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June 10, 2005

'Singing Pictures'

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Look carefully at the image above: the two pictures are actually speakers.

They're called "Singing Pictures" and come in two sizes: 50 x 40 cm and 70 x 50 cm (20" x 16" and 28" x 20").

From the website:

    They hang on the wall and look like normal pictures.

    However, they are absolutely novel hi-fi loudspeakers.

    Responsible for the sound are two ELAC NXT exciters which are fixed to the back of the panels.

    Also suitable for home cinema applications, e.g. as rear speakers.

    The music and art lover may select from among numerous prints with famous motifs from the world of art, in close cooperation with the Poster–Shop in Recklinghausen, Germany.

    The sophisticated prints are laminated onto the panels and worked into picture speakers.

Note: when you go the website you'll need to move your cursor over to the lower left hand corner where you'll see this:

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Click on it and scroll down — way down, to the third item from the bottom: DML LS:Imago.

Highlight it and you'll go to the Singing Pictures.

[via AW]

June 10, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Chopstick Lamp

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Handmade from real chopsticks.

"The included amber bulb creates an ambience that will make everyone in the room content, and the lamp's elegant vase shaping gives the bulb's warm light a breathtaking effect."

Sigh.

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$55 here.

June 10, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why John Edwards will never become President

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Women may like to look at him but that's exactly why he can't be elected to the presidency.

He's too child–like, and though we like such things in our children we don't particularly like them in the person with his finger on the button.

Hey — it's not just my opinion, though the Republican code name for him during the 2004 campaign was "Silky Pony."

No, it's the American electorate that turns thumbs–down on kiddie–like politicians when it comes to the high–stakes office.

The "Baby–Face Effect" is described in two papers published in today's Science magazine.

You can read the abstract of one paper here.

A baby face is defined as round, with large eyes, a small nose, a high forehead and a small chin.

Dr. Leslie Zebrowitz of Brandeis University in Massachusetts, who authored one of the papers, offered an explanation; she said that since the facial characteristics of babies signal vulnerability, people tend to generalize and assume that adults with similar features have similar qualities.

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Mark Henderson wrote an excellent story that appears in today's London Times about the findings; it follows.

    Babyface, You've Got the Cutest Little Baby Face, That's Why We'll Vote for Someone in Your Place
    Politicians with childlike features have an electoral handicap

    A baby face can be the kiss of political death, according to research that could help to explain William Hague’s failure to make an impact at the polls.

    Psychologists in the United States have discovered that voters tend to judge politicians with more immature features as less competent, and thus tend to favour opponents with a more grown-up appearance.

    The findings suggest that Gordon Brown’s soft, round face may have less voter appeal than the more angular features of Tony Blair, and that the Conservatives might be better off picking a mature-looking leader such as Sir Malcolm Rifkind over David Cameron or David Davis.

    They also offer a reason for the landslide defeat suffered by William Hague in the 2001 general election.

    Mr Hague boasts classic baby-faced features, and the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias commented: “Never could a bald gnome with a baby face and monkey ears manage to defeat Blair.”

    There are, of course, exceptions to the rule.

    It is hard to think of a more baby-faced politician than Sir Winston Churchill, and the craggy features of Senator John Kerry, defeated by President Bush last year, are anything but child-like.

    The baby-face effect has been identified in two papers published today in the journal Science.

    The first study, led by Alexander Todorov, of Princeton University in New Jersey, examined US Senate races in 2000, 2002 and 2004, and US House of Representatives contests in 2002 and 2004.

    Volunteers were asked to view pictures of the two leading candidates in each race, and asked to rate their faces for seven traits: competence, intelligence, leadership, honesty, trustworthiness, charisma and likeability.

    The results were ignored if either candidate was recognised.

    The researchers found that scores for competence accurately predicted the results of the elections 70 per cent of the time, a much higher effect than would be expected by chance.

