May 1, 2016
What is it?
Answer here this time tomorrow.
Hint: larger than a bread box.
A third: inedible.
April 30, 2016
The United States of Cars
You can tell a lot by the car a person drives.
Even more so if you know where they live.
From Your Mechanic:
The American car market is defined by diversity underneath sameness.
In almost every part of this country, the most common cars are sedans from Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Chevrolet.
But this belies how different Americans truly are in their car tastes, and these preferences contrast markedly.
Perhaps the main way Americans deviate from each other in their car choices is whether they choose to go American.
The table above displays the percentage of American-made cars in 81 of the country's largest markets.
When it comes to buying American, the Midwest reigns supreme.
More than half of the top 20 cities are in that region.
At the very top of this list sits Detroit, the spiritual home of the American-made car.
Detroit is one of the few places where some people feel a stigma about driving foreign makes.
At the bottom of this list are large coastal cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston.
The proportion of American cars is particularly low in the Bay Area.
While over 75% of cars serviced in Detroit are American-made, this is true of less than 30% of cars in San Francisco and San Jose.
We explored the most unusually common car in each market, and found that the one for cities on the coasts is almost invariably Asian or European but in the middle of the country, it is typically American.
Examining this list, the particular car-loving character of American cities shows itself.
San Francisco residents love their energy-efficient Priuses, Detrotians their powerful American-made Pontiac, and nature-oriented Denver citizens their Subarus.
It's no surprise that the Prius is so unusually common in San Francisco.
This got us curious about where else hybrids are particularly popular.
The following index of the most popular cities for hybrids goes beyond the Prius to include all cars with a hybrid engine.
It turns out that an affinity for hybrids is not just a characteristic of San Francisco, but of California in general.
The top seven cities servicing the most hybrids are in California.
For each of the top markets in West Coast cities, at least 1% of the cars are hybrids.
This is true of less than 20% of non-West Coast cities.
While some people prefer energy-efficient cars, other drivers are more concerned that their car have a powerful engine.
People in the Midwest are more likely to choose powerful American cars, while people on the coasts are more likely to go for foreign makes.
The following list shows the cities where people are most likely to have a V8 engine.
This list shows that people who live in Texas and the South are much more likely to opt for a powerful car.
For example, people in Baton Rouge, Houston, and San Antonio are more than twice as likely as Bostonians to drive a car with a V8 engine.
Another feature many car owners are concerned with is the car's performance as a vehicle to explore nature.
Subarus have a reputation for being popular among lovers of the outdoors.
We were curious of whether Subaru owners were typically found in the cities that are considered most "outdoorsy" (how do you spell "crunchy?").
Boulder, Portland, and Denver topping this list certainly goes with the nature-oriented images of those cities.
These cities are consistently listed among the top cities for outdoor enthusiasts.
These are the only three cities with Subaru ownership above 3%.
For some Americans the practicality of a Subaru might be great, but others are more concerned with style, prestige, and high performance.
If they can afford it, many Americans interested in high-end cars will go with a Porsche.
We examined the places in the U.S. where people have the means and desire to own a Porsche.
The table above lists the top ten.
April 29, 2016
Boeing 737 Engine Cowling Chair
From the website:
"Created from the engine cowling of a Boeing 737, this colossal luxurious chair spins weightlessly on its highly polished spun aluminium base."
"Standing in its original orientation, the immense, captivating structure is the epitome of luxury seating."
"The epic proportions of the high-gloss, flawlessly finished shell and dark interior upholstered in the highest quality leather opulently frame the hand-polished mirror-like cowling.
This unique and impressive masterpiece would form the center of any room.
80" x 80" x 80".
[via The Verge]
April 28, 2016
Why Thieves Steal Soap (Walgreens Keeps It Locked Up)
[via Hacker News]
April 27, 2016
Caffeinated Shampoo Enhances Hair Growth
Not moi until I read about it in yesterday's Wall Street Journal story by Laura Johannes.
From the article:
Many men struggle with baldness and wonder about new treatments. Some shampoos and lotions contain caffeine and promise to help keep hair thick and full. How does the evidence stack up?
