Recently in Life Imitates... Category

Life Imitates South Park

Chinese People's Liberation Army chief Gen. Chen Bingde is trying to convince us that China isn't a military threat. From Fox News via Defense Tech:

"Through my visit over the past couple of days in the United States, I am surprised by the sophistication of the U.S. military, including its weapons and equipment and doctrines and so on," People's Liberation Army leader General Chen Bingde said. "I can tell you that China does not have the capability to challenge the United States. As a matter of fact, the reconnaissance activities along China's coast by U.S. military aircraft and vessels are seen in China as deterrents."

For emphasis, the general added, "What I'm trying to say is that we do not have the capability to challenge the United States."

. . .

"As it is known to all, the United States is a super-power in the world today; how can China easily have the ability to challenge it? That is simply not part of Chinese culture and we do not have that capability. We would strive for world peace, civility and development and well being of the whole humankind...The United States has far more advanced weapons and equipment."

I... don't believe him. In fact, the first thing I thought of when I read this was the South Park season 3 episode called Chinpoko-mon, about a Japanese company that uses a Pokemon-like game to brainwash American youth to join a new Japanese-supremacist military. Specifically, this part (starting at 0:33), where company officials try to distract a concerned American toy shop owner from the threat of Chinpoko-mon:

"I am President Hirohito. And this is Mr. Osa."
"Pleased to meet you."
"We understand you have big concern about our fine product."
"Well, yes. Do you mind telling me what the hell this is about?" [activates Chinpoko-mon doll]
"The American Government lies to you. Join the fight for Japanese supremacy of the world. More to come!"
"That is so strange. I do not know how this could happen. But rest assured, I will make sure it does not happen again!"
"Well, now come on, I don't think that that quite satisfies my - "
"You are... American?"
"Oh! You must have very big penis!"
"Excuse me? I was just asking you what you're up to with these toys."
"Nothing. We are very simple people with very small penis. Mr. Osa penis is especially small."
"So small!"
"We cannot achieve much with so small penis. But you Americans... wow! Penis so big... so big penis!"
"Well, I guess it is a pretty good size."
"Well, it certainly was nice meeting you folks; I just wanted to bring that little malfunction to your attention. Bye-bye now."
"Thank you for stopping by with your gargantuan penis!"

Damn straight it is. And we intend to be the ONLY swinging dick in the Pacific.

Life Imitates The Matrix

In The Matrix Trilogy, humans are biological generators wired into a power plant that provides some of the energy to keep the machines going.

In a research lab in France, a biological generator wired into a rat provides energy that could be used to power a machine. Implanted Fuel Cell Powered by Rat's Body Fluids:

A new fuel cell is putting a twist on alternative energy from biofuels: The implanted device draws power from chemicals in living animals.

Dubbed a glucose biofuel cell, the implant gets its juice from glucose--aka blood sugar--and oxygen, both of which are naturally present in the fluids between a body's cells.

In a recent study, researchers created a test version of their glucose biofuel cell and implanted it in a white lab rat named Ricky. The rat sported the device successfully for 11 days and suffered no ill effects.

Wires running from the fuel cell out of the rat's neck showed that the device was producing a significant amount of energy.

How far are we from being able to build our own little Matrix, with millions of rats wired into treadmills pumping out electricity? It'd be like a giant Kia Soul commercial.

Life Imitates "The Abyss"

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In The Abyss, Ed Harris, after an argument with his (IIRC) semi-estranged wife Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, takes off his wedding ring in disgust and tries to flush it down the toilet. In mid-flush, he changes his mind and fishes the ring out of the loo. In a later scene, when an automatic watertight door is about to trap him fatally, he jams his hand in the gap as the door closes. The ring keeps the door from closing all the way, and he's able to pry it open and escape.

It's not exactly the same thing, but...

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Donnie Register has a new reason to be thankful he's married — police say his wedding band deflected a bullet and probably saved his life.

Two men walked into Register's shop at The Antique Market on Saturday and asked to see a coin collection, police Sgt. Jeffery Scott said.

When Register retrieved the collection, one of the men pulled a gun and demanded money. A shot was fired as Register threw up his left hand, and his wedding ring deflected the bullet, police said.

Life Imitates How I Met Your Mother


Episode 2ALH05, Aldrin's Justice:

Ted's Office

The firm is about to unveil a design for a skyscraper to a big client, and Druthers is very excited about it. Druthers unveils it to the client, and the client automatically announces that the building is a penis. Everybody in the office knows it looks like a penis but Druthers, who did not see it at all. The client refuses to build a penis, and asks for other ideas. Druthers doesn't have any ready. The client is anger, and decides to leave. Ted stops him, and shows him his design.

San Diego, last week:

SAN DIEGO — The developer said his design for a 40-story resident tower proposed as a gateway to downtown San Diego looks like a flower. A city consultant said it looks like a giant phallus.

"With its rounded forms and swelling of the uppermost floors...this building structure is very phallic," wrote Gwynne Pugh, a Santa Monica architect hired by the downtown redevelopment agency to review building designs.

