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December 15, 2007

bookofjoe MoneyMaker™: Bizarro World GPS Receiver


It came to me in a flash just now.

The device will consist of a typical portable GPS enclosure and screen with audio capability: when you press the (only) button it says, "You're lost."

Simultaneously a frowny face appears.


Consider the advantages over currently available devices:

• Instant function — no wait for satellite location/triangulation

• 100% accurate (in a philosophical sense, at least)

• Works anywhere in the world — indoors and out


Why pay hundreds of dollars when my version can provide a parallel dis-located world for chump change?

December 15, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Spoon Bowl


By Toni Grilo for Christofle.

30 silver-plated spoons.

Limited edition of 20.



December 15, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

IceCube — The world's first geoscope


No — Ice Cube is not just a rapper and actor.

The November 15, 2007 issue of The Economist featured a story about an ingenious approach to mapping the Earth's interior with neutrinos; the piece follows.

    Going to extremes

    Mapping the Earth with neutrinos

    Telescopes that point down instead of up sound like a weird idea but, if they are designed to detect subatomic particles called neutrinos, they can tell astronomers what is happening in the sky on the other side of the planet. That is because most of the neutrinos that reach the Earth pass right through it. The planet thus forms a useful screen against other sorts of particles that might confuse the telescope. Such devices could, however, also see what is happening deep inside the Earth. At least, that is the suggestion made this week by a team led by Maria Gonzalez-Garcia of Stony Brook University, in New York state.

    At the moment, the only data on the Earth's interior are the paths of earthquake waves that are reflected and refracted by the various layers of the planet's interior. These, together with reasonable guesses about the Earth's overall composition, have been used to put together the familiar model of an iron core, a rocky mantle and a thin crust. But the evidence is indirect. If Dr Gonzalez-Garcia is correct, then physicists will have opened a direct window on the subterranean world — at a minimal extra cost.

    Most of the neutrinos that travel through the Earth come either from the sun or from sources far beyond the solar system. Some, however, are the result of collisions between cosmic rays and the gases of the upper atmosphere. As luck would have it, these tend to have about the right level of energy to be absorbed by rock more often than their extraterrestrial counterparts. That means they can, according to Dr Gonzalez-Garcia, be used like X-rays passing through a human body, to pick out denser rocks from lighter ones.

    Of course, you would need an appropriate neutrino telescope to do this. Luckily, one is being built at the South Pole at the moment. Called IceCube, it will work by detecting the flashes of light generated on those rare occasions when a neutrino hits one of the atoms in a molecule of water in the ice.

    When IceCube is completed in 2011, it will be a boon to astronomy. But it will also be the first telescope capable of spotting enough neutrinos to make it worthwhile to take measurements of the interior of the Earth. If Dr Gonzalez-Garcia is right, it will thus be the world's first geoscope as well.



An article from the November 23, 2007 New Scientist is here.

Here's a link to the official IceCube (neutrino telescope) website.

December 15, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Things you never knew existed — New bookofjoe feature premiers today


Look at the graphic above.

What do you see?

It's a LEGO brick separator.

A website says, "This tool makes it a snap to pull those small plates apart. Everyone needs one."

Stipulated — but where was this tool back in my salad/LEGO days?


December 15, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Push Button House


See it through December 29 at the Time Warner Center in New York City.

Designed by artist/architect Adam Kalkin and sponsored by Illycaffé, "... the building is a fully functioning, five-room home — with kitchen, dining room, bedroom, living room and library — that can be packed into a standard shipping container and re-assembled in just 90 seconds," wrote David Baker in today's Financial Times.

Baker added, "The walls and floors are made from recycled and sustainable materials and the whole structure is controlled by a computer embedded in the dining room table."

The Time Warner Center is at Columbus Circle in the heart of Manhattan; 877-469-4559.

December 15, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Going Mobile — Instant Wheels


From websites:

    Instant Wheels™ — Make Anything Mobile!

    Use our ingenious self-stick Instant Wheels to convert hard-to-move file cabinets, workstations, storage boxes, recycling containers, trash cans and furniture (not for use on chairs) into moveable units.

    Self-stick 1-1/4" diameter wheels hold tightly and bond permanently.

    Will work on vinyl, plastic, metal, corrugated board and more.

    Set of four wheels holds up to 250 lbs.

    Flexible wings bend in any direction.

    Unlimited uses.




The T-shirt is $26.95.

A set of 4 Instant Wheels is $9.95.

December 15, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What does a protein sound like?


Yo, joe — you sure those mushrooms were from Whole Foods?

But I digress.

Molecular biologists at UCLA (Go Bruins! Beat BYU! — sorry...) have translated protein sequences into original classical compositions.

Read all about it below.


You can read the Genome Biology paper here.

Dr. Miller's lab explains it all for you here.

Listen to the protein compositions here.

December 15, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Teastick — Episode 2: German engineering


It was over two years ago — on July 28, 2005, to be specific — that the elegant Teastick (below) made its debut here.

Now comes a version (above) offered by the Museum of Modern Art's Design Store from Flöz Design of Germany.

From MOMA's website:

    Tea Stick Infuser

    Easily fill this wand-shaped infuser with loose tea and swirl in a cup of hot water for a single serving of tea.

    Made of stainless steel and plastic.

    Size: 6.5"L x 0.75"diam.

    Made in Germany.


On screen, I must say the original


has the MOMA one beat — at least for looks.

And, as Oscar Wilde observed, "Only the shallow judge by more than appearances."

Besides which the more stylish one is all stainless steel whereas the German iteration is partly plastic.

Add to that the fact that the newer one costs more ($20 v $18) and even I can see it's a no-brainer which one I want.

I can't speak for you, though.

$20 for MOMA's; $18 for the 2005 version.

December 15, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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