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Nov 7, 2009
Amber

99 DARPA balloons for the Internet’s birthday

Did you know DARPA is still around? You know, those guys that basically invented the Internet (hint: not Al Gore). I always assumed it was sort of absorbed by other government agencies/bureaucracies but apparently they are alive and kicking. Sadly, their Web site is a little boring and unimpressive, but that’s beside the point.

I only found this out because I heard of the DARPA Network Challenge. Apparently it’s the 40th anniversary of the Internet (woo hoo!) and to mark this event they’re giving away $40,000 cash to one person. The contest is basically a way to show how the Internet has evolved into a social networking, information gathering, communication beast:

The challenge is to be the first to submit the locations of 10 moored, 8-foot, red, weather balloons at 10 fixed locations in the continental United States. The balloons will be in readily accessible locations and visible from nearby roads.”

A-whaaa?

A $40,000 cash prize will be awarded to the first entrant to submit the latitude and longitude of all ten balloons.”

So basically people have to work together in order to find all these balloons so that one person can get a load of dough? Seems more like a social experiment into what people will do for money. I wonder how many people are going to be giving fake coordinates of balloon sightings to throw off contestants?

HOW TO COMPETE

  1. Register on this web site on December 1.
  2. Find other people interested in helping you solve the DARPA Network Challenge.
  3. Starting December 5, submit locations to the web site immediately after you find them.
  4. For updates, follow us on Twitter.”

I’m interested in seeing how this whole thing plays out because right now there’s some serious confusion. Registration opens Dec. 1, balloons are launched Dec. 5 and submission deadline is Dec. 14. There will be no other prizes but if one person doesn’t get all of the correct coordinates it goes to the person with the largest number of correct entries.

It’s all sort of weird but exactly what I’d expect from a bunch of nerds who invented the Internet. Keep it up, you glorious geeks.

Apr 21, 2009
Amber

Be an online fashionista

Fashion is not my strong suit. I think I have a general idea of what’s cute but for the last four years of college my regular wardrobe has mostly consisted of Mizzou T-shirts and jeans. My footwear is usually flip flops or a pair of flats in the warm months and Converse or snow boots when it gets cooler. Now, I’m about to graduate (yay!) and am thinking I should probably be a bit more stylish and adult in my dress. But this world of fashion can be so confusing!

So, being the nerd that I am, I of course turned to the Internet. I found http://www.polyvore.com/, a site where you can create sets of clothing, bags and accessories to get ideas for outfits.

I am clearly no fashionista but within about 30 minutes I had created:

The cool thing about Polyvore is people can comment and critique your outfits. You also can view other people’s Polyvores to get some ideas. Here’s a few popular ones today:
As you can see, you can pick your outfit right down to the perfume and make up. The site also gives you prices and links to where you can buy the items, but some of them are a bit outrageous. Those wedge teal sandals I picked out? Yeah, they’re $438.84. That’s definitely out of my price range for clothes.
However, it is a great way to get ideas to take to the more affordable places like Kohl’s and Target in your search. I’m pretty positive I can find something similar in the mall if I were in love with that piece.
Go out and be fabulous, Webophiles!
Dec 18, 2008
Amber

Who throws a shoe? Honestly.

I have to say I am surprised, but not too surprised, at the response to the Iraqi journalist throwing a shoe at President Bush during a press conference at the Iraqi prime minister’s office.

In case you missed it:

Now we can all see the humor in throwing a shoe. Just as the title to this blogpost reflects the Austin Power’s joke. Even Bush, who I’ve thought always had a surprisingly good sense of humor, said afterward:

“Okay, everybody calm down for a minute … And if you want some — if you want the facts, it’s a size 10 shoe that he threw. (Laughter.) Thank you for your concern, do not worry about it. ”

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