Update: Deidre Woodward of Luxist has much more, including a picture so you can decide for yourself.


Life Imitates The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

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In the HHGG trilogy (specifically, in Restaurant), the rock band Disaster Area makes an appearance. It is said about them that

Disaster Area are generally represented as not only the loudest rock band in all of time and space, but "in fact the loudest noise of any kind at all." No small claim to live up to, but when you've destroyed not merely lives, or cultures, or civilizations, but actual planets with your performance, I suppose that you can strut about a bit.

. . .

Afficianados of the band report that optimum listening pleasure is to be dervied from deep inside large concrete bunkers, at an optimum distance from the massive stage of thirty-seven miles. Some have reportedly set up closer, but no reliable witnesses have ever been found.

And these Michigan Tech students are just the guys to set up their Marshall column:

Seeking to becoming kings of university's annual snow statue building contest, a few zany students crafted a monstrous snow horn, fully equipped with tweeters, mid-range drivers, and subwoofers. The horn was unfortunately disqualified from the competition due to using "materials other than snow," but how can you not hand over a gold medal to a team that braved the freezing cold in order to craft a 20,000-watt megaphone? You heard right, powering this immense array of drivers were nine Behringer EP2500s and a Crown XLS602, and while we've no way of confirming, we have every reason to believe that folks have "called to complain from miles away."


Life Imitates There's Something About Mary

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Presented without further comment - Bull sperm hair treatment:

A hairdresser is offering clients a new conditioning treatment made out of bull's semen.

The 45-minute treatment costs £55 and uses semen from Aberdeen Angus bulls on a farm in Cheshire.

. . .

Salon owner Hari Salem said: "I have been searching for an organic product with a lot of protein because that is what hair is made of and lacks when it is dry.

"The semen is refrigerated before use and doesn't smell. It leaves your hair looking wonderfully soft and thick."

Life Imitates Spiderman

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Spidey sense is on its way! From Engadget via BoingBoing - Tactile display could convey signals on soldiers' backs:

. . . a new vibrating vest could give "body language" an entirely new meaning. Joining the air-conditioned and insulating renditions, this snazzy vest features a "tactile display" on the back, which is created by 16 small vibrating motors that are connected to an internal wireless control unit. The jacket "writes symbols and messages on its wearer's back," and while the actual writing resembles Braille more than text, it can supposedly be used to "send important commands to soldiers or firefighters, warning them of imminent danger when ordinary radios cannot be used."

So does my spidey-sense detect danger to my groin, or is my "tactile display" just happy to see me?

(Previously on Life Imitates Minority Report: workspace / sick sticks and pre-crime)

Remember how Tom Cruise's character got personal greetings and extreeeeeemely targeted ads whenever he walked into a store? Turns out that MINI USA likes that idea so much, they're rolling it out right now:

The idea is simple, first give MINI USA some irreverent information about yourself (nothing too personal). Then MINI USA then sends out a special keyfob (4-6 weeks after sign-up) that identifies you to each of the Motorboards you pass. When the boards detect that you are about the drive by, they deliver a personal message based on the information you originally gave.

Of course, I'm expecting a near-zero-day hack that will make the billboards say FAR more interesting things...

[From /. via Engadget]

Art Imitates, Well, Art

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Supreme Irony Alert: A large scuplture intended to show how fragile the earth is instead showed how fragile it itself was:

A million-dollar stone sculpture, intended to remind future generations of the Earth's fragility, made its point a bit early - just three months after its unveiling, it collapsed.

The 175-ton "Spaceship Earth" lay in ruins at Kennesaw State University after mysteriously falling to pieces last week.

The engraved phrase "our fragile craft" was still visible amid the debris.

. . .

The Finnish-born sculptor, who goes by the name Eino, had called the work "Spaceship Earth" to honor environmentalist David Brower, a leader of the Sierra Club. It depicted a bronze figure of Brower standing atop the globe. The founders of California-based PowerBar had paid for the $1 million sculpture.

"How can stone collapse by itself?" Eino asked. "I'm devastated."

He said he used a resin made specially for stone, worked with an engineer and was assured that the globe would stay in one piece.

Eino, who lived in Georgia in the late 1990s and now lives outside Las Vegas, vowed to restore "Spaceship Earth" to its former glory, with structural modifications. Rebuilding will start as early as next month, he said.

"I want to rebuild it and build it stronger than ever," Eino said. "It has to be made safe."

Rebuild it, blah blah blah, make it better than it was, yada yada yada, and it'll end up costing SIX million in the end.

Life Imitates A Dozen Comedians On Bob & Tom

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There was a time about a month and a half ago where it seemed like every third comedian to appear on Bob & Tom would make a joke about hiring illegal immigrants to help build the border fence. It appears that somebody actually has that in their business plan:

A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company's work includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico.

. . .

Golden State Fence built millions of dollars' worth of fencing around homes, offices, and military bases. Its president and one of its Southern California managers will pay fines totaling $300,000. The government is also recommending jail time for Melvin Kay and Michael McLaughlin, probably about six months.

The irony here would be if they were jailed inside a fence their own company built.

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