in X-ray", but of course he can't find the X key. After trying things like "bottom left corner of your keyboard" and "one row up from the spacebar and then to the left" to no avail I come up with the next best idea: Me: "Without typing anything, just look at your keyboard and tell me what key you're looking at so I can guide you from there." *audible click* Customer: "I've typed H." Me: "I actually don't want you to type anything just yet, so you'll need to delete that H." Cust: "How do I do that?" Me: "Just hit the backspace key." After several attempts and failures to find the backspace key I try the "look, but don't touch" method again, only to have him type another random letter. Despite simple instructions, several warnings and even telling the guy to keep both hands on the phone, he just kept adding random letters to the modem initialisation string field. The call ended like this: Me: "Mr Blah, you keep doing precisely what I tell you not to do, so let me make this perfectly clear. If you type one more thing without me saying the words 'Press that key' I will hang up immediately. Now, don't touch anything, just look and tell me what key you are looking at." *audible click" Me: "What did you just type?" Customer: "I typed B, like you said." Me: "I can't help you. I'm hanging up now."

5. Submitted by: timmartus

A new client brings in a business card she wants a reprint for. The font they used in the past is only available in all capitals (we didn't chose). THIS time they want the email in lowercase (makes sense). I have to find a font that matches that has lowercase characters. I send her a proof. She decides the type is still "too big." I reduce it. I send her a new proof. She approves it. We print it. She picks it up. She calls fifteen minutes later: the type is still too big, it's not the "same" as the sample, it doesn't look like the proof I sent her, the boss doesn't just dislike it--he HATES it. She needs a total refund. "You want a refund a custom printed business card because you feel the type is too big even though I matched the point size of the previous printing, found another font to produce previously unavailable characters, sent you two proofs that you signed and NOW after it's printed you want the money back?" "Yes." "Of course.... Bring in the cards, we'll give you your money back." "You can't use the cards, can't we keep them?" AHA!

4. Submitted by: beachy

client: Can you design the site so that people that don't have internet access can view it? me: Sure; it's called a brochure

3. Submitted by: Gromit

Client: "I had to fire my last web designer, so I'm looking for a suitable replacement" Me: (warily) "Do you mind if I ask you why you fired him?" Client: "I went around to his house to look at some changes and I couldn't believe my eyes - the kitchen cupboards didn't match the worktops, the carpets didn't match the sofa and worst of all he was using one of those ghastly old CRT monitors. And he calls himself a designer?"

2. Submitted by: Gr@bbo

When building a website for a client, I invited her around to seek her approval on the layout and text of a website I was building for her. She then proceeded to highlight the text in the browser and tried to delete it. She got very frustrated as she could not understand why she could not edit here website text through the browser and then told me that the website was not built properly. Mind you, this is the same lady that suggested our whole internet site (Which is about 40,000pages) should be in one big PDF for easy access.

1. Submitted by: Mentok

As a network admin/IT support tech that works with over 50 small companies, I see quite a lot that makes me scratch my head in wonder and confusion. We just got a new client and have begun the project of stabilizing their existing network. One constant is that usually customers use horrible passwords that offer little security. This one does the opposite. The password to the Administrator account is 20 characters long composed of random numbers, symbols and both upper and lower case letters. It is by far the most complex password I have ever encountered. .....which is written on a Post-It note stuck to the front of the server.

[ Via: Clientcopia ]

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20 May 2007

Bargains You Can't Refuse

If you are an online auction addict you will know the trick to grabbing the super bargains is to snap them up at the last possible minute, and that is where Lastminute Auction can help you. The site is suitable for searching eBay auctions in the US, the UK, Germany, Italy and Australia, but it can be used by anyone because you can still snap up bargain buys from abroad if you are willing to pay the postage.

Just click the flag in the top right-hand-corner for the country that interests you and the site will display a list of auctions that have less than an hour to go and feature items that are currently on bids of under $1. Obviously some of the items will not be worth more than a dollar, but many of them will be, and this is where the super bargains can be snapped up.

