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September 22, 2006

Most interesting graphic of the month


It accompanied an essay by Michael Milken that appeared on the editorial page of the September 19, 2006 Wall Street Journal.

How things were back in 1820 is pretty amazing.

1950 appears to be as good as it's ever going to get in the U.S.

I wonder what the graph will look like in 2182.

I'll take a guess and say more like 1820 than 1950.

September 22, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

M&M Logo Plates


From the website:

    M&M'S® "M" Logo Plates

    Four bright, bold and colorful 6" ceramic plates — one perfect set.

    Dishwasher- and microwave-safe.


September 22, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google Maps Mashup directory


It's at www.googlemapsmania.blogspot.com.

Jennifer Conlin wrote about it in the September 10 New York Times; her story follows.

    A Sweet 'Napoleon Dynamite' Map and Other Google Mashups

    Since Google started its maps site a year ago, hundreds of specialized maps for travelers have been created — a result of Google allowing third parties to “mash up” its existing maps into new ones. A list of most of the Google mashed maps is available on www.googlemapsmania.blogspot.com.

    One map on the site helps search for parking garages in New York, not just by neighborhood, but also by address, cross streets or attraction (museums, theaters, sports exhibits). On one site, fans of “Napoleon Dynamite” can find the places in Preston, Idaho, depicted in the movie, and another that traces the birth cities of every Oscar winner. Wondering what time it is in Nairobi or Dubai? Roll your mouse over the map on Google World Time Map and the information box immediately displays the time at that location. Careful drivers might want to check out Crash Maps, which gives the location of every fatal car accident in the United States from 2001 to 2004.

    One of the most useful mashes is Geowalk, a map combining map data from Google with information from Wikipedia and photos from Flikr. Viewers click anywhere on a world map and then receive pictures, hotel listings and local information about the spot. It is useful both for planning ahead and learning more about an area you are currently visiting.

    The business of mashing up Google maps has, in fact, become so popular that last month a book was published called “Beginning Google Maps Applications” for the “enthusiast playing for fun” or the “professional building for profit.”

September 22, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Secret Agent Spy Ear II — 'Will turn any average Joe into a secret agent'


Previous versions each had their own charm but the new M7 Spy Ear II brings all prospective spies and spy jrs. state-of-the-black-art high tech.

From the website:

    M7 Rechargeable Secret Agent Spy Ear II

    Perform reconnaissance like a true secret agent.

    Hone in on conversations on the other side of the room that you can’t even notice without the aid of the Spy Ear II.

    Have a bionic ear that allows you to hear a conversation from across a crowded room.

    With the Spy Ear II, you have access to the latest technology in audio spying.

    Its mini size, light weight and skin tone color allow you to hear from great distances without anyone knowing that you are wearing it.

    The ultra-sensitive microphone allows for crisp, clear audio all in a discreet, tiny earpiece.

    Plus, the Spy Ear II is ergonomically designed to fit your ear snugly yet still be comfortable.

    There is a volume adjustment that allows you to easily adjust the volume and hone in on certain conversations.

    It also comes with a complete supply of ear fittings, giving you the ability to fit it to your ear size, no matter how big or small.

    The main unit is rechargeable and comes with a discrete charging unit that will run off of batteries (not included) or AC power.

    Simply drop the listening unit into the charger and you are set.

    Simply put, this tiny, cutting-edge device will turn any average Joe into a secret agent.


With that, I'm sold.


September 22, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why shouldn't bookofjoe readers in Britain benefit from Amazon's scope?


The thought occurred to me yesterday as I read a review in the September 14 issue of The Economist of Cormac McCarthy's new novel, "The Road."

I tore the review out to take to the computer to order the book from Amazon.

Up top in the hard copy — but not the online — version of the review it said, after noting that the book was published by Knopf, has 256 pages and costs $24 (list — Amazon [U.S.] sells it for $14.40), To be published in Britain by Picador in November.

That's when the penny dropped.

At least once a month I read about a new book in The Economist or Financial Times, published in the U.K. and only later — or never — to appear in the U.S.

