Coldplay Tonight at the ACC

July 30, 2008

Coldplay

Coldplay are at Toronto’s ACC this evening for the first of two shows

Women love them…..so do guys with expense accounts and three piece suits cruising around in BMWs. The rest of us are stuck in either loathing or indifference (the latter are the ones who will most likely put up the militancy of Coldplay fans, if they could actually be described as militant about anything).

Coldplay perform the first of two sellout shows this evening at the ACC here in Toronto. I’ll be there for the first show tonight. Here’s the usual boilerplate response from the band about how their new tour is coming along:

“It always takes a while to get up and running. … It’s not until you actually play in front of an audience that you realize what works and what doesn’t. We’re kind of really hitting our stride around now, which is great,” he said on the line from last week’s tour stop in Philadelphia.

…and why they prefer a stripped down set:

“We have little tricks and ways and means of doing some things when a song needs a bit of push or filling out, and we can do that.

“It all comes from our desire to have a very homemade feel to the record, so the visual side of it, the uniforms that we wear, we didn’t want it to be an overly produced or techno-feeling stage show. We wanted it to feel a lot more intimate … so it doesn’t become dwarfed by these big arenas that we’re playing. It’s always a constant challenge, and we’re always trying to break the line between us and the audience and make them feel like they’re really part of the show.”


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What Happens To Your Body When You Drink a Coca-Cola?

July 29, 2008

Coca-Cola

An American institution still going strong worldwide

Ever wonder what happens to your body when you drink a Coca-Cola? Well, here’s what:

• In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.

• 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)

• 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.

• 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.

• >60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.

• >60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.

• >60 minutes: As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.

This will all be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours. (As little as two if you’re a smoker.) But, hey, have another Coke, it’ll make you feel better.


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25 Internet Startups that didn’t make it

July 29, 2008

Monitor110
GlobalTek Solutions

Kiko

Big ideas with big money backing them couldn’t turn these sites into winners

It was only a little over a decade ago that we were told the internet would completely revolutionize how we would shop, read, interact, learn, invest, and smell. Maybe the order was a tall one and maybe the internet didn’t replace our traditional methods of doing all of these things, but it certainly has given us more options. The 1990s saw the proliferation of websites devoted to e-commerce of one sort or another as well as e-applications. These resulted in the dot.com boom that became a dot.com fizzle as everyone tried to tap into this new online market for their products and services. From Homer Simpson and his Compuglobalhypermeganet Systems to The Onion’s e-graters.com, everyone was taking a swipe at the hysteria.

Some sites have managed to survive and thrive, ebay.com and amazon.com being the two most notable.

The Business Pundit lists for us the top 25 Internet Startups that didn’t make it. All your favourites are there, including pets.com, etoys.com, and the spam-friendly lycos.com.

Speaking of which, whatever happened to these guys?

Kazaa


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Greece prepares itself for an onslaught of drunken British tourists

July 29, 2008

Drunken Brits

The Brits are coming, the Brits are coming! Greek tourist operators shudder……

If you’ve ever been on vacation in Europe and in particular along the Mediterranean coast, you’ve no doubt encountered the ugly British tourist. Usually clad in a soccer jersey and roaringly drunk by noon, they travel in packs and by the evening are engaging in the most public of sex acts with their female counterparts for whom the concept of shame is a completely alien one.

This year the Greeks are ready for the onslaught, as Helena Smith reports from Athens:

While Faliraki might be shaking off its notoriety as a ‘modern-day Sodom’, young Britons are still flocking to its neighbours in search of sun, sex and a hedonistic nightlife. Sometimes the result has been rape or even death, leaving bewildered Greeks to ask: what is wrong with the British?

In Malia on Crete, for example, the tourist season may barely have begun, but already a seemingly non-stop stream of Britons, many in their teens and most on their first trip abroad, have passed through the local courts. Evangelos Rossakis, the owner of a local supermarket, was last night recovering at home after being attacked by six British youths who had beaten him ‘black and blue’ because he had dared to ask them to drive less recklessly on quad bikes through the resort. Rossakis says his injuries are nothing next to the damage the teenagers later inflicted on his shop – or the time when a Briton bit off the nose of a bartender who asked him to leave.

But wait, there’s more!

