Category Archives: Dumbing Down

Aspartame in Milk Without a Label? Big Dairy Petitions FDA For Approval

Two powerful dairy organizations, The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), are petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to allow aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to be added to milk and other dairy products without a label.The FDA currently allows the dairy industry to use “nutritive sweeteners” including sugar and high fructose corn syrup in many of their products. Nutritive sweeteners are defined as sweeteners with calories.This petition officially seeks to amend the standard of identification for milk, cream, and 17 other dairy products like yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, and others to provide for the use of any “safe and suitable sweetener” on the market.

They claim that aspartame and other artificial sweeteners would promote healthy eating and is good for school children.

According to the FDA notice issued this week:

IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products. They state that lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavored milk than unflavored milk at school.
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New iPhone and iPad app rewards couch potatoes for watching lots of TV

Down time: It would take about three weeks of heavy TV watching to earn a $5 gift card

Viggle listens to what’s on TV and gives approximately two points per minute watched  

App collects demographic information such as age, gender, ZIP code, and email address

New iPhone and iPad app rewards couch potatoes for watching TV – with gift certificates to Burger King and Starbucks

Daily Mail | Jan 24, 2012

Want to earn stuff by merely watching TV? There’s an app for that.

A new app slated to be released today for iPhones and iPads rewards viewers for watching shows – the more shows the better.

When you tap the screen, Viggle’s software for iPhones and iPads listens to what’s on, recognizes what you’re watching and gives you credit at roughly two points per minute.

It even works for shows you’ve saved on a digital video recorder.

Rack up 7,500 points, and you’ll be rewarded with a $5 gift card from retailers such as Burger King, Starbucks, Apple’s iTunes, Best Buy and CVS, which you can redeem directly from your device.


HULU Commercials are Brutally Honest (video)

But the company plans to offer bonus points for checking into certain shows such as American Idol and 1,500 points for signing up.

You can also get extra points for watching an ad on your device. The beta version awarded 100 points for watching a 15-second ad from Verizon Wireless.

The venture was launched by American Idol backer Robert Sillerman, whose former company, CKX, owns the popular show.

‘Viggle is the first loyalty program for TV,’ said Chris Stephenson, president of the company behind Viggle, Function (X) Inc. ‘We’re basically allowing people to get rewards for doing something they’re doing already and that they love to do.’

The idea behind Viggle is that by giving people an added reason to watch TV, the size of the audience will increase, thereby allowing makers of shows to earn more money from advertisers.

Advertisers such as Burger King, Pepsi and Gatorade have also agreed to pay to have point-hungry users watch their ads on a mobile device.

In exchange, users earn points, which Viggle converts into real value by buying gift cards at a slight discount from retailers.

If the company gets the point-count economy right, it can end up making more money from advertisers and networks than it gives away in rewards.

The app will also give the company valuable insight into who is watching what, as redeeming rewards requires putting in your age, gender, email address and ZIP code.

‘It really shows what social TV is going to evolve into,’ said Michael Gartenberg, a technology analyst at research firm Gartner. ‘For folks behind the scenes, this is a great way of seeing who really is watching.’

The company hopes that user activity will grow by word of mouth, especially by offering a 200-point bonus to people who successfully get their friends to try out the service.

The app makes its debut in Apple Inc.’s app store on Wednesday. Versions for Android devices and computers are in the works.

The company has put in some safeguards. You must watch a show at least ten minutes to earn bonus points.

And you can’t watch the same ad over and over again to earn more points; there’s a one-ad-view-per-person rule.

Function (X) has brought in $100million in investment capital, and its stock trades on the Pink Sheets, a platform that allows people to buy shares but doesn’t require the company release its financial results.

Function (X) currently has a market value of about $1billion.

College students stumped by search engines, lack basic literacy skills

College students stumped by search engines, research finds

The Lookout | Aug 24, 2011

By Liz Goodwin

The members of the generation that is sometimes dubbed the “millennials” are alternately reviled or lauded by the news media for their tech-savvy, gadget-loving ways. But a new ethnographic research project on students in five Illinois universities may put a dent in that reputation. It found that many college kids don’t even know how to perform a simple internet search.

