May 16, 2005
Migratory Bird Festival — Next Saturday, May 21 at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Smyrna, Delaware
Mark your calendar and clear your weekend for this annual event, the only one of its kind in the United States.
Your tax dollars at their very best.
The theme of this year's festival is aerial collisions, which fell more than 700 million birds every year.
But there's a whole lot more going on.
A Horseshoe Crab Trip to Pickering Beach, Mushroom Walks, Saltmarsh Boat Trips, Wildflower Walk, Tour of the Native Plant Garden, Historic House Tours, Salamander Search and Pond Exploration, much more.
Exhibits of all sorts going on all day, free posters, make a free bird feeder and get a free two–pound starter bag of birdseed, free decals, etc.
The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset.
It's about two hours from the Beltway around Washington, D.C.
Perfect for everyone in the family, friends, relatives who can't get along: get 'em outdoors into the fresh air.
Ice Kabobs — 'Everything's more fun on a stick'
Now there's a slogan.
It's on the package of this chill product which lets you cool your drink while you stir it.
You can even freeze them in whatever flavor you want to add to your drink.
Or use them as pops for the kids or yourself if you're feeling especially kid–like.
"When all else fails you can pour straight liquor into the tray and when it doesn't freeze you can drink ice cold shots right out of the Ice Kabob tray and not have to wash the glass."
Finally, we get to the nitty gritty.
$6.95 a tray here.
Finally — a gift that really does keep on giving.
BehindTheMedspeak: Schizophrenia is hardwired
They found that schizophrenic patients have midline facial deformation distinguishable from the average shape of the midface in people without the disease.
This points to an event or process occurring during formation of the skull and brain during gestation.
Here's the abstract of the article.
- A Three-Dimensional Morphometric Study of Craniofacial Shape in Schizophrenia
Background: Subtle dysmorphogenesis of the craniofacial region constitutes important corroborating evidence of the neurodevelopmental origins of schizophrenia.
Advances in facial visualization now allow for three-dimensional anthropometric evaluations of potentially greater discriminatory power in examining the complex geometric relationships of facial topography.
METHOD: Sixty-five anthropometrically derived landmarks were identified from three-dimensional facial images collected from 14 patients with schizophrenia and 11 comparison subjects, imaged with a high-resolution, portable laser scanner.
RESULTS: Using the Procrustes morphometric approach for shape analysis, the difference in mean shapes was highly significant, with patients exhibiting superoinferior elongation of the face.
CONCLUSIONS: The topography of craniofacial anomalies in schizophrenia is not random and points to midline deformation.
"Turn your faucet into a fountain."
What fun when your unsuspecting friends and visitors bend over to take a drink from the faucet.
"Great as a clean, sanitary, hands–free way to eliminate cups when drinking, taking medication or brushing your teeth."
Kenya Shake It — Winner of the 2004 McCormick Spice Blend–To–Win Challenge
In 2002 the McCormick spice company introduced its "Blend–To–Win" contest, in which anyone could take the company's spices and create a signature mix to compete against all the other entries for a $10,000 grand prize and the privilege of having McCormick make and market the spice for a year.
I tried the 2003 winner, Ginger Berryhill's Rattlesnake Shake, and loved it.
So much so that I purchased four jars to insure a supply for a few years after it's been discontinued.
It's a blend of black pepper, chipotle chili pepper, mustard, thyme, paprika, garlic and onion and it's simply sensational on popcorn.
Kenya Shake It, which should be in grocery stores by now, was created by Valerie Szlatenyi of Wakefield, Rhode Island.
It's inspired by the sweet and savory flavors of East African cuisine, combining coriander, cumin, orange and lemon peel, cloves, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
The 2005 competition is underway; call 800–632–5847 (800–MEAL–TIP) to get information and an entry blank.
I've just spent a half hour searching online for either an entry blank or a place to order Kenya Shake It, without success.
And that's after my crack research team spent hours fruitlessly pursuing the same quarry.
If we happen on either an entry site or a place to order, you'll be the second to know, as I'll add it here and note the addition in a contemporaneous post.
Addendum June 17, 2005
Kenya Shake It is available from McCormick by calling 800-632-5847.
Official Spy Camera of the Three Stooges
From the website:
- Every spy around the world wishes their central intelligence agency would develop a product like this.
A high–quality miniature camera that looks like a lighter (above and below).
That's why we call it the "Spy–View."
It appears you're holding a cigarette lighter but there's no butane.
Flick it open and reveal the tiny digital camera contained therein.
Perfect for those concert moments when everyone holds up a lighter.
You can, too, only you're capturing images no one else will have.
Makes a great conversation piece while you're playing baccarat or enjoying the company of the ladies.
For the spy in all of us.
00 types everywhere are — I'm almost certain — lining up to buy one.
You've heard the term "hiding in plain sight?"
I guess that's what this device's creator was thinking when he etched the words "digital camera" on the side.
Paul Simon in his song "America" wrote, "I said be careful his bowtie is really a camera".
Huh — maybe it was a lighter.
The term is French for "already seen"; it's only been around since the 1870s in a formal sense but no doubt everyone from pre–historical times on has experienced it.
Last year psychologist Alan Brown of Southern Methodist University in Dallas published a book on the subject entitled "The Déjà Vu Experience," in which he took a look at prevailing theories as to the cause of the phenomenon.
He noted four main theories holding sway at present:
1) The experience is simply a misfiring in our brain cells, somewhat akin to a muscle spasm.
2) Information travelling from our eyes, ears and other sensory organs takes a number of routes to the regions in the brain where it's processed. If one track is blocked for a fraction of a second, we may not be able to tell that the duplicates arrived milliseconds apart, rather than months.
3) Implicit memory, which refers to the fact that our senses gather information of which we are unaware that can influence our later reactions without us knowing why we have these reactions.
4) The brain may make connections between a current experience and fragments of implicit memory lurking in our minds, bits which are similar but not precisely the same.
That's all well and good but it seems to me Brown omits a far more likely cause: that all experiences — which we arbitrarily divide into past, present and future — exist permanently.
We simply move, for the most part, in one direction through them, giving each of us a sense of a beginning and an end and a "flow" of time.
But as Michael Crichton put it, "Time doesn't flow; we flow."
Once in a while there's a hiccup, a jammed gear in the machine, and we seem to run an experience through the projector a second time.
Or a third.
If we could get a better handle on this we could travel freely in time.
Alas, that will be the among the pleasures only of those who come after us.
Unless someone really smart gets busy really soon.
[via Stephen Pincock and the Financial Times]
Bed Time Reading Light — Is this 'the one?'
Long–time readers (I just realized that I'm now in month 8 of Version 2.0 — seems like just yesterday I pulled the plug on 1.0... but I digress) will recall occasional posts about my ongoing, decades–long search for a decent portable reading light.
Now comes the latest contender (above), billed as an "LED BBQ Light" (below).
The website says, "Now you can barbeque the night away."
Not moi — I'm in bed reading (below).
And maybe with this quite interesting appliance.
10 LEDs (below) "last a lifetime (100,000 hours)."
I've previously noted at least 4 are required for decent book illumination, a failing of so many devices with only 1, 2 or 3 LEDs.
Flexible, extendable, fully–articulating arm (below)
and head (below)
reaches out up to 19".
Folds up nicely for travel (below).
Requires 4 D batteries (not included) which provide over 25 continuous hours of ultra–bright light.
That retractable hook (below)
looks like it could be very handy.
Pricey at $40 but if it does what I want it to, it's priceless.