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July 3, 2008

'Log on to...' — How to let everyone know you're not with the program


Listening to the TV announcers at Wimbledon telling me to "log on to nbcsports.com blah blah blah" it occurred to me that no one under the age of 20 "logs on" to anything.

They're online all the time but they haven't the foggiest what "log on" means.

Time for the majordomos in TV production to pick up the clue phone if they want to retain any portion of the coveted young audience they supposedly crave.

July 3, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LidPunch Jar Opener


That's different.

I've heard of punching your ticket but this is ridiculous.

From websites:

    LidPunch Jar Opener

    Simply place this ingenious device on the lid and tap the top.

    It punches a tiny hole in the lid, releasing the vacuum seal and relieving pressure on the lid.

    Now the lid can be easily unscrewed.

    Includes 4 magnetic sealers to seal the hole and an easy-to-use, 4-in-1 can/bottle opener.


Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall....



July 3, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Bob Dylan's day job — 'The most interesting radio show to hit the airwaves in decades'


Who knew?

Not me, that's for sure.

Long story short: Dylan hosts a weekly hour-long show on XM satellite radio, each time choosing a topic out of the air upon which to base the songs and commentary that follow.

Here's Terry Teachout's June 21, 2008 Wall Street Journal story about Dylan's pretty much under-the-radar gig.

    Bob Dylan's Day Job

    A '60s troubadour turns postmodern disc jockey

    Satellite radio is the open secret of the new media. If you're one of the 17 million Americans who owns a satellite-equipped car or home receiver, you have access to a staggeringly diverse variety of round-the-clock programming that ranges from reggaeton and Howard Stern to Frank Sinatra and "The Shadow." Yet for most of the rest of us, satellite radio is still barely more than a whispered rumor. But now that FCC chairman Kevin Martin has given a thumbs-up sign to the merger of XM and Sirius, the two U.S.-based satellite services, the chances that satellite radio will finally become a major media player have taken an upward tick — meaning that you may be on the verge of discovering "Theme Time Radio Hour," the most interesting radio show to hit the airwaves in decades.

    "Theme Time Radio Hour" is heard on XM's Deep Tracks channel every Wednesday at 10 a.m. EDT, then repeated several times each week on various other channels. The host is none other than Bob Dylan. Yes, that Bob Dylan. Not that he has to vouch for his identity on the air: The raspy, nasal honk of his voice is instantly recognizable to anyone who knows anything about American popular culture. So is the fascinatingly wide-ranging musical sensibility that informs his program, which was launched two years ago and has racked up 75 episodes to date. Each week Mr. Dylan plucks a topic out of the air — colors, trains, death and taxes, spring cleaning — and plays recordings of a dozen songs whose lyrics relate to it in some way. In between songs he chats about the music and its makers, interspersing his gnomic mini-lectures with a cornucopia of old radio-station promos, celebrity vignettes and phony phone calls and email readings.

    On a recent episode devoted to doctors, Mr. Dylan played, among other things, Jackson Browne's "Doctor My Eyes," B.B. King's "Walking Doctor Bill," Doc Pomus's "Send for the Doctor," the Rolling Stones' "Dear Doctor," the White Stripes' "Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine," an obscure 1955 calypso song by Lord Lebby called "Dr. Kinsey Report," and "Hadacol Boogie," a jumping ditty recorded in 1949 by Bill Nettles and the Dixie Blue Boys whose subject was the once-celebrated patent medicine touted by its maker as a cure-all for "stomach disturbances, gas, heartburn, indigestion, nagging aches and pains, and certain nervous disorders."

    Mr. Dylan's crisp, pungent commentaries were as listenable as the songs he played. Toward the end of the show, he introduced a gospel number by the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi by gently chiding listeners who turn up their noses at songs on religious themes: "Any time people sing about what they believe, it elevates it. You don't have to be a junkie to enjoy the Velvet Underground song 'Heroin.' You don't have to have horns and a pitchfork to enjoy 'Sympathy for the Devil,' but it does help. The thing is, it's all music, and when the people believe what they're singing, it's just better."

