Cricket Salad and a PBR

It took a while, but eating raw fish is now very mainstream.  Sushi was first introduced sometime in the 80’s.  A bit icky at first, but thanks to a neat westernization of the art form in California, avocado’s served as a stepping stone towards the cold fleshiness of raw fish. The point is, over time, we can grow to accept eating foods that seem uncomfortable.  Eating sushi was a metropolitan badge of cool during the go-go 80’s when board rooms where filled with fat cats doing coke, and every beer commercial featured a party girl in a bikini and a red sports car. Sushi is the polar opposite of all of that.  It’s clean, beautiful, and the delicate rice vinegar used to season the rice is a far cry from spicy buffalo sauce. Sushi stuck around, while the 80’s did not.  It’s now in our supermarkets and a feature of many a good sit-in restaurant. OK – then what is this about?—well, crickets.

The UN recently said that eating bugs will help us fight world hunger.  I heard a story recently on NPR where the UN went as far as hosting a bug tasting that featured cricket sashimi and other yummy appetizers.  I’m not too mad about not receiving an invite to that event.  I’m more curious about who the brave chef will be that will put stink bugs on their menu and help westernize the cricket.

Entomophagy is the study of eating insects.  The UN reports that over 2 million people eat insects around the world and is very high in protein

But this is a bit different from sushi.  Where sushi is artistic in presentation, stink bugs probably aren’t. And from what I’ve read thus far, bugs don’t taste very good either.  Making the cricket mainstream will have to do a lot with perception hijacking our senses. And nothing does that better than whatever it is that we perceive to be cool.  Some brave person will have to make the cricket delectably cool.

Cool comes in waves and usually begins in dirty places.  And just like sushi was the opposite of all things 80’s, crickets are the opposite of all things today.  It just doesn’t seem to fit within the Googley white-space of our perfectly auto-tuned society.  This movement won’t come from the UN telling us that bugs are a fantastic source of protein.  It won’t come from some celebrity chef trying to be shocking on some half-baked cooking show.  This will most likely come from the Pabst Blue Ribbon crowd asking for a cricket salad in a dirty hipster gastro-pub.

If your curious about preparing some bugs your own and being a harbinger of cool, here are two blogs that will give you some yummy crawler recipes and ideas.

I can see it already, cricket sashimi, cricket flambe, cricket ice cream, cricket a la mode, cricket sundae, cricket fricassee, cricket risotto,  cricket pancakes, cricket o’s cereal….you get the idea.  Now we just have to start getting used to it.

Robots are Rising

Robots seem to be everywhere these days–but at the same time nowhere, at least yet.  But thats about to change.  Below is a collection of some recent stories that capture how far robotics have come, while just touching upon the possibilities of where we can go.

I don’t know if we are in a position to call them our robotic overlords just yet, but acquaintances maybe, and in some cases probably even friend – but be very careful with whom you call friend.

robotic future

Ray Kurzweil joins Google to work on machine learning, language processing

Gigaom

Famed tech innovator and futurist Ray Kurzweil has announced that he will join Google (s goog) “to work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing.” Kurzweil will become director of engineering at Google beginning Monday, Dec. 17.

Kurzweil is known for his strong support of the Singularity, an idea that technology could enable humans to live for hundreds of years, and a theory that has received support from some of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest, including Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

On his website Friday, Kurzweil wrote about his decision to join the team at Google:

“I’ve been interested in technology, and machine learning in particular, for a long time: when I was 14, I designed software that wrote original music, and later went on to invent the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, among other inventions. I’ve always worked to create practical systems that will make…

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The Phone Booth 3000. A Simple Idea for Next Generation Boothing

Driving in this morning, I heard a story on NPR about phone booths, and how the city of Philadelphia is looking to rethink these.  They are making money as ad centers and still see some use, but most are dirty, graffiti plagued, and plain eyesores.  Given where we are as a young civilization and how we’ve evolved, they think – and I do to – that its time to revisit the phone booth concept.

The idea that the story spoke about was a touch screen computer thing.  A modern, touch enabled communications tool available to the public.  Sounds simple – a screen, a booth, some small apps – maybe something Android based, like a large tablet but with tourist info and other widgets.

Sure  – but I started thinking about the challenges of mobile advertising, and the obvious, the power of Twitter.  On a separate story I heard on NPR – yeah – I listen to them a lot – they covered a police officer, Detective Joseph Turner, of West Philadelphia, who is an advocate of police tweeting and is using Twitter to remain communicated with his community, and in a sense, adding another dimension to community policing.

Philly Cops Bust Crime In 140 Characters Or Fewer

A thought occurs.  Rather than a touchscreen monitor with app icons and banner ads at the bottom – I envision a Hootsuite like interface, with columns-maybe three, one for the local police tweet stream, another containing a tourist tweet stream, and maybe another collecting local businesses – and the latter two columns could have ads built directly into the stream.  It will also need an area for one to tweet.  They could sign in to their account and their location will be hashtagged and the could construct their message.  It would automatically sign out of your account after 1 minutes and 40 seconds of inactivity.

Barriers

Not everybody uses Twitter. Fine, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t have a live stream of some local activity.  What about the phone?  Well – dump it.  The money here comes from the physical and digital ads in the booth and the tweet stream.

An opportunity for Twitter

Yes.  Municipal ad based booths can be an additional revenue stream.

Why not 4Square?

No reason – maybe a combination of the two would work.  Twitter just came to my mind first.  But I’m sure a case can be made for them too.

Well – that’s my idea

It brings together the use of public whitespace and revenue, while providing a communication service free of charge to the public.  It’s far better than having widgets on touchscreen.  That view is getting a bit stale.