New app answers practical, weird questions

NEW YORK Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:19am EDT

A man photographs an Oscar statuette using his phone at the ''Meet the Oscars'' exhibit at Grand Central Station in New York February 23, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A man photographs an Oscar statuette using his phone at the ''Meet the Oscars'' exhibit at Grand Central Station in New York February 23, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Need to know how to fend off a mountain lion or weave a French braid? A new iPhone app has the answers.

The Show Me Now application provides instructions on how to cope with situations ranging from fighting a gorilla and uncorking a champagne bottle with a saber to escaping from a car submerged underwater.

It is based on the website www.showmenow.com and two "Show Me How" books. Originally published in 2008, the book has sold over a million copies and has been translated into 30 languages.

"It's a strange mixture of practical information and practically useless information, which is more there for the sake of curiosity," said Roger Shaw, publisher at Weldon Owen Inc.

"We have everything from life-saving emergency information to face-saving style information, from practical everyday tasks to wildly amusing exotic ones."

Shaw said the application was designed to appeal to an audience that expects to get much of their information visually.

"For young people, it gives them a little irreverent insight into an adult world. It's like a cheat sheet for grown-up things," he explained.

The 321 different activities are illustrated through about 2,000 diagrams similar to those found in the backseat pocket of an airliner. A team of 30 people worked for almost a year thinking of ideas and researching them for the book, most of which have been included in the iPhone app.

Users can email particularly helpful sets of instructions to their friends through the app, or upload them to Facebook.

(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr., editing by Patricia Reaney)

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