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August 24, 2005

Museum of Cycladic Art

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It's located in Athens, Greece.

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A new show entitled "Eleutherna: Polis–Acropolis–Necropolis" has just opened there and Geraldine Fabrikant, in Sunday's New York Times Travel section story (scroll down the link), described it as "stunning."

The show features hundreds of objects from an excavation currently ongoing at Eleutherna, "a relatively little–known archaeological site in Crete that was for centuries a significant Cretan city."

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Recent findings including the charred remains of a princely warrior indicate that Homer's "The Iliad," in describing the burial of the war hero Patroclus, was probably based on an accurate description of events.

Patroclus was slain battling the Trojans and his great friend Achilles oversaw his cremation on a funeral pyre and burial, accompanied by the sacrifice nearby of 12 Trojan soldiers in an act of ritual vengeance.

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I have been enchanted by Cycladic art since my freshman year of college, when I first encountered, in my Janson's "History of Art," a photo of a gold ring with dancing princesses carved into it.

It might very well have been created by the master who produced a similar ring shown below.

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I saw that very ring I first glimpsed in Janson some years ago somewhere in a show and I almost passed out with pleasure.

The Museum of Cycladic Art is at 4 Neophytou Douka Street, near the National Garden; www.cycladic.gr; Tel: 30-210-722-8321; Closed Tuesday and Sunday; Admission is $6.30.

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

Liquid Pencil

Fffffff

"Do not sharpen."

Real No. 2 lead that flows instead of breaks.

Liquid graphite inside.

The point stays sharp forever.

$2.99 for three at Office Depot.

Why it's not yet up on their website, when they're getting ink — oops, I meant lead — in the back–to–school section of the newspaper is beyond moi.

August 24, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

lostglovegallery.com

Glove

Lose a glove?

"If so, quickly go to the location described below. Your glove might still be there."

I wondered if people sometimes mistakenly type in lostlovegallery.com so I tried it.

I find it almost impossible to believe no one's yet bought this domain and run with it.

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Here's your big chance.

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

Batman Sunblade

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"Minimum exposure. maximum impact."

Hard to argue with that approach.

Limited edition.

$79.95 here.

[via AW]

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

Do your laundry for free — on the world's finest machines

Maytagblue

This is why you pay me the money you do.

To give you insider tips you won't find anywhere else, no matter how hard you look.

In yesterday's Washington Post Business section was a story about the recent acquisition of Maytag by Whirlpool.

Whirlpool paid more than $1.7 billion in cash and stock for the venerable Iowa company and its assets, including — I assume — its herd of cows used to produce world–famous Maytag Blue Cheese. But I digress.

Under a photo used to illustrate the story was the following caption:

"Maytag store owner Jake Herndon IV says customers can bring in their own laundry to try out the washers and dryers."

Whoa.

That's huge.

Because if you live in a decent–sized city you can probably do this at lots of places — once.

So let's say you do your laundry every two weeks.

That means that all you have to do is pick a likely store, drag in your sweaty, stinky clothes and say you're seriously considering buying a washer and dryer, but since the ones you're looking at are very expensive, more than you're used to paying for such appliances, you'd like to see how they perform.

"Be my guest" is what you'll hear from the great majority of store owners.

I'll bet they even supply the detergent and all, but just to be on the safe side bring your own.

While your clothes are drying, bop over to Whole Foods and have lunch or dinner on the house.

Between the free samples, produce section and bulk foods you should have a very pleasant repast.

Then return for your fluffy, warm and dry clothes, as clean as they've ever been, say "I'm impressed," fill your laundry bags and go home.

You can thank me some other time.

Just trying to make your life a little better, every day, in some small way.

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

Sea Glass

Wworn2

Jura Koncius wrote an interesting story for the August 11 Washington Post about sea glass.

You know, the colorful stuff you find walking along the beach when you're a little kid, marvel at and take home to put on your nightstand.

Today it's a very hot collectible.

In the book "Pure Sea Glass," self–published last year by Maryland author Richard LaMotte, 45, he explains where sea glass comes from, how it is formed, and how to identify it.

His website, pureseaglass.com, is a nice resource if you'd like to find out more than I'm going to touch on here.

LaMotte told Koncius that the Chesapeake Bay, for centuries a shipping channel where bottles by the many have been tossed overboard, is one of the best places in the U.S. to find superb specimens.

LaMotte and his wife Nancy have over 30,000 specimens in their home.

The book has so far sold a very impressive 19,000 copies at $34.95 apiece.

Tell you what: when you self–publish and sell that many copies at that price, you're making some serious money.

Perhaps $10 or more a copy, which = $190,000.

Nice, eh?

Celia Pearson took the photographs which appear in the book.

She's produced a series of art photography prints of beach glass which have been selling briskly at $300 to $1,700 apiece.