A 2014 study found that caffeine has a "potent" effect in growing hair in laboratory conditions. But real-world tests of the efficacy of caffeine-containing shampoos and lotions are rare, and those that have been done show a modest effect.
The laboratory work sounds "really promising. But in terms of clinical application we're not there yet," says Tina Alster, a clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
In the 2014 study published in British Journal of Dermatology, a team of academic researchers found that small concentrations of caffeine, applied to hair follicles extracted from human males and grown in a lab, counteracted the effects of testosterone, stimulating hair growth and prolonging the time the hair follicles remained in their growth phase. The study found the caffeine also had a beneficial effect on female hair growth, but only when used in an even more diluted form than was used for male hair follicles.
Caffeine-containing products that hit the U.S. market in recent years include Dove Men+Care Thick & Strong Fortifying 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner and Hair Surge.
Neither company has published studies on the products, but Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1 has been tested in studies published in 2010 and 2013 in the Journal of Applied Cosmetology.
There was "a little bit" of hair regrowth seen in the studies, "but it does not mean your hair will grow like when you were 20 years old," says dermatologist Leonard Celleno, a researcher at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome.
Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH plans to begin selling Alpecin shampoo in the U.S. this summer, says Theresa Ladleif, product manager [for the German company].
While the Alpecin products are designed for men, they can be used by women, particularly after menopause when hormone balance begins to change, she adds.
You can too!
While you wait impatiently for Alpecin shampoo to appear in the States in a few months, you can try the available Dove Men+Care Thick & Strong Fortifying 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner ($3.77 for 12 ounces) or Hair Surge ($43.99 for eight ounces).
In no time at all you'll be Neanderthal-like.
April 26, 2016
Through Google Glass — A Red Fox in my Backyard (Video)
YouTube caption: "It happened around 7:30 a.m."
April 25, 2016
Turn 2 outlets into 6 — without an extension cord
This nifty piece of kit
comes in handy anywhere you care to use it.
On the back are two three-pronged plugs which fit into any standard grounded double outlet.
See mine in action not five feet away from where I'm sitting, in the picture up top.
When I got mine, maybe 20 years ago, there was no option other than this flat panel iteration:
April 24, 2016
All this science, I don't understand — Even after I stop passing gas, the hits just keep on coming
••• STOP PRESS: GRAY CAT MAKES DEBUT IN ACADEMIC MEDICINE JOURNAL (ABOVE)
The new (April) issue of Anesthesiology News [below]
appeared in my mailbox yesterday.
I was just paging through it when I espied, at the top of page 2, the item pictured up top and in context below.
I wonder if I can add this to my CV?
April 23, 2016
21400mm Chair — Oki Sato
The minimalist master first showed this chair in 2010, part of the solo exhibition "Thin Black Lines" at London's Saatchi Gallery.
From the Victoria & Albert Museum's website: "This limited-edition chair by nendo is made from bent and welded powder-coated steel. It was manufactured in collaboration with Ochiai-Seisakusho, a Tokyo-based company that specializes in precision metalwork. It is designed to appear as a drawn outline of a standard chair. The 'morphing' nature of the 21400mm chair — its visually changeable quality — is very arresting and requires the viewer to observe it carefully to perceive the functional object."
I would so love to have one.
I had my Crack Research Team®© drill down and see what they bring at auction these days but it would appear they're so prized and scarce that most are in museum collections.
My team could not find evidence of any having been sold at auction in recent years.
I mean, it's not as if I had $50,000-$100,000 (my estimate of what this chair would bring) lying around even if there were one for sale.
[via the Wall Street Journal]
April 22, 2016
"Let's Watch Prince's Super Bowl Halftime Show, The Best We've Ever Seen"
So wrote Deadspin yesterday about his iconic performance in a driving rain in 2007.
The Deadspin piece has the full, unedited show embedded, though not in very good definition; YouTube has disabled embedding of this annotated version of the show, interpolating interviews and comments by the production crew with the show itself (in much better definition than the embedded Deadspin iteration).
