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September 6, 2006


Just opened.

Read Kevin J. Delaney's story in today's Wall Street Journal (below), then say adios to what you're supposed to be doing and enter the wormhole.

    Google Service Lets Users Search For Archived News

    Google Inc. plans to launch a service today that allows people to search for news articles dating as far back as the 1700s, a move that could broaden the market for news-archive services.

    The Mountain View, Calif., Internet company is working with media outlets such as New York Times Co. and Washington Post Co., as well as news-retrieval services such as Reed Elsevier Inc.'s LexisNexis, to make articles available through the Google service. The Wall Street Journal and Factiva, a news-retrieval service jointly owned by Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. and Reuters Group PLC, also are making articles searchable through the new Google service.

    Using the new Google News Archive Search, consumers will be able to search the full text of articles using keywords and to view snippets of the articles grouped chronologically on Google's site, before clicking through to sites operated by the content owners or their licensees to see the entire articles. Consumers in some cases will be able to obtain free viewing of the articles, or they can pay a fee for access.

    The content owners or their licensees will handle article delivery and any pricing and billing. Google says it won't host content itself or charge content owners or consumers for the service. Google also won't sell advertising on the service at its release.

    Google News Archive Search includes articles that have been difficult or impossible for users to find through search engines. Google's regular news service, for example, includes content only from the previous 30 days. Consumers can access some archival news databases free online through libraries, but not everyone is aware of how to do that.

    Google declined to say how many content owners were included or exactly how many articles would be available.

    New York Times said it will make available more than two million articles dating as far back as 1981 through the Google service. It expects to finish digitizing articles dating back to the newspaper's founding in the 1850s within roughly the next year. Consumers pay $4.95 per article to access roughly two-thirds of the New York Times archives; the rest are free with the company generating revenue from ads displayed alongside the articles.

    Time Warner Inc.'s Time magazine will provide free access through the Google service to the magazine's archives dating back to its founding in 1923. That represents close to 300,000 articles. Those articles, which are accompanied by online ads, will continue to be available free through the magazine's Web site.

    The news-archive service also includes articles that Google has indexed from the Web without formal arrangements with their publishers. That practice prompted a copyright lawsuit filed by French news agency Agence France-Presse in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last year. The news agency alleged that Google's presentation of short excerpts of its articles and photos constituted copyright infringement. Google says it allows publishers to opt out of Google News and that it has removed AFP content from its news site.

    Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of the SearchEngineWatch.com industry tracking site, says the new Google service could allow "news publishers to make more money off their archives" through fees and ad revenue.

September 6, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cole Haan Nike Air Pump


"Introducing the state-of-the-art high heel with Nike Air™."

What to wear for next year's Glamour Stiletto Run.


September 6, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: 'Does your wind instrument threaten your health?'


Got your attention, huh?

Me too, even though the kazoo is the only wind instrument I've ever played.

But I digress.

Yesterday's Washington Post Health section story by Jennifer Huget featured Massachusetts dentist — and accomplished clarinetist — Dr. Lorenzo Lepore's company, MaestroMD.

Long story short: "Laboratory studies have proved that dangerous bacteria can survive and grow inside a musical wind instrument."

Dr. Lepore's company sends you a shipping kit for your instrument; you send it to them and in 10 business days your instrument is returned, sterilized and "ready to be safely played."

Prices range from $49.99 for a piccolo to $319.99 for a tuba.

Here's the Post article.

    Tune In to a New Worry?

    Massachusetts dentist and musician Lorenzo Lepore had an aha moment after a school band teacher asked how to make a sick student's wind instrument safe to issue to another student. Just sterilize it the same way you do other instruments, Lepore said. When the teacher replied that the school sterilized none of the instruments, Lepore heard opportunity's bugle call. The result: a service he calls MaestroMD.

    "Does your wind instrument threaten your health?" reads the pitch at www.maestromd.com. "Laboratory studies have proved that dangerous bacteria can survive and grow inside a musical wind instrument." Those studies — on a small number of instruments — were commissioned by Lepore's company.

    The business is aimed mostly at school systems — the first to get the treatment (gratis) are the schools in Lepore's hometown of Medford, Mass. — but worrywart parents can also sign up to have a single flute or trumpet sanitized. The company supplies prepaid shipping boxes to send instruments to a sterilization facility where the items, still in their cases, are infiltrated with ethylene oxide gas, long used to sterilize medical and dental instruments. The average cost is about $50 to $90 per item, though a tuba will cost you $319; the germ-free instruments are shipped back within 10 days.

    Play That Again: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention knows of no disease outbreak tied to wind instruments. John Bradley, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, says that even if disease-causing bacteria could survive the usual summer gap between student rentals (which he considers unlikely), the pathogens associated with such illnesses as staph and strep infections, meningitis and tuberculosis aren't likely to do harm if encountered through a wind instrument.

