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March 17, 2005

The geography of poverty


The map above shows the distribution of stunted growth in children under five years old.

This correlates extremely well with chronic undernutrition and poverty.

"Persistent high prevalence of stunting among children indicates chronic failure in poverty alleviation."

"Stunting has a negative impact on the intellectual and physical development of children, compromising the development of human resources in poor countries."

"The reduction of chronic undernutrition will boost economic growth and help alleviate poverty."

These maps are stunning.

That such disparities should exist amongst the plenty that exceeds needs in much of the world is just confounding.

March 17, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Potato Stripper Mitts — not a likely candidate for Kevin Kelly's 'Cool Tools'


But hey, everyone - and everything - can't be cool.

So be it.

These curious devices are a nominee for this year's bookofjoe Most Unlikely To Actually Exist Award.

That's the great thing about being judge and jury, and running your own show: you can make up an award whenever you feel like it.

Like I just did. But I digress.

These mitts ($9.99 a pair) let you "peel a potato fast, without wasting valuable nutrients."

Even better: no peeler needed.

Just wait till you tell your dinner guests you're going to peel the potatos with your hands.

Won't they be impressed?

The kind of people who dine at my house would be. But I digress yet again.

So cool: one mitt has plastic peeling "teeth" in its palm "to strip skin fast," while the other has "a built-in 'brush' for scrubbing dirt."

The cleverly-designed mitts have thumb holes on both sides, so you can "work right- or left-handed."


Seems to me everyone who uses these is ambidextrous, what?

But there I go again.

Oh, but I can't wait to pull these out....

March 17, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



There are many of us.

We come in peace for all mankind. But I digress.

Novelist Jonathan Tropper, for example, whose first book, "The Book of Joe" (above), was published last year.

Warner Brothers optioned it for a film (currently "in development," the Hollywood equivalent of "real soon now") before it was published.


Now the book is out in paperback (above),

with a nice, expensive advertising campaign in the current New Yorker magazine.


Then there are the fierce visions of artist Joe Coleman (above).

And of course, the late actor and polymath Vincent Price's memoir of his dog Joe (below).


Penultimately, there's "A 21st Century Version of the Book of Job" online


with the very same title as the works above: "The Book of Joe."

And, bringing up the rear, with the broom and the dust pan, behind the last elephant, yours truly.


So many joes, so little time....

March 17, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bang a gong


What better way to call the meeting to order than with a big, mellow bang on your very own gong?

Handmade Buddhist Temple gong.

Sculpted in bronze, detailed with gold trim, and hanging in an iron frame.

Comes with a wooden mallet.

Gong is 12" in diameter; stand is 19"H x 15.5"W.

Portable enough to put on your desk or a table, or hang it from the loop at the top of the frame.

Tremendous dynamic range, depending on where you strike, and with what intensity.


Things will never be the same once you employ it.

$160 here.

March 17, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The origin of the word "blog"


My crack research team, laboring in the interstices of the internet, has returned with something wonderful.

In a 1953 story entitled "Scrambled Eggs Super," Dr. Seuss wrote:

    I went for the kind that were mellow and sweet

    And the world's sweetest eggs are the eggs of the Kweet

    Which is due to those very sweet trout which they eat

    And those trout ... well, they're sweet 'cause they only eat Blogs

    And Blogs, after all, are the world's sweetest frogs

    And the reason they're sweet is, whenever they lunch

    It's always the world's sweetest bees that they munch

    And the reason no bees can be sweeter than these...

    They only eat blossoms off Beezlenut Trees

    And those Beezlenut Blossoms are sweeter than sweet

    And that's why I nabbed several eggs from the Kweet.

[via BPR]

March 17, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tea Forte Silken Tea Infuser


Zen in a teacup.

Individual nylon tea infusers from Tea Forte are designed to sit prettily in your teacup, retaining their pyramidal shape and "provide the world's finest method to brew a cup of tea."

"The open weave of the fabric allows the water to flow freely around the tea, allowing the tea leaves to unfurl and the flavors to mingle in the large open form of the infuser."

"It's like brewing a pot of tea in your cup!"

The upward-lifted leaf and cotton stem create a handle to remove the infuser when it's steeped long enough.

"Quite possibly the finest, most elegant cup of tea of all time."

You'll hear no dissent from this boy.

Their teas are all natural, whole leaf varieties.

They fill their individually hand-crafted infusers at "tea gardens in Asia," then seal them for freshness.

I'll have a cuppa, if you don't mind.

March 17, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



"Undiscovered images of art and design."


A sensational search engine that, for the first time ever, takes you into the basements and attics and dust closets of Britain's Victoria & Albert Museum, letting you see what's accumulated over the centuries.


Trying it out, I put the word "birds" in the search box, and got back the images shown in this post; they were among the 180 (on 16 pages of results) that came back.


You could spend a lifetime on this site and never run out of stuff to see.


Consider those who've worked at the V & A for decades: they seem to have done so quite nicely.


"Images to inspire."

[via Zembla]

March 17, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Man, the Insomniac Animal — by E. M. Cioran


Whoever said that sleep is the equivalent of hope had a penetrating intuition of the frightening importance not only of sleep but also of insomnia! The importance of insomnia is so colossal that I am tempted to define man as the animal who cannot sleep. Why call him a rational animal when other animals are equally reasonable? But there is not another animal in the entire creation that wants to sleep yet cannot. Sleep is forgetfulness: life's drama, its complications and obsessions vanish completely, and every awakening is a new beginning, a new hope. Life thus maintains a pleasant discontinuity, the illusion of permanent regeneration. Insomnia, on the other hand, gives birth to a feeling of irrevocable sadness, despair, and agony. The healthy man—the animal—only dabbles in insomnia: he knows nothing of those who would give a kingdom for an hour of unconscious sleep, those as terrified by the sight of a bed as they would be of a torture rack. There is a close link between insomnia and despair. The loss of hope comes with the loss of sleep. The difference between paradise and hell: you can always sleep in paradise, never in hell. God punished man by taking away sleep and giving him knowledge. Isn't deprivation of sleep one of the most cruel tortures practiced in prisons? Madmen suffer a lot from insomnia; hence their depressions, their disgust with life, and their suicidal impulses. Isn't the sensation, typical of wakeful hallucinations, of diving into an abyss, a form of madness? Those who commit suicide by throwing themselves from bridges into rivers or from high rooftops onto pavements must be motivated by a blind desire to fall and the dizzying attraction of abysmal depths.



March 17, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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