Fortunately for boj readers, my nonpareil Crack Reseach Team©® drilled down and brought back the show (above) in fine definition with excellent sound.
ATTENTION: The video up top was just posted yesterday and will be taken down by YouTube before the end of today, so don't just save this post for when you get home: get your headphones on and crank up the volume to max — as a fringe benefit you'll jumpstart your sorry Friday morning self in the process.
I can only say that the sadness here at boj World HQ is unmeasurable, off the charts.
Prince was the ONLY performer I'd travel to another city to see.
Too bad I waited until I was ready instead of getting on a plane when he was ready.
I guess I'll have to wait a few years before I join him, wherever he's gone, and get the opportunity to see and hear what I missed in our earthly existences.
Want an encore?
How about his performance (below) of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at the 2004 Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame Inductions?
It left the world-class, iconic musicians on the stage with him — among them Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Dhani Harrison, and Steve Winwood — with their collective jaws dropping.
Note added April 30, 2016 at 5:02 a.m.:
The musicians and producer reminisced about this iconic rock moment in an April 28, 2016 New York Times story.
April 21, 2016
Lazy Man's* Way to Perfect Bacon
Longtime boj reader Mike sent his method (below)
to me after reading one of my tweets or blog posts about my microwave bacon.
After I emailed him about how easy his way was — besides the outstanding result pictured up top — in terms of attention paid during the process (zero) and cleanup (minimal and brief compared to the laborious wipedown of spattered fat from all six internal surfaces of the microwave + turntable before I could use that machine again) — he followed up with the following addendum to his original page of instructions above:
One note I'd add is that, because bacons vary considerably, you should start taking a look at it at the 75-minute mark and maybe every 5 minutes [I've modified this to every 10, being lazier than Mike — and pretty much everyone I know] thereafter so it doesn't get too dark. I also look at the wetness — when the rashers start to look not completely dry but more dry than wet, they're perfectly done.
I guess he felt sorry for me — more likely pity — that I was continuing to go through the machinations and effort of cooking and cleanup employing the microwave for bacon when there was the potential for a whole other world of indescribably delicious, easily prepared bacon (typical appearance up top) sitting patiently in my kitchen opposite my microwave.
That world lay within my 1967 — yes, 49 years old and still working perfectly, having been calibrated just last year — GE electric oven, built into my 1967 house and happily performing like a champ for nearly half a century with only one (1) service visit in the 32+ years I've lived here.
They don't build 'em like they used to.
But I digress.
Odds and ends I've picked up with experience:
1) I like 275° for 75 minutes before I open the oven door and take my first look. Try really hard not to peek if you don't have a window in your oven door (my situation). Opening the door even a little for a quick look lets out a lot of heat and prolongs the baking process as the oven has to reheat back up to the 275° setting.
2. I dab the finished product with a paper towel very, very gently to degrease it completely after I've removed the bacon-laden wire rack: be delicate, as the bacon at this stage is very fragile and will break if you aren't careful. Half the appeal of these beautifully burnished, finished slices is in their appearance.
3. I experimented to see how much of the original wet weight of the bacon as it came out of the package was lost by the time it was finished cooking. A 12-ounce package of Boar's Head Smoked Bacon, extra-thick cut, turned into 4.55 ounces of baked bacon. So I lost about 2/3 of the original weight, almost all fat. Compare this to Mike's 80%. I suspect every bacon and every oven and every maker will result in a different — but significant — amount of fat loss and concomitant shrinkage.
4. That fat will be translucent and easy to miss, floating on the foil in the bottom of the baking pan under your baking rack. Be careful: it's hot and can burn you badly. I recommend simply leaving the fat-filled pan in the oven until the next morning, by which time the fat will have coagulated and can be easily removed by carefully peeling the aluminum foil lining off the pan and discarding them (fat and foil) en bloc.
April 20, 2016
Speed Tape — "Proven to stay put up to 500 knots airspeed"
Can your duct tape do that? Because mine sure can't.
But I digress.
I first heard of this product (pictured above) in a long reddit thread about the airline industry, where one contributor wrote "It's a high-grade tape used to cover beads of set but uncured weather sealant (among other things) on the windscreens or cowls of planes, all the while rated and proven to stay put at up to 500 knots airspeed."
