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United State of Pop 2009: Blame it on the Pop December 31, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Amazing, Just for Fun.
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The video below is a Mash-Up of Billboard’s Top 25 pop hits of 2009, put together by DJ Earworm. I don’t care what you think of the songs or the artists, there is no denying that this mash-up is one of the absolutely coolest mixes ever, and this DJ Earworm guy is incredibly talented.

Complete song list:

* The Black Eyed Peas – BOOM BOOM POW
* Lady Gaga – POKER FACE
* Lady Gaga Featuring Colby O’Donis – JUST DANCE
* The Black Eyed Peas – I GOTTA FEELING
* Taylor Swift – LOVE STORY
* Flo Rida – RIGHT ROUND
* Jason Mraz – I’M YOURS
* Kanye West – HEARTLESS
* The All-American Rejects – GIVES YOU HELL
* Taylor Swift – YOU BELONG WITH ME
* T.I. Featuring Justin Timberlake – DEAD AND GONE
* The Fray – YOU FOUND ME
* Kings Of Leon – USE SOMEBODY
* Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo – KNOCK YOU DOWN
* Jamie Foxx Featuring T-Pain – BLAME IT
* T.I. Featuring Rihanna – LIVE YOUR LIFE
* Soulja Boy Tell ‘em Featuring Sammie – KISS ME THRU THE PHONE
* Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne – DOWN
* Miley Cyrus – THE CLIMB
* Beyonce – HALO
* Katy Perry – HOT N COLD

(via thebooreport)

Big Words are Sexy (but you knew that) December 31, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in education, Just for Fun.
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What is it about the British that make them so articulate?

(via Misscellenia.com via Arbroath)

Just Because We Love Lists December 30, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Just for Fun.
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You know we here at Infomavens’ Desktop love lists, so when I saw Time’s Top Ten Lists for EVERYTHING (political gaffes, underreported stories, animal stories, new species, pictures of the year, movies, books, ads, TV shows, etc., etc., etc.) I had to share the link with you! : )

Playing the Blame Game December 30, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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In the wake of the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack thousands of articles have swamped the internet, groping for somewhere to place the blame. The problem with blame is that it falsely pacifies us and leads us to believe that a complex situation has an easy remedy. And while the TSA, the Dutch government, and fearful citizens all have their suggested remedies, we must not forget the lessons we learned after 9-11 and the swift instating of the Patriot Act, which later made us ask if we had not surrendered some freedoms (namely, privacy) hastily, because of fear. We are now in danger of compromising our freedoms once again.

NPR.org has posted an article discussing the innovative methods of airport security that are in discussion and development. Probably the most controversial one is body-image scanning technology. A number of months ago I saw this technology discussed on a morning news program. The new body-imaging software shows a detailed image of the person’s body, including the parts that would make your grandmother blush. The program then interviewed a wide range of Americans who had widely differing opinions on whether such a technology was necessary or unconstitutionally invasive. At the time of the airing of the program, the technology seemed superfluous, but now, after this last thwarted terrorist attempt, the Dutch have decided to adopt the technology. But will this really help?

Airlines already use the “puffer” machine that purports to detect odd chemical particles, but with limited results. Other such proposed controversial security methods include profiling and detailed verbal interviews as practiced in Israel, which is renowned for their airport security. Probably the most innovative and least invasive security measure is what NPR describes as a method used and perfected in retail – looking for suspicious behavior, namely things like “increased sweating or heavy breathing.” While this sounds promising, it would seem hard to find accuracy in an environment where many people are already nervous about flying, and likely to show increased signs of anxiety as it is.

So what is the solution? Do we surrender our privacy, our right to normalcy (some proposed safety measures include restricting use of the bathroom on flights), in the name of safety? Or do we acknowledge that these drastic safety measures do little to actually protect us?

NPR.org, in another article, questions just that by examining the “under-reaction” to news of the attempted terror plot, asking “Have Americans, in a post-Sept. 11 world, become a bit blase about terrorism in the sky?” While the article takes neither side, explaining in a purely psychological manner why some people shrugged at the news (namely because the failing of the plot lowered the “dread quality” that causes people to overreact), it does point out the inefficacy (or superfluity) of all security measures by quoting risk communication consultant, David Ropeik, who states that, “We have also adjusted emotionally after Sept. 11 to the risk of airplane terrorism — even though, statistically, the risk of flying was the same before the attacks as after the attacks.” What do these articles prove? They prove that airport security should not be the focus of our energies. They prove, in light of the new information that “Abdulmutallab was added to a massive database of potential terrorists after his father warned U.S. diplomats about his son’s extremism” (NPR.org), that America’s intelligence agencies are the real ones to blame in their lack of communication and cohesion. I have to agree with Obama on this one and call it a “systemic failure”.

