Archive for June, 2010

Nerd Fitness

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Are you too geeky to face the gym? Check out Nerd Fitness for ways to get you fit, one day at a time.

The author blogs and links to nerd wonders, like the latest and geekiest ways to conquer your health, such as Live Action Role Playing. Catch the latest dorky gadgets such as the intergalactic pedometer from the future with a 3D motion sensor that collects your sleep data. The ways to manage your lifestyle are endless, even if you’re a geek. There’s even Nerd Fitness message boards and a 28-day Challenge where you can pledge your ability to level up your life.

Check out the Handshake photo essay on LARPing in the September issue.

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New Feature: Dance Lessons With Elvis Jr.

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

As a kid I tried out a lot of different hobbies before finding something I liked enough to stick with. Legos, Etch-a-Sketch, binge drinking—none did it for me. Thankfully I found disc golf, and my life hasn’t been the same since.

But not all kids like Frisbees. Some prefer boomerangs. Or womanizing. Or Elvis.

Some really like Elvis. Some like him so much that they spend their free time dressing up and singing sort of like the King (for the record, I’ve never dressed as, or sung like, a Frisbee). Handshake spent a couple days with a half dozen little Elvi at the Lake George Elvis Festival in Lake George, NY. You have to really like your hobby to travel across the country or an international border to do it. And you have to have a really loving family, or an insane stage mom, to ferry you around to these gigs. Here’s a Handshake tribute to the dedicated kids.

Check our full story on these Kid Kings in the September issue of Handshake magazine.

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Dance Lessons With Elvis Jr.

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

As a kid I tried out a lot of different hobbies before finding something I liked enough to stick with. Legos, Etch-a-Sketch, binge drinking – none did it for me. Thankfully I found disc golf, and my life hasn’t been the same since.

But not all kids like Frisbees. Some prefer boomerangs. Or womanizing. Or Elvis.

Some really like Elvis. Some like him so much that they spend their free time dressing up and singing sort of like the King (for the record, I’ve never dressed as, or sang like, a Frisbee). Handshake spent a couple days with a half dozen little Elvi at the Lake George Elvis Festival in Lake George, NY. You have to really like your hobby to travel across the country or an international border to do it. And you have to have a really loving family, or an insane stage mom, to ferry you around to these gigs. Here’s a Handshake tribute to the dedicated kids.

Check our full story on these Kid Kings in the September issue of Handshake magazine.

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New Microsoft Store, No New Excitement

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The Microsoft-Apple rivalry has been going on since the start of time. OK, maybe not quite that long, but at least since Apple started posing a serious threat to Microsoft’s profits. With last week’s introduction of the  iPhone 4 (sans the technical issues) Microsoft came out with something new of its own. Here’s Handshake’s comparison of the two.

Location, Location, Location

Microsoft: Opened it’s fourth store in San Diego, CA. Other store locations include Mission Viejo, Scottsdale, AZ and Lone Tree, CO.

Apple: Has 286 retail stores including the Georgetown location in Washington, DC.

Help!

Microsoft: Rumored Guru Bar – an ode to their help staff being outsourced, perhaps.

Apple: The Genius Bar – Can’t figure out how to access something? They will have the answer.

Living the high life:

Microsoft: Microsoft  Cloud Services aimed at businesses. Sharepoint Online and Exchange Online allows users to share calendars, documents, contacts, and tasks. This has  implications for telecommuting and the whole cloud idea but bottom line is that it’s kicking Apple’s ass.

Apple: This is perhaps the one place where Apple missed the mark with MobileMe. Its biggest selling point is probably its ability to find your iPhone or iPad if they’ve been misplaced and retroactively lock your devices if they’ve been stolen. The other attractive feature is iDisk, which allows you to access your desktop on the go. Beyond that, it offers everything that Google does such as mail, contact, and calendar. And if you have a Macbook, you have immediate access to your computer.

The bottom line is that Microsoft gets points for effort. Opening stores sends the message that they’re willing to put faces to their customer service people. But their products just aren’t as clean and polished as Apple’s are—who doesn’t remember Apple’s smart advertising with the funny smart guy representing all things cool.

Sitting in the Handshake office with a staff working exclusively on Macs, our vote is with Apple.

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Five People Who Should Have Kept Their Mouths Shut

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

If you happened to be living in a World Cup coma the past week and didn’t hear, Four-Star General Stanley McChrystal was fired last week after bashing the Obama administration in a Rolling Stone magazine interview. But McChrystal is just another in a long line of public figures who’ve been fired for saying shit they really shouldn’t. Here are five recent verbal blunders that had these folks heading out the door.

1. Don Imus

We all remember this one. Don Imus shocked the public one too many times after he called the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hoes.” Major backlash ensued and once Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson got involved, it was all over. Imus was fired in April 2007, only to be rehired less than a year later.

2. Isaiah Washington

The Grey’s Anatomy actor was in hot water after reportedly calling co-star T. R. Knight a “faggot.” Knight, who is openly gay, tried to put the matter behind them. And then Washington repeated the word into a mic backstage at the Golden Globe Awards. He left the show soon afterward. Moral of the story: don’t be a repeat offender.

3. D. C. Douglas

If you’re wondering who the hell this is, he’s the voice-over guy for Geico. Not the gecko, the other voice. Douglas was let go after a voicemail surfaced with him asking how many “mentally retarded” people were working and following FreedomWorks, a political grass-roots organization. Douglas could have used his 15 minutes better.

4. Helen Thomas

A veteran political reporter, Thomas recently left her position after her on-camera comments about Jewish people. Thomas told Jewish people to “get the hell out of Palestine.” Her alternative suggestions included Germany. Right. We all know how well that went.