From Wikipedia: "Speed Tape is an aluminized pressure-sensitive tape used to do minor repairs on aircraft and racing cars. It is used as a temporary repair material until a more permanent repair can be carried out. It has an appearance similar to duct tape, for which it is sometimes mistaken, but its adhesive is capable of [adhering to] an airplane fuselage or wing at high speeds, hence the name."
From manufacturer Fastflex: "Speed tape is similar to the very common and well known duct tape. This type of tape is used to make small emergency repairs on an aircraft and has aluminum in the tape — making the tape resistant to corrosion, water, and solvents. Speed tape is also resistant to fires or flames and able to reflect heat and UV rays, making it reliable and ideal for its intended use."
Might be good to have in your car in case sudden unintended acceleration takes you up over 250 mph
and your car starts to
lift off the road.
Manufacturer 3M will sell you a roll (3" x 60 yards x 4.6 mil) for $101.87 (pictured Lamborghini Huracán Spyder not included).
April 19, 2016
High Heel Church
It's in Taiwan.
Standing on a large concrete disc in Ocean View Park, in Taiwan's Budai township, is a massive glass slipper that looks as though it would be fit for a giant Cinderella.
But in actuality this strange building is a church meant to cater to women.
Or to reference a local legend.
Finished in early 2016, the giant shoe church is an all-glass structure, formed out of 320 blue-tinted panes set into a metal grid.
The main worship space is in the toe, with a large screen at the tip, while there is an outdoor stage built into the collar where someone's giant foot might go.
While it is being called a church, officials say that its main function will be to cater to weddings and photo shoots.
And before anyone gets to thinking that all of this is just to pander to women, there is a more traditional explanation for the design of the church.
Apparently it is an allusion to a story of a local girl who, while engaged to be married, contracted Blackfoot disease.
She had to have the lower portions of her legs amputated, ending her engagement and resulting in her spending the rest of her days alone and living in a church.
[photos via CHENALLEN/Shutterstock]
April 18, 2016
From the website:
Wrist Ruler is a leather wristband with engraved inch and centimeter measurements.
If you find yourself always needing to measure things when you're on the go, this is the perfect product for you.
Sizes are based on wrapping around your wrist twice.
Give it extra length depending on how loosely you want to wear it.
Please allow an extra 1/2 inch for the stud closure.
Made in the U.S., produced in small runs and individually numbered.
But perhaps you're a vegan and want no part of leather touching your skin.
Or maybe $19.95 is a bit pricey.
Just for you they created a rubber iteration that will set you back $10.
From the website:
Rubber Wrist Ruler
Rubber Wrist Ruler is a silicone wristband with engraved inch and centimeter measurements.
It's a vegan alternative to our classic leather Wrist Ruler.
Wear your ruler everywhere and never take it off.
It's one-size-fits-most and waterproof.
White, Yellow, or Black: $10.
April 17, 2016
"One of the most perfect films that I've ever seen runs a total of three minutes." — Manohla Dargis
The headline above was the opening sentence of her April 1 New York Times review of a 14-film retrospective of Bruce Baillie's movies from 1961 to 1977, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, up through April 21, 2016 (next Thursday).
Shot in 1966, Bruce Baillie's "All My Life" opens on a pan of an old picket fence framed by the blue sky above and a stretch of summer-brown grass below. On the soundtrack, you can hear the crackle and hiss of an old record that's soon filled with the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald singing "All My Life" in a 1936 session with the pianist Teddy Wilson.
In many respects, the image is perfectly ordinary, the kind that you chance on if you're driving along, say, a California road, as Mr. Baillie was when he popped out of a car, seized by inspiration. Yet, as the camera continues to float left and Fitzgerald begins singing ("All my life/I’ve been waiting for you"), something magical — call it cinema — happens in the middle of the first verse. As the words "My wonderful one/I've begun" warm the soundtrack, a splash of red flowers on the fence suddenly appears, as if the film itself were offering you a garland.