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April 8, 2007

World's first caffeinated donut


It's here.

Currently being marketed under the trademarked name Buzz Donuts, this could be the new new thing.

Steve Mirsky, in his "Antigravity" column in the latest (April, 2007) Scientific American, explored this bleeding edge creation and offered suggestions to improve other tried-and-true products.

His piece follows.

    Doughnut Try This at Home

    Tinkering with a classic can sometimes go awry, or possibly even pumpernickel

    People love to tinker. And so they often combine already good things to come up with newer, seemingly even better things. Iodized salt. Vitamin D fortified milk. Fluoridated water. Now add a newcomer to the list of such hybrids: the caffeinated doughnut.

    Currently being marketed under the trademarked name Buzz Donuts, the caffeinated doughnut is the brainchild of one Robert Bohannon, whom a press release about his invention describes as a "molecular scientist." (Is there any other kind?) By the way, I had been under the impression that I invented the caffeinated doughnut long ago when I cleverly dipped a doughnut into a cup of hot coffee. But apparently not. (Not to mention the time I was victimized by the false dichotomy of assuming that I could develop a self-cleaning oven by simply never cleaning the oven myself.)

    Anyway, Bohannon's early attempts to add the life-affirming zip of caffeine to baked goods led to literally bitter defeat: "They were terrible, absolutely horrid," he was quoted as saying. "It would just make you puke." Eventually Bohannon hit on a process by which to mask the tart taste when the stimulating alkaloid was added to a recipe. (Bagels with a boost could also be on the drawing and cutting boards.) The advent of the caffeinated doughnut necessarily makes one wonder what else might be improved by the addition of the right beneficial agent. Here are suggested amalgamations for other molecular scientists to develop.

    The Saltpeter Oyster. Enjoy the taste, texture and possible cholera infection to be found in oysters without the pesky alleged aphrodisiacal effects. (And for an equal and opposite effect, try the Viagrafied lutefisk.)

    The Premustarded Hot Dog. Ever balance a hot dog and drink in your lap at a baseball game while fighting the guys on either side of you for a precious piece of armrest? Trying to manipulate mustard packets under those circumstances would challenge Kali. A thin river of mustard within the frankfurter would be a blessing and could probably be achieved cost-effectively by using syringes confiscated from the players. The Depilatory Deodorant. An infusion of the powerful hair remover calcium thioglycolate into deodorants or antiperspirants could be a real morning time saver if you're hitting the gym sleeve­less. Should be available in small, medium, large and Robin Williams hirsute economy size.

    The Nitro Cheesesteak. Love the shaved beef cheezwizardry to be found at Pat's or Geno's in funky South Philly, but hate the feeling of chest-cramping death? Cheesesteaks laced with nitro­glycerin should allow customers to eat with hearty abandon. (While researching this item, I discovered that nitroglycerin, which achieves its medical ­effect through blood vessel dilation, is in fact being added to a brand of condom slated to soon hit the market, thus giving unfortunate potential new meaning to the expression "explosive orgasm.")

    Doughnutty Coffee. Doughnuts leave powdered sugar on your shirt and pre­sent a small but serious choking hazard. But who doesn't want something sweet with that morning cup o' joe? How about adding the classic American on-the-run breakfast item to coffee--in liquid form! Doughnutty coffee would give commuters the easy-to-handle morning meal they need with their caffeine, while leaving a hand free with which to drive, apply deodorant or perform a Heimlich maneuver on anyone gagging on a chunk of dry doughnut.

April 8, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Checkers Beach Towel


Ready to move to the next level after your Tic-Tac-Toe experience?

From the website:

    Checkers Beach Towel

    Use as a towel and as a game!

    Turn your towel into fun for the whole family!

    • Quality 30" x 60" cotton towel

    • Great for beach, home or poolside

    • Includes towel and oversized game pieces in a mesh bag


April 8, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pearls before swine — Or, what happened when world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell played his Stradivarius in a subway station?


Long story short: Bell (left, above) played real good for free.

Here's a link to a 35-second video of Bell playing one of six classical pieces during an impromptu solo recitation on Friday morning, January 12, 2007 at the L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station in Washington, D.C.

During the 43-minute concert, passers-by tossed a total of $32.17 into his empty violin case.


Here's a link to today's superb Washington Post magazine cover story by Gene Weingarten about the experiment.

April 8, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Mattress Medic — Saggy mattress? Pump it up!


Winner of the "Strangest Item of the Month" for April.

Yes, I know — it's early in the month.

But it's gonna take an awful lot to beat this puppy.

From the website:

    Mattress Medic™ — The Money-Saving Way to Fix Your Saggy Mattress

    Is your old mattress preventing you from having a restful, comfortable night's sleep?

    Don’t buy a new mattress — rejuvenate the one you have!

    Mattress Medic gives you the firmness, comfort and support your mattress needs.

    Mattress Medic is a multi-chamber air support system that provides “lift” to any sagging mattress.

    Simply inflate the chambers to the best level for your sleeping comfort.

    Mattress Medic includes air pump and fits all sizes and styles of beds.

    This saggy mattress remedy is the money-saving way to end restless nights of tossing and turning on your uncomfortable mattress.


April 8, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: 'New' CPR


In a nod to reality, the medical profession is finally taking a practical position on what CPR should entail when performed by bystanders without medical training, as is usually the case if it happens at all.

Long story short: Forget all the stuff they taught you about rescue breathing and focus on chest compressions — 80 to 100 a minute, forceful enough to depress the breastbone about two inches (ignore the sounds of ribs cracking — that's collateral damage and unavoidable sometimes) and so energy intensive that the average person can't do more than five minutes at a time and remain effective.

Here's Anahad O'Connor's "Really?" column from the April 3, 2007 New York Times Science section, which summarizes the emerging consensus.