Researchers with the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries project watched 30 students at Illinois Wesleyan University try to search for different topics online and found that only seven of them were able to conduct “what a librarian might consider a reasonably well-executed search.”

The students “appeared to lack even some of the most basic information literacy skills that we assumed they would have mastered in high school,” Lynda Duke and Andrew Asher write in a book on the project coming out this fall.

At all five Illinois universities, students reported feeling “anxious” and confused when trying to research. Many felt overwhelmed by the volume of results their searches would turn up, not realizing that there are ways to narrow those searches and get more tailored results. Others would abandon their research topics when they couldn’t find enough sources, unaware that they were using the wrong search terms or database for their topics.

The researchers found that students did not know “how to build a search to narrow or expand results, how to use subject headings, and how various search engines (including Google) organize and display results.” That means that some students didn’t understand how to search only for news articles, or only for scholarly articles. Most only know how to punch in keywords and hope for the best.

Asher told The Lookout that “extremely few students could describe how Google works in conceptual terms with any degree of accuracy.” One sophomore in Biology told him: “I have no idea [how Google determines search results].  I’m just trusting Google to know what are the good resources.”

This can be a problem because Google organizes results in part on how many other sites link to a page. That means scholarly articles are rarely at the top of basic search results for any topic. Asher points out that searching for “How Google Works” turns up an April Fool’s prank by Google engineers in its top results.

A survey last year of 1,000 college students backed up the somewhat counterintuitive finding that the millennials (sometimes defined as those born between 1980 and 1995) are actually not that good at the Internet. Most students said they trusted whatever website was the first result for their search on Google. Other students said they trusted most the “sponsored” links that appear at the top of the page, which are actually paid advertisements.

In other sad news, Google “search anthropologist” Dan Russell told The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal that 90 percent of American Google users do not know how to use CTRL or Command+F to find a word on a page. Russell says he’s watched people patiently scan documents for a word or phrase, when they could use that simple trick and save time. “Just like we learn to skim tables of content or look through an index or just skim chapter titles to find what we’re looking for, we need to teach people about this CTRL+F thing,” Madrigal writes.

Warning as children shun books in favour of Facebook

Children who fail to read at a young age risk turning into illiterate adults, said the National Literacy Trust. Photo: GETTY

One in six children are failing to read books as they spend an increasing amount of time texting friends, sending emails and searching Facebook and Twitter, research suggests.

Children who fail to read at a young age risk turning into illiterate adults, said the National Literacy Trust.

Telegraph | Aug 22, 2011

By Graeme Paton

Schoolchildren are more likely to be exposed to mobile phones and computers than novels outside school, it was revealed.

Researchers also found that reading frequency declined sharply with age, with 14- to 16-year-olds being more than 10 times as likely to shun books altogether as those in primary education.

The findings, in a study by the National Literacy Trust, follows the publication of a major international league table last year that showed reading standards among children in Britain had slipped from 17th to 25th in the world.

Jonathan Douglas, the trust’s director, warned that people who failed to read books at a young age often suffered serious literacy problems in adulthood.

“We are worried that they will grow up to be the one-in-six adults who struggle with literacy to the extent that they read to the level expected of an 11-year-old or below,” he said. “Getting these children reading and helping them to love reading is the way to turn their lives around and give them new opportunities and aspirations.”

The trust surveyed more than 18,000 children aged eight to 17 across the UK.

It found that 13 per cent of children failed to read a single book in the last month.

The study said that “technology-based materials dominate as reading choices”, with text messages being named as the most popular form of reading material for children of all ages, followed by emails and social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Bebo.

Researchers said “reading frequency declines with age”, particularly when children leave primary school at 11.

In the last few years of primary education, children are almost six times more likely to be classed as prolific readers – finishing 10 books – than those in secondary schools, it was revealed.

Older pupils were also “considerably more likely to say that they have not read any book in the last month compared with their younger counterparts”.

The study said: “While this rather large discrepancy can at least partly be explained by [secondary] pupils choosing to read texts other than fiction/non-fiction books, the books they read are also more likely to be longer, to be more complex.”

