5 Intriguing Things: Thursday, 2/6

Air sex, Uber for plows, a metric better than uniques, a real-life Logan's Run, and the Internet of heaters.
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1. Air Sex. It's a thing. Apparently.

"He did have kind words for the depictions of air sex, a sport whose best performances are not mere re-creations of ground sex, but an entirely new genre of human interaction.

'One thing the movie got right is how one guy was imitating a T-Rex and the woman is pretending to have sex with a man whose penis was the size of a (giant) roly-poly thing,' Wilson says. 'That’s the epic nature of the sport.'

For her part, JOWYCO says that the actors 'do a good job of pantomiming, though they could have been more gimmicky, and do different things.'

After all, in air sex as in ground sex, the routine quickly becomes routine."

 

2. OK, guys, I got it: Uber for plows! Dang, already exists.

"Every new member of our fleet receives a 'PLOWZ Welcome Package' containing a 'How-To Guide' walking you through the process step by step (it's super easy, we promise)... We take care of all the marketing and advertising for PLOWZ. You get to focus your time and energy on what you do best - PLOW!"

 

3. Upworthy wants to establish a new standard for measuring success on the web.  

"Introducing attention minutes, Upworthy’s new primary metric, which we’re planning to track in two forms:

Total Attention on Site (per hour, day, week, month, whatever) — that tells us (like total uniques or total pageviews) how good of a job Upworthy is doing overall at drawing attention to important topics.

And Total Attention per Piece, which is a combination of how many people watch something on Upworthy and how much of it they actually watch. Pieces with higher Total Attention should be promoted more.

We love thinking this way because it rewards us for sharing content that people really enjoy and find valuable — not just stuff they click on a lot. It may mean that we don’t do quite as well on uniques or pageviews, but that’s a trade-off we’re happy to make because this is a metric focused on real audience satisfaction."

 

4. A game modeled on the sci-fi cult classic, Logan's Run, will be played out on the streets of San Francisco this weekend

"This February, The Multiverse Council brings you Logan's Run, brought to life as an epic live-action street game in the alleys of San Francisco.

When your lifeclock turns black, will you accede to the mandatory euthanization ritual of Carrousel, or will you run? Search the corners and nooks of the City for the secret of Sanctuary. Discover strange sights and hidden peoples, some trustworthy – some not – all while evading ruthless squads of Sandmen searching for Runners at every turn.

This is a street game in the style of Journey To The End of The Night. There will be 1-2 miles of walking involved: so wear comfortable shoes. There may be brief periods of running and chasing, but players of all levels of athletic ability will enjoy themselves."

 

5. The sexiest story on HVAC units that you'll ever read

"Security experts say that it is common for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning companies — so-called HVAC companies — to be granted network access to clients so that they can monitor retail stores and diagnose problems remotely.

'Remote access to these systems is really common and integrators are almost always on the corporate network,' said Billy Rios, director of threat intelligence at Qualys, a cloud security firm. Mr. Rios said that the security at such companies tended to be poor and that vendors often used the same password across multiple customers.

Over the last two years, Mr. Rios and Terry McCorkle, also of Qualys, said that they found 55,000 HVAC systems connected to the Internet. In most cases, they said, the systems contained basic security flaws that would allow hackers a way into companies’ corporate networks, or the companies installing and monitoring these systems reused the same remote access passwords across multiple clients."

 

Our 1957 American English usage tips will return on Monday, when I get back to Oakland. In the meantime, enjoy this video of The Trashmen performing "Surfin Bird."

 

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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