The Marginalian
The Marginalian

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Inner Kid Fodder

Cat herding, bionic lobsters, how to finally understand your mother, and why Ian likes the Over Under.

INNER KID FODDER

We work too much. We stress too much. We talk about politics and use words like “ecru.” It’s official: we’re adults. And we don’t like it. We’ve decided it’s time for an antidote: today, we’re all about the inner kid. Come on, climb into our treehouse.

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Lately, we’ve been getting hung up on the lack of a culture of appreciation. Whatever happened to pats on the back? Where did the random nicely-done’s go? It all seems to have died with the last gold star sticker we got from Mrs. Johnson in the 4th grade.

We need an intervention. And what better way to go about it than with merit badges for adults? The Boy Scouts have our back with a hefty collection ranging from the necessary (like the Adult Beverage Drinking Merit Badge) to the niche (like the Bald Growing Merit Badge) to the undeniably questionable (like the Fart Lighting (Blue Darts) Merit Badge.)

The Blogging Merit Badge, naturally, struck a chord with our kind and is consequently sold out. As is, curiously enough, the Cat Herding one.

We suspect the people from LOL Cats went to town on both.

>>> via Coudal

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When we were little, we used to dream of setting the lobsters in the grocery store free. The closest we ever got involved a pair of meat scissors and a very, very disgruntled store employee yelling “Cleanup in aisle 6!!!” over the loudspeaker.

Imagine our delight at this chance to live the childhood dream vicariously through our new favorite hero: Bionic Lobster.

Try bisquing this one.

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We like to believe that even the stuffiest, most straight-laced adults have a mischievous kid still living inside. A kid who gets easily amused by goofy stuff that makes little to no sense by adult measures.  And what better place to pull that kid out by the messy hair than over at Perpetual Kid?

This virtual warehouse of coolness tickles our mischief bone with goodies that inspire anything from a hearty chuckle to asking-for-trouble prank ideas. Some of our favorites: Pee & Poo plush duo, “The Ex” knife set, the Hillary Nutcracker, the Understand Your Mother Breath Spray, and the Whatever Wall Clock.

But, really, picking favorites margins on impossible — we’re like a kid in a candy store. Go ahead, see if you can do better.

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Unlike most kids, we used to love tying our shoelaces. We had our own technique we still use to this day, which frequently receives comments and eyebrow-raises from friends. (Seriously, people: tying the laces behind the tongue makes more sense on so many levels.)

Which is why we dig Ian’s Shoelace Site — an impressive library covering 34 of the mathematically-proven 2 trillion ways to lace a shoe, complete with instructions, handy diagrams and even a legend showing technique complexity, speed of lacing, comfort level and more.

The methods range from the expected, like the Over Under, to the uber-cool, like Checkboard Lacing, the site’s most popular.

Our favorite: Lattice Lacing.

So: how do you lace?

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BP

RFID vs. Honor

What third world children have to do with NYC commuting and why RFID beats honor systems every time.

YOU BE CYCLIST

Remember when the One Laptop Per Child program first made waves and everyone thought a $100 laptop for the third world was anywhere from laughable to plain undoable? Well, two years later OLPC has had the last laugh with its world-changing success, and the design team behind it is after a brand new revolutionary initiative.

ubicycle

The guys at Continuum have just concepted Ubicycle: a high-tech yet brilliantly user-friendly public bike-share system. It’s simple: you “rent” a bike using the same funds-loaded Smart card you use on trains and buses. It’s RFID-enabled, so whenever you use it to unlock a bike from the rack, the system knows who’s taking the goodie. (Sure beats a may-or-may-not-honor honor system.)

And speaking of the rack, each nifty modular station holds 2 bikes and the racks can be stacked horizontally. Seven of them (that’s 14 bikes for the mathematically- challenged) take as much space as a single parked car. The lock mechanisms are powered by the solar panels coating the kiosks for the ultimate cherry on top.

(Meanwhile, Philly is still trying to get the very, very 1.0 Philly BikeShare program off the ground. Hey, at least we’re trying.)

via PSFK

BP

Friday FYI: Auditory Freedom

We’re starting a new thing: every Friday, you get a quick everyday good-to-know. So go ahead, know.

GET A SONG UNSTUCK FROM YOUR HEAD

Blame your brain for that horrid Britney track stuck in your head since Monday’s morning drive — a glitch in your auditory cortex is causing the record to spin round’n’round endlessly.

Two ways to get it out:

1. Listen to the song in its entirety

2. Do some math

No joke, folks. This stuff works like magic.

>>> via Wired

BP

Layman Voyeurism

Postcards from the afterlife, fridge-peeping, and why George W is buying people Stormtrooper outfits.

The chicken or the egg: did tabloid culture raise us to crave a glimpse into other people’s lives, or are we psychologically pre-wired with voyeuristic tendencies? Whatever the case, we’ve noticed a fairly new trend: our inner Peeping Toms have zoomed in less on Joe DiMaggio and more on Average Joe — we call it layman voyeurism, the draw of peeping into random strangers’ lives for no other reason than basic human curiosity, and perhaps a teeny little bit of self-comparison to make ourselves feel better.

POST SECRET

Ah, the granddaddy of layman voyeurism: PostSecret. Part art, part cathartic confession, this ongoing collaborative community project introduced us to the rich emotional world of suppressed human sentiment.

Through homemade postcards scribbled with personal secrets, it has brought to light thousands of never-before-spoken anonymous confessions since its inception in 2004.

It all started with an installation for Artomatic that year, but it wasn’t long before creator Frank Warren took the project online — because, after all, what better medium to indulge anonymous confession that the Interwebs? Today, there’s a Facebook page with over 150,000 fans. And, of course, there are the books — which could easily be the most moving read you’ve savored in a long, long time.

Often dark, sometimes funny, and always sure to move, the PostSecret phenomenon could easily have ignited the fuse on this whole rush for peeping into the lives of everyday strangers.

So go ahead, free-fall right into it and mail in a secret of your own. You’ll feel so much lighter.


FRIDGEWATCHER

Not all layman voyeurism has to be dark. It can, in fact, be very, very light — especially when you open the door. We’re talking about FridgeWatcher — an offbeat project that simply invites people to open their fridges to others — because “every fridge tells a story.”

We suspect this one is all about the self-comparison factor: peek into a fridge healthier than yours, and you might just guilt yourself into stopping by the produce aisle on the way home. See a sloppier one, and you’ll have a comeback for next time your mother comes over to nit-pick your life.

We dig the concept — so much, in fact, that we opened our own fridge to the world. Go ahead, be judgmental.

via getTRIO

HOW I SPENT MY STIMULUS

Sure, Bush may not have gotten the can’t-buy-me-love memo. But $152 billion in “economic stimulus” later, we’re for once reaping the benefits of W’s questionable judgment calls — and we’re all doing it in different ways.

HowISpentMyStimulus chronicles what exactly Americans are spending their give-or-take $600 on. From the rational debt-relievers, to the hopeless gadget geeks, to the unapologetically self-indulgent, to those we’ll try not to judge, the entire project is one big, rather pointless endeavor. But we dare you to close that browser window once you start stimulus-peeping.

And while we’re at it, what did you spend your $600 on?

via Josh Spear

BP

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