The findings came after Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, called on all pupils to read 50 books a year as part of a national drive to improve literacy standards,

He said children should complete the equivalent of about a novel a week and that the academic demands placed on English schoolchildren had been “too low for too long”.

Ministers have already outlined plans to introduce a reading test for children in England at the age of six to identify those struggling to read at the start of primary school.

*The vast majority of parents are opposed to the use of lotteries to award school places, according to the British Social Attitudes survey.

Only eight per cent believe random ballots should be used as a tiebreaker during the admissions process, it emerged.

The findings – presented as part of the survey, which tracks the opinions of around 2,000 adults – comes despite continued Government support for lottery systems.

Ministers have banned “area-wide” lotteries in which places at all schools in a certain town or city are distributed using the process, but they have refused to stop the system being used by individual schools.

Japanese scientists: “Let them eat shit”

Flushed with success? Mitsuyuki Ikeda with his edible excrement concoction

Japanese scientist makes a ‘delicious’ burger out of… human EXCREMENT

The scientists argue that the new patties are far kinder to the environment as cattle create such a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

Daily Mail | Jun 17, 2011

It takes the saying waste not, want not, to a whole new level.

A Japanese scientist has developed a ‘meat’ burger made out of human excrement.

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, came up with the novel approach to number ones after Tokyo Sewage asked him to come up with a way of using up the city’s waste.

Mr Ikeda found that the poo which filled up the system was packed with protein because of all the bacteria.

His research team extracted the proteins to create an artificial steak, which is turned red with food colouring and flavoured with soy.

In a YouTube video posted recently he explained: ‘We add reaction enhancer and put it in the exploder to produce the artificial meat.’

It is made up of 63 per cent protein, 25 per cent carbohydrates, three per cent lipids and nine per cent minerals.

But how has it gone down with the public? Well the team claims that in initial tests people reported it was delicious and tasted like beef.


And despite its unusual origins, the scientists argue that the new patties are far kinder to the environment as cattle create such a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

The ‘meat’ is currently 10 to 20 times more expensive that your average beef burger due to research costs, however Professor Ikeda hopes to bring costs down over time.

He added that the ‘green’ credentials of the poo pate would help consumers to overcome any ‘psychological barriers’ they might have.

Shit Burger: Japanese Researcher Creates Artificial Meat From Human Feces

Report: U.S. Students don’t know much about American history

U.S. students don’t know much about American history.

Associated Press | Jun 14, 2011


Just 13 percent of high school seniors who took the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, called the Nation’s Report Card, showed a solid grasp of the subject. Results released Tuesday showed the two other grades didn’t perform much better, with just 22 percent of fourth-grade students and 18 percent of eighth-graders demonstrating proficiency.

The test quizzed students on topics including colonization, the American Revolution and the Civil War, and the contemporary United States. For example, one question asked fourth-graders to name an important result of the U.S. building canals in the 1800s. Only 44 percent knew that it was increased trade among states.

“The history scores released today show that student performance is still too low,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. “These results tell us that, as a country, we are failing to provide children with a high-quality, well-rounded education.”

Education experts say a heavy focus on reading and math under the federal No Child Left Behind law in the last decade has led to lagging performance in other subjects such as history and science.

“We need to make sure other subjects like history, science and the arts are not forgotten in our pursuit of the basic skills,” said Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University and former U.S. assistant education secretary.

Of the seven subjects on the national test, students performed the worst in U.S. history. Officials with the National Assessment Governing board, which oversees the tests, say the results aren’t comparable to the other tests because different students take each exam in different years.

The scores on the history test did not vary remarkably from years past; in 1994, for example, 19 percent of fourth-grade students scored proficient or better in U.S. history.

More than 7,000 fourth-grade students, 11,000 eighth graders and 12,000 high school seniors from a nationally representative sample took the test last year.

To be considered proficient, they had to get certain scores out of 500. For fourth-graders, the score was 243. Eighth-graders needed 294, and 12th graders had to get a 325.

