Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Although there are a variety of offenders by far the worst violator is Zynga. You think I'm making this up? Check out the very words out of the mouth of the CEO of Zynga as he spoke at a start up meeting in Berkeley: “I knew that I wanted to control my destiny, so I knew I needed revenues, right,
So kidz, how could you possibly do anything about this? The power of the internet is in numbers and word-of-mouth. Pass this post onto your friendz. Urge them to stop playing Zynga games like Cafe World, Dragon Wars, FarmVille, Fashion Wars, Mafia Wars, Pirates, Roller Coaster, Scramble, Special Forces, Vampires, Word Twist, and YoVille! You have to hit them where it hurts: their pocketbook.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
None was more famous than "The Blob", a creature that descends onto earth from space in the interior of a meteoroid and engulfs the town's residents including Mr. Andrews the local grocer. Generally, the film is recognized as being "quintessential", which for you kidz means that the special effects would put you into a boredom coma. You do, however, have to put things into perspective, there were no computer-generated graphics in the 1950s. No laptops, CDs, iPods, microwave ovens, cell phones, or internet. Entertainment was watching black and white TV or hanging around with your pal Potsie at the local hamburger joint. So you can imagine that folks at the time would go nuts over some brown jello shots.
Luckily, life imitates art. Or what passes for art. The folks over at National Geographic, who specialize in nature photography and exploration, have posted an article entitled "Giant, Mucus-Like Sea Blobs on the Rise, Pose Danger". That's an attention grabber for sure. It's even more interesting that these blobs can be 100s of kilometers long! And they've been around since the 1700s. What's new is that scientists have finally gotten around to studying them and have concluded that they are not good for you(TM). The harbor all sorts of pathogens, bacteria, and viruses including our old friend E. Coli. Fortunately, a scientist named Farooq Azam, has let on that "few people would purposely swim into a mucilage". That means that if you were frolicking in the Mediterranean you wouldn't dive into a blob of green slime but your brother might throw it at you if he got a chance.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
A sharp eyed iPhone developer that I know sent the following lego instructions for making your own Penrose triangle. Don't blame the Spankster if you wind up crying in your milk after a few hours...
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Don't get me wrong: Mr. Spanky would like to have psychic abilities. It would be brilliant if I could move a beer from the fridge and the chips from the pantry to the barcolounger without moving. And the chocolate. And the 20 yr old Scotch from the rec room upstairs. Yeah, Mr. Spanky is totally digging his telekinetic awesomeness.
Here's a video showing psychic abilities. A table is set up with a paper pinwheel beneath a glass bowl. The psychic moves the pinwheel with his mind. Astounding! Think a little bit before answering the questions that the author poses on his site:
- Does this video prove the paranormal? Note that paranormal is a general term that describes unusual experiences that lack a scientific explanation or that are supernatural.
- If this is not paranormal, how was it accomplished?
Is this a demonstration of paranormal psychic powers or is it bogosity? Eager to find out -> click this link.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I really like the Instructables web site: people post things that they actually make with their own two hands, which is an art lost here in our shrink-wrapped bargain store consumer oriented society. This instructable is the step-by-step guide to creating your own mint-launching catapult. The materials are simple: Altoids tin, coat hanger, rubber bands, electrical tape, small piece of cardboard, measuring or other plastic spoon, paint, wire cutters, hot glue, scissors, and pliers. You can find them around the house. The tools you can find in Dad's toolbox and he won't mind if you use them AS LONG AS YOU PUT THEM BACK AFTERWARDS YOU LITTLE TROLL!
Sorry. It's a touchy point. Mr. Spanky's son has been known to leave a trail of discarded valuable tools all over the place like crumbs in a Hansel and Gretel story when he works on his projects. IT'S NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK THAT HE CLEANS IT UP, RIGHT? RIGHT?!!!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
We have competition and not only that we're helping them. From the Earth News desk of the BBC:
A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered. Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another. The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination. What's more, people are unwittingly helping the mega-colony stick together...
Act now Kidz and save the world! Ask your parents for a magnifying glass and do your part to decimate the ant population on a sunny day.
Friday, June 26, 2009
P.S. Mr. Spanky is secretly thrilled that he can use the word "poo" ten times in this short post.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
After a bit of a summer break Mr. Spanky is back in action. His keen eagle eyes and insatiable curiosity have picked out today's science movie, a journey through a deep crevasse in the Mariana Trench at the bottom of the ocean.
Mrs Spanky says, "He's a liar and a crazy old coot."
Ahem. Actually, this photo is a snapshot at 69,000x magnification of something that is, right now, in your head. Not near your head: literally, in your head. You use them every day and you lose them once in a lifetime. Can you guess what they are without playing the video below?
