Full of crap The tech news is full of crap this fortnight. Literally. Three of the five stories that perked my interest had something to do with feces or where it comes from. One of the more bizarre ones details how you might be writing your next letter to your mother on sheep shit (does anyone write letters anymore in the age of e-mail?). A Welsh group, Creative Paper Wales, wanted to develop a low-tech company with minimal capital that was also environmentally friendly, according to the BBC. The sheep droppings are collected, sterilized, washed and mixed with other recycled paper products. The washing water that is used in the process is distributed to local farmers as concentrated fertilizer. This poo paper idea won Creative Paper Wales a £20,000 (U.S. $37,310) Millennium Award for “social entrepreneurship.”
Rock ‘n’ bowl Americans don’t read anymore. That’s a fact. I’m guilty myself to a degree. My time buried in books and magazines has gone down the tube in recent years. The one block of time I do have to get intimate with the written word is while I’m sitting on the bowl; until now. iCarta just came out with the iPod Dock and Toilet Paper Dispenser. This device holds your bog roll while docking your Apple mp3 player, adding a soundtrack to the final stages of your digestion. Plus, you get to listen to your tech podcasts while in the shower. Instillation is easy, according to a Jason Chen of CNET, but he does point out that it requires an outlet nearby. I’d be a bit afraid, though, of dropping my life’s collection of music into the porcelain pond one morning while not fully awake.
Cell phones stink And the last story from the toilet comes from El Salvador. An Associate Press article starts off by saying, “Cellular telephones were found inside four prisoners … ” Inside? Apparently a suspicious official at a central El Salvadorian maximum-security prison x-rayed inmates and found, among the organs you would expect to find in a human, four cell phones, nine SIM chips and a charger. The director of the prison said four members of the dangerous Mara Salvatrucha gang “introduced” the technology, wrapped in plastic bags, into their bodies through their anuses. Now I love text messaging like the next person, but there are some lines I will not cross. My Treo 650 smart phone is the size of a PDA (personal digital assistant) and that, along with my charger, would … let’s just say it wouldn’t be very comfy in my bowels, let alone getting it in there. I wonder if they turn off vibrate while it’s in storage?
In other news A presidential hopeful, Mark Warner, or his avatar I should say, is campaigning in the online game Second Life and an Australian university’s top academic prize went to a thesis paper comparing Star Trek with ancient mythology. Djoymi Baker watched more than 700 episodes—more than 624 hours—of Spock and Captain Kirk in order to come to his conclusions which won him the University of Melbourne’s Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence.