February 21, 2005
A month or so ago a San Francisco girl/joehead wrote me urgently requesting help planning her best friend's bachelorette party.
I turned the request over to my crack research team with a notation that said "Drop everything and handle this."
That's how we do things here: joeheads rule, others drool. But I digress.
The team came back after an exhausting overnight session with a whole slew of cool stuff that I immediately sent to my Left Coast fan.
She found the material invaluable and promised me photos from the upcoming party that would definitely not be suitable for Version 2.0.
I've just run across the wonderful item featured in this post — I hope in time to make SF girl's party.
"These 100% cotton ribbed tank tops emblazoned with pink facets will give any bachelorette party a stylish edge."
"For the lady of the hour, the white 'Bachelorette' tank will get her the treatment she deserves, while her friends are sure to get noticed in their matching black 'Bachelorette Party' tanks."
One size fits all.
'There is life on Mars' — Dr. Vittorio Formisano
Formisano, who works at the Institute of Physics and Interplanetary Science in Rome, says measurements from the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft, which has been orbiting the red planet since December 2003, suggest there is far more methane there than previously thought.
The scientist believes Martian soil microbes are the most likely source.
He told New Scientist magazine, "Until it is demonstrated that non-biological processes can produce this, possibly the only way to produce so much methane is life. My conclusion is that there must be life in the soil on Mars."
Formisano analyzed data from an instrument on board the orbiting probe.
He will present his findings at a conference this week.
[via Ian Sample and the Guardian Unlimited]
"Conventional cues of the traditional toilet [no — I simply refuse to go there] are removed as the minimally [sic]–inspired electric toilet offers a clean aesthetic both visually and physically with its innovative tankless design."
Too bad the copywriter's not as gifted as the designer. But I digress.
Introduced in New York at last week's Fashion Week festivities, the $3,000 toilet drew oohs and aahs from fashionistas who rushed to check out the toilets installed in luxury mobile restrooms in Bryant Park.
Because it's tankless — powered by an electric pump enclosed within the bowl — the silhouette is elegantly streamlined.
The seat is ergonomically designed using "pressure mapping" to conform to your bottom and the back of your legs.
Available now in New York, it will be introduced nationwide over the next three months.
[via Maria Puente and USA Today]
BehindTheMedspeak: 'First Human Genetic Racial Map Unveiled'
That's the headline over a story in this past Saturday's Financial Times about the publication the previous day, in Science magazine, of the first comprehensive map of human genetic variation across racial groups.
Only one problem: the very question of whether or not races even exist remains a very hotly contested one among scientists.
Last year, for example, the New England Journal of Medicine published two editorials in the same issue, each by a highly regarded scientist in the field and each coming to a definitive conclusion.
One said races exist; the other said they do not.
So what's a person to think of this new genetic map?
Is it like one showing a flat earth, or is the real thing?
Read this excellent story on the new research which appeared on MSNBC this past Saturday, and at least you'll get a sense of what the issue is about.
Some scientists believe that map will lead to treatment options matched to a specific genetic type; others believe such information will form the basis for insurance denial and a whole host of other forms of genetic discrimination.
'A man's reach should exceed his grasp' — Robert Browning
This concept, of striving beyond certainty, has been elaborated on and restated by many notable individuals.
The one that's most familiar is perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt's comment, "If we wait till we're ready, we'll never get started."
The subject came to mind when I read this past Friday's USA Today story about Donald Rumsfeld's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee about funding and installing a missile defense system.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said, "It strikes me as a little odd that we would deploy a system that hasn't succeeded and expect that to serve a deterrent value."
Rumsfeld replied, "If you didn't do anything until you could do everything, you probably wouldn't do anything."
I like it.
Rumsfeld's "known unknowns and unknown unknowns" remarks of last year will undoubtedly end up in the next version of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.
They're made in Canada, but in that peculiar way things have of turning out differently than you expected — sort of like your life, now that you think about it — they're selling like hotcakes in... California.
"We've not sold one in Canada," said Micah Grinstead, co-founder of Radiate Research of Ontario, the rug's manufacturer.
He added, "I don't understand it, but I'm happy."
If Micah ever happens to take a trip out to his prime market, he'll find that his rugs are being used on patios and decks, where Californians spend a lot of time.
Nothing nicer when you get out of your hot tub than standing on a toasty rug.
The rugs, made of washable viscose, come in two sizes: 27" x 43" and 27" x 86".
The low–voltage heating system is contained in a non-skid pouch under the rug.
Here's Maria Puente's story on the rugs, from this past Friday's USA Today.
- Heated Rugs Are a Cool Idea — Even in California
It may be too late — or too expensive — to put heated flooring into your home, but it's easy to plug in a heated rug.
That's the thinking behind the heated carpets developed by Radiate Research, a Canadian company that began selling the Kirman-style rugs on eBay a few months ago.
So far, they can barely keep up with demand, though it's not coming from Canada.
"We've not sold one in Canada," says Micah Grinstead, co-founder of Radiate Research of Ontario.
"We're shipping mostly to California. I don't understand it, but I'm happy."
Made of washable viscose, the rugs come in two sizes (27-by-43 inches and 27-by-86 inches).
The low-voltage heating system is contained in a non-skid pouch under the rug.
The rugs are intended to be used next to a bed or in a bathroom, to protect tootsies from tile or wood flooring in the winter months — or from California air conditioning.
BehindTheMedspeak: Grow your own replacement parts
Timetable: within a decade.
Dr. Jeremy J. Mao, one of the world's leaders in tissue engineering (you'll be hearing this term a lot in years to come) and his team from the University of Illinois in Chicago have succeeded in growing fat-producing adipose cells similar to those in breast tissue from human stem cells taken from the bone marrow of a healthy young human volunteer.
The scientists then put the cells into a biodegradable "hydrogel" scaffold that can be modelled into any size or shape.
Eight cell-seeded scaffolds were implanted under the skin of laboratory mice lacking immune systems to avoid rejection of the human cells.
When the scaffolds were removed after a month the researchers found the implants were populated with human adipose cells, and had retained their original size and shape.
Mao said using natural implants generated from stem cells would avoid many of the problems of synthetic implants in cosmetic breast surgery and other applications.
The work was presented on February 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.
The full report is to be published in the April issue of the journal Tissue Engineering.
[via Clive Cookson and The Financial Times]