Wacky Web Week

Wiggle while you work

Inventors at the MIT Media Lab have created Topobo (pictured at left), a
construction kit consisting of what they call “dynamic biomorphic forms.”
By snapping together various parts, you can create dogs, skeletons, or whatever you
like, and then push and pull them in various ways. Your creations “remember”
the motions they went through and repeat them over and over using tiny
motors.

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For that special someone — enormous germs

It’s a little late for Valentine’s Day and too early for Christmas. But
it’s just the right time to be thinking about which of your loved ones
you could give stuffed animals that look like disease-causing microbes —
enlarged one million times.

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Make your own paper plane that flaps its wings

Experimenter Keith Greenstein has created what he calls the Flapper: “the only
paper airplane that flaps its wings when it flies.”

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The Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness

We know you’ll enjoy this hilarious collection of signs and directions
that don’t communicate what the designer thought they would. The symbol on
the left, for example, obviously meant something to someone, but the
proprietor of the Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness suggests it
says, “When boxing up your kid, ensure the lid is on securely.”

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The dynamic duo

It’s convention time in America, and that means people will be seeing a lot
of President George W. Bush and his Democratic opponent, John Kerry. But
you probably haven’t seen them as you’ll see them in the now-famous JibJab
video, “This Land,” Gregg and Evan Spiridellis.

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A hot tip: cook your dinner on your new PC

We all know every successive computer generation and upgrade creates more
and more heat. Well, now someone has decided to put that heat to good use
combining it into the “Computer Cookery 5000.” While you surf the Internet,
you can defrost and cook an entire meal — right on your CPU.

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Now that’s a horse of a different color

In a new, 15-second TV commercial that’s running in Japan, a young woman
shopping in a convenience store is so overcome when she sees the low price
of a program similar to Microsoft Office that she faints and gives
birth — to a horse.

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USDA classifies frozen French fries as fresh vegetables

Wait! Don’t dump that fast food! You can now eat French fries without
guilt because the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture classifies them as “fresh
vegetables” — and the government agency is winning court decisions when
the idea is challenged.

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Save $500 by changing one byte of code

Digital camera enthusiasts were pleasantly surprised last fall when Canon
released its 6-megapixel EOS 300D unit (at left in photo) for a list price
of only $899 (currently about $775 street at Shopping.com). This was hundreds
of dollars below Canon’s very similar EOS 10D (at right), which had
shipped earlier for $1,499 (about $1,275 street).

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College alumnus has the last laugh

‘Tis the season for college graduation ceremonies, and while most grads
are enduring some bureaucrat or another as their speaker, the matriculating
students of the College of William and Mary got — drum roll, please
Jon Stewart, the funnyman of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”
(picture, left).

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