    On a Local Note: Gaithersburg-based Victor Litz Music Center, which rents about 1,500 band instruments each school year, swabs out its wind instruments during the summer and cleans mouthpieces with a germicide called Sterisol, says assistant manager Robby Rule. "I have high confidence in the instruments," he says.

September 6, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Solitaire Olive Plate


Designed by Barnaby Barford and Andre Klausér.

With the right accessory you can make a jar of olives look awfully appealing.

In the end it really is all about how you wrap your package.

From the website:

    Solitaire Olive Plate

    This ceramic serving plate has evenly spaced indentations to beautifully display olives, nuts, or other hors d'oeuvres.

    The corners feature larger impressions which can be used to discard olive pits or serve condiments.

    Play a fun game of solitaire by placing snacks in the small dips and following the included instructions.

    Hand wash.


Personally, I'd pass on using the corners for discarded olive pits.


September 6, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sushi at Rosanjin


Above, vegetarian sushi nine ways, as served by the new Rosanjin Tribeca in New York City.

Among the ingredients in the $21 assortment are mushrooms, edamame, pickled turnip and tofu.

The kitchen is located at 141 Duane Street (at Church Street) but at present is limited to delivery only, to addresses in Tribeca and the financial district.

Tel: 212-346-7999.

[via Florence Fabricant's "Food Stuff" feature in the August 23 New York Times Dining section]

September 6, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pelican HardBack Laptop Case


Waterproof, dustproof, airtight, heat/chemical-resistant and capable of withstanding a six-foot-drop.

From websites:

    Pelican 1080 HardBack™ Case

    • Fits computers up to 12.3"W x 9.3"L x 1.5"D

    • Interior dimensions: 12.8"W x 9.8"L x 1.7"D

    • Exterior dimensions: 13.7"W x 10.9"L x 2.5"D

    • Extruded aluminum latch and hinge with stainless steel pins

    • Built-in, automatic Gore-Tex® pressure equalization valve keeps moisture out and makes it easier to open the case at any altitude

    • Shock-absorbing foam liner

    • Waterproof seal

    • Color: Dark Gray

    • Lid depth: .85" (1.8cm)

    • Case depth: .85" (1.8cm)

    • Weight: 2 lbs (.91kg)

    • Buoyancy maximum: 1.25lbs (.57kg)

    • Temperature range: -10/200°F (-23/93°C)


The bad news: it comes in one size only — large enough for a 13" screen.


September 6, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The marginalia of John Adams


Richard Brookhiser addressed the subject in an essay that appeared on the back page of the September 3, 2006 New York Times Book Review.

"John Adams, though an erratic writer, was the greatest marginalist of the founding fathers, as pungent as he was copious," wrote Brookhiser.

Some of the finest examples will soon be online at johnadamslibrary.org.

Here's Brookhiser's piece.

    John Adams Talks to His Books

    Every student marks his books — not, in most cases, to record his own thoughts, but to hammer home the teacher’s points. I bought my $2.95 Modern Library edition of “The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson” in 1974, for a seminar taught by Garry Wills. Over one phrase in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence referring to George III’s misdeeds — “These facts have given the last stab to agonized affection” — I wrote, compressing what Wills said, “not froth but central pt of appeal.” The Continental Congress didn’t think the phrase belonged in their appeal at all, and cut most of the passage in which it appears. But Wills wanted to highlight it as the mark of a passionate Jefferson, stabbed, agonized and affectionate. Wills’s own central point is now declared in my library, as long as the binding of the book holds up.

    Every professional writer is familiar with the even more utilitarian jottings of book reviewing — the signs and expressions we use to help us compress two or three or five years of an author’s work into a thousand-word judgment. My tool kit of marginal notes is simple: “!,” “?,” “*,” “funny,” and for hard jobs, “echh.” But writing in margins can blossom into a form of writing or counterwriting all its own. John Adams, though an erratic writer, was the greatest marginalist of the founding fathers, as pungent as he was copious. Later this month, the Boston Public Library is mounting an exhibition called “John Adams Unbound,” displaying some 3,700 volumes that belonged to the second president. (I am one of the historians on the advisory panel.) They bring us close to a great and eccentric man, and give an object lesson in the history of book collecting. But they also contain a trove of marginalia. Some of the gaudiest examples will be displayed in open copies, which will be available permanently online at johnadamslibrary.org. Zoltan Haraszti, a former keeper of rare books and editor of publications at the library, published many of Adams’s marginalia in his 1952 book, “John Adams and the Prophets of Progress.” But now this quadrant of Adams’s mind will be completely mapped.