    Part of what I find so engaging about "Theme Time Radio Hour" is that it flies in the face of the conventional wisdom about radio in the 21st century. Teenagers and college graduates are less likely to listen to radio nowadays, a decline that media consultants attribute to the rise of the iPod, which allows its owners to choose from thousands of previously downloaded songs at will instead of settling for whatever a disc jockey cares to play. The assumption is that under-40 listeners are now choosing to withdraw into gated communities of musical taste, behind whose electronic walls they listen only to what they already know they like. That's how most of the hundreds of existing satellite-radio channels work. Each one is devoted to a narrow stylistic sliver — show tunes, New Age, old-school hip-hop, even 24/7 Led Zeppelin — so that when you tune it in, you know just what you're getting. Not so "Theme Time Radio Hour," which gives you what Mr. Dylan thinks you ought to get. Nor is his taste predictable: He likes nothing more than to throw musical curve balls, and if you don't like the song he's playing now, all you have to do is wait three minutes for the next one to come along.

    To listen to "Theme Time Radio Hour" is to rediscover the sense of musical adventure that old-fashioned disc jockeys with strongly individual personalities offered in the days before big-money stations pinned their fiscal hopes to the rigid Top 40-style playlists that took the fun out of radio. Now that America's public-radio stations are abandoning musical programming in favor of news and talk, such shows have grown hard to find in many major markets. That's what makes satellite radio promising. Because it has so many different channels, it has room for everything — including unpredictability.

    After listening to a few episodes of "Theme Time Radio Hour," it occurred to me that Mr. Dylan and Eddie Gorodetsky, his producer, had inadvertently come up with a model for other musical genres. Why not, say, a show hosted by the classical violinist Hilary Hahn, an articulate young woman whose musical tastes are as wide-ranging as Mr. Dylan's? Instead of reheating the same old casserole of drive-time leftovers, Ms. Hahn could dish up an eclectic stew of classical music, pop, bluegrass ... or whatever. That, after all, is the point of "Theme Time Radio Hour," which is dedicated to the admirable proposition that no well-rounded cultural diet is complete without a weekly dose of whatever.


Have a listen here to his riff on "Joe."

Have a listen live at 10 a.m. ET tomorrow (Wednesday, July 1) on XM satellite radio's Deep Tracks channel.

July 3, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ammonite Sink


From Made in Mundo:


    Esta publicação é dedicada a todos aqueles que gostam de lavar as mãos.

    A HighTech resolveu inovar inspirando-se na beleza arcaica dos Ammonites. Ammonites? O que é isso? Quando não se sabe é necessário procurar, investigar, perguntar. Não há mal nenhum nisso.

    Ammonites (ver aqui uma imagem) eram uns moluscos de 100kg e com 1 metro de diâmetro que viveram muito felizes nos mares do Cretáceo, no período Devoniano dos mesmos antepassados que os belemnites (+/- 400 milhões de anos). Perceberam? Ainda bem. Continuando o meu pensamento de copy-paste…os Ammonites ficaram famosos durante a era Mesozóica (bons velhos tempos!!!). Infelizmente, os nossos amigos e em conjunto com os dinossauros, não resistiram ao fim do período Cretácio. Hoje em dia, os parentes mais próximos são os Nautilus, que vivêm pacificamente…no Pacífico. O corpo suave dos Ammonites ocupavam a última câmara da concha espiral, juntamente com água e gás que faziam o mesmo flutuar. Eles flutuavam na água como um disco vertical com grupos de tentáculos que saíam da sua concha. Comprimindo a água e expelindo-a, um Ammonite poderia “cuspir” a água como um jacto de propulsão. Os tentáculos procuravam presas como peixes pequenos, passando-os para o bico com o qual os esmagavam.

    Depois deste fabuloso momento de história, posso dizer que o lavatório tem as formas de um fóssil de um…Ammonite, estando disponível em diversas cores e pode ser instalado em diversas estruturas. Para informações mais detalhadas sobre o parente dos belemnites... HighTech.


From HighTech:

    Ammonite Washbasin


    The natural beauty of a fossilized ammonite shaped in patented concrete creates the uniqueness of this washbasin.

    Available in several colors for table- or wall-mounted tap.

    Sink dimensions: 1200 mm-1590 mm x 560 mm.


    Fossil size: 640 mm.

July 3, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

bookofjoe visits Google Trends


Google Trends, the company's latest freebie, is either a game-changing threat to ComScore and its ilk or, if you listen to Comscore CEO Magid Abraham, nothing to worry about.