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18 May 2007

StumbleUpon Is Our Favorite Network

That's a fact! According to 42.34% people who took the poll in this post, What is Your Favorite Social Bookmark?, and the response from the comments - StumbleUpon (SU) is our favorite social network. For those who are new to SU, it's a web browser plugin that allows its users to discover and rate webpages, photos, videos, and news articles. These webpages are typically presented when the user clicks the Stumble button on the browser's toolbar.

StumbleUpon chooses which new webpage to display based on the user's ratings of previous pages, ratings by his/her friends, and by the ratings of users with similar interests. i.e. it is a recommendation system which uses peer and social networking principles. Users can rate, or choose not to rate, any webpage with a thumbs up or thumbs down, and clicking the Stumble button resembles "channel-surfing" the web. Toolbar versions exist for Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.

For those who enjoy my daily posts on this blog, add me as a friend on SU and stumble on more interesting stuff that makes me think!

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17 May 2007

The Cute Factor

Scientists who study the evolution of visual signaling have identified a wide and still expanding assortment of features and behaviors that make something look cute: bright forward-facing eyes set low on a big round face, a pair of big round ears, floppy limbs and a side-to-side, teeter-totter gait, among many others. Infantile personality traits, such as playfulness, fragility, helplessness, curiosity, innocence, affectionate behavior and a need to be nurtured are also generally considered cute.

SO CUTE"Omigosh, look at him! He is too cute!"

Cute cues are those that indicate extreme youth, vulnerability, harmlessness and need, scientists say, and attending to them closely makes good Darwinian sense. As a species whose youngest members are so pathetically helpless they can't lift their heads to suckle without adult supervision, human beings must be wired to respond quickly and gamely to any and all signs of infantile desire.

The human cuteness detector is set at such a low bar, researchers said, that it sweeps in and deems cute practically anything remotely resembling a human baby or a part thereof, and so ends up including the young of virtually every mammalian species, fuzzy-headed birds like Japanese cranes, woolly bear caterpillars, a bobbing balloon, a big round rock stacked on a smaller rock, a colon, a hyphen and a close parenthesis typed in succession.

The greater the number of cute cues that an animal or object happens to possess, or the more exaggerated the signals may be, the louder and more italicized are the squeals provoked.

Cuteness is distinct from beauty, researchers say, emphasizing rounded over sculptured, soft over refined, clumsy over quick. Beauty attracts admiration and demands a pedestal; cuteness attracts affection and demands a lap. Beauty is rare and brutal, despoiled by a single pimple. Cuteness is commonplace and generous, content on occasion to cosegregate with homeliness.

"How adorable! I wish I could just reach in there and give him a big squeeze!"

Cuteness is a major marketing tool in many cultures. This is most famously the case in Japan, where cuteness is a national obsession known as kawaii. Of course, cuteness is also an important selling point in the West. Elmo, The Family Circus, Furby, Precious Moments, and many other cultural icons and products trade on their cuteness—not to mention the overwhelming international success of Japanese exports like Pok√©mon or Hello Kitty. It can be a factor in live action productions such as the successful documentary film, March of the Penguins, where the intense cuteness of the penguins was cited as a major reason for the film's outstanding appeal.

Whatever needs pitching, cute can help. A recent study at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at the University of Michigan showed that high school students were far more likely to believe antismoking messages accompanied by cute cartoon characters like a penguin in a red jacket or a smirking polar bear than when the warnings were delivered unadorned.

"It made a huge difference. The kids expressed more confidence in the cartoons than in the warnings themselves."

"He's so fuzzy! I've never seen anything so cute in my life!"

Then it is no surprise that the blogosphere is filling with content full of cuteness. Whether it be cute pictures or videos, certainly there is an increase in the number of such blogs. Cute overload, The Cute Project, Things That Make You Go Aahh and Stuff On My Cat just to name a few. Of course, The Thinking Blog also had a piece of cuteness in the past - even though it was unintentional. Really! ^_^

Enjoyed this post? See all things cute!