Judy Brodigan, who was head of the elementary social studies curriculum for the Lewisville, Texas, school district for a decade, said history and social studies classes aren’t as much of a priority for school districts as math and reading. She noted that many states only test history and social studies starting in middle school, which means elementary school students don’t get the background they need in the subject.

“When the foundation isn’t built in elementary school, these students are coming to middle school lacking crucial skills,” Brodigan said. “What it means is that in what is becoming a more and more global society, American students are more and more at a disadvantage.”

Educators said history is critical to students learning how to become better citizens and understanding how the country’s political and cultural systems work. Students need to not only recognize leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, but also understand why they were important to the development of the country.

“Overall the quality and success of our lives can only be enhanced by a study of our roots,” said Steven Paine, former state schools superintendent for West Virginia. “If you don’t know your past, you will not have a future.”

U.S. Rates of Autism, ADHD Continue to Rise: Report

Study finds 1 in 6 kids now have a developmental disability, perhaps due to better diagnosis | May 23, 2011

By Jenifer Goodwin

MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) — One in six U.S. children now has a developmental disability such as autism, learning disorders or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That number appears to be on the rise. In 1997-1999, about 12.8 percent of kids were diagnosed with a developmental disability. That number rose to 15 percent in 2006-2008 — or an additional 1.8 million U.S. children.

Much of the bump up in cases seems driven by rising rates of autism and ADHD, experts say.

“The most important message here is raising awareness of the importance of this as a health problem and one we need to address,” said lead study author Coleen Boyle, director of the U.S. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Children are our future, and many of these children can grow up to be very productive citizens, so we need to invest in programs to help facilitate their development.”

Researchers used data from the 1997-2008 National Health Interview Surveys, an annual, nationally representative survey of U.S. households. The surveys asked parents of children aged 3 to 17 if their children had been diagnosed with ADHD, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, autism, seizures, stuttering or stammering, moderate to profound hearing loss, blindness, learning disorders and/or other developmental delays.


One in six kids has a developmental disability: Pediatrics; Rise in ADHD, autism diagnoses

Nearly 10 million U.S. children had been diagnosed with one of those conditions in 2006-2008, according to parental reports.

Much of the increase is being driven by ADHD and autism diagnoses, Boyle said. About 7.6 percent of children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2006-2008, up from 5.7 percent in 1997-1999. About 0.74 percent of kids had received in autism diagnosis in 2006-2008, up from 0.19 percent in 1997-1999.

The number of children slotted under “other developmental delays,” a catch-all category, also rose from 3.4 percent to 4.24 percent.

The study is published online May 23 and in the June print issue of Pediatrics.

So, are the number of children with developmental disabilities on the rise, or are parents and doctors getting better at detecting cases? According to Dr. Nancy Murphy, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Children with Disabilities, the increases in these conditions may signify a greater awareness on the part of parents, teachers and health care professionals to identify children with disabilities and get them help.

That could mean that kids that might have been dismissed as simply being “slow” or disobedient in the past may now be getting some extra help to realize their potential, Murphy said.

“It speaks to providers and educators and parents being attentive to when kids are struggling, and that attentiveness is bringing them into systems that can generate diagnoses,” Murphy said. “There is a greater willingness to say, ‘My kid is struggling — not because he’s a bad kid but he may need a different approach to learning or development or behavior than he or she is getting.'”

One unanswered question is whether greater awareness and efforts to diagnose kids is the only explanation, or if there actually are a greater percentage of kids who are being born with or developing disabilities such as autism and ADHD early in life.

Research has suggested that advanced maternal and paternal age, assisted reproductive technology and greater numbers of premature or late-preterm births, could all be factors in some developmental disabilities, Boyle said. However, those are areas that need much more research, she added.

Improvements in medical technology also means that children born with very serious developmental disabilities, such as neuromuscular or chromosomal disorders, are now surviving conditions that would have killed them in the past. That could also explain some of the uptick in numbers, Murphy said.

In other findings, boys were more likely to have a developmental disability than girls. Hispanic children were the least likely to be diagnosed with a number of disabilities, compared with white and black children.

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Amerika in a Media-Induced Trance

“Psychologically conditioned, the public will accept the stages of the New World Order as if they were self-evident.”

