posts about or somewhat related to ‘oddities’

Why Yes, That is Katie Couric on a Billboard in Baghdad
The Iraqi Electricity Ministry is issuing five minute daily news bulletins about the state of the day’s electricty. The unauthorized face of the campaign: Katie Couric.
Via the New York Times:

At more than two dozen locations around this city, officials have posted giant billboards of Ms. Couric, billed as “America’s Sweetheart” during her time as a host of the “Today” show on NBC. From high above the steamy streets, or from the side of blast walls, Ms. Couric beams out at passers-by in an advertisement for a daily news bulletin about electricity that is produced by the government and is shown on 11 satellite television channels.
“It doesn’t give me hope about electricity, but I like to see her beautiful face,” Habib Harbi, who sells watermelon in the summer and sweets in the winter, said as he looked across the street at the billboard from his fruit stand…
“We were looking for a bright and optimistic face that inspires the people to imagine a better future for electricity,” said Musaab al-Mudarrs, the spokesman for the Electricity Ministry, who said designers had plucked Ms. Couric’s image from the Internet…
Mr. Mudarrs said the face of an American woman was sought for the campaign because showcasing an Iraqi woman would violate cultural taboos. And Ms. Couric, he said, was dressed appropriately in the picture — she was wearing a brown Max Mara blazer — and was the right age. “We didn’t want someone to be very old or very young, and she was in the middle,” he said. Mr. Mudarrs did say he was a bit worried that “when she finds out, maybe she will file a lawsuit against us.”

Katie Couric: Not too old, not too young and dressed just right.
Couric tells the Times there will be no lawsuits but the billboards are “bizarre and slightly amusing.”
New York Times, Putting a Megawatt Smile on a Simmering Problem.

Why Yes, That is Katie Couric on a Billboard in Baghdad

The Iraqi Electricity Ministry is issuing five minute daily news bulletins about the state of the day’s electricty. The unauthorized face of the campaign: Katie Couric.

Via the New York Times:

At more than two dozen locations around this city, officials have posted giant billboards of Ms. Couric, billed as “America’s Sweetheart” during her time as a host of the “Today” show on NBC. From high above the steamy streets, or from the side of blast walls, Ms. Couric beams out at passers-by in an advertisement for a daily news bulletin about electricity that is produced by the government and is shown on 11 satellite television channels.

“It doesn’t give me hope about electricity, but I like to see her beautiful face,” Habib Harbi, who sells watermelon in the summer and sweets in the winter, said as he looked across the street at the billboard from his fruit stand…

“We were looking for a bright and optimistic face that inspires the people to imagine a better future for electricity,” said Musaab al-Mudarrs, the spokesman for the Electricity Ministry, who said designers had plucked Ms. Couric’s image from the Internet…

Mr. Mudarrs said the face of an American woman was sought for the campaign because showcasing an Iraqi woman would violate cultural taboos. And Ms. Couric, he said, was dressed appropriately in the picture — she was wearing a brown Max Mara blazer — and was the right age. “We didn’t want someone to be very old or very young, and she was in the middle,” he said. Mr. Mudarrs did say he was a bit worried that “when she finds out, maybe she will file a lawsuit against us.”

Katie Couric: Not too old, not too young and dressed just right.

Couric tells the Times there will be no lawsuits but the billboards are “bizarre and slightly amusing.”

New York Times, Putting a Megawatt Smile on a Simmering Problem.

Want Someone to Shut Up? There's a (Non-Lethal) Gun for That →

Japanese researchers have created a non-lethal gun that silences people up to 100 feet away.

Via Extreme Tech:

The gun has two purposes, according to the researchers: At its most basic, this gun could be used in libraries and other quiet spaces to stop people from speaking — but its second application is a lot more chilling.

The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation. The paper reads: “We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking. However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately interrupt other people when it is their turn in order to establish their presence rather than achieve more fruitful discussions. Furthermore, some people tend to jeer at speakers to invalidate their speech.” In other words, this speech-jamming gun was built to enforce “proper” conversations.

The gun works by using a directional mic to capture the offending voice and then rebroadcasting the audio back to them with directional speakers. The reported effect is similar to talking on the phone when there’s an echo. As we hear the delayed feedback our brains get jammed.

Being Mark Zuckerberg

Old Mark Zuckerberg, meet the new Mark Zuckerberg. You’re now free to sue yourselves.

Via Slashdot:

Facebook disabled the account of Israeli entrepreneur Rotem Guez because he runs a business called the Like Store, where he sold Likes to advertisers. Guez countered by suing Facebook for deleting his accounts on the social network. Facebook countered with its own cease and desist letter. Guez didn’t respond to Facebook’s demands. Instead, he legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg. ‘If you want to sue me, you’re going to have to sue Mark Zuckerberg,’ Guez reportedly told Facebook.

Full story is on ZDNet.