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February 7, 2008

Notes on search — Or, 'Your search for rae-dupree eureka in all fields returned 0 results.'


Above, what the New York Times own website returned last Sunday when I looked for an article by Janet Rae-Dupree published in that day's paper.

I don't know what I was thinking, going to the Times site instead of Google and entering the search terms there.



what came back from Google.

Note that the article I was looking for — with a link to it on the Times own website — apppears first.

The Times (and all the media companies) are like the crazy grandmother who never throws anything away — she still has everything, she just has no idea where it is or how to find it.

Unbelievable, that such ineptitude persists.

February 7, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Deer Fly Hat Patch


From the website:

    Deer Fly Patches

    We have tested this product and can vouch for its effectiveness.

    As you know, deer flies seem to land on silken feet and give you no warning before they rip out a piece of your carcass.

    But their motto is: "Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

    So, they fly round your head a dozen or more times before landing on the back of it.

    If you have one of our deer fly patches on the back of your cap, they will immediately be trapped when they land.

    The patch will not stick to your fingers but will still trap the deer flies.

    It's all small-scale jungle warfare.

    One patch will stay effective for several days.

    Each patch measures 2-1/2" x 5-3/4".

    Package of 4.




February 7, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Leap Before You Look — by W. H. Auden

The sense of danger must not disappear:
The way is certainly both short and steep,
However gradual it looks from here;
Look if you like, but you will have to leap.

Tough-minded men get mushy in their sleep
And break the by-laws any fool can keep;
It is not the convention but the fear
That has a tendency to disappear.

The worried efforts of the busy heap,
The dirt, the imprecision, and the beer
Produce a few smart wisecracks every year;
Laugh if you can, but you will have to leap.

The clothes that are considered right to wear
Will not be either sensible or cheap,
So long as we consent to live like sheep
And never mention those who disappear.

Much can be said for social savoir-faire,
But to rejoice when no one else is there
Is even harder than it is to weep;
No one is watching, but you have to leap.

A solitude ten thousand fathoms deep
Sustains the bed on which we lie, my dear;
Although I love you, you will have to leap;
Our dream of safety has to disappear.

February 7, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack



The countdown for today's space shuttle liftoff, scheduled for 2:45 p.m. ET, is proceeding.

Watch and hear what's happening inside the crew compartment on your computer — live — right here.

February 7, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Why it feels so good to scratch that itch


In a landmark paper published online on January 31, 2008 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, scientists demonstrated for the first time ever, using real-time brain imaging technology, what happens in the brain when we scratch.

Long story short: "... scratching actually supresses brain activity associated with bad feelings and memories. Giving in to scratching also stimulates parts of the brain associated with compulsive behavior — which could explain why some of us keep at it even when we know we shouldn't," wrote Jean P. Fisher in a February 4, 2008 McClatchy Newspapers story, which follows.

    Studying the itch to scratch

    Ah, that's the spot.

    Everyone with an itch — or a dog — knows how blissful it is to scratch, and how hard it can be to stop. Now researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center think they know why.

    In a first-ever study, the scientists used imaging technology to look at what happens in the brain when we scratch. They found that scratching actually suppresses brain activity associated with bad feelings and memories. Giving in to itch also stimulates parts of the brain associated with compulsive behavior — something that could explain why some of us keep at it even when we know we shouldn't. Doctors advise against scratching, which can damage the skin.

    The average person with a mosquito bite probably doesn't need to know all that, acknowledges Dr. Gil Yosipovitch, a dermatologist and itch specialist who led the Wake Forest team.

    But he said the new findings, which were published online Thursday in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, may point the way to new treatments for the itchiest among us — people with hives, poison ivy and chronic conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Severe itch is also a misery for cancer and kidney patients, who develop itch as a side effect of treatment.

    Knowing what parts of the brain involved in itching and scratching may suggest medications known to target the same parts of the brain, for example.

    "I see these patients in real life," said Yosipovitch. "There are millions of them and they suffer."