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This Is Sparta Theme Makes Anything Epic

Ever since the madness was unleashed, the Spartans invaded the Internets. Yeah. 300, the film that broke box office records in 2007. Not the 1962 version made with the cooperation of the Greek government. First, the official website was launched by Warner Bros in December 2005. The "conceptual art" and Zack Snyder's production blog were the initial attractions of the site. Later, the website added video journals describing production details, including comic-to-screen shots and the creatures of 300.

The word spread very quickly. Even months before the release, millions of people knew about the Spartan King Leonidas and 300 Spartans fight to the last man against Persian King Xerxes and his army of over one million soldiers. Check out the number of views for the first trailer (2,778,451) and the second trailer (2,238,651)! Soon you couldn't see a single site without an image or comment related to the film. Ytmnd even made an interesting retro version of 300 - 8-bit NES style!

What's more, the soundtrack composed by Tyler Bates not only has given rise to some controversy in the film composer community due to its striking similarity to several other recent soundtracks (see "Copyright Issues" on Wikipedia page for more information), but also conquered everyone's heart. Most importantly, the song used in the trailers of the movie, Nine Inch Nails's Just Like You Imagined (absent from the soundtrack), adds epicness to almost anything. Take a look at these videos after the jump.

[ Warning: Videos contain violence, fun... etc, etc. Prepare for glory! ]

Footage of a real fight

South Park spoof

Star Wars spoof

Halo 3 spoof

World of Warcraft spoof

Perhaps it's King Leonidas' charisma

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16 May 2007

Scientology Exposed

Now I usually don't write about religion (or politics) on this blog but Scientology is obviously a cult. I came across this Digg thread and I think people need to be aware of the dangers of being involved in such an evil organization. So, here is all the information you need to know (also added a few resources I found at the end of the list). Oh, and if you are a scientologist, then you should leave this site immediately - you probably already lost your ability to think!


The worst fear to Scientology is the rapid spread of information on the internet because they can't control it. Copy this section and post it on your blog!

Scientology versus the Internet:

What Scientology doesn't want you to read:

Online archive of the dirty secrets of Scientology:

Lives Have Been Ruined:

How Cults Work:

What is a Cult?

Cult Awareness Network (CAN) owned by Scientologist:
60 Minutes Episode:
Showing Delayed:

Finally free from Scientology:

Report on Scientology:

Shocking information about Scientology:

Scientology Vs South Park:

Scientology and Clearwater Police Officers:

Scientology Security Guys:

BBC Scientology Documentary:

Scientology "Training" Routines:

Brainwashing/Hypnosis Technique:

Big Scientology SECRET they don't want us to know:

How Cults Control Your Mind:

The Cult Business:

Crazy Scientology Followers:

Secret Vault of Scientology:

Scientology's Military:

More videos on Scientology:

Bloggers Against Scientology:

The worst fear to Scientology is the rapid spread of information on the internet because they can't control it. Copy this section and post it on your blog!


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15 May 2007

Don't Miss This Opportunity

Update: END OF OFFER. Click this link, stumble (submit to others as well if applicable) and leave a comment there to get a free linkback from The Thinking Blog Dot Com (PR5)! Offer ends on 21st of May and your links will appear on the post of 22nd.

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14 May 2007

The Floor is Lava


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13 May 2007

The Future of Search Marketing?

Have you ever noticed how your collection of photos, music and other documents keep growing everyday? With the rise of Web 2.0, there is an ever increasing number of Internet users who contribute to form the collective knowledge that emphasizes online collaboration and sharing among users. However, there will be a time when we can't find what we're looking for in a search engine and somehow all these billions of documents online need some sorting to make sense to us all.

Common Sense. The aim is to add an extra layer of meaning on top of the existing Web that would make it less of a catalog and more of a guide. We need to get machines doing the thinking rather than simply following commands that are updated by computer programmers. However, that level of artificial intelligence will require something more than what the Internet is capable of providing us today. Some call it a World Wide Database. Some say Semantic Web. Perhaps you are more familiar with its buzz word, Web 3.0.

