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May 26, 2007

Charlotte Spaulding


Look at the photo above.

What do you see?

It's a 1908 autochrome by Edward Steichen, recently come to light after decades in storage, most likely in a cupboard or closet, in the home of 97-year old Charlotte Albright of Buffalo.

Mrs. Albright's mother was Charlotte Spaulding, a friend and student of Steichen who became the subject of his autochrome portraits, including the one above.

Randy Kennedy, in a May 21, 2007 New York Times Arts section front page story, described the unlikely series of events that led to the discovery of these extraordinary works.

May 26, 2007 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Hide in Plain Sight' Reversible Hat


In all the spy-themed books I read, among the techniques used by both the tailed and their tails are changes of clothes.

So wearing the hat above, with the red side out, will make someone look for someone in a red hat — that's pretty elementary, eh, Watson?

And reversing the hat so it's black will let you slip right through the surveillance net while everyone's watching for the red one.

At least that's the idea.

Note to anyone contemplating this trick: don't also wear a red turtleneck because it tends to destroy the intended effect.

From the website:

    Reversible Hat

    A rain hat with a twist — it’s reversible!

    Fashionable, foldable hat features a wide brim to keep rain, snow or wind from putting a damper on your ’do.

    Poly/cotton fabric hat is available with 2 color combinations so you can change your look simply by turning the hat inside out: black reverses to red [top]; tan reverses to navy blue [below].

    One size fits all.




May 26, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Expert's Expert: Mark Hibbs, called by William Langewiesche 'one of the greatest reporters at work in the world today'


High praise indeed from Langewiesche, of whom many knowledgeable people would say precisely the same thing.

I happened on the mention of Hibbs in the final paragraph of Janet Maslin's May 17, 2007 New York Times review of Langeweische's new book, "The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor."

Long story short: Hibbs writes "impenetrably technical stories for the small, elite publications Nucleonics Week and NuclearFuel."

May 26, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Your Home Jigsaw Puzzle


Say what?

From the website:

    Select-A-Map Personalized Jigsaw Puzzle

    This is the only custom jigsaw puzzle created for you from a U.S. Geological Survey topographic map for any address in the United States.

    Once you send your selected address, house number, street name, city and state to the manufacturer, a 400-piece jigsaw puzzle kit is created using quality 1.5mm millboard, then delivered in a gift box that includes an area on the front for a personalized message.

    The puzzle is created from a 1:24,000 resolution map and displays an area six miles east-west and four miles north-south of the address provided, and includes details such as main roads, contour lines, water features, and buildings; the center piece of the puzzle is shaped like a house.

    18-1/2"H x 12-1/4"W.


May 26, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World's best U.S. area code website



Because not only does it list them all sequentially, making it unnecessary to put each one into Google's search box every time you need the information, but in a column on the far right it also lists geographically related ones.

Very handy.

May 26, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Golf Swing Analyzing Watch


From the website:

    Golf Swing Analyzing Watch

    Used by professional golfers to identify imperfections in their swing, this watch measures the tempo, rhythm, backswing length and clubhead speed of your golf swing during a practice session or on the golf course and instantly displays metrics for each on the watchface, allowing you to quantify the elusive feeling of the "perfect swing" and to develop muscle memory that results in consistent, optimal ball-striking.

    Unlike cumbersome golfing aids that restrict movements, this device is as unobtrusive as a wristwatch and has three accelerometers (similar to the technology NASA uses to monitor the movements of astronauts in space) that record 200 measurements per second, from the start of the backswing until ball contact, and use proprietary algorithms to determine if your backswing is a few degrees too long or your tempo if off by as little as 1/100th of a second, allowing you to immediately analyze why a shot went awry or to record the swing measurements that coincided with a shot that split the fairway.

    The watch records swing measurements for each club in your bag, has four scorekeeping modes and retains handicaps for up to two golfers, and also records separate statistics for tee shots, fairway shots and putts.

    Watch has clock, calendar, alarm and stopwatch functions.

    Includes a replaceable CR 2032 battery.

    Water resistant up to 100'.