What do you think is the best solution to the struggle between privacy and safety?

I <3 Calvin and Hobbes! December 29, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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Who doesn’t love Calvin and Hobbes? It is one of the greatest comics of all time. The rascal Calvin and his trusty tiger, Hobbes, use their imaginations to escape or get into all kinds of misadventures.

Just in case you miss them too, here’s a few links to check out:

–> A sketchbook of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, as reimagined by other comic artists
–> More reimaginings
–>New book about trying to get an interview with Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes [I wanted, but did not get this for Christmas, so I know how I’ll use some of my giftcards!]

Top Ten Industries to Join or Avoid December 29, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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A new report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (and summarized here by Marketingcharts.com) lists the top ten growing and shrinking US industries. In short:

The top 10 growth industries:
1. Management, scientific and technical consulting services
2. Offices of physicians
3. Computer systems design and related services
4. Other general merchandise stores
5. Employment services
6. Local government, excluding education and hospitals
7. Home health care services
8. Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities
9. Nursing care facilities
10. Full-service restaurants

The top 10 industries expected to experience the steepest employment declines:
1. Department stores
2. Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing
3. Motor vehicle parts manufacturing
4. Postal service
5. Printing and related support activities
6. Cut and sew apparel manufacturing
7. Newspaper publishers
8. Support activities for mining
9. Gasoline stations
10. Wired telecommunications carriers

I thought these all seemed fairly obvious. (Woo-hoo! Librarians are here to stay!) Were there any industries you were surprised or not surprised to see on either list?

Book Review Monday: Lost, by Gregory Maguire December 28, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Book Reviews.
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This week’s book review is inspired by Gregory Maguire’s new release, Matchless.

Although you might not know his name, you’ve probably heard of Mr. Maguire: he’s the author of the best-selling novel, Wicked, inspiration for the renowned Broadway Musical. Mr. Maguire has written a number of other novels, many of which, like Wicked, retell a classic fairy tale from the perspective of the tale’s “villain”.

Although I read Wicked several years ago, enjoyed and would recommend it, this review is not about Wicked, nor about its sequel, Son of a Witch, nor even about Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister, which is sitting on my shelf at home. This review is about one of his less well known novels, one done in a slightly different style.

Unlike the retold classics Maguire usually writes, Lost is instead inspired by the circumstances that led to the creation of the classic, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Set in modern London, an author, Winifred Rudge, is staying in her distant cousin’s flat, while researching her new novel about Jack the Ripper. Legend has it, that the flat, once owned by her long-deceased great-great-grandfather, was visited by a young Charles Dickens, and the family lore maintains the old man was the inspiration for Dickens’ famous Ebeneezer Scrooge. Now, many years later, Winifred is convinced that a spirit is trapped within the home, and is determined to figure out if he is her great-great-grandfather, or maybe even Jack the Ripper. Winifred turns out to be a rather unstable character, which is not surprising considering she is searching for ghosts, and there is quite a good deal of emotional damage she is repressing which the reader does not learn until the end. To be perfectly honest, it is not one of Maguire’s best efforts, and I would prefer he stick to the creative reimagining of fairy tales, rather than invention of new material. However, despite this disappointment, I cannot help but be enthusiastic about his latest seasonal effort, Matchless, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl, one of my childhood favorites.

New Facebook App Allows Book Sharing December 28, 2009

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The Random House publishing group has developed an application on Facebook titled “Random Reads” which enables users to read free chapters and excerpts, search the text, and make suggestions to fellow friends and users. It would seem from this article by TeleRead, that the application will also foster relationships between the users and authors, enabling authors to share additional excerpts and suggestions. As the application is from Random House, it obviously only offers their titles, but as of early December had over 7,000 titles available. I checked out the application myself, and with only 28 fans and 86 monthly users, I have to question whether this application is worth investing time in or if it has just been poorly marketed.

Has anyone used this application yet? What do you think of it? Is it just another marketing ploy or truly innovative?

Niche Blog Friday: Awkward Family Photos December 26, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Niche Blogs.
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The blog title speaks for itself–this blog compiles hilarious family photos, often in awkward poses or situations. My favorite is Christmas Eve’s Garden of Eden meets Christmas. It’s just wrong! Got anything to contribute after yesterday? For a good chuckle, check out the blog here!

Where to Spend Those Gift Cards December 26, 2009

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Just when your pocket is full of holiday gift cards and cash from Grandma, Abebooks.com has listed the Most Collectible Books of the Decade–the perfect investment for any bibliophile. Even if you don’t care to spend thousands of dollars on books, this list is interesting for its mix of classics, prizewinners, and fantasy genre bestsellers like Harry Potter, Twilight, Eragon, Inkheart, and works by J.R.R. Tolkien. If anything, it proves getting a signature is worth waiting in line!