Monday, June 8, 2009
- Drive new customer adoption through the use of repellent product names! We've helped Sweat Cheese Breakfast Drink, Fermented Kittylitter Clothing, and Crunchy Frog Chocolates become established household names!
- Brought to you by Ugly Barfi Inc
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The video is hosted on the TED site. There are many TED talks that are also downloadable from iTunes as videos. Enjoy!
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes)...
Thursday, April 30, 2009
You can get a relatively up-to-date map of the swine flu incidents here. The more caring of my readers will want to know that Mr. Spanky is taking great care to protect himself: washing his hands, donning a surgical mask, shaving his head, and bathing regularly in Purell.
But his neighborhood is not immune--the local high school has been closed due to a swine flu positive student. Take care, kidz, and keep those hands out of your known portals of entry for pathogens.*
* According to the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene these portals are the mouth, nose, and conjunctiva of the eyes.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
- Johnny: Can I go to the bathroom?
- Teacher: Say your ABCs first and then you can go.
- Johnny: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z
- Teacher: That's nice, Johny, but where's the P?
- Johnny: It's running down my leg.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Why is this relevant? Because alert reader MO has passed on the following site as a candidate for stardom on the PhunKidz blog. Can you imagine a site devoted to completely random postings, specifically of pictures where eyeballs and teeth are drawn in complete with the tagline "Om Nom Nom Nom"? I understand. Not until now.
Monday, April 13, 2009
My daughter's desires to help the planet and indulge in her God-given right to drive in the US of A are, gasp, unrealistic. Until now. This is brilliant--if Mr. Spanky could claim credit for this invention he would in a heart-beat, that's just the type of person he is. This is a $13K electric car that seats four and, get this, doesn't go faster than 30 mph. Heehee! It's perfect for a new student driver. MO won't know what hit her. Whups, bad choice of words.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Note that from this autopsy the mystery of the eggs is solved. He doesn't pack 'em on his back--they're produced internally. Up to you Phunkidz to speculate on how the eggs are delivered into their hiding places...
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Today we're going to look at statistics. This video talks about how our society is increasingly exponential. It's exciting or terrifying depending on your perspective. We are living in interesting times!
These types of statistics have had a material impact on my life. Witness the discussion at the dinner table with Mrs. Spanky:
Me: Me sweet little potato peeling, did ya know dat dere are more of dem dere honors students in India than all da students in dis here US of A?
Mrs. Spanky: You daft booger, here's a statistical for ye: dere's 9 in 10 that I'm gonna clock ya with dis frying pan unless ya shut yer gob. Eat your mush.
Friday, March 13, 2009
- Me: "Aye begora! I found a wee leprechaun in me oatmeal dis mornin'."
- Mrs: "You're a daft booger for sure--eat your mush."
Alert Irish reader LO found a charming vid that is just in time for St Paddy's day, which, coincidentally, is next Tuesday. Watch out for Irishmen crossing the street: they're sometimes staggering.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Mr. Spanky does not get up in the morning looking for things like you'll find in this post. Unfortunately, it is still my duty to alert Phunkidz readers to the weird, wacky, and well, no, it's just plain weird.
Hiyaaah! This is one ugly cat. It looks like a cross between a bad wig and a hairless rat. Check out the movie on the site link below to see Ugly Bat Boy in action--creepy.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
It uses Facebook to allow people to talk about, comment on, and add to a few ads, fun little apps, and pictures that have been posted. Interesting to see a campaign seeded by the company and then virally taking off with people that can participate. Witness the 585,109 (and counting) fans that are linked to this page and the 1,571 comments they've posted. Whoever the marketing firm is that dreamed this one up gets Mr. Spanky's Golden Award of Brain and a license to print free money.
I especially loved the Tailor ad. There are four guys wearing suits: check out all three mirrors.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
It's snap together blocks make programming even complex instructions simple and fool-proof. We started simply by having a knight run around bouncing off the edge of the screen. Then we added the dragon, then some simple hit detection to see if the dragon breathed on the knight. It built up over the course of an hour or so into a fun game!
In our game, DragonFire, you are a dragon who has been relentlessly pestered by knights. Your job is to cook Sir Buttkin by breathing fire on him 5 times. Beware Sir Buttkin's friends, who are shooting arrows that could pierce your delicate skin. Enjoy!
If you make your own Scratch game, make a comment in the Phunkidz blog with a link to your game!
Monday, February 9, 2009
Alert reader GO has brought to my attention an article from the Economist where they talk about Dr. W.F. Dove who has fashioned his own unicorn. Horns are not embedded in the skull, rather they start out as buds on the flesh. Dr. Dove understood this and in 1933 created his own unicorn. The lesson here, kidz, is to experiment on animals for phun and profit!*
What did Dr. Dove's unicorn look like? Click the link below to find out.
