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July 4, 2008

bookofjoe misses golden opportunity for IPO


Look at the graphic above, published on June 28, 2008 on the front page of the New York Times Business section to illustrate Matt Richtel's article.

What do you see?

Not much when it comes to IPOs during the just-concluded second quarter of this year — because there weren't any.

Not a single one.

Why the heck didn't I act on the knowledge that when the herd goes in one direction — or, in this case, doesn't — that's precisely when Bizarro World types like me strike?

My IPO should've come out last month, thereby securing my place in the pantheon of counterintuitives.

I mean, the smart money's staying in investors' pockets right now, which means the only people who would've subscribed to my initial offering... well, I don't want to be harsh, considering some might even be among my readers, but gang....

My new saying: When the going gets tough, the weird do an IPO.

Catchy, what?

July 4, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Digital Video DriveCam


Oh, yeah.

From the website:

Digital Video Camera with 2GB SD Card

Relive your favorite drive anytime with our all-weather digital video camera

Think about all of the great motorsport videos now on YouTube — it's time you made your mark on the world.

It's easier than ever to create insane videos!

Having trouble with a certain track?

See your mistakes by filming your line.

But don't stop there — use this skiing, motorcycle riding, snowboarding, surfing, diving... heck, even attach it to your belt buckle and who knows what you'll film!

With the variety of accessories included in our kit


you can mount this video camera anywhere and take high-quality video or three-megapixel still photos.

Rugged waterproof polycarbonate construction (waterproof to 100 feet) and sport-tuned, quick-release design make it easy to mount inside or outside your automobile, motorcycle or attach to your helmet for driving or riding... you get the "picture."

Caution: I don't endorse this product for hooligans who want to film themselves breaking the law!

Stores up to 56 minutes of 512 x 384 pixel video with sound at 30 frames per second when using the included 2GB SD card.

Tons of other features and easy-to-use instructions for downloading your video onto your computer via the included USB/RCA cable.

Requires 2 AAA batteries (included).

Compatible with Windows ME/2000/XP/Vista and Mac OS 9.1 and later.




Watch the videos here, here and here.

No car?

No problem:



July 4, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WorldCat — 1.2 billion items in 10,000 libraries worldwide


Wouldn't it be nice to be able to see if your local library (or any of 10,000 others around the planet) has a book you're interested in — without leaving your home?

Guess what?

You can do just that, as I learned from J.D. Biersdorfer's "Q&A" column in yesterday's New York Times; the item follows.

    Tip of the Week: Look Up Books at Your Library From Home

    Summer is a great time to catch up on your reading. You might even be able to look up books available at your library — before you leave the house — with the WorldCat database at www.worldcat.org. Type in a title and follow the screens to supply your address so you can find the book in the library nearest you. WorldCat, a global network that logs 1.2 billion items, can also look for DVDs and CDs and has plug-ins available for Firefox and Facebook.

July 4, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Russian Eye Chart T-Shirt


"Allows you to test your eyesight without going to the doctor."


Black or White.


July 4, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How do you spell WALL•E?

Disney and Pixar — who ought to know — say it's "WALL•E."

End of discussion.


Not quite.

Some media organizations are having difficulty getting their heads around the new world.

For example, the New York Times uses a dash instead of a dot and can't bring itself to capitalize letters after the first:


The Wall Street Journal uses all caps but can't manage the dot, instead opting for the Times-ish dash:


The Washington Post does it right:


Why is it a problem to simply use the name given by the namer?


The Grey Lady has its own internal punctuation and style standards that trump the actual name chosen for a product.

Thus, a Times headline begins


instead of iPod.

This is not the cause of the Times' ongoing, accelerating collapse but, rather, a symptom, somewhat like the refusal of the paper to print email addresses for every reporter under their byline.

I emailed Bill Keller, executive editor of the paper, a few years back and pointed out to him that Podunk publications like my hometown Charlottesville Daily Progress were already doing this and maybe it was time for his ocean liner to change course.