Consider one more time the following sentence: "They found that scratching actually suppresses brain activity associated with bad feelings and memories."

If that's the case with scratching, isn't it possible that behaviors such as cutting and other forms of self-mutilation demonstrate variations on this theme?

Here's the abstract of the scientific paper cited above, by Gil Yosipovitch and colleagues from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

    The Brain Processing of Scratching

    Neuroimaging studies have examined the neural networks activated by pruritus but not its behavioral response, scratching. In this study, we examine the central sensory effects of scratching using blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 13 healthy human subjects. Subjects underwent functional imaging during scratching of the right lower leg. Scratching stimulus was started 60 seconds after initiation of fMRI acquisition and was cycled between 30-second duration applications of scratching and 30-second duration applications of no stimuli. Our results show that repetitive scratching induces robust bilateral activation of the secondary somatosensory cortex, insular cortex, prefrontal cortex, inferior parietal lobe, and cerebellum. In addition, we show that the same stimulus results in robust deactivation of the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices. This study demonstrates brain areas (motor, sensory, and non-sensory) activated and deactivated by repetitive scratching. Future studies that investigate the central effects of scratching in chronic itch conditions will be of high clinical relevance.


Bonus: Read the entire article, including figures and tables, here.


The legend for the figure just above: "ACC activity is inversely related to the perceived intensity of scratch. There was a significant correlation between perceived scratch intensity and bilateral deactivation of the ACC (P=0.02). These images are located at x_2 mm, y_18 mm, and z_34 mm in standard stereotaxic space. Blue represents brain deactivation."

The legend for the figure heading this post: "Brain activation during scratching stimuli. These images are located at x_2 x_28 mm, y_-18, y_-26, y_-64 mm, z_-8 mm and z_14 and z_22 mm in standard stereotaxic space. Red represents brain activation, whereas blue represents brain deactivation."

February 7, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Race Car Chime Wall Clock


zoom Zoom ZOOM!

Or as we used to say at the light: "Burn off that quarter hour."

But I digress.

From the website:

    Race Car Chime Wall Clock

    Take a moment at the top of every hour to enjoy a quick spin around the super-speedway with these two built-for-speed cars, with horn and revved engine sound effects.

    Volume settings low, high and off; light sensor deactivates sound effects after dark.

    Uses 3 C and 1 AA battery (not included).

    13½ diameter.



February 7, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Icahn Report — 'Blog Coming Soon'



You'll notice he didn't use the death star phrase, "real soon now."

Look for his new new thing any day.

I happened on it yesterday in Kaja Whitehouse's brief item buried on page B13 of the Wall Street Journal.


My favorite Carl Icahn story among countless great ones I've heard: Seems his wife Gail, when she wants to talk to him when they're away at their weekend place, calls him — it's the only way she can get his attention because he's always on the phone.

Anyway, Mr. I, you know where to find me when it's time for word to get up and out without anyone knowing where it really came from.

I'm just saying, is all.

February 7, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What to get me for St. Valentine's Day



It's Oliver Kita's 16-piece Signature Valentine Collection.

Not that you asked, but:

    Wrapped in coral red paper with a coral red bow

    2 Loveletter Hearts (St Germain Liquor from Paris made with wild elderflower blossoms handpicked in the French Alps)

    1 Sakura Cherry Blossom Fan (sweetheart cherry taste with sundried dark cherries and dark chocolate)

    1 Vermillion Fruit Heart (raspberry, lingonberry and red currant blended into a love triangle)

    1 Tibetan Tiger Heart (tapestry of orange caramel with a hint of chai and chili spice)

    1 Bee Power (organic grand cao, organic banana and bee pollen)

    1 Japanese Berry (Japanese green tea with strawberry puree)

    1 Palet du Figue et Cognac

    1 White Peaches & Cream

    1 Passion Fruit & Lychee

    1 Lavender Citronade

    1 Palet de Framboise

    1 Scarlet Caramel

    1 Palet d’Olivier

    1 Palet d’Opium

    1 Cherry Ancho


February 7, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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