Artificial Intelligence. Of course, the Web is going to evolve like everything else but it's not all about glossy tabs, drop shadows and simple personalized homepages. It’s how the user interacts with the machine and vice versa. In the future, more powerful systems could act as personal advisers in areas such as financial planning, with an intelligent system mapping out a retirement plan for a couple, or educational consulting, with the Web helping a high school student identify the right college. The new Web is going to build a system that can give a reasonable and complete answer to a simple question like: “I’m looking for a sunny place for holidays and I have a budget of $2,000. Oh, and I have an 8 year old child.”

Personalized Information. Yes, you can tag your photos on Flickr so that we can find images that a computer could never find. Yes, you can change the way Google looks to suit your taste, needs or interests. All these collaborative filtering services adds intelligence to the path towards Web 3.0 but for those who think the next phase will be about extending the functionality of the Web and not changing it - think again!

Pushing Further. The real task at hand is to find a new way to mine data and present it to the user in a human fashion. Moreover, this data should be "customized" for each and every user. Adverts will not just be relevant but also be displayed according to the user's tastes. That means you will see (the right) ads, when you want to see ads. For example, the computer will "know" that you like spicy food when you travel to your vacation spot and display ads for good restaurants in the area. That is, when you get there!

Keep Thinking. The very idea has given rise to skeptics who have called it an unobtainable vision. But what about web 4.0? Web 5.0? This doesn't mean engineers start versioning the Web for the sake of marketing. This means the emergence of new systems that change the way we interact with machines, computers, and the Internet in particular. Notice how advertisement are less "in your face" (read pop-ups) and more relevant with searches? Notice how easy it is to create a website like this (read blog), link to information and top that with comments? I remember the days when I spent most of my time coding than writing content, while dreaming of the day when a machine could do it for me. Well, that dream has partly come true.

Everybody needs to have a dream!

[ Illustration via: Personalize Media ]

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12 May 2007

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words - Post 6

"Pictures Worth A Thousand Words" series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ...................[Image via: National Geographic]

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11 May 2007

The Linking Post

I think we need a break from thinking and read some other posts from other blogs. No matter how much we try to read, there always seems to be some great articles we've missed or overlooked. Some of them are really interesting while others are just for a good laugh. Have a look and grow your knowledge. Hope you enjoy them but don't forget to come back here to leave your comments. If you don't comment, I will assume you didn't like them - and kill a kitty!

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10 May 2007

What is Your Favorite Social Bookmark?

The main purpose of social bookmarking is to have people with like interests bookmarks sites that they think would be useful, or interesting, to others who have the same interests. Instead of saving these links on your computer or in a word document, save them into your social bookmarking site and you can access them anywhere. If you assign certain subject 'tags' to each link, they can be easily categorized and searched. You can also send these to your friends - yet another great way to share knowledge!

Once you have chosen your favorite in the poll above: why do you prefer that one over the others and how do you use it?

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09 May 2007

Cult of Apple - Part 3

Enjoyed this post? Read Cult of Apple Part 1 and Part 2. Stay tuned, Part 4 is coming soon!

Cult of Apple - Part 1

Cult of Apple - Part 2

Cult of Apple - Part 4

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07 May 2007

The Art of Cigarette Packs

Art is art even though we all know nicotine is an ill substance and what happens to your body if you quit smoking right now. I found this book called 'No Smoking' by Luc Sante packaged in a beautiful box resembling a large cigarette pack, it is a social retrospective on the glamor and allure of cigarettes. However, the box is so well designed that it makes one wonder how the cigarette packs looked like before all the health warning messages. There is this site (French) showcasing the packs of almost all the known and less known brands of cigarettes but here is a selection of the best:

[ Warning: Lots of images. Please wait for images to load. There are 144 cigarette packs! ]

No Smoking book



Camel classics

Camel pop-art

Camel vintage

Camel funny


Lucky Strike






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