5×2 Podcast Episode 1


The show has moved to 5x2podcast.com.

5x2 Podcast

Wild Parrots Nesting In Brooklyn

Yesterday, I was walking down Ocean Ave. and I heard something that sounded like a bunch of parrots. I looked up and low and behold there were a pair of squawking green parrots hanging from a wooden nest attached to an air conditioning unit on the 6th floor of an apartment building. I was stunned. Parrots in Brooklyn?

It is freezing cold winter and there are parrots! The last time I saw wild parrots I was in tropical Belize. I ran and grabbed my camera because I was sure I had found something unique. I figured someone had released their pets and they were building a nest or that the parrots had escaped from the Brooklyn Zoo which is nearby. I was feeling like an urban Jeff Corwin, first a white squirrel and now parrots in Brooklyn!

Here are a few of the shots I was able to get.
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Flickr Photoset from Santa Cruz Island California

This is a photoset from my recent trip to Santa Cruz Island in California. The set has loads of pictures of dolphins, mainly because, well there were loads of dolphins. Somewhere in the middle of the slideshow there are a bunch of photos with splashes all around, that was a huge dolphin feeding frenzy. The water was filled with silver fish scales.

The island itself was beautiful, great geology and wildlife. They are repopulating the island with Bald Eagles and I was lucky enough to see one, however my pictures came out blurry. Several other people reported seeing the Island Fox and a Spotted Skunk. If you are interested in making it out to the Channel Islands, visit the Island Packers website for more information.


How To Save 33% On Parking Tickets

Getting a parking ticket sucks.

parking-meter.jpg

If you have a car in a large city, chances are you have received at least one parking ticket (if not more). I’ve discovered a little loophole that won’t make parking tickets go away, but it will save you money.

On the back of the parking ticket there is usually an address where you can request a hearing by mail. If you send in a letter explaining the circumstances of the ticket, you will get back a letter that gives you two options. Either pay a reduced fine or wait for an Administrative Law Judge to review the ticket.

The reduced fine is roughly a 33% savings off the initial price of the ticket. If you get a couple tickets a year this can be a substantial savings.

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I once received a ticket that I was sure I would get dismissed, but they found an error on something and I had to pay the full fine. Unless you are absolutely sure you have a rock solid story, pay the reduced fine because after they review it you can’t request the reduced fine. I keep a standard letter that I use every time, so it is easy to request a hearing by mail and get the reduced fine.

If you have a parking ticket savings tips, feel free to add it below.

Barcode Yourself

Over at barcodeart.com you can create a personal barcode using information about yourself. Here is mine.

barcode.jpg

Enter personal information about yourself to be bar coded. All of the calculations in Barcode Yourself are based on real world facts, gathered from the Internet. Data like the Gross Domestic Product of each country. Lichtenstein is #1, USA #2, and Sierra Leone is last. From the Center for Disease control, I used the Body Mass Index to figure out how…barcodeart.com

Is My BIG Apartment “Notorious”?

I found this taped to my door when I came home today. Apparently Notorious BIG lived in my building or one like it. I definitely won’t be calling to schedule a scouting appointment, but it is cool to think about my apartment on the big screen.

“Hey remember that movie Notorious? You know the apartment he grew up in, yeah well that’s my apartment”

notorious-location(Click for PDF)

10 Beautiful Premium WordPress Themes

Despite the fact that there are literally thousands of free WordPress themes available, many bloggers are buying themes. I’m not talking about those template factory themes, these premium themes are put together by top designers and are priced anywhere from $29.99 for a personal license to over $250 for a developers license which allows you to repurpose the theme and remove the attribution link in the footer. I purchased the WP-Glory theme for use on this site. Here are 1011 more themes I like:

1) Magazine News v1.0 from ArtCulture.com

Magazine News v1.0 from ArtCulture.com

Magazine News v1.0 is a news / magazine-styled WordPress theme created for sites with a lot of content, and looking to maximize there Google adsense revenue. It is a three-column, widget ready, adsense ready theme that is sure to give your blog that unique look that will garner some extra attention. This theme requires WordPress 2.3.

Cost: $49.00 (Single) or $129 (Developer)
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One Million Dollar Challenge

James Randi is an interesting character. He is a magician, escape artist, and a huge skeptic of paranormal claims. His foundation offers a one million dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. Part of his reasoning for offering such a large reward is the fact that any discovery that is truly paranormal would be worth more to the scientific community than one million dollars.

I’ve watched just about every one of his videos on YouTube. If you haven’t seen him in action, it will really make you look at paranormal events in a new light. His work helped spawn the likes Penn and Teller. Start out with this video on Uri Geller and Peter Popoff and check out the other videos that pop up, such as the classic James Hydrick challenge. Be warned these videos are addicting.


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15 Unique Christmas Gifts for 2007

Black Friday in Manhattan was a mad house. Shoppers were crammed into Best Buy and Circuit City looking for the items that were advertised in the circulars. I felt like everyone in New York was going to open one of 5 things on Christmas morning. If you want to make an impact and get something really unique that will blow your family members away, take a look at these 15 unique gift ideas for Christmas 2007.

You might also consider this my unofficial Christmas list.

  1. DNA Portrait from DNA 11
  2. Our DNA Portrait shook the art world with its novelty, scientific ingenuity and arresting beauty. Now it’s time for you to enter the world of unique, personal art. We’ll send you a collection kit with everything you need to capture a sample of your DNA. (Trust us, it’s painless and effortless: nothing more than swabbing the inside of your cheek.) The tough part is choosing the style, color, size and frame from an almost limitless range of possibilities. Take all the time you need. Your DNA Portrait will be as unique as you are.

    Dna-Portrait
    Price: starting at $390
    Uniqueness: 10 – DNA is as unique as it gets.
    Available at: DNA11

    Continue Reading

Did I Find The Luckiest Squirrel?

A few months back I posted photos of a white squirrel I saw in Brooklyn. I even asked what a Punnett square might look like for the white gene.

Well the Gods have spoken.

While I was browsing the swap meat over at Coudal Partners I came across a great pair of posters from moimoi designs showing how rare white squirrels really are.

From Coudal Partners:

This pair of prints features a punnet square and network diagram examining the albino squirrel. One poster features explanatory text and a family tree, while the second poster illustrates 20,000 squirrels, one of which is white, a bold depiction of the odds of seeing a white squirrel in nature. The odds of a Biology-Graphic Design double major are just about the same.

White Squirrel Posters

I love the mash-up between design and science. Visualizing data is the way of the future, it makes plain data more interesting and digestible. I’m trying to figure out where I can put these posters in my living room to show off my inner science geek.