January 09, 2005
StuffBak.com is a loss protection and recovery service.
You put their ID label on your stuff.
When you lose it, whoever finds it calls the toll-free number or goes to their website, making it simple to return the item.
They claim a return rate of over 80%.
Pretty good, if true.
The labels are quite nicely done, in my opinion: I might even use the service if I had anything valuable or important enough to want back.
[via Matt's Place]
Cordless Shoe Dryers
You plug the ABS plastic dryers (the white things in the picture above), which have a fold-out plug, into an AC outlet for charging.
After an eight-hour charge, you unplug them and put them inside your wet shoes.
The dryers ($24.95), which don't use heat and thus won't damage or shrink your shoes, have "tiny silicon granules with thousands of capillaries to draw dampness from the [moist] air" within your shoes.
It's the same material as in those little packets of white powder - you know, the ones that say, "Do not eat contents" - that you often find in boxes, cans, and packages of foodstuffs nowadays, meant to keep things crisp.
The shoe dryers are said to remove up to 25 milliters of water from each shoe overnight.
They have charge indicators; a full eight-hour charge is good for five or six drying cycles.
A bit mysterious to me, how electricity activates the silicon, but sometimes a little mystery's a good thing.
Bundt Pan Creator Dies
H. David Dalquist, who invented the world-famous Bundt cake pan in 1950, died last Sunday, January 2, in Edina, Minnesota at 86.
He founded Nordic Ware, maker of the Bundt pan, after returning home from Navy duty in World War II.
The company has sold more than 50 million Bundt pans, making it the top-selling cake pan in the world.
Dalquist designed the pan at the request of the Minneapolis chapter of the Hadassah Society.
They had old ceramic cake pans of somewhat similar designs but wanted an aluminum pan.
Dalquist created a new shape and added regular folds for easy cake-cutting.
The women from the society called the pans "bund pans" because "bund" is German for a gathering of people.
Dalquist added a "t" to the end of "bund" and trademarked the name.
For many years, the pans didn't sell very well.
That changed in 1966, when a Texas woman won second place in the Pillsbury Bake-Off for her Tunnel of Fudge cake made in a Bundt pan.
Suddenly, bakers across America wanted their own Tunnel of Fudge cakes, and Bundt pans were a must.
It's now the single biggest product line for Nordic Ware, with more than a million Bundt pans sold each year.
Michelangelo's David - Active countermeasures to begin?
The January 8 issue of the New Scientist reports that the museum housing Michelangelo's David is considering active countermeasures using a "wall of air" to prevent fouling of the iconic statue.
Originally placed outdoors on its completion in 1504, it became covered with dirt and grime over the centuries, only being moved inside Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia in 1873.
The New Scientist story follows.
- Michelangelo's David to enjoy an air defence system
Dust is collecting on David's marble muscles just months after the statue was given a controversial clean.
But rather than risk washing Michelangelo's delicate masterpiece with water again, the museum that houses the 500-year-old sculpture may bathe it with air.
The millions of people who visit the Accademia gallery in Florence, Italy, each year carry dirt and grime from the city's streets into the museum's halls.
This wafts around inside, settling on the statues. Chemicals in the dust could damage the marble from which David is carved.
Since David's last spruce-up, completed in May 2004, new grime has been particularly obvious on his freshly buffed curves.
"It was very clean, so this new deposition was very evident," says Livio de Santoli of La Sapienza University in Rome, an expert in air-conditioning systems for art galleries and museums.
He has designed an air-conditioning unit to be installed beneath the base of the statue that would keep the dust at bay by gently blowing filtered air over David's nude form.
Before it can be deployed in the gallery, however, de Santoli says he will need to test the system on a replica statue.
More detail here, from the Discovery channel.
Rather, this device keeps your unfinished puzzle safe, in precisely the state you abandoned it, until the next time you require puzzle therapy.
It's well-known that among the few things profoundly depressed people can do is work on puzzles.
Every psychiatric ward has plenty of them.
True, if you're really slowed-down - hey, I've been there and done that, more than once, but this isn't about me, it's about puzzles - you might not even be able to put in more than a piece an hour, but that's not the point.
The point is this: anything, absolutely any activity that requires brain processing power to be focused on anything other than the repetitive, endlessly recurring loop of self-focused thoughts, creates an alternative synaptic pathway.
Over time, it's the deviation from the grooves that figuratively define depression that lead to its end.
And it does end.
But I digressed.
You have to remember to lay out your puzzle roll-up first, before you start your puzzle.
Then, when company's coming or whatever, "you can clear needed table space in seconds."
"Simply roll up without disturbing a single piece."
Measures 3' x 4', and comes with closure bands.
How Would It Be? - by Gerald Stern
How would it be at my age to burn some land
between a Chinese willow and a white mulberry?
What would I do with the smoke
that blows first toward the television wires
and then reverses itself to curl some flowers
still hanging from the dwarf apple?
Couldn't my love be in that fire, wouldn't she
just adore those ashes, wouldn't she just love to stir
a stick in that dust, and wouldn't she love to dream
of another birth and another conversion?
Couldn't she get on her knees? Couldn't she also
smear her face with dirt? Couldn't she explode?
Beauty can appear in the oddest places, without any intent
Witness the chopping block bowl above, made not in Japan but in good old Clifton Park, New York, by one Sandra Jaffe.
She's a designer who has arthritis in her hands, and she loves to cook.
So she created this beautiful handmade oak chopping block bowl along with a matching rocking knife
so she could chop comfortably and avoid the setup and cleanup of food processors and their ilk.
The bowl prevents you from chasing small amounts around a flat cutting surface; the flip side serves as a small, solid cutting board.
The stainless steel knife comes with its own matching wood stand.
The bowl/block (9" square x 1.75" thick) normally runs $55, the knife $20.
Her website's running a January sale, though; the bowl's $39, the set (bowl + knife/stand) $59.
There's also a larger size of both bowl and knife available.
[via Renee Schettler and the Washington Post]
'Continuum' - Conrad Shawcross at The Queen's House
Considered one of England's finest sculptors, Shawcross (below)
is known for large, complex structures that fuse science and art.
He created three site-specific works for a show comprising part of the National Maritime Museum's ongoing contemporary art initiative, "New Visions of the Sea."
The new works, together with two of his previous sculptures developing ideas of time, space, and motion, are up at The Queen's House in Greenwich through February 6, daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission is free.
Lots to see, actually: there's the Royal Observatory (home of Greenwich Mean Time: Longitude 0° 0' 0", Latitude 51° 28' 38"), along with The Queen's House, England's first Classical building, finished in 1638.
Both are part of the National Maritime Museum, which houses a superlative collection of art and artefacts related to navigation, seafaring, astronomy, and time-keeping.
[via Mary Horlock's rave review in the December 28, 2004 Financial Times]