The market for rare sea glass specimens has exploded: good red or orange pieces,

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the scarcest, sold for $5–$10 a few years ago and now bring ten times that.

LaMotte only seriously starting collecting in the year 2000 when his wife, who had studied as a jewelry maker, decided to incorporate sea glass into her designs.

He started roaming Chesapeake beaches and soon had special spots, which he keeps secret, which on a good day can yield 100 to 150 pieces.

LaMotte believes it takes up to 10 years for a piece of glass to show significant etching by water in motion swirling and twirling it.

Perhaps 20 to 30 years elapse until the edges are completely polished and rounded by the water.

In his book he rates the rarity of sea glass, dividing 24 colors into four categories ranging from extremely rare (orange, red, turquoise, yellow, black, teal gray) down to common (Kelly green, brown and white/clear).

He finds only one or two pieces of red a year.

The counterfeit sea glass market is alive and well, he notes, increasingly so as prices rise.

He says that edges that aren't worn down and a lack of pockmarks are a dead giveaway to a piece of questionable provenance.

Suggestion: if you have a place at the beach or shore; if you go to the beach or the shore; or if you ever liked going to the beach or the shore, this book will bring you pleasure.

It should be on the coffee table or guest room nightstand of every house that's within view of the waves.

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$23.07 at amazon.

August 24, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

bookofjoe according to Andreas Wacker

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He's created a website called twexus.com focusing on pairs and symmetry.

You can see it for yourself and create your own slide show, etc.

What interested me was putting bookofjoe into his site's search box and seeing the resulting image (above) that best fit the term.

I like it.

August 24, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Words of wisdom from John Kay and Charles Babbage

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Yesterday's Financial Times column by John Kay explored the nature of probability and its underlying power in determining how things turn out.

He wrote:

    The strongest argument for learning about probability theory is that people who don't understand it lose money to people who do.

    On those African savannahs where modern brains evolved, rational calculating individuals won money at dice from hunters whose irrational exuberance brought in the wild game that fed the tribe.

    The same phenomenon today explains, not just the race track and Las Vegas, but why derivative markets are so profitable — for the people who run them.

Tell you what: those three sentences alone are worth the price of a year's subscription to the FT.

But wait: there was more in the very same issue.

From Morgen Witzel's column:

    But it is not just creation of knowledge that is important.

    Knowledge must circulate through the business so that employees can do their jobs.

    Here the "lifeblood" metaphor becomes particularly important.

    Preventing the flow of knowledge can be a little like blocking an artery.

    People who do not know what is going on in the rest of the business can feel cut off and their performance suffers.

    The implication for management is that knowledge has to be kept circulating.

I am struck by the similarity of knowledge to money: both have no value when static but only acquire power in motion.

James Buchan's great book on money, "Frozen Desire," took this as its stepping–off point.

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If people are not willing to exchange and accept a given currency it has zero value, regardless of what its holders may believe.

Likewise with knowledge: if one person has it but shares it with no one else that person may benefit but society as a whole does not; furthermore, the death of the individual/loss of the knowledge leaves that society unchanged, no better off than it was originally.

If the knowledge has been transmitted to others, however, it becomes leveraged by incremental improvement, somewhat akin to how source code, when open, can be improved to the benefit of the person who initially created it.

Those who continue to create barriers to access to information will be swept aside as the tsunami–like sweep and power of the distributed intelligence of the collective web washes them away.

Just as a shark will die if held immobile while immersed in still water even though the water is saturated with oxygen, so will those with information who sequester it and hinder its flow perish in the midst of plenty.

The allusion in the headline of this post to Charles Babbage draws on Witzel's noting that Babbage,

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the mathematician and economist better known as the inventor of the computer in the nineteenth century, "argued that better use of knowledge and technology could both make businesses more profitable and raise the standard of living for workers."

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

injinji Tetratsok

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New from injinji is this unique take on running socks.

    From the website:

    It's not a "sock" anymore, it's an interface system designed to enable your entire foot to perform as it was intended to.

Each toe gets its own little compartment, just like your piggies used to when you were little and they all had faces on them.

O8uh

This iteration has no faces.

Unless you draw them on.

Which it wouldn't surprise me one bit if you did.

Do you remember which one goes to the market? I seem to have forgotten... but then, it's been, what, sixteen years? But I digress.

injinji (I'm loving this trend toward lower case proper names) contends that this design will eliminate blisters resulting from toes rubbing against one another.

From the REI site:

    Like gloves for your feet.

    These innovative "toe socks" virtually prevent blisters with a seamless construction that protects each toe.

There's only one way to find out, really: try them.

Uiygk

They come in three lengths, pictured from the top down: Micro Mini ($11); Mini Crew ($12); and Crew ($14), all available here.

I wonder if the NCAA will prohibit their use because of the Native American component of the company's name.

August 24, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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