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February 11, 2008

Book (or magazine) stool — by Arik Levy

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From the website:
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Book (or magazine) stool

Turn books, old magazines and catalogs into extra seating around the home.

Simply affix the cotton and nylon straps around a stacked bundle.

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The perfect solution for turning unruly piles of reading material into extra seating.

Part recycling tool, part home organizer, part storage and part furniture.

225cm x 242cm (89" x 95").
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$37 CAD (Click on "Home Accessories", then scroll down)

Note: Books, old magazines and catalogs not included.

February 11, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

LiveMocha.com — 'Learn languages and practice with native speakers'

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The Bellevue, Washington-based company's website carries about 160 hours of lessons that people can use to learn one of six languages (English, Spanish, French, Hindi, German, Mandarin Chinese), with more coming soon.

The focus, however, is on allowing people to teach each other.

"Users can write on the site in a foreign language or upload an audio file of a spoken passage and have others who are native speakers assist them in correcting the submission. Users can also chat via text, audio or video with others who want to give or receive assistance on a language. The site also allows people to create a profile and link to friends on the site," noted the Wall Street Journal on January 28, 2008.

The site, launched in September of last year, has about 130,000 users.

This could be the camel's nose under the tent ahead of something really big.

Or not.

You just never know.

In any event, it's free.

The way we like it.

February 11, 2008 at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Glow-in-the-Dark Halo Pillow Case

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From the website:

    Glow-in-the-Dark Pillow Case — Sleep Like a Saint

    There's a glowing halo over your head when you turn off the lights.

    100% Cotton.

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$40 CAD (Click on "Home Accessories", then scroll down).

February 11, 2008 at 01:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Criollo' — When Bauhaus met Mexico City

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"This work, titled 'Criollo' and in the 'Currents: Recent Acquisitions' show at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum, is by the 35-year-old Mexican artist Edgar Orlaineta, who has a graduate degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn but is based in Mexico City. According to its wall label, 'Criollo' is a mixed-media work whose materials include a bicycle, chromed steel, leather, nylon and a reproduction of the famous Wassily armchair — the first chair ever made of bent steel tubing, designed in 1925 by Bauhaus master Marcel Breuer. We asked Orlaineta how his art supplies came together.", wrote Blake Gopnik in an item in yesterday's Washington Post.

The interview follows.

    Function Following Form

    Q. Marcel Breuer wanted a bicycle factory to make his Wassily chair. Did you have to use furniture makers to make your rickshaw?

    A. No, I did the same as Breuer. I went to the people who make the load tricycles in Mexico — these tricycles with a frame on the front like a box, for carrying stuff. You can see them everywhere in Mexico City: One is for selling tamales, one is for selling toys, one is for selling water, one is for selling ladders. That's where the idea came from. There was a formal relationship, and I also knew that Breuer was inspired by bicycles. So I took these Wassily chairs to a workshop, and the load box's frame was exactly the same proportions and size as the Wassily chair. It made complete sense. The idea was that we have these load tricycles that they sell by the million in Mexico and they serve a really good purpose — everybody has one — and they're really popular. But I've never seen this object in any book or in any design history. On the other hand, we have the Wassily chair, and it's very popular, but it's very expensive — and that was not the original idea of the Bauhaus. So we have these two objects that are really beautiful and functional, but they have a different historical status. The piece is about how we deal with these identities in Mexico: having this European ascendance of influence, and then how things come from outside and what we do to these things. It also came from this informalist culture that we have in Mexico City: People pick up stuff, and fix it, and repair it or add something to it.

February 11, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Just so stories (botanical division): How the pitcher plant digests bugs

The carnivorous plants, which in the wild "... live mostly in the Asian tropics... rely on occasional insect snacks to stay nourished, since they mostly grow in nutritient-depleted soil," wrote Rick Weiss in an item in the February 4, 2008 Washington Post.

Above, an interesting video detailing the overall process.

Scientists in Japan have now learned precisely how they digest their prey and they reported their findings in a paper in the January 28, 2008 issue of the Journal of Proteome Research; the abstract follows.

    Proteome Analysis of Pitcher Fluid of the Carnivorous Plant Nepenthes alata

    The genus Nepenthes comprises carnivorous plants that digest insects in pitcher fluid to supplement their nitrogen uptake. In a recent study, two acid proteinases (nepenthesins I and II) were purified from the pitcher fluid. However, no other enzymes involved in prey digestion have been identified, although several enzyme activities have been reported. To identify all the proteins involved, we performed a proteomic analysis of Nepenthes pitcher fluid. The secreted proteins in pitcher fluid were separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate−polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and several protein bands [below]

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    were detected by silver staining. The proteins were identified by in-gel tryptic digestion, de novo peptide sequencing, and homology searches against public databases. The proteins included homologues of β-D-xylosidase, β-1,3-glucanase, chitinase, and thaumatin-like protein, most of which are designated “pathogenesis-related proteins”. These proteins presumably inhibit bacterial growth in the pitcher fluid to ensure sufficient nutrients for Nepenthes growth.

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

Latex Glove Lamp

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Designed by Katarina Britse of the Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden.

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"Den här lampan är gjord av uppblåsta engångsplasthandskar."

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Inquiries: katarinabritse@hotmail.com.

[via Jerry Young]

February 11, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Steve Hollinger's Ice Analyzer

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"He... had begun work on... a device that could resolve images recorded in ice, based on his theory that light leaves visual information in the crystals as they form.... A piece of ice could be treated with a chemical so it could hold an image just the way photographic paper does, so if you had a piece of ice outside that had been prepared with the chemical, you would be able to see a sort of movie of everything that had ever happened to the ice, or near the ice, or maybe everything that had ever happened, ever."

"The only far-fetched part is the assumption that diffused sources of light recorded without a lens could somehow be analyzed and reconstructed."

Susan Orlean, in her article entitled "Thinking in the Rain," in the current issue (February 11 & 18, 2008) of the New Yorker.

February 11, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Philip Wood Limited Edition Gold Sawhorse Brackets

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"To create a working table, one needs three components — a trestle, a wood top, and the sawhorse. By making the central component in gold, the value of the table both aesthetically and conceptually becomes elevated."

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Edition of 25.

$1,900.

February 11, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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