Today brings a few intersting bits of chum… certainly worth chewing on…
- From the “Two Great Things That Don’t Go Together” Department: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Honda has a new option for the Honda Element: Dog Friendly Features. The package includes equipment like an extendable ramp for Rover to enter and exit the vehicle, a dedicated fan for the dog compartment, and a spill-resistant water bowl. The equipment secures the dog in the cargo area with seat-belt-grade nylon webbing, and also includes a cushioned pet bed for afternoon naps and all-weather rubber floor mats decorated with an attractive toy bone pattern. In other news, a study in this month’s issue of the Journal of Mammalogy indicates the minivan is the most sought-after vehicle for hungry black bears in Yosemite. According to the study’s authors, bears searching for the most calories at the least risk judged minivans as their best bet. Let’s hope they don’t learn about the Honda Element.
- From the “Don’t Cross With An Engineer” Department: This is one where we need to rise in righteous anger. As part of a plan to fix UC’s battered budget, the regents may vote as early as next month on a proposal to require engineering undergraduates, along with those studying business, to pay $900 more a year than the rest of the student body. That would be in addition to the $2,514 systemwide fee increase all students are likely to see by next fall. More details here. I think this is a bad idea — we need to encourage students to go into Engineering careers, not hinder them. [In other UCLA news, UCLA isn’t expanding the lab school… but the article has a lovely picture of the former principal of Vintage MST Magnet.]
- From the “It’s Like An Amusement Park at the Mall” Department: Disney is reimagining the Disney Stores yet again: this time into “Imagaination Park”. The chain’s traditional approach of displaying row after row of toys and apparel geared to Disney franchises will be given a high-tech makeover and incorporated into a new array of recreational activities. Theaters will allow children to watch film clips of their own selection, participate in karaoke contests or chat live with Disney Channel stars via satellite. Computer chips embedded in packaging will activate hidden features. Walk by a “magic mirror” while holding a Princess tiara, for instance, and Cinderella might appear and say something to you. Basically, Steve Jobs (who is now on the Disney board) has convinced Disney and Pixar to apply the Apple Stores magic to Disney marketing. In other Disney news, Tinkerbell ditches the short skirt for leggings.
- From the “If Chickens Had Four Wings…” Department: In yet another sign that the economy has flipped, chicken wings are more expensive than chicken breasts. As a result, the cheap wing nights are going away, and places are introducing “boneless wings”, also known as “boneless chicken breast strips”.