On Thursday's episode of the NBC comedy "Parks and Recreation," jokesmith Patton Oswalt made a brief appearance as a filibustering fool attempting to block a city council vote. According to the network, producers asked Oswalt to ramble about any subject during the skit, but what they got in return might be one of most zany and geeky "Star Wars: Episode VII" plot ideas ever heard.… Read more
Visitors to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just north of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, will soon be able to check out a massive new World War II-era battleship gun.
The 16-inch gun, originally mounted on the USS Missouri, saw significant action during World War II, and according to the National Park Service, is featured prominently in photographs of the Japanese surrender ceremony that took place aboard the Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945. It will soon be installed in Battery Townsley, in the Marin Headlands area of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Weighing in at 120 … Read more
Gyms and health clubs are complex businesses, with memberships, controlled access, retail functions, equipment, personal trainers, and much more. Gym Master Lite is a program that can help you manage all of these various aspects of your business, provided you want to take the time to learn how to use it. Although the program is jam-packed with features, its layout is less than intuitive.
The program's interface isn't particularly attractive, with a boxy, somewhat dated look. A navigation bar down the left side gives quick access to the Main Menu, Todo List, Find Member, Last Visitors, Billing, Reports, … Read more
Are viciously negative Yelp reviews putting an unfair stigma on small businesses? Today's two-part episode of The 404 Podcast weighs the effect of crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp and Zagat on independently owned establishments, and asks the question: will future generations understand topical shows like "The Simpsons" and "30 Rock?"
Part one: this insightful article in The Atlantic magazine questions the legitimacy of online reviews and the misplaced responsibility that Yelp bestows on citizen journalists with little or no training in voicing their opinions.
The piece calls out six distinct types of crowd-sourced reviewers who make us all look bad. Our least favorite is the "Hater's Ball," but we prefer to call them trolls--people who make scathing, borderline vindictive criticisms online about the most minor offenses at restaurants that they would never voice in person.
How many negative Yelpers do you think actually call the manager over after a meal to politely voice concerns? Most of the time, Yelpers don't think about how a single bad review can springboard a series of negative press that could potentially shut down an independent business, so make sure your complaints are legit before you post!
Don't forget that there are always real people behind the keyboard...and sometimes they have access to weapons.
Part two: This Salon.com article raises an interesting question about future generations understanding the pop culture references in topical television shows like "The Simpsons" and "Glee."… Read more
Consider yourself warned. You've probably heard of traffic cameras that capture photo evidence of cheeky drivers blowing through red lights at intersections. You may have been one of the hundreds of thousands of people who received such a ticket in the mail each year.
But you may not realize that Redflex, the company that helped pioneer the photo cop industry, has also expanded into stop sign cameras.
In California's Santa Monica Mountains parks are are seven stop sign cameras that the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) use to help it govern the roadways of its 60,0000 … Read more
The publisher of PureRa claims that it "removes files from your computer that other mainstream cleaning programs tend to oversee," by which we suppose they mean "overlook." Though it's neither the most attractive nor the most grammatically accurate program we've encountered, we found that it works well as a quick, no-nonsense way to rid your computer of unwanted files.
The program has an extremely simple and intuitive user interface. It lists a variety of file types and locations that you can check off for removal, including temporary files, Recycle Bin files, software distribution logs, … Read more
Updated at 11:15 a.m. PST: This article was updated to include data and comments from Amy Townsend-Small.
A report asserting that well-maintained parks in the Irvine, Calif., area were technically polluting the environment has been amended and its official results have been re-released.
The study led by Amy Townsend-Small, an Earth system science postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Irvine, originally reported last month that the amount of carbon emissions emitted from lawn-related maintenance was roughly four times the amount of carbon naturally collected and stored by the lawn itself.
But that is not true.
Due … Read more
Updated at 9:25 a.m. PST, February 18, 2010: The data from the original study regarding lawn carbon emissions versus carbon capture was found to be miscalculated. The study itself has since been amended, and this article has been corrected to reflect the new data.
While parks and lawns provide solace amidst urban and suburban sprawl, well-maintained grass is technically polluting to the environment, a study has shown.
While Nevada officials and residents have long espoused the benefits of desert landscaping in lieu of grass lawns, their focus has been on water conservation. This latest study from the University … Read more
Two sources of entertainment are always better than one, which is why we love this futuristic pool table slash MP3 player by the folks at Newwave Design.
The white surfaces and orange cloth combined with the brushed silver legs add to the modern aesthetic, which to me looks more like an orange Creamsicle, but that might just be because it's almost summertime. The universal media player underneath routes directly to two speakers on either side of the table and features controls for volume and light effects. That's right, several hidden LEDs help illuminate your game in dimly lit rooms!
There's a "sound effects" knob as well, but the Web site has no word on what it does. Wouldn't it be cool/slightly irritating if an audience applause goes off every time you sink a ball? The Lunar pool table includes a full set of balls and two 48-inch cues for a very affordable $745. More images after the break.… Read more
Ah, summertime. The season of warm weather, vacations, barbecues and over-the-top recreational water products that cost thousands of dollars. We're glad to see that Hammacher Schlemmer didn't disappoint us in this category with the latest example of aquatic excess, the "Motorized Four-Person Lounger Boat" (catchy name).
This little watercraft may seem simple enough by appearances, but don't be fooled. Its features include a five-speed electric motor with three reverse speeds, a sealed compartment for two 12-volt batteries and an "ergonomic reclining mesh seat." How else can it justify its $4,000 price tag? … Read more