Tuesday 26 June 2007

Boyfriend pillow for Japan singles

Japan's single women (and I suppose Men) are being offered the ultimate sleeping partner - a comfort to cuddle up to, but one which does not snore or make demands.
The Boyfriend's Arm Pillow, shaped like a man's torso with one sturdy arm, has been on sale since December and has so far been snapped up by 1,000 singles.
The pillow is only available in Japan, where it costs about 8,500 Yen ($80), and is available in blue, pink or green.
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Wednesday 20 June 2007

No Vroom at the Inn

What makes drving a car (or owning a car) sinful?
Well, according to the Vatican several things. The Vatican has issued its own rules of the road, a compendium of do's and don'ts on the moral aspects of driving and motoring.
Thou shall not drive under the influence of alcohol. Thou shall respect speed limits. Thou shall not consider a car an object of personal glorification or use it as a place of sin.
"Cars tend to bring out the 'primitive' side of human beings, thereby producing rather unpleasant results," the document said.
A 36-page document called "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" contains 10 Commandments covering everything from road rage, respecting pedestrians, keeping a car in good shape and avoiding rude gestures while behind the wheel.
The document's Fifth Commandment reads: "Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin."
It appealed to what it called the "noble tendencies" of the human spirit, urging responsibility and self-control to prevent the "psychological regression" often associated with driving.
Asked at a news conference when a car became an occasion of sin, Cardinal Renato Martino said "when a car is used as a place for sin."
One part of the document, under the section "Vanity and personal glorification," will not go down well with owners of Ferraris in motor-mad Italy.
"Cars particularly lend themselves to being used by their owners to show off, and as a means for outshining other people and arousing a feeling of envy," it said.
It urged readers not to behave in an "unsatisfactory and even barely human manner" when driving and to avoid what it called "unbalanced behavior ... impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy ..."
Praying while driving was encouraged [just don't close your eyes].
Vatican City, the world's smallest sovereign state, doesn't have many of the problems listed in the document.
It has about 1,000 cars, the speed limit is 30 kph and one Vatican official said the last accident inside Vatican City's walls was about 1-1/2 years ago, resulting in minor damage.
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Tuesday 12 June 2007

Development pornography

What is development pornography? I don't want you to get the wrong idea, DvP is pictures that are shocking, pull on your shamelessly pull on your heartstrings and often, as Reuters puts it, “still perpetuate a colonial idea of incapable Africans waiting passively for help from their white saviours”. This obviously doesn't just apply to Africans but to folks from all developing nations.

His name is Brandon. This picture was taken by AIDG, AIDG had installed a biodigester at the orrphanage and in summer 2005 visited to check on it, they took this photo.
What is it about the pic makes me feel a bit … you know… manipulative? It’s the fact that he is a this super-cute dewey-eyed earnest-looking kid. It also makes me feel a bit naughty because but just as “Sex sells” in advertising, I know kiddies sell in development. A big reason is that when I think of “sustainable future”, all I can think of is children either reaping the benefits or suffering the consequences of our decisions today. Yeah, it’s not a particularly innovative association.

“Upwards of 90% of the images of the majority world that are seen in the western media are produced by white photographers from the USA or Europe. This results in a one dimensional view often driven by a negative news agenda or the need to raise money.”

It does beg the question as to whether a lot of what is now considered DvP is related to general laziness. Photo-editors and marketers are just falling back of easy associations to get their point across, wringing every last dollar out of imagery of the long-suffering developing country person until donors stop responding. They are failing to realize or underestimating the negative impact that the repetition of this type of imagery can have. When someone says Ethiopia, the first image in most peopls minds is famine. Despite their tireless work, many NGOs have done their target populations a serious disservice by leaving their donors with a similar knee-jerk association.

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Thursday 7 June 2007

A bit on the dark side?

This is probably not something you'd want to leave around for your gran to see (unless she likes this kind of thing)
It does require a certain sense of humour to appreciate this. I have to admit it is kind of fun (in a ghoulish way)
The Idea is to replace the light pull switch with Hanging Harry. He is made of Silicone Rubber (so he is ideal for the bathroom) and comes with 2m of cord (you don't even have to tie the noose). Only £7.50 - bargin.

I'm not sure if this style of design is necessarily good but I do think it is fun. I suppose the real question is what does that say about me and my appreciation of the value of life etc.

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