1. Memegrabber: Interview with Pete Berg of Pie Heaven

    When it comes to entertainment, I am a lazy, lazy man. By the time I’m defeated enough to spend my evening watching YouTube videos of cats eating people food or Eastern European men explaining their kooky hobbies in song, I’m not in the mood to actually go and type in a search box and click on the thingy and do the, uh… sigh.  Luckily, there’s Pie Heaven.  Pete Berg comes through with a deft mouse hand to embed the choicest cuts into a fun little blog that works like a Cliff’s Notes to the neat little videos of the web.  And for that, I could see no better tribute than to immortalize him in the web’s other vernacular: clumsy speed Photoshop.

    I aimed a few questions at the man recently:
    TITLE: How did you get started with this? Was it always more of a public-facing page or more of a compilation for your circle of friends?

    Pete: I bought the domain name pieheaven.net a full year before I did anything with it.  The Jack Handey quote that inspired the domain name has always been one of my favorites…it was even my high school yearbook quote….so I registered it before I had any actual plans for what I would put there.

    On March 14, 2008 (“Pi Day”), I was daydreaming about delicious pie, when I realized that it would be the perfect day to launch some sort of website on pieheaven.net…. because what better day to launch a pie themed site than on Pi Day?  I set up a blog and posted a few funny videos, not really expecting it to turn into anything serious.  But then I kept on updating it day after day, and I never really stopped.

    Pie Heaven started as something among my group of friends.  I have always been the type that shares funny videos with my buddies, so I figured rather than send them links to videos by web chat or email all the time, I’d post them on the blog.  The site has gradually spread to a much wider audience.  I decided that I would let my friends contribute as well (and there are a handful of people who post stuff on occasion), but I was always the main contributor.

    It’s really nothing special, and there are a ton of other websites just like Pie Heaven, but I enjoy it.  It’s a fun hobby.

    TITLE: Any favorites from your two and a half years of video blogging?

    Pete: Yeah, this is a list of my favorite videos from the first year of Pie Heaven: http://www.pieheaven.net/2008/12/31/the-top-15-viral-videos-of-2008/

    One video that Pie Heaven singlehandedly made popular was “Dog running in its sleep” where a dog runs into a wall: http://www.pieheaven.net/2009/02/27/dog-running-in-his-sleep/ I found that video on YouTube when it had just 200 or so views, and posted it…it then went viral via my website and ended up getting more than 18 million views.  Pretty crazy how the Internet jumps on certain videos like that and they become instant classics.

    Also, my buddy Tim and I have been assembling the world’s greatest collection of Jet Pack videos.  It’s one of Pie Heaven’s specialties: http://www.pieheaven.net/category/videos/jetpacks/

    TITLE: What percentage of the total Internet would you say is cat videos?

    Pete: Approximately, 70% of the entire internet.  Not nearly enough.

    TITLE: What did we all do with our time before YouTube?

    Pete: Well, I guarantee you that humanity was a whole lot more productive.  But dang, what was the point of life before we could see thousands of videos of cats walking on treadmills?

    Thanks Pete!


  2. String 1, Cats 0

    cat_mind

    The Guardian reports on what we all have been muttering under our breath: “that cat thinks it’s soo smart, but yknow what?  It’s not.”  Read:

    Psychology lecturer Britta Osthaus says cats do not understand cause-and-effect connections between objects. She tested the thought processes of 15 of them by attaching fish and biscuit treats to one end of a piece of string, placing them under a plastic screen to make them unreachable and then seeing if the cats could work out that pulling on the other end of the string would pull the treat closer.

    Sure, cats understand that knocking stuff off a cluttered desk is a great way to wake up the food-pouring ape thing and that jumping into a box is a great way to get on YouTube but apparently taking any cause and effect relationship beyond that… just too much work.

    This goes a long way to explain why cats have not invented anything more complex than cat vomit.

    Fish, on the other hand, have been observed excelling at observational learning. (No jokes about schooling… none!)  I fully expect the nine-spined stickleback to soon start trawling the parking lots of Arthur Treacher’s with ingenius nets of their own design, harvesting the ape oil-rich bounty of swollen suburbanites.