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September 13, 2007

Strange days at Marc Jacobs — Episode 2: Up close and personal

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Yesterday the best my crack research team could do was two small pictures of the very disorientating, almost hallucinatory new shoe (top) unveiled by Jacobs this past Monday in New York.

That simply didn't cut it.

I fired them all and brought in an entirely new team last evening, with one mission: bring back a picture that meets the high expectations of my readers worldwide.

Did they succeed?

You tell me.

September 13, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Hands-Free BrimLight — Finally, light where the sun don't shine

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From websites:
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Brimlight™

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Shine light where you need it, anytime or anyplace.

Hands-free BrimLight clips under brim of all caps and hard hats and provides up to 30 feet of viewing distance with 4 powerfully bright LED lights that last over 10,000 hours.

Easily turns on/off by pressing the middle of the brim.

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Includes 4 lithium batteries (replaceable).

7" x 1.5".
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White LEDs: $14.98.

Want Green or Red light?

No problema.

$24.

Much more information on the BrimLight website.

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Want one with UV bulbs so you can scope out the dreck on your hotel bedspread and keep yourself up all night?

No problema.

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$18.69.

September 13, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Planet's most polluted sites — 'The Dirty 30'

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Fiona Harvey's article in today's Financial Times brings the news that "China, India and Russia top the list of the world's most polluted places."

Long story short: "The three countries are each home to two of the world's top 10 polluted sites, while the others are in Peru, Ukraine, Zambia and Azerbaijan."

Here's the FT piece.

    Planet's most polluted sites unveiled

    China, India and Russia top the list of the world's most polluted places, a study of global pollution yesterday found.

    The three countries are each home to two of the world's top 10 polluted sites, while the others are in Peru, Ukraine, Zambia and Azerbaijan.

    Linfen and Tianjin are the worst polluted places in China because of poor air quality and the metal industry respectively. Sukinda and Vapi are the worst in India, the former because of mining and the latter from general industry. Norilsk, where metals are extracted, and Dzerzhinsk, home to weapons manufacture, are Russia's most polluted locations.

    The Blacksmith Institute, which produced the report on the "dirty 30" most polluted places on the planet, said it was not possible to rank the top 10 in order because of the different forms of pollution in each place and because they differed widely in their geography and population.

    "All sites in the dirty 30 are very toxic and dangerous to human health," said David Hanrahan, director of global operations at Blacksmith.

    Richard Fuller, director of the institute, said: "The fact of the matter is that children are sick and dying in these polluted places and it's not rocket science to fix them."

    Mining was found to be the most frequent cause of pollution in the dirty 30 but metals extraction, petrochemicals and other industries were also to blame.

    The worst places for air pollution were Linfen, Lanzhou and Urumqi in China, Magnitogorsk in Russia and Mexico City.

    The Dandora dump in Kenya made it on to the list for being the worst site polluted by urban waste.

    Chernobyl's legacy of nuclear contamination put the region in the top 10, and Mailuu-Suu in Kyrgyzstan was also judged one of the worst polluted for its nuclear site.

    The list was drawn up by a panel of experts including members from Green Cross Switzerland, a charity that works to overcome the damage caused by industrial and military disasters. The panel based its judgment on the toxicity of the pollution of the site, its scale and the number of people affected.

    The study found most of the polluted sites were far beyond the ability of local populations to clean up and that national government assistance or international aid would be needed.

    The study said: "Unfortunately there are too many of these industry towns still carrying on where there is no economic alternative for the local population."

    The authors said the way to clean up such sites was to "begin with supporting a core group of concerned — people and officials to create a consensus and build momentum, starting with some simple but visible improvements to show that progress is possible".

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Bonus: Photos of the world's most polluted cities.

September 13, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Measuring Ladles

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What appears here is what interests me.

That's the only requirement.

What interests me?

Whatever makes life simpler, easier, better or more beautiful.

As Oscar Wilde remarked, "I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best."

Thus, these measuring ladles promise to make extracting that last 1/8 teaspoon of your best Hungarian paprika just a tiny bit easier and more convenient.

Just think: the bottle stays upright to the very end, instead of that nonsense with it turned sideways and you cursing (oh, sorry — I forgot this is a G-Rated/Disney-Approved site there for a second) as the last of your Malabar peppercorns clatter down onto the counter and kitchen floor.

From the website:

    Measuring Ladles

    This 5-piece measuring ladle set will quickly become one of the most indispensable tools in your kitchen.

    The unique shape allows you to carefully pour liquid ingredients in slowly and gives you easy access into tall spice and condiment jars.

    You will also get a more controlled grip so more of your ingredients end up in the ladle and not on your counter.

