Imagine how different your life would be if next Earth Day a year from now, yousupplied the power to this computer—by pedaling, churning or dancing. The way these students in Pendleton, Indiana, did, when they managed to run lights, a TV and a DVD player off of stationary bikes.
You’d use less oil, natural gas and coal, because you’d be taking less electricity from the grid. So you’d help lower the world’s risks of climate catastrophe from global warming and a political meltdown from wars over dwindling resources. And there’d be another nudge toward peace in your routine: A newfound solidarity with the rest of humanity. Right now the world’s richest billion or so people live like demigods, able to fly across oceans while watching old sitcoms, and to click on a website to order strawberries delivered in the depths of winter. Meanwhile the rest of the human race lives by hard labor. Were everyone to make some of his own electricity, this gap would narrow. A family in Orlando would still have way more gadgets than a family in Ougadougou. But both households, in order to make a screen light up, would have to do the same physical work.
I’m not imagining a Flintstones world. Power that serves society as a whole—that keeps cops’ radios on, and heart monitors beeping, and fire trucks’ sirens wailing—we would still expect from the grid. Refrigerators and freezers need constant power but people can’t pedal 24/7, so, exempt those too. That still leaves cell phones, computers, TV’s, coffeemakers, the i’s Pod and Pad, and a host of other personal gadgets. Yes, factories, offices and stores use most of the energy consumed by humanity, but private households still matter. They account for 22 percent of energy consumption in the world’s richest nations, according to this United Nations report.
‘Code Red’: iPhone/iPad app for men who need to track women’s menstrual cycles
By Monica Hesse Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, April 22, 2010
Men: We are sorry.
Here we have been assuming that our lady-business skeeved you out, that you heard “menstruation” and you went “lalalalalalala.”
We were wrong.
How else to explain “Code Red,” the new iPhone period app that — and this is really linguistically unfortunate — also works on the iPad?
It keeps track of periods. It keeps track of them for men. It is, in fact, strong enough for a woman but made for the men who love them, or at least want to monitor their bodies the way that creep-o just might on “Law & Order: SVU” before Detective Benson punched him in the head. Just sayin’.
How it works: Type in the first day of your partner’s cycle for a few months. Then sit back and wait for the helpful reminders to pop up on your Apple device. During PMS time, for example, a female symbol appears sporting devil horns. A frisky ovulation alert tells you when your chances for getting down are looking up.
A tour of recent technological creations shows that menstruation apps for men are a booming market. “PMSBuddy,” for example, is proudly “saving relationships, one month at a time.” “PMS Meter” features “hilarious sound effects.” And the infamous “IAmAMan,” which is nothing if not unapologetic, allows users to track the menstrual cycles of several women at once, for those special times when you are a big cheater.
At a deep cultural level, one might speculate that the proliferation of these apps all ties into some deep fear of womanhood — an attempt by men to make sense of what they do not understand. One might offer the possibility that men would chart the life cycle of a fruit fly if they could do it on an iPad, that this is really all about gadgetry. One might also say this is gross.
MEDL Mobile, the company that distributes “Code Red,” will not release sales figures, but says that the application has climbed as high as 35 on the Lifestyle division of the Apple app store — a category that includes hundreds of applications. A spokesperson for the company says Apple cannot confirm this.
Again: Men, we had no idea.
Code Red (“A Survival Guide to Her Monthly Cycle. Period!”) was conceptualized by a husband and wife team, Lisi and Kevin Harrison; he is originally from Fairfax and they now live in California. They had no prior app-creation experience, but “we love the iPhone,” Kevin says. “We love the whole app culture.”
Isn’t Code Red kind of … funny?
“It’s funny in a sense,” Kevin says. “But also really helpful.”
“I don’t even think it’s funny; I just thought it was necessary,” Lisi says. “Kevin and I have been together for 15 years … and Kevin acts blindsided every month. It makes me want to scratch his eyes out.”
Instead the Harrisons, both 40-ish, discussed Code Red with an acquaintance named Jon Rose. “Jon is an ex-professional surfer,” Kevin says, “who is now an international humanitarian — “
Wait, for developing “Code Red”? ”No, for Waves for Water,” an organization that brings clean drinking water to Third World countries.
Anyway, Rose knew a guy named Dave Swartz, who works for a company called MEDL, which helps average schmoes turn their ideas into Apple apps. MEDL has had about 30,000 submissions but has found only a few dozen to be worthy of development.
Wait, what apps were NOT worthy of development?
“We get a lot of [potty] jokes, which we’re not interested in,” Swartz says.
“We were sitting around in a meeting where we go over submissions,” Swartz says, when he mentioned “Code Red.” “About half the people there were young guys, and one said, ‘I will pay $20 for that right now.’ Actually, he said $19.99.”