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July 20, 2005

Mouthfeel Wine Wheel


The texture of wine, its tactile qualities on the tongue and inside the mouth, is difficult to describe.

"Experts cannot even agree on what to call it," wrote Eric Asimov in an essay on the subject that appeared in the June 22 New York Times.

It's an interesting exploration of the topic.

Buried deep in his piece, toward the end, was an allusion to the "mouthfeel wheel" developed by the Australian Wine Research Institute in an attempt to get a handle — as it were — on the problem.

Asimov noted that the wheel included words like parching, grippy, watery and sappy.

He didn't think a whole lot of the idea of the wheel but it appealed to me — as Elmer Fudd would say, it seemed like the wheel deal — so I asked my crack research team to investigate.

Long story short: you can get your "Full Colour, A4 Sized (210x297mm) Laminated Wine Tasting Wheel (above) right here for $9 (U.S.).

How about words like dusty, furry, fleshy, abrasive, and wet clay to describe the feeling as it goes down?

Those and many others can be yours.

Just give me what I want and nobody gets hurt.

What the heck is going on around here?

But wait — there's more.

The same company offers an Olive Oil Tasting Wheel for $13.50 (U.S.).

How about catty, twiggy, burnt and grubby?

Come to think of it — hold the baby greens, would you?

July 20, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nike Search and Rescue CommVest


Designed specifically for mountain search and rescue operations.

Conductive fibers and "smart fabrics" integrate essential radio functions into the vest.

The speaker and microphone are near the collar for optimal audio quality at all times.

Oversized controls to eliminate having to remove gloves or unzip jackets during use.

Winner of the 2005 Industrial Design Excellence Award.

July 20, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Casino Carpet Gallery


David G. Schwartz, the creator of Die is Cast — "Thoughts on a world of chance" — decided to start photographing the carpets (above and below) in casinos he visited.


He writes, "Casino carpet is known as an exercise in deliberate bad taste that somehow encourages people to gamble."



I would venture to say that the casino industry employs some of the world's finest behavioral scientists: next to nothing is random once you enter.


So those garish carpets are not simply the result of some color–blind kid idly tossing darts at a book of patterns: quite the opposite.

An awful lot of money and time go into the choices of floor covering inside gambling palaces.


Anyway, have a look at Mr. Schwartz's whimsical collection.

He launched carpet hermeneutics as an academic discipline with his landmark paper, "Art for Gamblers' Feet: Casino Carpets from Coast to Coast," which he delivered at the 2005 Far West Popular Culture Association in Las Vegas.


He would appear to know as much as anyone in the world on the subject as well as much else regarding the gaming industry.

July 20, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tanita Bad Breath Tester


Take the worry out of being close.

Wait a minute... that’s Dial soap’s old mantra.

It’ll do.

The Tanita Breath Alert measures the concentration of volatile sulfur compounds present in your breath.

Such molecules are the prime source of malodorous oral effluence.

Hey, cool synonym for bad breath, what?

Just drop that one on someone and see what happens.

Here’s how the device works:

1) You or whoever breathes into the sensor at the top of the device

2) In seconds the screen displays one, two, three or four vertically aligned dots

3) The fewer the better

At least you’ll know in advance what everyone’s going to have to deal with.

Measures 3.5” x 1.25” x 0.6” (slightly larger than a pack of chewing gum).

Weighs 3.2 oz.

Requires 2 AAA batteries.

$29.99 here.

July 20, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack



Please don't hate me for this post.

Because if you continue you may be unable to stop yourself from spending an awful lot of time on the website I'm about to send you to.

It's the result of a collaboration between the Cooper–Hewitt National Design Museum and the Parsons School of Design.

They've taken the museum's furniture collection and put it online in the form of a game called Design–a–Room.

You click on either "Art and Crafts" or "Modern" to create rooms using furniture, rugs and wall coverings from either era.

The genius of the site design is in how they've let you manipulate the various fixtures and furnishings.

Not only can you move them around your room; you can rotate them and shrink or enlarge them, however you like.

This site was designed for the late 60s.

Check out that mescaline vision I created up top.

Full disclosure: I've never been one for drugs.

I mean, look at this website: that's kind of obvious, isn't it? But I digress.

As Stewart Brand so insightfully said, "Drugs stayed the same, but computers just keep getting better."

Along with the furniture pieces displayed come tidbits and anecdotes about the designers and their work.

Fair warning, then: here's the website.

There goes the day.

July 20, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Lappyvator — Laptop holder for the bedridden or supine


From down under, as it were — Australia, to be precise — comes this most excellent invention.


The name at first seems Scandinavian but it makes perfect sense when you see what it describes: a device that takes a laptop computer and positions it perfectly for a supine individual to type and view the screen.

The inventor had a sore tailbone (coccyx) after an extended bicycle ride around the lakes in Canberra after the LCA2005 Linux conference held in the area.


He needed to keep pressure off the affected area and found sitting was painful and standing not comfortable either: the only relief was obtained while reclining, yet he needed to work at his computer.

That was the problem; pictured above and below is his solution.


He supplies an excellent, detailed guide to building your own Lappyvator and many pictures to illuminate his instructions.

Sure, it's a little rough but the first wheel probably wasn't much to look at either.


A bookofjoe Design Award 2005 to this modest man who doesn't even include his name in his post.


I could take a lesson from him.

[via Gadgets.cz]

July 20, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



"Words written anywhere, then linked to images, video or sound files online."

What's that mean?

I dunno.

Check it out here.

July 20, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stealth Dimmer


Be still my heart.

It stopped for just a second or two when I happened on this elegant matte black dimmer switch from Lutron.

$26.64 here.

July 20, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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