Note: Wear it along with your pulse ring and you'll be the most tricked-out duffer out there.

May 26, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Human Flesh-Eating 'Doctor Fish' — Episode 3: 'It's like meat for them'


So said Fevzi Bardakci, a biologist at Turkey's Adnan Menderes University, quoted in Matt Mossman's article in the latest (June 2007) Scientific American.

Episode 1 on December 16, 2006 focused on Japan while more recently, on May 15, 2007, Episode 2 took us to China.

Now we learn that it all began in Kangal, Turkey.

Here's Mossman's story.

    Fish That Go Skin-Deep

    Trapped fish adapt to a life of nibbling on humans

    Tucked between brown hills in central Turkey is a natural hot spring where, for a fee, you can become fish food. Dip in a hand or foot, and within seconds small fish will swarm, bump and nibble it. Stand above the pools, and the fish will gather below, waiting. The scaly swimmers — the "Doctor Fish of Kangal" — supposedly have curative powers. But in this unusual case of adaptive ecology, the human visitors may be helping the fish more than themselves.

    These fish have acquired a taste for humans largely because they have little choice. The spring is too hot to sustain enough algae and plankton to feed them all. In the past, the fish were able to move between the spring and a creek that runs nearby. But after learning of a story about a local shepherd whose wounded leg healed after being dipped into the spring in 1917, builders walled off the spring from the creek in the 1950s to preserve a captive school. A Turkish family has now constructed a hotel, villas and a playground and markets the resort to psoriasis patients. Some 3,000 people every year pay for the privilege of sitting in the spring and allowing these omnivores to eat their dead skin, a process that may stimulate new skin growth or relax patients and thereby ease stress-triggered psoriasis.

    Unquestionably for the fish, "the human skin is a big help," remarks Fevci Bardakci, a biologist at Turkey's Adnan Menderes University. "It's like meat for them." In 2000 Bardakci published a paper in the World Wide Web Journal of Biology on Garra rufa, one of the two species found in the hot spring. He discovered that memebers of the same species that swim in a nearby creek grow to an average 97 millimeters and about 11 grams. In the hot spring, the fish are three-quarters the length and weigh one quarter as much. Moreover, during the summer spawning season, the trapped females grow fewer and smaller oocytes, the cells that develop into eggs. In the creek, the gonads balloon from 3 percent of body weight to almost 8 percent. In the hot spring, organs increase from 1 percent of body weight to 2 percent. They would grow even less without submerged skin to nibble, Bardakci concluded. Some 90 percent of visitors arrive in the summer, providing a nutritional supplement at the perfect time.

    The fish come from the carp and minnow family, which is known for adaptability, says Richard Londraville, a biologist at the University of Akron. He adds that those in the hot spring may eventually evolve into a separate species in a few thousand years.

    Other fish survive in waters as hot as or hotter than this spring, which hovers near 34 degrees Celsius. None are widely known to feed on skin, which may explain G. rufa are catching on elsewhere. A Chinese spa-building company, which claims to have invented the concept, says on its Web site that it trained its own doctor fish and built 10 spas in China, including in Beijing. Some of the Turkish fish were scooped up and enlisted in springs in Japan, where at several spas they are now also performing fish pedicures.

May 26, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World's Fastest Adjustable Wrench


From the website:

    The Fastest Adjustable Wrench in the West

    As you probably have guessed by now, I test everything that I sell.

    So what is the most important test here?

    Seeing how long it takes to open up the jaw on a typical adjustable wrench and comparing it to this new one.

    My old-style, thumb-wheel adjustable wrench took 13 seconds to open up 1 inch — this one takes only 1 second!

    Think about that for a moment while you're under the car and don't want to screw around with the time it takes to set your wrench.

    Now, before you get out your wallet and want to give me $500 for this wrench, you'll be pleased to learn it's a lot cheaper than that!

    The fastener size is etched into the head in metric (0-25mm) or inch (0-1 inch).

    Of course the manufacturer couldn't stop there with the features: check out the 9/16" box end wrench on the end of the soft, ergonomic rubber handle!

    Eight inches in overall length.


May 26, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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