I don’t know if this thing is still available, but some time ago Mattel released a Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Broom. It’s a broom that looks exactly like the one Harry flies around on in the movie. Not exactly remarkable in itself, the broom has a few interesting features: It comes with sound effects, and it vibrates. That’s right, they’ve marketed a vibrating stick for twelve-year-olds to put between their legs. Hilarity ensues.

Here are some comments that appeared in the Customer Reviews section on Amazon.com. (Apparently, Amazon wised up to this and has since deleted the offending reviews, these were clipped earlier this month):

“When my 12 year old daughter asked for this for her birthday, I kind of wondered if she was too old for it, but she seems to LOVE it. Her friends love it too! They play for hours in her bedroom with this great toy. They really seem to like the special effects it offers (the sound effects and vibrating). My oldest daughter (17) really likes it too! I reccomend this for all children.”

“My 12 year old daughter is a big Harry Potter fan, and loved the part with the Nimbus 2000, so I decided to buy her this toy. I was afraid she would think it was too babyish, but she LOVES this toy. Even my daughter’s friends enjoy playing with this fun toy. I was surprised at how long they can just sit in her room and play with this magic broomstick! “

And then The Serial Caller weighed in and gave Mattel a call.

“Why don’t we, instead of trying to sell our knowledge over the internet, just give it away.”

Over the next 10 years, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will move all of its existing coursework on to the internet. For free. Thousands of pages of information as well as hours of streaming video lectures, seminars and experiments. All available to anyone anywhere around the world at no cost.

While other colleges and universities around the world are struggling to find ways to make money by offering their courses and diplomas online, MIT has launched OpenCourseWare, the initiative that they hope will spark a global revolution in education.

“OpenCourseWare looks counter-intuitive in a market-driven world. It goes against the grain of current material values. But it really is consistent with what I believe is the best about MIT. It is innovative. It expresses our belief in the way education can be advanced — by constantly widening access to information and by inspiring others to participate.” -Charles M. Vest, President, MIT

Sphincterine – you may need this. I don’t wanna know if you do, but just in case, here it is. (stolen from dz

Finally… something different. been wanting to do a redesign for a while, but just haven’t had the time to do it. I’ve still got some cleaning up to do – I’m pretty sure it looks like shit in Netscape 4.x – and I haven’t checked this on my mac yet. Other than that, I hope you like it. If not, oh well… it’ll probably get an overhaul in another coupla months again anyway.

I’ve just signed on to build a new community site for ARIO (Adventure Racing in Ottawa). CommunityZero (where the community currently resides) has decided to start charging for usage (guess they figured out ‘free’ isn’t a very good business model- who knew?). For the quality of the services they offer, the price they’re asking seems a little excessive… so we’re going to ‘roll our own’. It should be a really great experience. I’ve been wanting to build something along these lines for some time now, so now I have an excuse. It should be ready for launch by April or May.