Online Insights on fiveAA, Sunday, December 02, 2007

December 2, 2007

Life Hacker’s Top Ten Food Hacks
Life Hacker is one of my favourite sites online, and as we start getting ready for Christmas Day, I thought it timely to visit the site’s Food Hacking tips.
There are techniques for folding chip bags that keep chips fresh, a great use of a CD case to carry bagels, keeping crystals off your ice cream using cling wrap, and cutting onions without crying.
There’s also a lot of tips involving ice and drinks.
Clear ice cubes – the trick is boiling the water twice, letting it cool both times and then making ice cubes that are crystal clear.
If you need to chill a bottle of wine or coke very quickly, you can do it in 2 minutes using a bucket of salted ice water.
This page also links to tons of ways to use vinegar around the home, including vinegar in a spray bottle for deterring ants, killing weeds and repelling cats.
I have my own food hacking tip. Friends told me they were planning to make their own satays but when it came time to skewer the meat, they realised they had forgotten to buy the sticks. So they improvised. They have a Rosemary bush, so they plucked a few small stems or branches, stripped the leaves and used the sticks to skewer the meat. The flavour was superb because the Chicken and Lamb had been infused by the Rosemary

Home Page Daily
HomepageDAILY says it presents the best of the net, updated each day to take us behind the headlines. There’s plenty of original content including videos and blogs. Supposedly, this site “serves up the soul of the web, so you don’t have to gag on the scraps”. In reality, it is another rag tag portal to an eclectic range of content with a strong bias toward left-wing politics, atheism, and toilet humour.
However, having said that, the content is often compelling and amusing and if you take time to pick through the menu, you’ll find something amusing.
Amid the humorous pieces like the “I’m so Australian” comedy routine, there was an engrossing video of German journalist and commentator Thomas Deichman arguing that most modern recycling methods are a waste of time and money. In footage from the 2007 Battle of Ideas, he made a convincing argument that the best method for dealing with waste is burning through high tech, high temperature incinerators.
There was also a great story on a Palestinian sitcom that focuses on the trials and tribulations of daily Arab-Israeli life. The Palestinian characters try to assimilate with Israeli families in rather awkward and humorous ways, a bit like a Middle Eastern take on Kath and Kim.
In the “love” section, make sure you check out the short film called “copy”, which won best film at the 2006 Queensland Short Film Festival. And while you are there, “bad day at the office” in the “whoops” section, is also worth a few laughs.

Cloud Appreciation Society

At The Cloud Appreciation Society they love clouds so much they even have a manifesto, and a paid membership which gets you an official membership certificate and badge.
They create cloud art and poetry, cloud calendars, cloudspotting comments and discussion. The society is run by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, who is also cofounder of The Idler magazine
From their manifesto:
WE BELIEVE that clouds are unjustly maligned and that life would be immeasurably poorer without them. We think that they are Nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them. We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it. … And so we say to all who’ll listen: Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and live life with your head in the clouds!
The photos are brilliant and make up for all the wacky stuff on the site. You will never find a site with better cloud photographs, purely majestic!
But then there’s the poetry. Need I say more …
Clouds Come to the Ground!

Ha! Ha! white cloud have you any rain?
No Sir, No Sir, not today.

Ba, Ba, white cloud,
have you anything to say?
Yes, Sir, Yes Sir, have a good day.

Wa, Wa, white cloud,
you look like my brother Ray!
Do you mean the Sun Sir?

Well Okay!

Good, Good white cloud,
can you shade the sun?
Oh yes, Oh yes, I’ll do it just for fun!

Ha Ha white cloud,
do you see the moon?
Yes Sir, Yes Sir, over the Lagoon!

Nap time, sleep time, hope your still around
when I awake clouds,
come down to the ground.

© Nick Houvras. 2007.

Hair Styles Design
With Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve parties coming up, it is not the season for having a bad hair day! This site has lots of great hair styles ideas which you can easily browse through a huge hairstyles gallery. For ladies, you start by deciding short, medium or long, or you can jump to formal styles or MTV styles. There are also men’s styles too, although while there are hundreds of women’s styles, men only get a couple dozen to choose from.
You can then print our the style you want, and take it to your hair dresser.
The site also has a small library of hair & beauty articles with plenty of tips. By way of example, here are some pointers from their “short hair style” article, in which they make the point that a short haircut is not for everyone.

  • Time. It’s a real time saver, as it only takes a few minutes to wash and style.
  • Versatility. You can style it, gel it, pomade it, and just about do any “it”s there is with a short hair cut.
  • Good for almost any occasion.


  • Facial exposure. A short hairstyle might reveal some things about your face that you are not quite fond of.
  • Increases the perspective of height. This can be a good thing, but for those of you who are already tall enough, a short hairstyle can accentuate your height and make you seem even taller.
  • Growing back after the cut. If you are not satisfied with your cut and look after coming out of the salon, you can’t go back and get a refund on your hair! It can take a long time to grow back out, and for some it might never growth back to it’s full length.
  • Maintenance. Short hair styles need to be cut more often.