Le mot du jour

comment se cultiver avec des mots impossibles à placer dans une conversation normale
Le mot du jour - One "weird" French word per day. Although it is not currently being updated, you will find archives dating back to 2003, and thus an extensive list of cool words to amuse friends and family.

Search and enjoy


Glowing cats - where is the line drawn?

Korea is making glow in the dark cats! Should we be excited, scared or both? Is genetic manipulation going too far?

Modifying E. coli to smell like mint or bananas seems harmless, even useful. The economist claims that increasing field yields through genetic manipulation is the key to ending the food crisis.

Yet, where is the line? IS there a line? Will we be soon making birds that can sing for real or monkeys that talk or fish that can live out of the water? Will we design human beings or even new life forms?

Why am I surprised, aren't we already doing that? After all, cats that glow or e. coli that smells like banana have never before existed in nature...

Some claim the line is drawn on a physical term (like, when you make a pig with a human arm sticking out). I think that's just a temporary line. Once we get used to the idea, the line will be pushed further and further.

In my opinion, the real line will be drawn by nature coming back and chasing us for playing with something we have no idea about. The potential side effects of playing with the code of nature will be line.


Is this true?

Is psystar a real company? Are they really manufacturing "open" computers? (as in, computers that can run linux, windows AND Mac OS).

For the moment it isn't exactly clear, some hints point towards a scam/hoax, and well, if it's real this might be big (a "mac" for $400?).

We'll just have to wait and see...


We are eating too much

Four powerful countermoves against the forces of fat

1. Downsize your dishes: modern standard dishes have grown in size. Get smaller dishes or eat your main course in dessert-size dishes. It will make your plate seem fuller with smaller quantities and psychologically you will feel better eating a full small-dish than off a half-full humongous plate. In general, we're eating way too much.

2. Be small-minded about snacks: experiments at Cornell University show that participants who were given snacks containing 100 Wheat Thins ate 20% more than participants who were given four smaller bags (each containing 25 Wheat Thins). Divide your snack baggies into smaller portions!

3. Raise your glasses: alcohol is highly caloric. Be smart and use tall thin glasses instead of short thick ones; people inadvertently pour more alcohol into short glasses than tall thin ones. Don't take my word for it, try pouring equal quantities into both types of glasses for yourself.

4. Shrink your plate when eating out. Since you can't bring smaller dishes to a restaurant, try this: when your plate arrives, eat only half of it, then take a small 10 minute pause (chat and drink in the mean time) and then continue eating. The pause will allow your stomach to start digesting and you will feel fuller faster.


We heart it

We heart it is a image + video bookmarking site à la ffffound, but which actually feeds on ffffound (and flickr, and basically any site), and is extended to also bookmark videos (from youtube and vimeo).

Another cool difference with ffffound is that registration is open and you can start hearting right away.

Share your visual inspirations.

Creativity is blocked (and encouraged!) by habits

Becoming more creative is not easy. Habits must be broken, perspectives changed, and thought patterns revised. Here are some reasons why it is difficult for most of us to be creative at all times:

The Known Vs. The New

People usually base their decisions on the best, most complete, and most accurate information or experience available. But the newer and more unique the solution required, the harder it is to get good and sufficient information. That is why the easiest solutions are not new and different.

Obstacles To Creativity

To unleash the creative process, much of what is usually known and taken for granted, must be looked at in a different way, for a new purpose

Habits Restrict Awareness

Habits tend to tune out those things and ideas around us that could be the basis for new insights; routine everyday decision-making works against searching for or accepting new ideas.

Rigid Categories Prevent Insight

We see the world selectively through a set of filters created by our experiences.
Wanting to fit new things into existing categories increases as we gain experience. Note the response of someone exposed to something new. They will probably start out saying, that it is the same as something they already know. If they are told it is not, they may take several tries at establishing an identification based on similarity with something they know.

The net-effect is that even when exposed to something new, we try to treat it like something familiar and we become reluctant to creating new categories.

Conceptual blocks

A conceptual block is a mind set that prevents a person from seeing a problem or a solution in an unconventional way.

  • Perceptual Blocks: Stereotyping, Imaginary boundaries, Information overload.
  • Emotional Blocks: Fear of taking a Risk, Dislike for uncertainty, Judgmental attitude, Lack of challenge
  • Cultural Blocks: Our way is right, taboos
  • Environmental Blocks: distractions in our surroundings
  • Intellectual Blocks: insufficient knowledge, denying the possibility that a solution can be achieved using a different specialty.
  • Expressive Blocks: inability or willingness to express ideas clearly to others or oneself

Overcoming the Obstacles
  1. Remove the fear of failure
  2. Change the solution mode. If the problem is being explored verbally, try making a diagram or representing it mathematically. Assume a solution and see if it can be made to fit the problem.
  3. Adjust attitudes. Emphasize the positive aspects of the solution. Ensure that risks are worth taking. Encourage the acceptance of alternate solutions.
  4. Use provocative Questions. Ask what if questions; get past the perceived block and then work backwards.
  5. Change the rules. Are specific rules or conditions blocking progress?


ffffound it!

I found it sometime ago and it's one of those sites you can keep coming back to find new (cool) stuff (well images).

FFFFOUND! is a web service that not only allows the users to post and share their favorite images found on the web, but also dynamically recommends each user's tastes and interests for an inspirational image-bookmarking experience!!
Membership is still closed to the public (it's still in beta) but you can browse the entire site.

Try it, it's cool, what more do I need to say?


Do rats laugh?

It seems humans are not the only animals capable of laughing. Check out this video and if you're curious, listen to this podcast from Radio Lab for a full 40 minutes on the nature of laughter.

Moby gratis

Edit your videos, add music, and don't worry about getting sued. Moby has set up this site, where he just gives away music for independent film makers to use in their films.

It's an awesome marketing scheme on his part. He gets exposure in all kinds of films that would have otherwise used other music to score their films, and this indirectly promotes his commercial music.

A win-win situation for moby and the film makers. The only glitch I see is the fact that you can't edit the music (only shorten it). What if I wanted to sample a sound, or loop a segment for whatever reason. Or what if I want to use this for a video game? And what if it's a short film INSIDE a video game? Will I be "vigorously pursued by the relevant copyright owner"?

It sort of contradicts the whole philosophy. I would go a step further and make it free, editable, for whatever content (staying true to the non-commercial bit of the contract, though).

In any case, it's a step in the right direction. It won't be long before more artists catch on.


Deviated sexual practices in the U.S. call for stricter laws

Live From Congress: The Skull Fucking Bill Of 2007

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