– HG Wells

It is not that the lunatics have taken over the asylum; the fact is the damned place was designed and built by them. | May 22, 2011

By William Whitten

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

– From ‘Propaganda’ by Edward Bernays

There has never been a person who has been successfully brainwashed who believed he was brainwashed. It lies within the definition of the word itself. This is the crux of the problem that the crux of the matter reveals. The majority of the people are automatons responding to media and social cues and have no control over their destiny.

It is that horror envisioned by the film,  “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

Any number of ‘futurist’ stories have visited the main psychological terror of the film. Most of these stories were NOT analogies of the “future” however, but a deeper view of the present that they were told from. For most of
history humankind has in the main, been under the influence of powerful systems of dominance based on psychic as well as physical traumas.

So it is not that the lunatics have taken over the asylum, the fact is the damned place was designed and built by them. This is true as an allegory to the larger society and also literally true as to the history of psychotherapy and mental institutions–a tale of terror in itself. “Mad Doctors” are as real as lobotomies and atomic bombs.

This brings us to an important question:

What does it mean to be well-adjusted in a psychotic society?

“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

– George Orwell

In 2008 there was the credit meltdown, which showed purposeful malfeasance. Last year the BP disaster. This year, the Fukushima event, not only does it seem probable that the last two events were orchestrated, but that they are being aggravated by the means taken to control it…like the Corexit aggravation in the Gulf, and the apparent bumbling idiocy going on at Fukushima. That is the same excuse used for 9/11 as well.

This is all the work of maniacs.

That these maniacs have the ability to soothe and sweet talk the peoples of the planet into thinking it is all a matter of happenstance is one of the great wonders of the world.

Is it any wonder? Not unless you are comatose.

“The day of combination is here to stay.  Individualism is gone never to return”.

– John D. Rockefeller

I have been reading and studying nonstop for 46 years now. I am serious about getting a grasp on it. My step father used to pound into me: “grow up and face ‘reality'”.

Although I discovered he never really did, I took his words to heart. I have been looking for this so-called ‘reality’ ever since. It comes in aspects and in varying contexts, and those who see everything in simplistic black-and-white terms are the same ones who go along to get along…

As all of us who take history seriously, I have come to reject ‘pop history’–what I have come to term ‘Lollipop History’. This paradigm imbues not only film and literature, but academia as well. So I have coined another term, ‘Acamaniacs’ to describe the mindset of those who never question the ground upon which they walk, taking too much for granted and never digging below the surface of these issues that divide men into camps of True Believers. Dogma is the root of all evil.

“Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity.”

– Marshall McLuhan

All of us, who have chosen the path of thinking things through invariably come to the charge of being, “conspiracy theorists”. The slurs are well known and well honed; “Tin hat conspiracy nut”, “Paranoid daydreamers”, “barking moon-bat crazy”, and variations on this theme.

There are scores of Acamaniacs who are professors of “psychology” or “law” who have taken it upon themselves to explain why ‘we’ are disturbed individuals, while ignoring and burying the  fact that the paradigm of the system of this society itself is psychotic.

Who can deny that a society and system based on endless war is insane?

Only conformist bean counters and apologists for the
Military-Intelligence Industrial Complex.

‘There is only one certainty available to man; “I am”…all else is conjecture. It is the reasonableness and rationality of the conjecturing that gives weight to it’s profitability.

Amerika is a land of enchantment, virtually the entire population is in a trance induced by the magic spell of mass media. They are in the clutch of necromancy so high tech, and so powerful that it transcends anything humankind has faced in all of its history. It is a witko mass-mind–a psychotic super-social entity on track for mass suicide. It does not seem as if the world has gone mad, the world has indeed gone mad.

Apocalypse not right now: ‘Rapture’ end of world fails to materialise

Judgment Day Believers Proclaim May 21 Is Day Of Armageddon Photo: GETTY

Reports of the end of the world appeared to have been exaggerated today.

Telegraph | May 21, 2011

By Bonnie Malkin, in Sydney, and David Barrett

Inhabitants of New Zealand, scheduled to be among the first to meet the apocalypse according to a US fundamentalist preacher, this morning confirmed they were still in existence as the appointed time was reached in their time zone.