    Adams made his first known marginal notes when he was 20, in a 1755 pamphlet, “A Lecture on Earthquakes,” by John Winthrop. (Were earthquakes — Boston had just had one — made worse by lightning rods? Adams, in his notes, thought not.) But most of his marginalia over the rest of his long life was devoted to analyzing political upheavals. He wrote comments in fewer than 10 percent of his books, but when he got going — usually in works of history or political theory — he sometimes added thousands of words of his own to the text.

    Often he reacts to an author’s tone. What he most dislikes is breezy confidence; the pieties of both left and right set him off. Adams read Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “Discourse on Inequality” in translation. “Savages are not bad,” Rousseau wrote of the state of nature, for “the calmness of their passions and their ignorance of vice... prevents them from doing ill.” Adams: “Calmness of the passions of savages! ha! ha! ha!” Adams thought more highly of Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, a Tory propagandist of the early 18th century whose supple attacks on the Whig establishment made him popular in revolutionary America. But when Bolingbroke turned solemn Adams was unimpressed. “The citizens of Rome placed the images of their ancestors in the vestibules of their houses” to recall “the glorious actions of the dead,” Bolingbroke wrote in “Letters on the Study and Use of History.” “But images of fools and knaves are as easily made as those of patriots and heroes,” Adams retorted in the margin. And further: “The virtue of one generation was transfused, by the magic of example, into several” (Bolingbroke), followed by “The vice too of one generation was transfused into several” (Adams). In the historical record villains are “unmasked at length” (Bolingbroke). “Not always” (Adams). “And the honest man is justified before his story ends” (Bolingbroke). “Not always” (Adams). This is Adams as heckler at the open-mike show of political theory.

    But sometimes Adams engaged in extended, if fragmentary, argument. Mary Wollstonecraft, the English feminist, moved to France in 1792, where she met many of the main players in the revolution. Her 1794 book “Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution” reflected both high hopes and deep disappointment. Adams’s note on the front flyleaf is respectful, though it hints at trouble to come. “This is a lady of masculine masterly understanding.... With a little experience in public affairs and the reading and reflection which would result from it, she would have produced a history without the defects and blemishes pointed out with too much severity perhaps and too little gallantry in the notes.” Then he goes to work.

    Among innumerable short comments and some abusive exclamations (“this foolish woman”), Adams lays out a serious critique. Wollstonecraft, dismayed by the factionalism that tore the revolution apart, suggests that a simpler political system could have avoided “those aspiring follies.” This defied Adams’s deepest political conviction, that there is safety in complexity: only checks and balances prevent one class or party from tyrannizing everyone. He develops his view at length. “A woman would be more simple if she had but one eye or one breast; yet nature chose she should have two as more convenient as well as ornamental,” he writes at one point. “A man would be more simple with but one ear, one arm, one leg. Shall a legislature have but one chamber then, merely because it is more simple?” The French revolutionaries, Adams thought, were too simple, placing too much power in a one-house legislature, which became prey to demagogues and mobs. “The word ‘simplicity,’ ” he wrote, has “produced more horrors than monarchy did in a century.”

    Another author Adams marked up at length was John Adams. In 1805 a Boston publisher brought out “Discourses on Davila,” a collection of essays he had written in 1790-91, when he was vice president. Enrico Davila was the author of a history of 16th-century French civil wars — not obvious food for controversy, but Adams’s “Discourses,” which ran in a Philadelphia newspaper, included remarks praising hereditary monarchs as a useful balance in some societies. The ensuing flap pegged Adams as a reactionary, and ruptured his friendship with Thomas Jefferson. Looking again at his writings, Adams liked what he read: “This dull, heavy volume still excites the wonder of its author... that he had the courage to oppose and publish his own opinions to the universal opinion of all America.” But Adams had to admit that it had backfired: “Not one man in America then believed him. He knew not one then and has not heard of one since who then believed him. The work... powerfully operated to destroy his popularity.”

    Centuries after the invention of printing, millenniums after the invention of writing, literature still has many of the features of an oral/aural experience. We read books aloud, or listen to them on tape. John Adams talked to his books, ideas and authors becoming characters in a continuing free-for-all in his head. We don’t know if he spoke to himself as he made his jottings, but it’s hard to imagine him (“foolish woman”) writing in perfect silence. Today bloggers bang away at the mainstream media and one another, and their readers bang away in the comments, with all the informality of people meeting on the street, or in a bar. Writers aspire to the achieved stasis of print but, like John Adams, we often think and react in the margin.

September 6, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Magna Doodle Color Plus


The original made line drawings without color but this new 21st-century iteration is souped up with two-toned micromagnets suspended in gel.

Each end of the magnetic stylus brings a different color to the surface.


September 6, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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