*Mr. Spanky really doesn't endorse animal experiments so please do not perform chemical tests, transplants, DNA-alteration, substance abuse, or junk food binges with any animals. Just think, you wouldn't want any of those things to happen to you, right? Ok, except for the junk food binging.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
From Ukelele Hunt: There’s little doubt of the link between the ukulele and comic actors. From Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, through Steve Martin to Adam Sandler and William H Macy. The latest in the list is Kate Micucci...
Monday, February 2, 2009
This new version allows you to run around on Mars. Simply click on the planet icon in the top toolbar and select "Mars". Go into flight simulator mode and fly an F16 around the landscape. To see the travels of the Mars Rovers, select the "Mars Gallery" layer, open it, and select "Rovers and Landers" and click on the rover of your choice. Click on one of the camera icons to see high resolution pictures that have been taken by the rover. It's amazing.
But wait there's more. Just as the Googley engineers are plying the heavens, they are also looking to the depths of the sea. Go back to Earth (click on the planet icon in the toolbar and select "Earth"). Select the oceans layer. Explore shipwrecks, National Geographic featured sites, and view Cousteau's adventures beneath the sea. You've got to like this.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
One of the things that really peaked my interest was the intertwining of the real world with the game. The game uses the built in GPS of the phone to determine if you are actually in a particular airport. If you play the game in the airport it will provide a special souvenir item that then stays with the game. For example, if you play the game near the San Jose airport it will unlock the microchip (which can become a prohibited item in the game from now on). Ingenious!
Voice over loudspeaker:
- "Susan Adams, Susan Adams, please report to the cavity search area"
- "Travelers should be advised that transporting any object through security is unadvised."
- "Please be prepared to surrender food and personal hygiene articles for security personnel to dump indiscriminately into trash receptacles."
- "John Smith, John Smith, please pick up your underpants at the west security station."
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In my diligent quest for understanding LEDs I have stumbled upon a gem of a site called The Naked Scientists. The Naked Scientists are a BBC science radio program, podcast, and web site all in one. They allow you to explore science, medicine and technology news, discoveries and breakthroughs being discussed by scientists and researchers today and include interviews with famous scientists of world-class reputation. What a treasure trove!
So how does an LED work? A Light Emitting Diode involves two types of semi-conductors sandwiched together: an N-type and a P-type. The N-type is heavy in extra electrons and the P-type is full of molecules that need electrons (think of these as electron attracting holes). By applying a current to either side, the electrons from the N jump over to the P and fall into the holes. When they do so they give up their extra energy as light. Check out the great description of this phenomenon at the Naked Scientist website.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Zimbabwe was once considered the "breadbasket of Africa" but has been in an economic meltdown due to land reforms (confiscating land from white farmers in the early 1990s and causing food output to plummet) and sanctions placed on it by western countries, resulting in a failure to pay its debts to the International Monetary Fund. Coupling that with President Mugabe's disputed reelection in June 2008 has caused the country to collapse even further. It makes our current financial troubles look mild in comparison.
There's a fascinating series of photos on the Sojourner's website that show some of the challenges that hyperinflation brings. Like trying to carry enough money to buy that chocolate bar!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Try these out and then let all of our kidz know what your experience was by commenting on the blog!
DO YOU EVER want to change the way you see the world? Wouldn't it be fun to hallucinate on your lunch break? It's easy to fling open the doors of perception without: All it takes is a basic understanding of how the mind works.
The first thing to know is that the mind isn't a mirror, or even a passive observer of reality...Link
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
My father, Señor Spanky Senior, sent me some incredible photos of one of the Canadian Coast Guard's Self-Righting Lifeboats performing maneuvers off of Tofino, BC which is on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Apparently, these pictures were taken from shore via a tripod during an autumn storm last year. I stitched them together in Photoshop to create an animation to ensure your attention. Click on the picture above for a closer view. Quite the ride!
The self-righting lifeboats are part of the CCGs Search and Rescue (SAR) Program. The CCG's Pacific Region is responsible for 560,000 square kilometers (210K sq miles) of ocean and 27,000 km (~17K miles) of rugged and often inaccessible coastline. This is somewhat longer than Santa's naughty list.
If you have a penchant for being permanently damp you might want to consider a career in the Canadian Coast Guard. Arrr, Billy, have you ever been to sea?
* Mr. Spanky drinks liquor for medicinal purposes only and in a responsible manner. He's old, he has aches and pains, and the citrus does wonders for his scurvy.