    The Claim: CPR Requires Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation

    The Facts: Even people who have never been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation know that it involves a series of chest compressions combined with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

    For years, scientists have questioned whether the mouth-to-mouth part was necessary, saying the focus of CPR should be on chest compression, which keeps blood flowing to vital organs after cardiac arrest.

    Last month, a study of more than 4,000 cases of cardiac arrest, the largest on the subject to date, found that patients were more likely to recover without brain damage if their rescuers had focused on chest compressions alone. Published in The Lancet, the study found that 22 percent of people who received chest compressions alone survived with good neurological function, compared with 10 percent who received combination CPR.

    Those findings echoed those of a study in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2000. The reason is that in most cases of cardiac arrest, the victim’s body has enough oxygen to keep organs functioning for several minutes. Mouth-to-mouth simply delivers more oxygen, while chest compressions perform the more vital task of pumping blood.

    The Bottom Line: Studies suggest that in most CPR, mouth-to-mouth may not be necessary.


Below, the abstract of the March 17, 2007 Lancet paper cited above.

    Cardiopulmonary resuscitation by bystanders with chest compression only (SOS-KANTO): an observational study

    Background: Mouth-to-mouth ventilation is a barrier to bystanders doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but few clinical studies have investigated the efficacy of bystander resuscitation by chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth ventilation (cardiac-only resuscitation).

    Methods: We did a prospective, multicentre, observational study of patients who had out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. On arrival at the scene, paramedics assessed the technique of bystander resuscitation. The primary endpoint was favourable neurological outcome 30 days after cardiac arrest.

    Findings: 4068 adult patients who had out-of-hospital cardiac arrest witnessed by bystanders were included; 439 (11%) received cardiac-only resuscitation from bystanders, 712 (18%) conventional CPR, and 2917 (72%) received no bystander CPR. Any resuscitation attempt was associated with a higher proportion having favourable neurological outcomes than no resuscitation (5·0% vs 2·2%, p<0·0001). Cardiac-only resuscitation resulted in a higher proportion of patients with favourable neurological outcomes than conventional CPR in patients with apnoea (6·2% vs 3·1%; p=0·0195), with shockable rhythm (19·4% vs 11·2%, p=0·041), and with resuscitation that started within 4 min of arrest (10·1% vs 5·1%, p=0·0221). However, there was no evidence for any benefit from the addition of mouth-to-mouth ventilation in any subgroup. The adjusted odds ratio for a favourable neurological outcome after cardiac-only resuscitation was 2·2 (95% CI 1·2–4·2) in patients who received any resuscitation from bystanders.

    Interpretation: Cardiac-only resuscitation by bystanders is the preferable approach to resuscitation for adult patients with witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, especially those with apnoea, shockable rhythm, or short periods of untreated arrest.


And if there's someone around not doing anything or unable/unwilling to perform chest compressions, have them lift both the victim's feet off the ground, up to the holder's waist level: that autotransfusion of 40% of the blood volume from the legs into the central circulation may be what enables CPR to succeed.

April 8, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Free CD/DVD Cases



You get 25 plastic clamshell CD/DVD cases in assorted colors (above) absolutely free right here.

What's the catch?

You have to sign up for Google checkout, which gives you a $10 credit against your nominal cost of $8.75, to get them free.

Not what I'd call a big negative.

Bonus: free shipping.

I guess if you keep your eyes open there are still deals to be found, what?

April 8, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Only the paranoid survive — Consumer Product Safety Commission offers automatic recall alerts via email


Francesca Lunzer Kritz's April 3, 2007 Washington Post Health section article on how you can now get automatic recall notices sent to you as they're issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission instead of having to go to the agency's website or happen on a news item will come as good news to some.

Here's the story.

    Recall Fever

    Danger in the Grass Will your lawn furniture give out under you? Your gas grill explode? The Consumer Product Safety Commission wants to alert you to some spring and summer product recalls before someone gets hurt. The CPSC, an independent federal regulatory agency, sets safety standards and issues alerts on many products, urging buyers of faulty items to return them for refund or repair or throw them out. The agency has issued dozens of alerts since the fall, including 22 on such outdoor items as folding picnic tables from Atico that pose a risk of collapsing, John Deere gas barbecue grills that can catch fire, and Heartwood Creek turtle sprinklers that can break or shatter during normal use. But not enough people have gotten word, according to the agency.

    You've Got Mail You needn't go to the agency's Web site, www.cpsc.gov, or happen on a news item to learn of a recall anymore. Now you can sign up for automatic recall notices at www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp. Some 100,000 people have signed up for the service to date, according to the CPSC; the agency is working with fire departments, police stations and safety councils to try to push that number to 1 million. You can sign up to get all recall notices — an average of four per week — or restrict e-mails to the categories you use most often, such as infant and child products, or sports and recreation items. Signing up ensures you access to future recall notices only; to get information on items already recalled, click on Recalls and Product Safety News at the agency's home page.

    Spring Cleaning The CPSC also lists information on items that have had safety design changes over the years, such as window blinds, cribs and cedar chests. Older versions of some items have resulted in deaths to babies and children. Click on "CPSC's Most Wanted'' to the left on the home page for more information. For safety guidance and recall alerts on infant and child car seats, check the Web site of the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/home.cfm).

April 8, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pearwood Dusting Brush


From the website:

    Pearwood Dusting Brush

    Pearwood Dusting Brush makes dusting a delight.

    Each is crafted of richly-colored and fine-grained pearwood.

    Our Door Brush is carefully turned on a lathe, then joined with soft horse hair on one end and firm horse hair on the other.

    Renders hard-to-dust lampshades, nooks and crannies, and Venetian blinds spotless.

    10.5"L x 1.5"D.




April 8, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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