Online Insights on FIVEaa Sunday July 04 2010

July 4, 2010

This month in Online Insights, we discover when fresh is really fresh, have fun with the beginning of everything, unlock a free planning tool, and set you up for some family and holiday fun, geek style.

Pop Up Book

Voyage to the heart of matter - the big bang as pop up art
Voyage to the heart of matter - the big bang as pop up art

I think I have discovered the secret ingredient that will help modernise children’s  books and it comes from an unusual pop up book that has been produced in Switzerland.

The book is a pop up book that charts the Atlas Experiment, which is  described by the official website as “a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider [and it will] search for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. ATLAS will learn about the basic forces that have shaped our Universe since the beginning of time and that will determine its fate.”

You will recall the talk of the end of the world when they first started running their machine last year.

Anyway, just how a group of boffins musters up enough arts-based creativity to come up with the novelty of a pop up book to explain very advanced science and experimentation is no mean feat in itself. In fact, it is so impressive it makes me wonder whether they have tapped some secret source of knowledge already!

What piqued my interest in relation to children’s books is the fact that a part of the pop up book actually covers the big bang. That’s right, the big bang, the beginning of life as we know it, all reduced down to coloured bits of card that pop up.

So here is a note for Mem Fox and all the other children’s book authors, instead of starting your stories with “once upon a time”, why not include a big bang pop up and have your characters emanate from there?

In other parts of the book, you can pull a tab to make particles collide and then you can build your own Atlas Experiment thanks to plenty of tabs and flaps.

This might not quite replace the lego set, but it has potential to excite the imagination.

Click here to pop up your daily fix of physics.

Fresh citrus from SA

I was running some small business marketing workshops in Loxton, South Australia, recently, and met a couple of fellas, Michael and Tim, who were talking about their first tentative steps into selling their fruit online. What I liked about their story was that they were seeing how badly growers get treated by the big supermarkets AND seeing how poor the fruit was that people get access to through these channels, that they decided to take the future into their own hands and offer online citrus sales.

What sums up their offering most is the group of four claims they make on their website, namely:

  • their fruit is naturally coloured not gassed to enhance colour – and I thought the gassing was only done to ripen fruit
  • hand picked rather than machine graded which can damage the fruit – who would have guessed?
  • delivered straight to you and not stored for extensive periods – it is quite surprising to hear how long fruit can be stored (and yet we still imagine raw fruit and vegetables to be FRESH fruit and vegetables when we pop into the supermarket
  • chemical free, which means no wax or fungicide treatment – this did unnerve me a little but I saw that in their boxes they recommend you keep your fruit in a very cool place or a fridge so it is not that hard to keep tabs on mould it seems.

One other thing that made me realise just how disconnected we are from the land when we live in our urban hideaways is that the note they put in their boxes of fruit says if you see one go bad or mouldy, just pick it out and throw it away quickly. Whereas, I would just imagine that “one bad, all bad” was the rule of thumb.

So if you want to help some fellow South Australians revive the pulse of life up there in the Riverland, you could do little better than to take a look at their site and explore whether getting fresh citrus direct is for you.

Tables galore

Have you ever used a table to organise your thoughts or an event? If so, a simple site has been created that enables you to create a table online, for the world to see, without signing in or identifying yourself. The owners of the site hope we use these free tables to organise our lives – business, personal and social. To this end, they have a few templates you can choose from for party planning, creation of to do lists, and dividing up the tasks for a “pot luck” (which takes some of the “pot luck” out of it, doesn’t it?).

Anyway, what makes this different from Google Docs and other free, online document creators, is that there is no identification and built in options for sharing your table among the people who need to know what’s going on via all the usual social channels.

If you want to play with one, I have created one on the things Sean Perry does during his show. Feel free to follow the link from our show notes tonight and add more of Sean’s quirks to the list. You can find the table here.

Morph Thing

Michael Jackson and Britney Spears - OMG it actually worksThe last site tonight is something light for the school holidays. It allows you to morph two faces into one. Two of the most popular uses of the site are morphing classic actresses together and the other is to morph your baby with your photo to see what they will grow up like.

As I said, this is some fun, so start morphing: you with family members, you with celebrities, family members with celebrities, the possibilities are infinite!

PS Right, you will find Michael Jackson and Britney Spears as one and, it actually produces an intriguing result. If only they had bonded in real life!!