    Contains 1/8" tsp, 1/4" tsp, 1/2" tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbl.

    Sturdy stainless steel construction.

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In the end, it's all about getting a grip, isn't it?

But I digress.

$19.99.

September 13, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vote for joe (sorry, Pedro)

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Mike Thomas over at bloginterviewer.com emailed me a couple days ago asking me for an interview.

Sure, I'll do that — and did.

The results may be seen here.

Mike wrote, "We suggest that you ask your readers to vote for your blog, as the top three will receive $25, $15, and $10 respectively at the end of month."

I am reminded of Henry Kissinger's wonderful remark, to the effect that "Academic politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small."

But I digress.

Anyway, should I win you can rest assured that every penny of my prize will be pumped right back into the bookofjoe starmaking machinery.

September 13, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is it?

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Answer here

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this time
tomorrow.

September 13, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Fear of new foods is genetic

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That's the conclusion of Dr. Lucy J. Cooke and colleagues at University College, London, whose August, 2007 paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that approximately 80% of a child's tendency to avoid unfamiliar foods is inherited — not acquired.

Here's a WebMD report about the study.

    Picky Eating May Be Genetic

    Kids Inherit Fear of Unfamiliar Food, Twin Study Shows

    If your kids fear unfamiliar foods, don't blame your parenting — blame your genes.

    A study of 10,780 British twins shows food fear to be 78% inherited. Another 22% of food fear comes from environmental factors that affect one twin but not the other, report Lucy J. Cooke, MSc, of University College London and colleagues.

    "Parents can be reassured that their child's reluctance to try new foods is not simply the result of poor parental feeding practices but is partly in the genes," Cooke and colleagues suggest in the Aug. 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

    The researchers included four items to assess fear of unfamiliar food — they call it "food neophobia" — in questionnaires given to parents of 8- to 11-year-old twins as part of the U.K. Twins Early Development Study.

    The parents rated statements about their kids on a four-point scale ranging from "strongly agree to strongly disagree." The statements:

    • My child is constantly sampling new foods.

    • My child doesn't trust new foods.

    • My child is afraid to eat things s/he has never had before.

    • If my child doesn't know what's in a food, s/he won't try it.

    The researchers then compared results for fraternal twins (which have different genetic inheritances) to results for genetically identical twins. Identical twins were much more likely than fraternal twins to have the same degree of new-food phobia.

    The results indicate "a strong heritable component to variation in [food] neophobia," Cooke and colleagues conclude. "This is a robust finding. Genetic research has consistently shown that shared genes rather than shared experience largely accounts for similarities in behavioral traits between family members."

    Nevertheless, the researchers say parents should not despair if their child seems to have picky-eater genes.

    "Research in laboratory and real-world settings has shown that neophobia for specific foods can be reduced," Cooke and colleagues note. "New foods can become familiar, and disliked foods liked, with repeated presentation."

    The researchers warn that bribing kids to try new foods and punishing them for not eating are strategies that fail to achieve the intended effect.

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The abstract of the journal article follows.

    Genetic and environmental influences on children's food neophobia

    Background: Food neophobia in children has been associated with a low intake of fruit, vegetables, and protein foods. The design of effective interventions to improve children's diets would be facilitated by a better understanding of the determinants of neophobia.

    Objective: Our objective was to quantify the contribution of genetic and environmental differences to variation in child food neophobia.

    Design: Parents of twins aged 8-11 y (n = 5390 pairs) completed questionnaires about their children's eating habits, including a measure of food neophobia.

    Results: The results showed that neophobia is highly heritable. The heritability estimate from model fitting was 0.78 (95% CI: 0.76, 0.79). A further 22% of the variance was explained by nonshared environmental factors, with no influence of shared environmental factors.

    Conclusions: Neophobia appears to be a heritable trait, but almost a quarter of the phenotypic variation is accounted for by nonshared environmental factors. An important aim for future research is the identification of influential aspects of the environment specific to individual children.

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FunFact: cainotophobia (from the Greek kainos, new) is a synonym for neophobia.

Don't you feel smarter already?

I know I do.

'Course, around here there's an awful lot of upside....

September 13, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Censored' Glasses

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One of my top ten items of the year.

Perfect for TechnoDolts™ (and those who love them) who simply haven't a clue about how to use Photoshop to achieve this effect.

From the website:

    'Censored' Glasses

    Clever dark glasses that look and photograph just like a censor bar.

    Perfect for wild parties and a great gag gift.

    But don't blame us for you getting attention when you don’t want to be recognized.

    Not for use as sunglasses.

    7" wide.

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$9.98.

September 13, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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