When you see a downtrodden human, crying at the side of the road, do you wander over and ask what's wrong?
When you hear of someone who's lost love, do you offer them your ear and even your sofa?
How about when you hear that someone has embezzled $821,000 from their employer? Do you search in all your bank accounts and see if you have, say, $821,000 lying around and offer it with altruistic glee?
This apparently random question isn't quite so random. It's inspired by the case of Renata Shamrakova, who wants you … Read more
One of the first things I did when I visited London a few years ago was to go on a Sherlock Holmes walking tour. I'm not the only avid reader compelled to seek out the real-life settings found in books. This desire is what has brought about Placing Literature, an interactive site dedicated to plotting scenes from books onto real-world maps. It's like a heady mixture of a database, Google Maps, and the efforts of a bunch of literature geeks.
Placing Literature started with a conversation between co-founders Andrew Bardin Williams (an author) and his sister-in-law Kathleen Colin Williams (a geographer). "I use a lot of real-world locations in my novels. We decided there was this great intersection between geography and literature that hadn't been explored before," says Andrew Bardin Williams.… Read more
Forget texting or driving with Google Glass. A petition on the WhiteHouse.gov "We The People" site is going after the true menace behind the wheel -- men.
Full disclosure: I'm also a man, and have been for nearly 15 years in the eyes of the law (although according to certain cultural traditions, I've got more like 13 years of official manhood under my belt, and folks who know me well tell me I'll never actually achieve the title).
The official demand of the petition is to "Prohibit Straight Men From Driving," although there's also a reference to include "men of other sexual orientations who are attracted to women" under the proposed ban.… Read more
The FBI has undertaken what is law enforcement's highest-profile effort at crowdsourcing to date: asking for help identifying two suspects linked to this week's Boston Marathon bombing.
"Someone out there knows these individuals," Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston field office, told reporters this afternoon. He asked the media and the public for help in "identifying and locating these individuals."
The photos published on the FBI's Web site show two men, one wearing a black baseball cap and carrying a backpack, and the other wearing a white baseball cap, around the scene of the blasts. … Read more
Law enforcement officials could have something very different on their hands as they investigate the dual bomb blasts that struck the Boston Marathon finish line today: a potential abundance of photo and video evidence from the public.
Government surveillance, while growing, still misses more than it catches. But events with thousands of spectators offer the potential for a detailed crowdsourced record of what happened.
This public panopticon is changing how we see the world. February's Russian meteor was captured by many dash-cams mounted in Russian cars, but in this case the event is of profound interest to law enforcement … Read more
Walmart is considering doing something that most people would find extremely radical.
The company is in the early planning stages of a service that would see in-store customers rent space in their vehicles and their time to the mega-retailer to deliver products it sells online. The move would combat same-day delivery ideas from Amazon and reportedly what's in the works with Google, which might have already signed on Target for such a service.
Some decisions in life are very hard.
Which flavor of ice cream truly is your favorite? Should you eat goat's cheese rather than cow cheese because goats have beards? If you buy shoes with skulls on them, will someone think you're a necrophiliac?
And then there's naming your baby.
Some choose the easy way out. There are names handed down through their family, saving the need to buy baby-name books. Some try -- and even succeed -- to be creative, as was the case with my favorite Starbucks barista's mom who decided to name her little girl Kurshina.
Then there are those for whom it's all too much -- or something. They just wish someone else would take the decision and give them, say, $5,000.
That seems to be the case with 26-year-old Natasha Hill. She won a competition on the baby-naming site Belly Ballot for the privilege of having complete strangers choose her little one's name. (The little one is due in September.) … Read more
The Web has made it hard to censor things.
Principally because it is both so open and so Byzantine that there are simply so many things out there for a budding censor to sink his opprobrium into.
I can remember when I lived in Singapore and my NFL VHS's -- mailed to me from Switzerland -- were pored over by men and women with extremely sharp eyes and ears that became highly attuned to the sound of John Madden saying "Boom!"
So imagine how much hard work the world's online censors are having to do.
Egypt … Read more
They call this the Giving Season, but there is no right or wrong time to help our neighbors in need, whatever corner of the world they call home.
Our hearts are heavy this holiday. There is no comprehending last Friday's tragedy in Connecticut. In our sorrow we reach out to the people who are suffering. These sites are dedicated to ensuring our contributions do as much good as possible.
Meet the students and teachers who benefit from your school donation Sometimes what appears to be a meager contribution can make a big difference in a student's life. That'… Read more