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February 24, 2005

The end comes for Dummer Academy


It's the nation's oldest independent boarding school, founded before the Revolutionary War in 1763 by acting Massachusetts governor William Dummer, who donated the land it was built on.

After 242 years, trustees decided that to be a "Dummer graduate" wasn't worth being the butt of the invariable jokes.

I'm reminded of the demise of venerable Beaver College of Glenside, Pennsylvania in 2000, the result of similar unhappiness by its students and graduates.

It's now called Arcadia University.

"A rose by any other name...."

February 24, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Backpack Hammock


No one will suspect what you're packing, 'cause no one's ever heard of such a thing.

But just wait till you find the perfect spot, shrug off your backpack, and in few moments set up your comfy hammock.


Stainless steel frame, nylon surface; eight feet long.

Weighs 22 lbs., supports up to 250 lbs., and costs $99 here.

[via whereisben.com]

February 24, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A is for 'Animalic'


That's one of 31 terms making up a new list describing French cheese flavors.

A team of food researchers at Kansas State University's Sensory Analysis Center has just come out with a brief dictionary of French cheese descriptions.

The flavor guide was published last month in the online journal Food Quality and Preference.

The results had been presented in 2003 at a Chicago symposium on taste and smell.

An expert panel came up with 31 descriptions to convey the smell, taste and feel of 43 cheeses.


They then rated the intensity of each description on a 15-point scale.

Liz Szabo wrote about the work in this past Monday's USA Today.

Oh, yeah: "animalic" means "associated with farm animals and the inside of a barn."

B is for "Butyric": "reminiscent of baby vomit."


Then there's "Goaty": "wet animal hair."

And "Sweaty": "perpiration-generated foot odor found in unwashed gym socks and shoes."



And to think I thought that was just some fine cheese I had laying around....

February 24, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The 'CSI Effect'


The pervasiveness and popularity of the immensely popular TV show "CSI" has forensic scientists complaining about what they call the "CSI Effect": a perception of the near infallibility of forensic science after watching a few episodes of "CSI."

Then there are the positive effects of the show.

Among them, consider this statistic: in 1999, 4 students out of a student body of 25,000 at West Virginia University graduated as majors in forensic science.

Today 400 students are in the program, the vast majority of them women, making it the single largest major on campus.

Max Houck of West Virginia University presented these and other consequences of "CSI" in a paper delivered at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting this past weekend in Washington, D.C.

Rick Weiss wrote about these developments in a story which appeared in Tuesday's Washington Post.

February 24, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Speed Chair


Going nowhere fast?

Here's your chair.

Artist Boris Bally takes real speed limit signs and creates one-off chairs out of them.


$1,000 here.

February 24, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Todd and friends


My favorite part of fashion shows is when, at the end, the designer shuffles out onto the runway.


If it's one of the cool, bleeding-edge guys, invariably he looks as if he just woke up.


I love it, the juxtapostion of the exquisite clothes and girls wearing them with


the physical form and garb of the man who created the beauty around him.


In fact, I'd go so far as to formulate bookofjoe's rule of fashion designers:


if the designer's not disheveled, look elsewhere for what's next.

For those non-fashionistas who somehow stumbled on this cutting-room-edge site by accident, the designers pictured above (from the top down, with a creation of each below his picture) are Todd Oldham, Isaac Mizrahi, and Alexander McQueen.

February 24, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bram Cohen's Blog


Right here.

The creator of BitTorrent, said to carry 30% of the planet's internet traffic, reminds me of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and their ilk back in the day.

Cohen (above) is way beyond smart (don't even begin to try to imagine), down-to-earth, funny, profane, unrepentant, doesn't suffer fools gladly, and really doesn't much care what you think.

My kind of person.

You can learn much more about what's going down and what's next from his occasional musings in his blog than from close regular reading of the leading newspapers.

Take it from me: I do both.

I wrote about this singular man on January 3, specifically about somehow stumbling across his homepage.

Want more?

Then check out the story about him and his creation which appeared in the January issue of Wired magazine.

February 24, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Purple Colander


Red and orange, too.

How long since you replaced your colander?

Can't remember, right?

Because it's a superb invention: no moving parts, so nothing ever goes wrong.

But not going wrong doesn't mean not going bad.

Notice perhaps how the paint's chipped, and it's a bit rusty in spots.


And underneath how, in the seam between the base and the bowl there's stuff that really can't be identified, but surely wasn't there the day you introduced it to your kitchen.

Most colanders are white, a few are unpainted stainless steel or aluminum.

So when I happened on the ones above and below I was instantly smitten.

It's the purple one for me — though it looks more lavender than purple, as I like to think of purple.

I especially like the shiny contrasting rims and handles.

I must admit, though, that I'm not crazy about the Phillips screwheads that attach the handles intruding onto the working surface of the bowl.

But, on the other hand, it's a heck of a lot more secure than doing without through-and-through fasteners.


$17.99 here.

February 24, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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