He responded that they were "looking at this" but I guess the visual field must be really large 'cause it still hasn't happened.

e.e. cummings, call your office — your capitalization is ready.

July 4, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Shoe Bag


From the Autumn/Winter 2008 Azumi & David collection.

[via tolin.cn]

July 4, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Clawed Frog Carries a Concealed Weapon


In Cameroon no license is required, is the long and short of it.

Henry Fountain's June 17, 2008 New York Times Science section story featured the recent discovery of a heretofore little-remarked upon quirk of nature first noted over a century ago; the piece follows.

    Frog Keeps Its Claws Hidden Until Needed

    David C. Blackburn, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard who studies frogs, knew there was something different about the specimen he encountered one day while doing fieldwork in Cameroon. Not surprisingly, it kicked its hind legs wildly when he picked it up. But then Dr. Blackburn noticed that his arm had been clawed. “I got a real nasty scratch,” he said.

    A frog with claws? Back at Harvard, Dr. Blackburn and colleagues consulted the literature, examined museum specimens and realized something even more unusual: the claws on the Cameroonian frog, and some related frogs from the same region, are normally contained inside the toes, but pop out through the skin when needed [photos above and below].

    The odd bit of anatomy was mentioned in a paper more than a century earlier, but had been little commented on since. “We realized that this was something that was really strange and completely unappreciated,” Dr. Blackburn said.

    Through dissection, the researchers discovered that the claw is the last bone of the toe — sharp, small and curved, and attached to an even smaller bony nodule that in turn is attached to a sheath of collagen. When the frog flexes a certain tendon, the bone pulls away from the nodule and pierces the skin. The anatomy is described in a paper in Biology Letters.


    The researchers think that at some point the claw settles back inside the foot and the skin heals. “It really is a traumatic wound,” Dr. Blackburn said, and for that reason he thinks the frog doesn’t extend its claws frequently — probably only when threatened.

    But so little is known about these frogs that the researchers aren’t even sure what threatens them — other than Cameroonians, who eat them and who know enough about the claws to have devised a special long spear to catch them without being scratched.


The abstract of the Biology Letters paper follows.

    Concealed weapons: erectile claws in African frogs

    Vertebrate claws are used in a variety of important behaviours and are typically composed of a keratinous sheath overlying the terminal phalanx of a digit. Keratinous claws, however, are rare in living amphibians; their microstructure and other features indicate that they probably originated independently from those in amniotes. Here we show that certain African frogs have a different type of claw, used in defence, that is unique in design among living vertebrates and lacks a keratinous covering. These frogs have sectorial terminal phalanges on their hind feet that become functional by cutting through the skin. In the resting state, the phalanx is subdermal and attached to a distal bony nodule, a neomorphic skeletal element, via collagen-rich connective tissue. When erected, the claw breaks free from the nodule and pierces the ventral skin. The nodule, suspended by a sheath attached to the terminal phalanx and supported by collagenous connections to the dermis, remains fixed in place. While superficially resembling the shape of claws in other tetrapods, these are the only vertebrate claws known to pierce their way to functionality.


Said Blackburn in a Harvard Science story about the frog (below), "It's surprising enough to find a frog with claws.... The fact that those claws work by cutting through the skin of the frogs' feet is even more astonishing. These are the only vertebrate claws known to pierce their way to functionality."


"Most vertebrates do a much better job of keeping their skeletons inside," he added.

July 4, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shiatsu to Go


That's different.

From the website:

    Shiatsu to Go

    Ancient Eastern massage techniques meet 21st century travel in this portable body soother.

    Shiatsu to Go provides relaxing relief for your lower back, neck, legs and feet.

    It's great for the airplane, in your hotel room and at your desk, too.

    Simply inflate, lean back and enjoy as the four pulsating pressure points gently massage weary muscles.

    Deflates fast for easy packing.

    Includes two "D" batteries.

    12¾" x 11" x 3¾" inflated.

    11" x 6½" x 3" folded.

    Weight: 19 oz.




July 4, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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