Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 15, 2021

Catherine Durkin Robinson is aghast after a professional bra-fitting upgrades her from her familiar 34C to a pornstar-ish 32DD.

Cheer up, Catherine! Budding actor/model Diora Baird also happens to be a 32DD, and she’s embraced her natural assets:

“It wasn’t until in the last year and a half that I started making fun of myself and the fact that I have big boobs,” she confided. “I never really was comfortable with my large breasts. And I went to the plastic surgeon, and almost got a breast reduction. I didn’t do it, thankfully.”

By the way, she stressed, they’re 100% real.

Yes, I am writing this while watching Wedding Crashers, in which Baird had a brief but career-boosting appearance (thanks in no small part to the prominent displaying of her breasts). And yes, I did mentally file away Baird’s bra size long ago, and was reminded of it while reading Catherine’s essay.

I guess I have cup sizes on the brain. I was with a girl last night who showed off a blue-and-purple Victoria’s Secret bra she was snagging on eBay. Size: 36B.

UPDATE, 1/17/2006: Y’know, I knew there was something familiar about that name. Turns out Catherine is a contributor to Sticks of Fire, where she has a laugh about being featured on the front page of the Times’ Floridian section. She also points to her own teaser, as well as her original blog version of the essay.

I neglected to emphasize how this story reveals the power of labels. Consider: Kate had peace of mind assuming she was a “normal” 34C. When she found out her real size, images of pornstars and streetwalkers sprung to mind, despite her physical shape not changing at all. That double-D might as well have been a scarlet letter — a pair (ahem) of them.

Clothes have that power over most of us. It’s the same reason people cling to their teenage-era jean size several years after quarter- and mid-life spread sets in. It’s the fashion-meets-numerology dynamic; I guess it applies to cup sizes too.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/15/2006 10:30:37 PM
Category: Celebrity, Fashion, Women | Permalink | Feedback (2)

What’s the secret to monetizing blogs? Instead of taking the single-author, decentralized approach (like here), Gather.com is providing a mega-group blog with a business model that promises to share advertising revenue with authors.

Sounds pretty much like just another collaborative blogging community, with some spare change thrown in. But the model is being touted by CEO Tom Gerace as akin to how eBay started, and grew to such prominence; and that’s where the hoped-for heat is:

‘’In the early days of eBay, you could make some beer money selling on the site, and that’s how it will be here at first,” said Gerace, who said his site, which won’t formally launch until February or March, already has hundreds of writers and about 8,500 readers. ‘’As our audience scales, our authors will see their earnings increase.”…

Before eBay, there were dozens of small websites selling or auctioning off products, but there was no common platform enabling buyers to comparison-shop and sellers to tap a mass market. ‘’We think of Gather as doing for user-driven content what eBay did for user-driven retail,” Gerace said. ‘’Today, the problem in the blogosphere is finding what you want.”

Frankly, this is nothing but bizspeak, using eBay to suggest comparable viability. I don’t see it. The goal is to aggregate original content under a single brand — i.e., a publication. This, despite what Gather’s angel investor Jim Manzi describes in what amounts to the site’s manifesto. Far from challenging the “Literary Industrial Complex”, Gather’s going to be simply another editorial clearinghouse among many.

And there are many: Everything from online versions of newspapers and magazines to Wikipedia. The community aspect is covered by networks like MySpace and LiveJournal. There’s no shortage of outlets.

The advertising money is a distinguishing twist, of course. But again, not unprecedented. Google AdSense is widespread enough, especially on Google’s BlogSpot, for those interested to make use of it. And I’d imagine the payouts would be comparable to what Gather would offer.

Of course, all of the above are, again, part of a decentralized approach. Gather does, fundamentally, suggest an alternative:

[Forrester Research analyst Charlene] Li said she knew of no other weblog aggregator sharing ad revenue with writers. ‘’Gather is trying to remove the pressure from writers having to maintain their own individual sites,” she said. ‘’And it lets you go public as a writer. Most writers have small audiences for their personal blogs.”

And that’s all this is: A place for those who want to knock out articles with varying frequency, but don’t want to do the nuts-and-bolts setup themselves. It involves sacrificing individual brand identity, but in exchange simplifies the online publishing process enormously.

But does Gather really offer anything to the audience? As a group blog/ezine, it’ll be competing with countless other outlets. In that sense, it will have to strike gold with compelling content, meaning the emergence of a writer or writers who gain a fanbase. The sharing of ad revenue serves as a method of attracting such talent, but I wonder if it’ll be enough. And at root, it’s a chicken-and-egg situation: No substantial audience without something to draw them in, but no star attraction without an audience and resultant revenue to convince them.

As much as Gerace avoids admitting it, it really is the search engines and aggregators that will be Gather’s real competition. The collaborate nature, which will (ideally) produce plenty of content, should ensure high placement on Technorati and Google searches; but Gather’s listings will appear alongside a lot of other results. What will make it stand out?

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/15/2006 07:48:14 PM
Category: Bloggin', Business | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Hard to believe than anyone in this day and age would still be enthused by that ’80s puzzling refugee, the Rubik’s Cube. But the fire burns with Speedcubing, a beat-the-clock competition for clicking-and-clacking the colored tiles into their proper solid faces.

To underline the “speed” part of this: Caltech student Leyan Lo just set the world speed record for solving the Cube: 11.13 seconds.

Eleven seconds? I can’t even conceive how that’s possible. A fully mixed-up Cube? How can anyone mentally plot their moves so quickly? I wonder if these Cube models are somehow built for speed. I haven’t touched one of those things in ages, but I seem to remember that the movement when rotating those plastic rows and columns was anything but fluid. Maybe they’re oiled up or something.

I doubt they’re designed around speed, but there are a few shortcuts to a solution, including my old cheat: Peeling the stickers off.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/15/2006 06:22:40 PM
Category: Pop Culture | Permalink | Feedback (5)