There were also unconfirmed reports that Tonga has, thus far, failed to boil into the Pacific.

Eighty-nine-year-old tele-evangelist Harold Camping had prophesied that the “Rapture” would begin with powerful earthquakes at 6pm in each of the world’s regions, after which the good would be beamed up to heaven.

This morning, Kiwis confirmed there were no signs of the dead rising from the grave, nor of the living ascending into the clouds to meet Jesus Christ.

Twitter users were disappointed by the absence of Armaggedon.

Daniel Boerman said on Twitter, the micro-blogging website: “I’m from New Zealand, it is 6.06pm, the world has NOT ended. No earthquakes here, all waiting for the Rapture can relax for now.”

Gavin Middleton wrote: “Well it’s 13 minutes past the Rapture here in New Zealand. I’m still holding out hope for the trumpet call and the firey rain…”

Similarly, on the Pacific islands whose clocks ticked over to 6pm before the fateful hour hit New Zealand, there was no evidence of a “super horror story” predicted by Camping – no zombies, no true believers hurtling skywards, no arch-angels and no trumpeters.

A post on Godlike Productions, a website dedicated to conspiracy theories and UFOs, reported that Tonga, which reached 6pm one hour before New Zealand, was “still on the map”.

Likewise, no reports of chaos were heard from Christmas Island in Kiribati, where the super-earthquake was set to hit first.

Two minor earthquakes did hit the Pacific earlier in the day, measuring 3.1 and 4.8 and not triggering any tsunami warnings, but earthquakes of that magnitude are a regular occurrence in the region.

Vicky Hyde, spokesman for the New Zealand Skeptic Society said she was confident the Rapture was not imminent.

“These kind of predictions come up particularly in times of economic or social uncertainty – which is pretty much almost every year actually, you can track them, whether it’s commentary impacts or the rapture or giant space aliens or something.

“And the only thing they have in common is they are all wrong,” she said.

Camping spread his message of doom via Family Radio, which has a network of 66 radio stations and online broadcasts.

After today’s day of reckoning, he said non-believers would suffer through hell on earth until October 21, when God would pull the plug on the planet once and for all.

But after incorrectly predicting the end of the world in 1994, Camping’s prophecies have been met with derision. And it seems this time he was wrong again.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg – who is Jewish and, according to Camping’s prophecy, therefore unlikely to be beamed up to sit alongside Jesus in heaven – said on his weekly radio show yesterday that he would partially suspend parking restrictions in New York if the world ended today.

David Speer, on Twitter, said: “Oh well no rapture. Just as well. New Zealand didn’t need that right now. Another delay to the filming of The Hobbit would’ve been terrible.”

Google Invades Your Home…Android Phones Control Your Appliances and Accessories

As Google enables you to create a smart-home, they could also be building the Internet of Things. There will be an RFID chip, NFC panel, or computer embedded in everything you own. | May 21, 2011

by Aaron Saenz

Soon your smart phone may be the only light switch you’ll ever need. At this year’s Google I/O conference, enterprising executives from the Silicon Valley search giant announced that their Android OS for mobile devices will soon be able to reach out and touch appliances in your home. The open Accessory Development Kit (ADK) will allow developers to wire lights and other common electrical devices to control boards that can interact directly with Android (via USB or BlueTooth). Google wants to take this hardware interactive capability and use it to turn your home into a smart living space. Push a button in an app on your Android and specially enabled lamps will turn off and on, music will start playing on your speakers, or maybe your air-conditioner will kick in. It’s all up to you – you can command your entire house from your phone or tablet with Android as your operating system. That’s the Android@Home concept and it could make it easy and cheap to upgrade your bachelor pad from a neanderthal’s lair to a real high-tech Batcave. Check out the Google I/O 2011 presentations for the ADK and Android@Home in the video below. Using Android to send commands to other electronics is a great idea, but I’m much more excited about information flowing in the other direction. As Google enables you to create a smart-home, they could also be building the Internet of Things.

