Pride and Prejudice…And Zombies

You can’t make a story like this up. In fact, you really can’t introduce it. So here it is: “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, a novel scheduled for release in June 2009.

While there is scant information on the novel, author (or is it co-author?) Seth Grahame-Smith estimates that 85 percent of the book is the original Jane Austen text of “Pride and Prejudice”, with the other 15 percent being the zombie storyline. This text-hybrid turns the five Bennet sisters into zombie slayers and Mr. Darcy as a ninja expert, as they attempt to vanquish the zombies that have risen up in their village as the result of a plague.

Rejected Superbowl Ads: How YouTube is Changing the World

It used to be that you had to get media corporations on your side to get worldwide attention. Not anymore. If the news about this year’s Super Bowl commercials are any indicator, we may be moving into an age where virtual marketing may not only be cheaper, it’s more effective as well.

By ads, I mean the ones that didn’t make it to air, but are now floating around on the Internet for all to see.

Consider the latest PETA commercial, which NBC refused to let air during the Super Bowl because it “depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards”, according to Victoria Morgan, NBC Universal’s advertising standards executive.

Obama, English, Japan and Actions

Our actions affect other people.

I was reminded of this in reading a recent Reuters news article about how newly elected US President Obama is helping Japanese people learn English.

“The Speeches of Barack Obama” is a textbook–a textbook, mind you!–that compiles all of Obama’s speeches from his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech to his victory speech when he secured the Democratic nomination this past year. It is written in English with corresponding Japanese translations, and comes with a CD presumably so that readers can perfect their pronunciation.

Sea Grapes, Evolution and Science

Scientists have recently discovered one of the largest single-celled organisms in the seafloor of the Bahamas. Why should you care? Because it’s providing Gromia sphaerica, a distant relative of the amoeba. It is only one cell and yet it’s the size of a grape. It looks like a mud-covered blob or, as the researchers termed it, a “doo-doo ball.” They move by rolling about on the ocean floor.

Virtual Reality? Speculation on Sex, Divorce and Cyberspace

“It’s only a game”. Or is it? The discussion of the line between virtual and real has reopened now that a British couple is filing for divorce because of possible cyber-adultery.

Amy Taylor and Dave Pollard are both players of the virtual world aptly named “Second Life”, a virtual game world where people can create avatars and do day-to-day activities like hanging out with friends and attending concerts. She is 28. He is 40. Both are disabled. They met in a chat room in 2003 and were married in 2005, first in a lavish, tropical ceremony in “Second Life” itself and then in a registry office.

Find Me If You Can: A Commentary on Lingerie and Technology

We’ve heard about GPS capabilities being placed in devices like cell phones. But now they’re being placed in perhaps the unlikeliest of places: lingerie!

Brazilian lingerie designer Lucia Iorio has created a new line of lingeire called “Find Me If You Can” that comes equpped with a GPS device. The design features a lace bodice, a bikini bottom and faux pearl collar, with the bulky rectangular GPS device held in place on the right side of the waist. Give someone the password to the device, and they can track your movements.

"Light to India": In Memoriam of a Hero

The British Columbian newspaper The Province recently published an article on
Lillian Doerksen, a Canadian missionary to India who passed away on October 9.

It’s a fascinating piece. Doerksen spent over half her life raising orphaned girls and opening schools in Maharashtra for the deaf. She is described as Prakash Moushi (“Auntie of Light”) and the “Protestant Mother Teresa” (although I have found that title ascribed to a few other figures). She met important figures such as Billy Graham, and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and even had a three-minute private audience with the Dalai Lama.

Mail Goggles: Making the World a Better Place

When we think of making the world a better place, we often think of large-scale accomplishments, for instance, donating millions of dollars to research or helping end hunger in third-world countries. And while those are absolutely important, we shouldn’t forget to recognize the small-scale accomplishments–the ideas that make our lives easier and more trouble-free.

It’s in that spirit that this blog post honors Google engineer Jon Perlow, who has created a feature called Mail Goggles for GMail users. It is intended to prevent people from “drunk emailing”, or sending embarrassing emails while under the influence of alcohol.