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  • BeccaM "Technowitch" - Internet Meme Juice!As a kid, I used to dream about being popular, known, famous -- to have my proverbial 15 minutes of fame, and more. But slacking in high school turned into college rejections, which meant I was only qualified for untrained, low-paying security work, which I got into only because I have an uncle who knew a guy who owed him a huge favor.

    Night watch-person, mall cop, security guard at a bank... slowly I worked my way up, but nobody who saw me ever remembered my name, much less my face. I was invisible, anonymous. If I showed up for my company's Christmas party, people didn't say hi or welcome, but instead began lining up to be arrested for public intoxication. Of course I'd oblige them, and drive home with a trunk full of confiscated liquor, but the experience was always hollow and unsatisfying. At least until I got home and started in on the top-shelf vodka and rum. After that, things seemed much better.

    Then I landed a sweet job at a state university -- and wouldn't you know, their police were actually considered real honest to goodness gun-and-taser carrying law enforcement officers. We had riot gear and assault rifles! Those Kent State National Guard goobers had nothing on our arsenal. We could even arrest the spoiled rich punks who infested the campus like so many hope-filled stuck-ups. My favorite was the "whoopsie--look at this joint I, I mean FOUND in your pocket!" Ever see a 21 year old male pre-med student cry? Their tears are sweeter than wine.

    But still, something was missing from my life. Recognition. Hell, simple acknowledgment I existed.

    Then came the Defense Technology 56895 MK-9. Or as I call it "Fame In a Can."

    All I had to do was find a group of student protesters, which isn't hard at all lately. No idea why. I think Fox News said something about hippies. Anyway, I went for the easy target on this on my first go, because I was incredibly nervous. What if they fought back? Luckily, I found a bunch who were like shooting fish in a barrel, a line of them just sitting on the ground and not moving at all. My hand was shaking, but it hardly mattered because the MK-9 has such an amazing wide cone spray, it hits anything -- and anybody it's even vaguely pointed towards. The helpful orange dye tells you who you've sprayed already, and who needs a second or third dose. It says no closer than six feet, but I found that 2-3 feet greatly increased the chances of ingestion. I understand that if you can manage to force the protesters to swallow this stuff it makes them cough up blood for hours, a total bonus for those of us who think civil rights are too special for anybody but the privileged to have and enjoy.

    But the best undocumented feature of all: Instant fame! One minute of casually dousing these students with this pure-gold Internet Meme Juice, and next thing I know, I'm a YouTube sensation! Everybody knows my name, and yes, I know what you're thinking, but these riot face-shields also work wonderfully against spit and rotten vegetables.

    I'm hoping Defense Technology comes up with a garden hose attachment for this baby, so I can take care of those brats who're always trampling on my lawn, too.
  • Samana Siddiqui - Somebody call the Pulitzer committee and somebody else call Stephen SpielbergA native of New Orleans saving neighbors and abandoned pets via canoe in the wake of Hurricane Katrina sounds like the stuff of a Stephen Spielberg adventure flick. But until the film is made, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers is a Pulitzer-worthy read that will jar and haunt you.

    The book highlights the case of Abdrrahman Zeitoun, a successful Syrian builder and businessman who has called New Orleans home for over two decades. As his wife, Kathy, and their four children leave to a relative's home before the hurricane, begging him to come along, Zeitoun decides to stay back to assist the stranded, as well as to protect his home and the property of his clients from looters. Traveling on his canoe through the flooded city, he helps neighbors and feeds abandoned animals by day and sleeps in a tent on the roof of his home by night.

    But Zeitoun is quickly transformed from hero to villain once a mandatory evacuation order is issued for New Orleans. He is arrested on charges of theft by a mishmash of local and federal law enforcement officers. Thrown into a Guantanamo-style prison of open air cages at what was once a city bus station, he is stunned when called "Al-Qaeda" and "Taliban" by some of the guards. His crime is not only that he was at the wrong place, at the wrong time, like many other New Orleans residents who chose to stay during Katrina. His mistake is doing so while being an Arab Muslim.

    Eggers exposes the injustice of the city's makeshift criminal justice system in the wake of the disaster. With straightforward, understated narrative, he allows readers to feel rage and disgust on their own terms at the wrongful arrest and treatment of an innocent man trying to do the right thing in the strangest of circumstances.

    Being strip searched, pepper sprayed, denied medical care and even one phone call, which every arrested person has a right to in the United States, breaks his spirit. His belief that his adopted country, which he always thought would maintain its purported ideal of "innocent until proven guilty" and a commitment to the rule of law, is shaken to the core.

    Yet, through his faith and strength of character, Zeitoun gets through it all, broken, but not beaten.

    Dave Eggers has crafted a riveting true tale of injustice, incompetence, but even more important, resilience in the face of the most unusual and unbelievable of circumstances.
  • Andy A. Wittman "aawshads" - Best android tablet right now, period.I have had this unit for more than 2 weeks now, along with the docking station. while there were definitely some initial bugs to work out, this is a powerhouse of a tablet. the hardware speaks for itself, currently there is no tablet out there that can touch the performance. As further optimizations are made for the hardware, it will really start to separate itself from the current crop of tablets.
    To me the sleekness of the tablet coupled with how solid it feels is definitely a plus. the colors are stylish and the brushed finish is almost elegant.
    Some of the early run units had some issues, some people reported dead pixels, light bleed, GPS issues, and wifi issues. my very early unit did have GPS issues the latest update seems to have fixed that issue with my unit. I compared wifi with the original transformer and the Xoom, and the signal strength was comparable.
    Ice Cream sandwich is due to be released for thus tablet on the 12th, I believe that will only make this tablet a stronger choice in what is becoming a crowded field.
    A lot has been made of the fact that android platform has fewer apps, but I must say that in my 2 years of using android, I have yet to not be able to find an app for whatever it is I am wanting to do.
    A big outcry from the developer community, which I an a part of, was about the locked bootloader making it impossible to root this tablet. while it may affect only a very small percentage of users who would want to void there warranty, it is important to many power users. Asus has now come out and said they will unlock the for those want it. many of the negative reviews on here are due to the campaign by power users to get Asus to unlock it.
    overall, if you are looking for an android tablet, you will not go wrong with the Prime.
  • Ann Wade - Fractal TimeGreg Braden is an insightful person, his studies about the Universe and his ability to put his wisdom and knowledge into words that are easily assimilated by the reader is a masterful ability in itself. I am a fan of Braden's writing and thinking and am eager to learn as much as I can about the Mayan calendar and the cycles/patterns of the Universe. Braden has helps in putting the upcoming 2012 date in perspective. Fractal Time is one of the most important books for this time.