Interesting things round-up – today’s theme is ‘weird’

Let’s start with something smart…

What is ‘freedom’ in a society? How should we judge what this is, and whether a society is achieving it? What are the contradictions that freedom produces? Well, Daren Epstein, writing for The Foreigner – Japan does a very good job of answering those questions in a short essay about Harajuku called An Idea of Freedom. The whole site is very interesting and well-worth a browse, but that article did a better job of saying what’s worth fighting to preserve than anything I’ve seen so far. Amusingly, it’s the parts of society that are considered weird by the majority that Epstein thinks truly represent the idea of freedom.

Continuing on the thoughtful theme, here’s a great article looking back at the works of Philip K. Dick. You’ll have to sign up for a free NYTimes account to read it, but they have some interesting pieces in there so it’s definitely worth the small effort. Their daily news email is very good too. Anyway, Philip K. Dick was definitely a bit weird.

Onto something silly…

Microsoft are now saying that they might support the Blu-Ray drive in the Xbox 360. I joked about this at work a few months ago and was told by someone to not be so silly – for those who don’t know, Blu-Ray is Sony’s idea for getting high definition DVD-style media into the home. Microsoft and Sony are arch enemies because of the Playstation and Xbox brands, so this news was highly amusing to me. Maybe not weird, but pretty odd.

You have twenty seconds to comply! Samsung (of all companies) along with a Korean university have fitted up a pattern recognition rig with a 5.5 millimeter machine gun and a set of speakers… The result is just as disturbing as those images in your head right now. As if this wasn’t weird enough, halfway through the promotional video they use the music from the Pirates of the Carribean! What was going on in their heads? Surely they should have used the theme from Robocop? (UK link US link)

Probably quite a lot of you have heard of smart drugs – chemicals that make you smarter. This idea has been around for many years, but it seems that we’ve actually cracked it (crack… drugs… suit yourself…). The implications of this are really quite odd, so this could be the start of a very interesting time for humanity.

And finally… It’s not weird, but American SWAT teams really need to learn how much explosives they need to blow a door without taking out most of the hallway too.

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