Meanwhile in Laganas, on Zakynthos, 17-year-old Matthew Cryer, from Sheffield, appears to have drunk himself to death last week; the previous week 15 English tourists were charged with ‘lewd behaviour’ after participating in an open-air oral sex contest.

‘What is wrong with the British?’ asked Yiannis Kyriakakis, a senior police officer on Crete. ‘Why can’t you have fun calmly?

Good question.


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Haiti – Land of the Mud Pie Eaters

July 29, 2008

mud pies in Haiti

Mudcakes are inflation-proof

While the UK seems to be leading the way in the credit crunch, Haiti is blazing the trail for everyone else in regards to the inflationary crisis hitting food. Only a few months ago Haitians were rioting to protest (and loot) rising food staple costs. Indicative of the problems of Haiti’s poor is that the ultimate inflationary-proof food is now gaining prominence there: the mud pie.

Rory Carroll takes a look at the Mudcake industry in Port-au-Prince:

At first sight the business resembles a thriving pottery. In a dusty courtyard women mould clay and water into hundreds of little platters and lay them out to harden under the Caribbean sun.

The craftsmanship is rough and the finished products are uneven. But customers do not object. This is Cité Soleil, Haiti’s most notorious slum, and these platters are not to hold food. They are food.

Brittle and gritty – and as revolting as they sound – these are “mud cakes”. For years they have been consumed by impoverished pregnant women seeking calcium, a risky and medically unproven supplement, but now the cakes have become a staple for entire families.

It is not for the taste and nutrition – smidgins of salt and margarine do not disguise what is essentially dirt, and the Guardian can testify that the aftertaste lingers – but because they are the cheapest and increasingly only way to fill bellies.

“It stops the hunger,” said Marie-Carmelle Baptiste, 35, a producer, eyeing up her stock laid out in rows. She did not embroider their appeal. “You eat them when you have to.”


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Bling Culture: Why Those With Less Money Spend More……

July 29, 2008

bling bling

Bling Bling! Conspicuous Consumption is more prevalent amongst those with less money

Bling Culture has become a part of the American fabric thanks to the commercialization of crass hip hop that has occurred over this past decade. Label whores, big rims, oversized and too-too bright jewelry and accessories……but why?

Virginia Postrel gives us the lowdown in A New Theory of the Leisure Class:

Conspicuous consumption, this research suggests, is not an unambiguous signal of personal affluence. It’s a sign of belonging to a relatively poor group. Visible luxury thus serves less to establish the owner’s positive status as affluent than to fend off the negative perception that the owner is poor. The richer a society or peer group, the less important visible spending becomes.

On race, the folk wisdom turns out to be true. An African American family with the same income, family size, and other demographics as a white family will spend about 25 percent more of its income on jewelry, cars, personal care, and apparel. For the average black family, making about $40,000 a year, that amounts to $1,900 more a year than for a comparable white family. To make up the difference, African Americans spend much less on education, health care, entertainment, and home furnishings.

Read more at the link.


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Is Your DNA Your Destiny?

July 28, 2008

DNA tests tell us a lot about what we can expect

DNA tests can tell us a lot about what we can expect in our future

The old “Nature vs. Nurture” argument has been around since Gluk the Caveboy started playing around with flint to the consternation of his cavemother and cavefather. Lately though, the argument has been tipping towards the nature side with the breakthroughs piling up in genetic research.

One BBC Reporter decided to do a genetic test and have his results analyzed. Here’s what he found:

Up pops a list of grisly conditions – most of which are familiar to me, indeed some of them lurk in my family history.

And it’s the ones that have touched my life that I am drawn to first. I click on Heart Attack, bypass the warm-up “introduction” to the condition, and head straight for my own “risk summary”.

I’m told: “According to the selected literature, the relative genetic risk calculated from your genotype for males of European ancestry is 0.90.

“This corresponds to a 44.2% lifetime risk of developing heart attack, which is 10% less than for males of European ancestry in general.”

So far so good, I suppose, but that’s still a high risk and I’m not celebrating with a full English breakfast yet.

I scan the list of 25 traits again and settle on Crohn’s disease. Here I’m told the research indicates that I have a lifetime risk 1.42 times the average. Not so good. But for Diabetes, types 1 and 2, better news.

Pretty neat! Read more from the above link to see what else the test told him about himself and then click on this link to see how the deCODEme site gives its users a genetic snapshot.  Read the rest of this entry »