5. Rush Limbaugh

Back in 2003, Limbaugh had a gig on ESPN—who the hell knows why exactly. Limbaugh didn’t last long after he said, “The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well” when talking about NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb. He then proceeded to strip McNabb of any credit.


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New Feature: Some Powerful Shit

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Handshake‘s Matt Millham, Ajay Nanavati and Megan Swann ventured to Morrisville State College in upstate New York to get an eyefull of the school’s biogas operation. Check out this video to see how it works. And check out Millham’s poo power story in the September issue of Handshake magazine.

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Some Powerful Shit

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010


If you’ve never been to cow country, you might not be familiar with the wacky things farmers do with the tons of crap that plops onto fields across America every day. Poo clocks. Poo trivets. Poo chucking contests. Honestly, though, this stuff is all pretty worthless, never mind gross. What’s next, a baby crib made from caribou crap?

Besides, why waste a turd on a trivet when it can be used for something worthwhile, such as powering your PlayStation.

Handshake‘s Matt Millham, Ajay Nanavati and Megan Swann ventured to Morrisville State College in upstate New York to get an eyefull of the school’s biogas operation. Manure from about 450 cows generates about 45 kilowatts of electricity around the clock. It’s pretty impressive. Check out this video to see how it works. And check out Millham’s poo power story in the September issue of Handshake magazine.

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Mario Marathon Combines Gaming And Philanthropy

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

According to our mothers, all that time we spent gaming was time wasted that could have been put towards a good cause. A group of three friends have come along and proved that the two can in fact go hand in hand.

Brian “Shirt Guy” Brinegar, John “Couch Guy” Groth, and Chris “Slouch Guy” Deckard created the first Mario Marathon in 2008 and are currently engrossed in Mario Marathon 3, which began on June 25 and will last until every single level of every Mario console game is vanquished.

The idea of playing 100+ consecutive hours of Mario games is awesome in itself, but the guys of Mario Marathon stream their gaming shenanigans live on UStream and gather donations for Child’s Play, a charity that provides toys, games, and books to needy children.

For the first marathon, the guys raised “only” $11,767, then last year, the total jumped to over $29,000.

Their 2010 total at the time of this post’s printing: $66,850.09

To make the guys see even more of that lovable mustachioed plumber, visit their website and fork over some money for a good cause. The more that’s donated, the longer they play.

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The Bionic Future

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Bionics is becoming more and more of a hot area in research, says Robert Shepherd, Ph.D., director of the Bionic Ear Institute in East Melbourne, Australia.

Shepherd recently spoke to Handshake about current developments in bionics, and gave some insight into the future of research.

Artificial arms and ears are just the tip of the iceberg for bionics. Some of the technological advancements Shepherd spoke of, such as a treatment for epileptic seizures, involved electrodes being implanted directly into a patient’s brain that can record EEG’s and detect the onset of a seizure electrophysiologically.

Deep brain stimulation is also being used to treat tremors in Parkinson’s patients by implanting electrodes that can stimulate very small area of neurons deep within the brain to turn off the tremor associated with the disease.

Soon deep brain stimulation may be able to do more:

“We’re certainly interested in developing a device that does not necessarily electrically stimulate damaged nerves, but will under controlled conditions be able to release therapeutic drugs,” he says.

Who could benefit from this? Anyone suffering from depression, obesity, or even Type 1 diabetes. A system like this would allow the drugs to be administered in a closed-loop system, where the patient would not only have to take no action to administer the treatment but may not even be aware it’s taking place.

With man meeting technology so quickly, the idea that individuals could use bionic advancements to physically enhance perfectly healthy bodies is a question on many minds, and a possibility that opens up a large ethical debate.

Though Shepherd stresses that he doesn’t work in science fiction, this debate of the future of bionics is something even he believes could be technically possible.

“It opens up a number of ethical issues we’d have to be very careful with. We’d have to have significant community debate before those sorts of technologies were even undertaken.”

For more on the future of bionics read our article in the September issue of Handshake!


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Damsels and Dukes of Dagorhir

Monday, June 28th, 2010
  1. Drunken BobAlthough they call him "Drunken Bob," he doesn't drink. Check him out at www.drunkenbobsweaponry.com
  2. Necavid OmnesMeagan Finney aka Necavid Omnes is 18 from Oklahoma City, OK.
  3. Belly DancerSchiney the belly dancer
  4. Pheadrus Sunfire AHairotterEric Towell, 27, from Lambertville, MI.
  5. Arzus BonecuttaMarion Czechowski aka Arzus Bonecutta, 19, from Forrestville, NY
  6. Grikk BloodbeardJared Smith, 24, from Columbus, OH.
  7. Bolligoboom Kegstander and Uadin IronwillBill Herman, 29 ( left ) and Tom Herman, 26 (right) from Independence, Missouri and Canton, OH.
  8. StrawBill Brown, 58, from Tacoma Park, MD. He is t-shirt designer for Ragnarok.
  9. MoguaJohn Koenig, 19, from Pittsburgh, PA.
  10. Serenity ShadowKayla Blair, 22, from Hagerstown, MD.
  11. Damian NightmareTed Favinger, 26, from Barberton, OH
  12. Kat EspairKatherine M. Willson, 31, from St. Louis, MO.
  13. BrockDan Hyatt, 22, from Toledo, OH.
  14. Nyx SciurusSarah Baer, 21, from Grove City, PA.

Take a look at the images captured by the Handshake staff during their trip to Ragnarok XXV, an annual battle game hosted by Dagorhir. This year, the theme was Damsels and Dukes. It was held at Coopers Lake Campground in Slippery Rock, PA June 13-20.

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