Above, where Google Trends says I'm most popular.

Good fun.

Free, the way it should be.

July 3, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Custom European License Plate — Totally illegal in Europe, but we're not there, are we?


For once something's legal here that's forbidden there.

From the website:

    Custom European License Plate

    Ever wanted to create your own custom European license plate and install it on the front of your car?

    How about your garage or office wall?

    Well, I know this guy who has this plate making machine — he uses original plates, has authentic registration stickers, and with one phone call he can make up a few for you.

    Of course this would be totally illegal in Europe — but we're not in Europe, so who cares?

    Create any plate you want using up to nine letters, numbers or characters.

    The best one I've seen yet reads "REVO EVOM," which says "MOVE OVER" to the idiot doing 50mph in the fast lane when he looks in his mirror.

    Choose which "home" country you want in the blue area and your 9 characters.

    21" wide.


Your choice of 11 countries: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and Italy (below).



July 3, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Kinder, gentler: How to get an innocent person to confess to a crime


Long story short: "Make a kindly suggestion of guilt."

And: "The more plausible the alleged act... the likelier the false confession."

The May 2008 issue of The Atlantic magazine featured an item about a recent study in the psychology literature about guilt and confession in its "Primary Sources" feature; the piece follows.

    Confessions of a Non-Dangerous Mind

    The best way to get someone to confess to a crime may be to make a kindly suggestion of guilt — even if the suspect is innocent. Three researchers gathered 219 students and asked them to take a typing test. The subjects sat at computers and typed out letters read aloud by the experimenter. Some of the participants were warned that if they pressed the Alt key, the program would crash and all the data would be lost. The system was rigged so it would shut down after the experimenter asked the participants to type the Z key (which sits just to the left of the Alt key). The experimenter then interviewed the volunteers individually and asked each to sign a statement admitting he or she had ruined the test. “Don’t worry,” the experimenter said. “You didn’t mean to hit the Alt key. Several participants so far have pressed the Alt key during this task. Are you sure you didn’t press it?” Seventy percent of the participants — all innocent — eventually confessed. The professors then repeated the experiment, substituting the Esc key for the Alt key. But since the Esc key sits much farther away from the Z key, only 23 percent of participants admitted to hitting it. The more plausible the alleged act, the authors conclude, the likelier the false confession. The study also found that participants in both tests who were interrogated in a more intimidating manner (“It looks like the entire project may be delayed now. Why did you press the key?”) were less likely to falsely admit to the offense, suggesting that a light hand may be the best way to elicit a false confession.


Here's the abstract of the paper, which appeared in the February 2008 issue of Legal and Criminological Psychology.

    Effects of personality, interrogation techniques and plausibility in an experimental false confession paradigm

    Purpose: The goal of the present study was to investigate the effects of personality variables, interrogation techniques and the plausibility level of an alleged transgression on the experimental elicitation of false confessions.

    Methods: Two hundred and nineteen undergraduate students assessed on measures of compliance, self-esteem, locus of control and interrogative suggestibility participated in the Kassin and Kiechel (1996) paradigm. Experimental manipulations included minimization and maximization interrogation techniques and high and low plausibility of the alleged typing mistake to examine rates of false confession and internalization.

    Results: The overall false confession and internalization rates across all conditions were 43 and 10%, respectively. An increased likelihood of false confession behaviour was associated with higher Shift scores on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale, the use of minimization interrogation techniques and an increase in the plausibility of the allegation. Females were more likely to falsely confess than males in the high plausibility condition, whereas Caucasian and Asian participants were equally likely to falsely confess. Personality variables, such as compliance, most influenced the behaviour of males and Asians.

    Conclusions: The results of this study offer insight into false confession behaviour, suggesting that individuals who have a tendency to change their responses in the face of negative feedback may be more prone to false confession behaviour. The findings also serve to highlight the dangers of using minimization interrogation techniques and elucidate the limited generalizability of the paradigm to situations in which the alleged transgression is less plausible.

July 3, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wasabi Ice Cream



Falls Church (Virginia) chef Leland Atkinson's super-premium ice cream "... sounds bizarre but is surprisingly delicious," according to an item in yesterday's Washington Post Food section.

$5.99 a pint at at Balducci's, select Whole Foods Markets in Virginia and at Willoughby's Market in Sandy Spring.

July 3, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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