netZoom #4 – Water Poisoning, LinkedIn Maps and Wieners Revisited

Welcome…

to netZoom el número cuatro, the fourth article in the series where I share interesting discoveries and news from the series of tubes we call the Internets.

Today’s we’ll be taking a look at how dangerous water can really be.  We’ll also be having fun with an interesting LinkedIn plugin and we’ll explore the internet’s obsession with the word Wiener.

So let’s get to it already!

Water Poisoning

Our first story today is a little old, a little strange, and quite sad.  In 2007, a radio station in the US had an original idea for a contest.  Dubbed the “Hold your wee for a Wii” contest, participants were given 8 255ml bottles of water every 15 minutes, and the one who could drink the most bottles without going to the bathroom would – after finally going to said bathroom – get to go home with a new Nintendo Wii gaming console.

One of the participants, a 28 year old mother of three named Jennifer Strange, left the contest after complaining of severe headaches.  She would be found at home a few hours later, dead from Water Intoxication.

As it turns out, she had drank so much water that the normal chemical balance of her blood had been altered.  Even the winner of the contest, a certain Lucy Davidson, was reported as being severely sick while receiving her prize.

Prior to the competition, the radio station had been warned by a caller that they were putting people’s lives at risk, but unfortunately for Jennifer they dismissed the caller and ran the contest anyways. Jennifer’s family ended up suing the radio station in court, and were awarded $16 million in damages.

So remember, if you gotta go, don’t hold it in, just go…

LinkedIn Maps

My InMap

My InMap

With over 100+ million users worldwide, LinkedIn touts itself as “the world’s largest professional network on the Internet”, and rightly so.

Unlike other social network services like Facebook and MySpace, LinkedIn allows its members to keep in touch with their professional and business connections.  They enable members to build business oriented profile pages that can be used by other professionals around the globe to read through work experiences, education, and recommendations, among other things.

So why am I talking up LinkedIn?  Well, I recently found an interesting website called LinkedIn Labs, which is a site created by LinkedIn to host “a small set of projects and experimental features built by [LinkedIn] employees…”.

One of these experiments – inMaps – is a tool that studies your list of contacts and groups them based on their relations to each other.  This generates a cloud of interconnected contacts and allows you to interpret your professional network visually.

Though my inMap (that weird looking cloud/spiderweb thing up above) only contains ±70 contacts right now, you can get an idea of how the cloud of a person with several hundred contacts might look.

Here’s a quick rundown of my cloud: (click on the image to see a larger version).

  • Starting from the top and going clockwise, the first multicoloured group are my friends and school buddies.  I did not work with them anywhere, and so even though they are linked together amongst each other, they are not linked with any other of my contacts.
  • My previous employer is the second group in blue and my current employer the third group in green, and as you can see there aren’t any ties between the two (both companies are fairly different and in different geological locations).
  • On the other hand, my current employer does have common ties with another company: the fourth group in brownish-orange.  Many of my contacts share contacts with this group as well, and so both groups are more closely related.

If you have a LinkedIn account, I invite you to try inMaps.  The more contacts you have, the bigger your inMap will be, and as you can see on the inMap site, some of the biggest maps are actually quite amazing.

In Other News…

And On This Day In…

  • 1497– John Cabot lands in Newfoundland, the first European to do so since the Vikings
  • 1717 – The first Masonic Grand Lodge in the world is founded in London, England
  • 1880 – The first performance of the O Canada, the song that would become Canada’s National anthem
  • 1985 – Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the first Arab and first Muslim in space
  • And a lot more…

Video: The Weinerlogues with Bill Maher and Jane Lynch

In the last netZoom article we discovered that cell phone auto corrects can lead to hilarious messages.  In the conversation posted in the article, a son told his friends he could not join them because his father wanted to play with his wiener (auto corrected from the Wii gaming console).  Well imagine my surprise when I discovered that, over the past week, a US Politician by the name of Anthony Weiner was caught in a sexting scandal.

So, at the risk of having too many Weiner references on the site, I’m proud to share with you a video of the back-and-forth that got Mr. Weiner in trouble in the first place.  In this video, dubbed the Weinerlogues, Bill Maher and Jane Lynch read through the entire sexting conversation that was published.  The video was originally aired on HBO as part of the show Real Time with Bill Maher.

I warn you that, although hilarious, this video does contain graphic language, is not safe for work and also not safe for young children.

Ok? You’ve been warned.  Now enjoy! :D

And that’s pretty much it…

for this longer-than-usual fourth netZoom article. Thanks for reading, and if you have any discoveries of your own, feel free to share in the comments below!

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