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January 11, 2006

Best Sign of the Year

Escalator1

Why?

Because the sign warns of the danger posed by the sign itself.

Escalator2

[via lushlush and Dov & Giv]

January 11, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Conceptual Art Car Microwave Pouch Holder

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What is it with this increasingly common blurring of the border between art and the kitchen, anyhow?

Who authorized it? is what I want to know.

But I digress.

From the website:

    Microwave pouch holder puts a grip on burning hot microwave pouches from start to finish.

    Micro bag stands upright; fingers never touch the boiling hot pouch!

    A snip of the corner allows easy pouring right from the bag.

    No more awkward cooking flat in a dish and messy opening.

    Dishwasher–safe plastic is 8" x 6" x 1.5".

Kewl... I mean — that's hot.

$4.29 here (peas and carrots not included).

January 11, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

World's Best Example of 'Moral Hazard'

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It appears on the front page of today's New York Times.

The paper's been running a multi–part series examining the plight of diabetics in New York City: Ian Urbina wrote today's story (part three), headlined "In The Treatment of Diabetes, Success Often Does Not Pay."

The graphic (above) accompanying the article illustrates the moral hazard: the worse the patient outcome, the more money the doctor takes home.

And the difference isn't trivial: a diabetes center loses an average of $455 each time a patient comes in for a checkup, but when complications occur and a diabetic's foot must be amputated a hospital stands to make between $1,499 and $11,360.

Moral hazard is a term often used in business and economics but its precise meaning had eluded me until now.

I've tried really hard to get a handle on it, even reading a novel (excellent, by the way) entitled "Moral Hazard" (below)

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by Kate Jennings — who spent enough time embedded in the world of investment banking and Wall Street as a speechwriter to know whereof she scribes — but it too left me befuddled.

Alas, a state in which I spend most of my (what I believe to be — but one can never be too sure, can one? I'm thinking of the wonderful Spanish epigram, "Toda la vida es sueño, y los sueños sueños son*) waking hours.

But I digress.

In other words, a moral hazard is a situation in which someone benefits from someone else's misfortune and in which there is an financial incentive — enormous in the case of diabetics and their caregivers in New York — to make the bad situation worse.

*Life is a dream, and dreaming a dream as well.

Better in Spanish, isn't it?

January 11, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Craftsman Ratcheting Screwdriver — World-Class Design For $25

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Kevin Kelly featured this nonpareil tool in the December 2 edition of his (free) Cool Tools weekly e-newsletter.

As for me, I put this device in the pantheon of industrial design for the following reasons:

1) It's an absolutely gorgeous piece of no–nonsense brutalist form–follows–function eye candy. The signature Craftsman yellow–and black color scheme; the stenciled model number on the fat, grippy rubber barrel; the raised elliptical traction bumps running the length of the handle; the dense, heavy weight of the tool in your hand; it's just so right.

2) While the tool has 15 (!) different screwdriver bits, the 14 you're not using are safely and securely stored in a pull–out barrel insert (top) which has a snug holder for each, easily changed without teeth–gnashing or knuckle–bashing.

3) The ratcheting mechanism is superb, tight and bi–directional; even better is the fact that it's so beautifully incorporated into the tool that you can figure it out without any instructions whatsover. There's also the option of using it as a regular screwdriver without the ratchet function, and you can change modes with the hand doing the work without even looking — it's that nicely done.

4) They magnetized the barrel to hold your screw in place — lagniappe.

If this kind of quality design and attention to human factors and ergonomics were applied to our computers and cars, life would be so much better — and a lot more affordable.

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$24.99 buys you one great tool here.

[via Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools]

January 11, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Lost Images

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The creator of this website processes the film he finds in old cameras.

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"You are seeing them for the first time, as they were lost by the photographers who took the images."

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Talk about a working time machine....

[via AW]

January 11, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Starfish Bathtub Water Level Alarm Thermometer

Starfish

There'll be a lot going on in your bathtub space should you choose to add this device to your bathroom armamentarium.

From the website:

    Monitor Tub Level 'N Temp Starfish

    Attach this colorful Starfish to the side of your bathtub and as soon as the water reaches his feet, he sets off a loud, clear chime.

    Built–in thermometer displays water temperature.

    Suction cup back.

5" diameter.

$19.99 here (batteries included).

I have no doubt that those with small children will soon tire of the incessant chiming and throw the thing against a wall to silence it forever.

Yeah, Shawn — I'm talking about you.

And one more thing — what's with the "he" when it comes to the gender of the Starfish?

As Dorothy Parker said when she was informed that Calvin Coolidge had died — "How could they tell?"

January 11, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: A treadmill in the O.R.?

Joe_in_or_1

It just occurred to me today.

No specialty better lends itself to being performed while on a treadmill than anesthesiology.

When I'm in the O.R. I pace constantly, in a circle around the perimeter of the room.

I walk slowly but steadily.

The nurses and surgeons don't even notice it anymore, they're so used to it.

I'm tempted sometimes to get a pedometer to see just how much distance I cover in a day.

Doing a rough calculation, I've come up with numbers like 5-10 miles in an average 6-8 hour day.

I started standing instead of sitting during cases back during my residency but eventually took to using a chair like the overwhelming majority of my colleagues.

In recent years I've gone back to standing and now pacing.

The circulating nurses like it because I give them my chair, which is by far the nicest one in the room, what with its pneumatic height control and nice padded seat and back.

It would be a lot easier on my legs if I just set up a treadmill between the anesthesia machine and the O.R. table and spent my time on it.

O.R. floors are really, really hard.

The treadmill would let me see exactly how far I walked each day, plus I'd get a better view of the surgical field from up on high.

At 0.7 mph no one would be able to tell I was moving.

And when it comes time to take you into the O.R. with me to see just how much boredom — and terror — are involved in administering anesthesia, the treadmill will provide a wonderful camera mount.

I better pass this on to Dr. Jim Levine (below),

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the treadmill bandwagon parade leader currently striding out up at the Mayo Clinic, for his take.

January 11, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Turn on your love light: Valentine's Day flashing earrings and necklace

Vvvvaalleen

Got bling?

Duh, is the proper response if you're wearing these very cool ear adornments.

Wonder who's sweet enough to get these for his girl?

Alas, don't count on Mr. Clueless; you'll just have to buy them for yourself.

But hey — you're worth it.

From the website:

    Here's flashing, twinkling fun for the holiday of love!

    This whimsical jewelry features bold red hearts with a dash of flash, creating quite a stir on Valentine's Day.

    1" heart earrings feature French wires.

    Necklace features 1" heart on 18" chain.

    Both include on/off switch and batteries.

    ABS plastic.

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The earrings are $4.99 and the necklace is $3.99 here.

January 11, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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