July 15, 2012
The United States of America according to Common Sense
Everything is illuminated — Petzl's new self-adjusting headlamp
Excerpts from Michael Hsu's pretty much rave review in yesterday's Wall Street Journal follow.
For those making a nighttime expedition up a snow-covered mountain, across a thick of forest or into a very cluttered basement, Petzl's Nao headlamp is one of the most ingenious tools to light the way.
When it's dark, the ideal brightness for viewing objects far afield may end up blinding you when you look at something nearby (your pupils are dilated, remember), so the Nao has a sensor — similar to the kind used in cameras — that measures incoming light. This lets a built-in microprocessor adjust the brightness and the spread of the Nao's beam accordingly. Look out onto the open sea, and the Nao intensifies and narrows like a searchlight. Walk along a wooded path and the Nao diffuses and dims its beam to give you a more expansive view of the terrain. Bend over to tie your shoe and the Nao goes soft and wide, preserving both your night vision and its battery life.
The Nao transitions between its two LEDs — one with a wide beam, the other more focused — smoothly and on the fly. If you change your focus from near to far, the shift in light quality is almost imperceptible. And because the needs of a mountain climber differ from those of a hiker — or someone who just wants the ultimate headlamp for rummaging through a wine cellar — you can connect the Nao to your computer's USB port and fine-tune the settings using Petzl's software for Windows and Mac.
The Nao also has all of the features of its less advanced counterparts: water resistance, a comfortable and easy-to-adjust strap and a rechargeable Li-ion battery that, in a pinch, can be swapped out easily for two AAA batteries. Even if your most extreme activity is switching focus between a Kindle and a mug of herbal tea, it's a marvel to see how everything is illuminated — and so perfectly.
Interactive WSJ graphic here.
18-year-old James Dean in a photo booth in 1949
Money to Burn Firestarter
Paraffin wax recycled newspapers tricked out to look like rolls of dollar bills.
Set of three: €7.90.
Money to burn... what's that music I'm hearing?
Helpful Hints from joeeze: Make your own skewers from chopsticks
From the July & August issue of Cook's Illustrated: "Having run out of metal skewers while making large batches of kebabs, Francis Hodgins of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania discovered a new use for the collection of wooden takeout chopsticks lingering in her kitchen drawer. She transformed them into sturdy skewers for meat chunks by honing one end with a pencil sharpener."
Think outside the meat space.
Custom-made mermaid tails you can swim in
Inspired by her three daughters who love all things mermaid, Canada-based Monika Naumann of 3-Fins custom-makes tails you can wear and swim in, to live out your childhood fantasy "under the sea."
When wearers master the technique of swimming in them, according to Naumann, the tails give "remarkable speed and agility underwater."
Her mono-fins are comfortable, durable, and made of top-quality swimming-grade materials.
For those interested, the mermaid tails retail for about $250 USD and are available in five different sparkly colors: green, red, blue, orange, fuchsia.
A voice for the mute: Signing gloves speak via phone
What if a deaf mute signing while wearing tricked-out motion-sensing gloves had a phone that translated in real time and spoke?
How great would that be?
Welcome to reality 2012-style.
[via Alan Fick]
A remotely-controlled glowing brass ring hung from a wall peg.
[via the New York Times]