Google I/O 2011 streamed live on YouTube, so you can find almost every second of the conference online. I’ve cued up the following video from the day one key note address to where Google starts discussing the ADK. Following an awesome presentation with a life-sized Labyrinth game controlled by tilting an Android tablet, you’ll be able to see the presentation on Android@Home.

The Android ADK should allow developers to make almost any device talk with Android OS. Working with Lighting Science, Google is creating a line of LED bulbs which will be able to talk with Android OS as well as using Android@Home connectivity standards. Coming home to a dark house? Just push a single button on your Android phone and all your lamps could spring to light instantly. Pretty cool, and these bulbs are scheduled to arrive by the end of 2011. Google has also created specialized hubs for this communication through their Project Tungsten. The hubs, which appear as glowing boxes or white orbs, will be able to use WiFi, BlueTooth, or near field communication (NFC) to receive commands from Android devices, read information from NFC embedded products (like CD or DVD cases, action figures/dolls, etc), and control multimedia presentations.

Clearly Google is attacking the “wire your stuff up to Android” idea from different angles. I’m sure we’ll see specialized “Android-enabled” products from third party developers in the near future. The exercise bike seen in the presentation video was a good example. I imagine MP3 playing stereos are also going to be a first wave product as well, and of course those LED light bulbs will be coming soon. At the same time Google will be pushing their Project Tungsten boxes as ‘all in one’ sort of solutions for your media center. Eventually I’m sure we’ll see models that can handle larger appliances and power consuming devices around the house.

A smart house, however, isn’t just about what you can command, but what you can learn. When you send a message to a lamp to get it to turn on, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be able to send data back on its consumption, its bulb life, etc. Or alternatively this data could be collected at the Android device side of things. Either way you have digital information tied to the physical object you’re using. Whether we’re talking bulbs, blenders, or bicycles doesn’t matter – as soon as you have a computer tracking electronic objects in order to give them commands you can use the same computer to track the history of those objects.

As I’ve mentioned before, this object tracking is at the heart of the Internet of Things – the massive system of smart devices and sensors that is forming in parallel to our own people-inhabited internet. On a commercial level the IoT will enable us to track shipments of food, pharmaceuticals, and other goods, but in your home the near terms benefits of the IoT are all about finesse and efficiency. Let lamps turn off automatically when you leave the room. As you drive home your mobile phone could call ahead and fire up the heater or A/C to prep the environment – making your arrival more pleasant and saving energy by matching the timing perfectly. Your tablet, now the magic wand that remotely controls all your appliances, could notice that your refrigerator is cycling on (using more electricity) than normal. Did someone leave it open or is it time to get the appliance fixed?

Are those little money savers too boring for you? How about turning every appliance in your house into a burglar detection system: if a single device is activated while you’re out of the home, an alert could be pushed to your phone warning you that someone flipped on a light or opened your automatic garage door. With products like the Android ADK and Project Tungsten you could even wire up your doors with electronic locks you can remotely control. If someone breaks in, you lock them in, crank up the stereo, and make them listen to your worst Polka MP3s for an hour. You get the idea…if you imagination can dream it up, you should be able to enable it with IoT technology.

Applications like these haven’t been developed yet, but they’re exactly the sort of products I would expect us to eventually create when concepts like Project Tungsten and Android@Home fully muture. We’ve seen other companies bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds, but with Google now in the mix we may see this trend accelerated considerably. Android is a proven market with a large developer base. Now that Android is in the business of controlling other electronics, you can bet that both the necessary hardware and software will arrive – and much sooner than if Google hadn’t thrown their hat into the ring. Some precursors to the Internet of Things are already here, and now I expect more will be coming shortly. We’ve had smart homes for a while, but now the phenomenon could be hitting the mainstream, and smart cars are sure to follow (actually some of them are already here as well). From there it just keeps getting smaller and smarter. One day soon your closet will tell you which clothes match today’s weather forecast, your mobile phone will match your lunch order with your medical record to maximize your health, and there will be an RFID chip, NFC panel, or computer embedded in everything you own. Like so many other technology giants, Google’s moving from the digital to the physical world – get ready.