October 03, 2007
This new site features, according to its founder, physician Arthur Schoenstadt, "the largest library of health education videos on the Web."
With over 100 channels covering everything from acne to yellow fever, there's something for just about everyone.
It launches formally on Tuesday, October 16, 2007, but just now when my crack research team spent some time there it looked like it was up and running at flank speed.
[via Jennifer Huget and the Washington Post]
World's Most Technical Garlic Press
Garlic presses are like hiccups remedies — so many exist because none of them are perfect.
Never mind — here's a novel take.
From the website:
- Garlic Press
The unique design of this garlic press lets you place it on the counter top and use your entire weight to mince lots of garlic quickly and easily.
The garlic is pushed through the large hopper onto a removable spoon for easy transfer and for scraping the remains from the press.
Has non-slip base and is dishwasher safe.
The rats are deserting the Wall Street Journal ship — and Rupert Murdoch hasn't even been piped aboard yet!
It started earlier this year, with world-class science writer Sharon Begley's quiet exodus to Newsweek.
I noted that departure here on May 25, 2007.
Yesterday another shoe dropped, namely that of the Journal's excellent health writer, Tara Parker-Pope.
How about the following two sentences, which opened my August 16, 2007 4:01 p.m. post?
"Tara Parker-Pope is the Health Journal columnist at the Wall Street Journal and she's excellent at what she does.
"Memo to Rupert Murdoch: Double her salary yesterday or prepare to see her fly the coop to somewhere she'll be paid what she's worth — which is at least twice what she's getting now."
When I opened my New York Times last evening, what did I espy on the front page but the little item below?
Turning to the Science section, there on the front page was Ms. Parker-Pope's new column (below).
It's her very first piece for the Times.
You could look it up.
She's also got a blog now, part of her new Times gig.
This won't be the last of the superstar "flights to safety" from the Journal.
Golden Arches Belt Buckle
Prove your love.
From the website:
- Golden Arches Belt Buckle
Sport your loyalty to the Big Mac and large fries with this blinged-out big M, supersizing your style to mythical proportions.
Enamel and metal buckle with crystals.
3½"H x 3½"W.
Experts' Expert: 'Where to find highbrow videos on the web'
Lee Gomes of the Wall Street Journal decided to see what else besides YouTube and its ilk reside in virtual space, awaiting your visit.
Here's his June 20, 2007 Wall Street Journal article, complete with live links to all the sites (nine total) he featured.
- Matters of the Mind
Want something more substantive than YouTube? Here's where to find highbrow videos on the Web.
A great documentary history of the Mormon Church was broadcast by PBS last month. But don't fret if you missed it, either live or on TiVo. The Internet is coming to the rescue. All four hours of the show are available for viewing online, as streaming video at PBS.org.
That's just one of countless examples of the way in which the Web is coming into its own as a source of what might be called smart video. While YouTube has captured a great deal of attention and traffic for its vast collection of mostly goofy videos, a growing number of sites are providing more-cerebral alternatives: documentaries, speeches, panel discussions, research reports and more.
In some instances, production values are minimal — think C-SPAN, with just a single camera trained on a podium. But remember, you're supposed to be here for the ideas, not the flashy graphics. So after you've spent an hour watching the most popular downloads at YouTube or iFilm, and want to atone for the wasted time, you can check them out.
TV and More
The show on the Mormons was made for broadcast as a joint project of the PBS shows "Frontline" and "American Experience." Increasingly, programs like these that are shown first on PBS are later being offered online. Several of the PBS "Frontline" documentaries and "Nova" science shows are available on the Web.
Unfortunately for the many fans of these programs, though, the number currently being hosted on the Web is still relatively small, because of legal issues: Many of the programs were made for PBS under contracts that didn't mention online distribution. But over time, more and more of them are expected to be Web-ready.
Taking high-quality shows created for traditional TV and then showing them on the Web is the first, and most obvious, step being taken to raise the Internet's video IQ. In a separate development, Web entrepreneurs are going the YouTube route, but with a high-IQ twist, creating entire sites devoted just to smart video.
One of the most ambitious is Fora.tv, a San Francisco-based outfit that wants to be the go-to site for speeches, panel discussions, symposiums and the like.
Chapter and Verse
Fora.tv has arrangements with many lecture societies, think tanks and big book stores. Members include the Brookings Institution, the Asia Society, the Hoover Institution and more than a dozen others. When one of them sponsors a speech or panel discussion, a Fora.tv crew — usually, one person and a digital camera — shows up and records it.
