Saturday, February 19, 2005

for today's episode of 'what's on the web'

see Save Toby. not recommended for the faint of heart. the Save Toby website is purportedly about a man who found an injured bunny, nursed it to health, and now is threatening to kill and eat it on June 30th unless he receives $50k in donations.

my first reaction to this was that it was the funniest website i've seen in a long time. the combination of cute bunny pictures and recipes for eating said bunny appeals to me. even better is the combination with the Cafe Press store, which appears to offer a service where anyone can buy one of a large variety of generic white products which have your name, logo, and/or a photograph screened onto them. you can buy your very own Save Toby thong for only $9.99.

my second reaction came after noticing that at the bottom he reports to have already received over $14,000 in donations. he appears to have a paypal account which you can donate to. now i'm concerned, because he's obviously fleecing a lot of people out of their money.

if paypal knew what was going on they'd yank this in a heartbeat. very very bad public policy not to. if the government knew what was going on i bet there's a law that he could be prosecuted for (but i wouldn't know; i'm not at that kind of law school). i wish he had faked the donation system. then this would have been just a very funny website, instead of a legal nightmare waiting to happen. i'm hoping but doubting it stays up until June 30th, because i want to know what he does if he doesn't make it to $50k. i hope he buys some rabbit meat from the grocery store and posts pictures of cooking it. he could have an online voting system for which recipe to use.

consider the following scenario: until mid-June he gets little more than the $14,000 in donations; the deadline approaches; a few of the past givers donate a lot more money in a panicky state to push the balance to $20k or so; he magnanimously decides to let the bunny go. the website becomes much less amusing to me, but now the people who presumably gave him money and are checking the website to see what happens to their poor bunny are relieved and fail to file lawsuits and/or report the web site to the federal government. and he's up $20k and has a very cute pet bunny. the story spreads, he comes under a lot of public fire, he auctions off the bunny for $100k+ to some foolish culture whore, moves outside the US, and enjoys the rest of his life.

or maybe he's not really taking people's money. i refuse to put $1 to the cause to see if it actually gets transferred. if someone else does, let me know, ok?

update: it turns out this fellow's a copycat. the original is a European website called Save Bernd!. same store with generic merchandise. same donations (only this guy has $70k euros and is asking for a million). sooner deadline (march 27th). this guy plans to give 80% of the donations to charity. i've got news for you, guy: still doesn't make it okay.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

which famous leader are you?

Here is a quiz to supposedly analyze your personality and find the famous world leader who most closely resembles you. My roommate, for example, was Bill Clinton. So I took the quiz twice, the first time with 27 questions and the second with 45 (you can pick 9, 18, 27, or 45 questions). The first time I was Hitler, and the second Saddam Hussein. I kid you not. Was thinking about trying to end up as an evil mad dictator but decided instead to just answer the questions honestly. Hrm.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

since nobody else is pointing it out

If you haven't seen it, try the Google maps service, featured yesterday in the NY Times here. But before you get too impressed, recognize that the pan-and-scan interface that makes Google Maps so useful is identical to the one used by Keyhole, an outstanding satellite imagery program acquired last October by Google. But if they did buy Keyhole and then incorporate their technology into Google Maps, they did a surprisingly fast and good job. Let's see if Microsoft has the same success buying anti-virus software. I somehow doubt it.