So I go to Amazon U.K., where by some miracle all my One-Click settings work just like in the U.S. store and voila — the book is on its way.

But Brits


can enjoy the same delicious pleasure and ease of use in the other direction.

Try it — I guarantee you'll like it.

The Economist review follows.

    Desert storm

    With its Old Testament self-importance, its predictable tics and often redundant phrasing (“The snow fell nor did it cease to fall”), Cormac McCarthy's “The Road” may seem grating at first. Nevertheless, his story of an unnamed father and son after an unnamed Armageddon, shambling ever southwards in an unnamed country, gradually conjures a compelling and memorable dread.

    The post-apocalypse novel, usually but not always the province of science fiction, is intrinsically mournful. Normally, there is a skewed social structure through which, at least in pockets, humanity has regrouped. “The Road” has no reconfigured society beyond a few roving bands of cannibals. The father's fierce loyalty to his son is all that is left of Rotary Clubs, democratic elections and supermarkets. The duo scavenges stray tins of peaches from houses largely looted years before, but clearly the tinned goods will soon run out altogether.

    The opening's pretentious intonations give way to passages that are wrenchingly elegiac: “Perhaps in the world's destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be.” In the incinerated cities, “The melted window glass hung frozen down the walls like icing on a cake.” And single plot twists chill the blood. Followed by a small band of raggedy travellers, including a woman who is pregnant, the father frightens the group into abandoning camp. There, the two find a human infant blackening over the fire on a spit.

    Mr McCarthy brutishly portrayed the American West in his last novel, “No Country for Old Men”. Yet here he encourages gratitude for even that compromised world of heroin dealers and human trafficking. When “the man” discovers a brass sextant carefully preserved in a baize-lined case, “He is struck by the beauty of it,” and so is the reader. Under Mr McCarthy's bleakness burns a retroactive treasuring. To wit, even with rising oil prices, terrorism and insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, there may come a time when readers look back in wonder that they ever had it so good.

September 22, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Giant Puzzle — How's 18,000 pieces sound to you?


Why, that's almost as many holes as it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

But I digress.

From the website:

    18,000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

    Twelve times larger than commonly available 1,500-piece puzzles, this giant jigsaw puzzle is comprised of 18,000 precision hand-cut pieces that combine to create a 54-square-foot image of four of the world's most famous 16th and 17th century cartographic works.

    Made in Germany by the renowned puzzle designers at Ravensburger, the upper left portion of the puzzle depicts a version of the Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica Ac Hydrographica Tabula created by Claes Janszoon Visscher in 1652.

    The upper right portion depicts the Orbis Terrarum Nova et Accuratissima Tabula by Nicholas Visscher in 1658 and the lower left map is a rare, later (1680) version of the same map from Moses Pitt's ill-fated English Atlas project.

    The lower right map is a version of the Americae Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio by Abraham Ortelius in 1587.

    Fully assembled, the puzzle is suitable for framing and wall-mounting.

    Each map puzzle section comes in its own storage bag.

    Completed puzzle is 9'W x 6'3"H.


September 22, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Martin Margiela Playing Card Waistcoat


The one-of-a-kind garment required 21 hours to make.

$2,900 at Maison Martin Margiela (803 Greenwich Street, New York City; 212-989-7612).

September 22, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tool Fridge


From the website:

    Tool Fridge

    The Tool Fridge may hold the perfect tool for the job.

    Well, not exactly.

    What we have here is the perfect accessory for any man’s place.

    Designed to look like a tool chest, this refrigerator will fit right into your garage décor.

    Your friends will think you’re going for the ratchet, when actually you’ll just be quenching your thirst.

    Depending on what project you’re into this “tool chest” might just contain the tools to finish the job.

    Door lock, heavy-duty locking casters and rugged metal faux drawer pulls all help this refrigerator pull off the tool box look.

    Measures 37”H (with casters) x 18-5/8”W x 22-5/8”D.

    Weight [empty]: 55 lbs.




September 22, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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