    None of the other factors had any measurable impact. In the second paper, Leslie Zebrowitz, of Brandeis University in Massachusetts, said that the results appeared to reflect the relative "baby-facedness" of the candidates.

    Previous research has shown that people of any age who appear baby-faced, with a round face, large eyes, a small nose, a high forehead and a small chin, tend to be rated as less competent — though often as more trustworthy as well.

    "Although the study doesn’t tell us exactly what competence is — there are many kinds, including physical strength, social dominance and intellectual shrewdness."

    "Baby-faced people are perceived to be lacking in all these qualities," Dr Zebrowitz said.

    "The association between facial maturity and perceived competence is ubiquitous: baby-faced individuals within various demographic groups are perceived as less competent."

    The effect, she said, was also demonstrated by a study at Colgate University in New York state, in which scientists morphed the faces of the former US presidents Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy to make them appear more baby-faced.

    Volunteers found the altered images looked less strong, dominant and cunning.

    Dr Zebrowitz, a psychologist and author of the book "Reading Faces: Window to the Soul?", said that the evolutionary importance of detecting attributes such as emotion and character is probably responsible for the tendency to make snap judgments based on looks.

    As the facial characteristics of babies signal vulnerability, people tend to generalise and assume that adults with similar features have similar qualities.

    The effect applies across age, sex and race, although Dr Zebrowitz pointed out that women tend to have more child-like features that may place them at a disadvantage in politics.

June 10, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover Stick

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Occasionally make a mess of yourself as you eat and drive?

Well, this won't help you be a neater eater but it will help you improve your subsequent presentation of self.

Tide's come up with the equivalent of Liquid Paper for food and drink.

Follow the directions and you'll be able to rescue victory from the jaws of ketchup, mustard and coffee.

Seems to work, judging by the comments of a number of users.

Caveat emptor: the comments above are on a Tide–sponsored site, so if someone had the stuff eat a hole through her John Galliano dress I'm sure you won't find out about it there.

Just thought you should know.

If you visit epinions.com you'll get a much more mixed array of reviews of the product.

Tide to Go is supposedly now in stores everywhere — I'd look first in the detergent section.

June 10, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: The world's best sunscreen is illegal in the U.S.

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Yesterday's New York Times story by Laurel Naversen Geraghty spilled the beans.

Mexoryl SX, made by Paris–based L'Oréal, is the name of the forbidden substance.

Though it's been sold in Europe and Canada for over a decade the FDA has yet to approve it.

Which leaves you two options:

1) Go without, or

2) Have me lead you to a source

Let's see what's behind window number 2, shall we?

Much more fun — and you know how I just love trouble.

Turns out, if you read Geraghty's story via the link above, that the drug is found in a number of sunscreen products: Ombrelle Extreme ($11), Garnier's Ambre Solaire ($24) and "the particularly coveted Anthélios XL by La Roche–Posay ($40 and more for a relatively small tube)."

But guess what?

Even though these products may not be legally sold in the U.S., they are available here.

And the FDA "does not track down and prosecute those consumers."

Well, now.

Tell us more.

OK.

Both Zitomer and Cambridge Chemists on Manhattan's Upper East Side sell these products quietly to those who ask for them.

But maybe you're not in Gotham, nor are you planning to be there anytime soon.

No problema.

The Canadian pharmacy website feelbest.com sells a three–ounce tube of Anthélios XL (top) for a little over $20, less than half the price at Cambridge Chemists.

So what're you waiting for?

Do take the time to read the Times article; it's excellent, the best explanation/deconstruction I've ever read of sunblock SPF, UVA, UVB, and all the rest of the acronymic garbola–speak no one understands.

You'll also learn the basis for the statement that Mexoryl SX is the world's best sunscreen.

FunFact: UVA rays are the most dangerous, penetrate car windows and clothing, and reach the skin 365 days a year, even during fog, rain and blizzards.

June 10, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OWL™ Optical Wallet Light

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Get it? Optical Wallet Light.

