Fun Friday: Gopher Traps, Pet Rocks and Wozniak, Tsunami Science, and Women’s Video

Well, it seems fitting that we end the week, not with a bang but with the hard slam shut of a Macabee gopher trap. You heard me – gopher traps. Turns out at the Los Gatos History Museum roundtable last night we got to hear how Los Gatos was the leader in innovative gopher traps, and it’s rather humbling to learn that after one hundred years they still are selling them. This certainly contrasted with Gary Dahl’s Pet Rock (another Los Gatos invention), which didn’t last more than a year – but oh, what a year it was. I still remember all those silly rocks sold in stores and thinking how crazy adults were to buy them.

One of the more amusing moments of the roundtable occurred when the moderator carefully presented all of the other speakers, and then forgot to present their star speaker Steve Wozniak. But Steve more than made up for the lapse by talking nonstop about innovation, his time at HP, and why he loves building things. And I suppose that was the motivation for everyone sitting in that room – we all like to build things and make things better. Oh, and the free food behind the gopher trap display after the chatfest helped.

In other news, the scientific impact of the Indian Ocean tsumani is just beginning to be grasped – “NASA scientists using data from the Indonesian earthquake calculated it affected Earth’s rotation, decreased the length of day, slightly changed the planet’s shape, and shifted the North Pole by centimeters.” Simply incredible.

Finally, Internet video is finally making real inroads, especially among women. iVillage announced that it has redesigned its Web site and “visitors to the women-focused site now see video offerings on each Web page”. According to Peter Naylor, SVP Sales, “Demand is outstripping supply. I would love to get more video inventory”. Videos are preceded by a 15-second ad from the likes of Kraft, Microsoft and NBC.

Haven’t I always said “It’s the content”. And women, who are often viewed as less tech-saavy than men, seem to be leading the trend here. Not surprising – I’m a woman too. Have a great weekend.

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