Back at the office, the speech is uploaded to a computer and then annotated by "chapters," much like DVDs divide up feature films. The file is then put online. You can either watch the whole speech or jump to any chapter. Some even have transcripts that appear in synch with the video.
Fora has hundreds of videos on scores of topics, in the arts, current events, business, science and more. There's a session on feminism and other topics with Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem; Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus discusses how microfinance can end poverty; and writer Ian Buruma talks about social tensions in modern Europe.
Brian Gruber, the founder of the site, says his goal is for Internet users to think of Fora.tv as the gathering place for those who want to experience for themselves a speech or panel discussion they may have read about in the paper.
There are plenty of other smart video sites to explore. The Research Channel is a consortium of major universities that banded together to put presentations by their top researchers on public-access cable channels. It also has its own Web site, ResearchChannel.org, where you can watch the presentations.
The channel's emphasis is on academic research and unvarnished technical topics. William Phillips, the National Institute of Standards and Technology physicist who won the 1997 Nobel Prize, talks about his work slowing down atoms. But the humanities aren't overlooked, and neither is nostalgia. In "A Visit to Our Studios" from 1952, viewers are taken on a tour of the locale where Johns Hopkins University produced a series of science shows during the 1940s and 1950s. Many of those shows from Johns Hopkins are themselves available on the site, along with a video about the importance of preserving them.
The University Channel, at UC.Princeton.edu, a project of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, does much the same thing as the Research Channel, but with its own lineup of universities. The channel's initial focus is on public affairs, but it expects to expand into other areas.
The United Kingdom has a research channel of its own, www.Research-TV.com, emphasizing work at U.K. colleges and universities.
Other substantive fare is sprinkled around the Web and can be hard to find. So some sites have cropped up as directories for these hidden gems. For example, the Traditional Fine Arts Organization Inc. works to support the arts in the U.S.; on its Web site, there's a directory of arts-oriented videos throughout the Web. At the main TFAOI.org page, click on "Catalogues," and then on "Online Video on Demand."
One of the few online sources of smart video that charge users is TotalVid.com, owned by the Norfolk, Va.-based TotalVid Inc. unit of Landmark Communications Inc. It costs $9.95 a month for access to a huge library of how-to and documentary videos, many of them originally made for broadcast sites like Landmark's Weather Channel. Users can test the site free for a week.
Plenty of Niches
Niche-oriented video sites are another characteristic of the burgeoning world of smart video. Some focus on a single topic, like EnergyPolicyTV.com. Others are geographically based. UVu.Channel2.org offers videos that emphasize the art and culture of the Miami and South Florida area; it's run by WPBT, which is the PBS station in the area.
Other niche sites are dedicated to an event. The annual wide-ranging TED conference is well-known in Silicon Valley for its eclectic group of presenters on topics including technology, entertainment, business, science, culture and others; now, videos of many of those presentations are at TED.com for all to see.
Home-improvement buffs should know that virtually all of the big do-it-yourself shows on cable TV have Web sites, many of which offer video content.
Countless hours of edifying video, all waiting out there for you, nearly all of it free to all askers. Don't you feel smarter already just knowing about it?
Thai silk book rest
Also in purple or green.
Further Adventures of Charles Simic — by Charles Simic
Is our Charles Simic afraid of death?
Yes, Charles Simic is afraid of death.
Does he kneel and pray for eternal life?
No, he's busy drawing a valentine with a crayon.
Pale as a freshly chopped onion,
He goes over the wrongs he has committed.
His conscience, does it bother him much?
Only when he lies down to get a night's rest.
The hellfires, does he feel them closing in?
No, but he hears the hounds barking.
Does he lift his eyes humbly in forgiveness?
Her love was his judge, her wrath the jury.
Some dark night, praying to the Lord above,
His own tongue will slash his throat.
World's most technical — and bizarre – dog water bowl
From the website:
- Dog Water Bowl
Ceramic water bowl is a real crowd pleaser!
Fido gets his own pint-size drinking commode (then maybe he’ll leave the bigger ones alone!), while family and guests get a big laugh.
Fill any 2 liter plastic bottle and invert into the rear tank — gravity pulls fresh water into the "bowl" as needed.
11"D x 10-1/8"H x 6"W.