See, owls have really great night vision.

Though actually it turns out that they use their unbelievably sensitive hearing to enable their night hunting, but we're not here to explore the nocturnal activities of owls.

At least, not right this very zeptosecond.

Very nicely done: this credit–card–sized device with a built–in 3x magnifier and ultra–bright LED light fits in your wallet or pocketbook with ease.

"Now you can have magnification and light when and where you need it."

Who could ask for anything more?

Not moi, that's for sure.

Usually costs around $10 but my crack research team found a much sweeter price here: 2 for $10.

"AS SEEN ON TV" so you know it's all good.

June 10, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Analytic Couch Company

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A few years ago Seattle furniture maker Randall Scott Thomas was asked by local analyst Doane Rising to design a couch for her patients.

She'd looked around in furniture stores but hadn't found anything to her liking.

Thomas undertook to create a couch that would meet her needs and succeeded — so much so that several of Rising's analyst colleagues asked Thomas to build one for them.

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Since then he's created a line of five styles of therapeutic couches (above and below), available in a wide selection of colors and materials ranging in price from $1,550 to $3,080.

He recently launched the Analytic Couch Company.

Business is good and bound to get better now that he's exhibiting his line at the ongoing meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in Seattle.

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About one–third of the association's 3,300 members are expected to attend and I have no doubt you'll find most of them, at one time or another, reclining on one of Thomas's couches.

Here's a link to Carol Hymowitz's story, which appeared on the front page of this past Tuesday's Wall Street Journal.

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Want to get most of the benefit of analysis without the time and trouble, not to mention the cost, of a years–long psychoanalysis?

1) Buy one of these couches

2) Put it in your happy place

3) Go there three times a week, for 50 minutes at a time

4) Free associate

That's all there is to it.

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Results guaranteed — or I'll gladly refund every penny you paid me for this advice.

June 10, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Shower Curtain Hook Hole Repair Device

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"Don’t throw out your favorite shower curtain because of a torn hook hole!"

As if.

People are starting to talk about your crummy shower curtain.

No, not the mildew, everyone's got mildew issues; rather, they're murmuring — and it's getting louder by the day, I can tell you in confidence — about why it is that every time they come by your place and need to use the bathroom, as they pass the shower they notice one more torn shower curtain hook hole up top.

Stop reading this right now — I mean it — and go look at the top of your shower curtain.

Those who happen to be able to see theirs from where they're sitting, well, I don't think I'm gonna go there....

At least, not right this zeptosecond. But I digress.

You will note that there is at least one ripped hole, and probably more than one.

Sure, the shower curtain stays up but how do you think that makes us Martha–types feel when we look up and see the shabby maintenance?

Not comfortable, that's for sure — because who knows what else is sub–par around your place?

I mean, what about those past–dated milk cartons in your fridge?

And the melted lettuce in the vegetable bin?

Oops. Sorry, I know that's not my business but I just couldn't help myself.

Please, forgive me.

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes, your soon–to–be better–than–new shower curtain.

Up to now I've always used a piece of strapping tape, placed over both sides of the hole by folding it over the top of the curtain, as step one in my two–step repair process.

Step two involves a paper punch to create a new hole for the hook.

The reason the repair is better than new is that the strapping tape is far stronger than the original plastic and so will outlast the curtain.

But now comes this nice piece of kit (above) to make my efforts unnecessary.

It's like those little white thingies you used to use to repair or reinforce the holes in your notebook paper in school.

"Strong plastic reinforcements are applied in seconds, last for years and are laundry safe."

$7.95 for a pack of 12 peel–off plastic Curtain Savers here.

No need to scrimp — at this price you can go ahead and put a Curtain Saver on each side of the torn hole.

bookofjoe suggestion: put them in your pocketbook or wallet and the next time you're at a friend's with a torn hole, fix it for them.

But don't tell them.

Good deeds done without receiving credit are the very highest form of personal excellence.

June 10, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

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