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July 28, 2008

The world's best cup of coffee

Below, David Latourell, head of sales and service for Clover, the $11,000 machine's manufacturer, explains the process.

Below, Clint Newlan, barista at the Roasterie in Kansas City, Missouri and a semi-finalist at the 2008 United States Barista Championship, prepares a cup of Buena Vista from the Columbia Cup of Excellence Auction for a customer.

Guess I won't be using one of these at home until I get big — real big.

There are only 250 of these machines in the world, according to Mathew Honan's article in the August 2008 issue of Wired magazine.

And since Starbucks purchased Clover in March of this year the company apparently no longer sells the machine to individuals or independent cafés, instead placing them in its own shops across the U.S., where "by the end of 2008 there will be 80 machines installed in upscale urban markets across the country," wrote Honan.

July 28, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Ultra-Precise Digital Tire Gauge — When 'close' is just not good enough


So how exacting are you when it comes to putting air in your tires?

Oh, you never do that?


For everyone else (I guess that'll be about six of you — but no matter) there's this ultra-precise (note that "precise" is not synonymous with "accurate" — more on that distinction below) racing tire gauge with clip-on chuck (wonderful feature), bleed valve and its own bespoke carrying case.

"The large, backlit LCD readout is supplemented by 1psi segments around the dial (imitating an analog gauge). The pressure reading is maintained until you press the 'bleed' button."

    Details and Features:

    • Dial type: Digital, plus LCD segments that mimic an analog readout

    • Battery power: ultra-long-life lithium (included)

    • Gauge reading increments: 0.1psi

    • Hose length: 12", swiveling

    • Gauge dial diameter: 2.5"

    • Gauge range: 0-60psi

    • Warranty: 5 years


You may recall the high-end analog gauge (below)


featured here last month.

I bought that one and am delighted with it.

The reason I won't be upgrading to this more tricked-out version is what I alluded to above, i.e.: "precision" v "accuracy."

Just because you can measure something to a greater degree of precision — i.e., psi in 0.1 instead of 1.0 increments — doesn't mean the measurement is more accurate or informative.

In fact, quite the opposite is true in many cases.

For example, my portable blood pressure monitor will produce numbers varying by 10, 20 or 30mm Hg — sometimes more — every time I take successive readings.

Are they all correct?

All wrong?

Or is averaging them into a ballpark figure rounded off to the nearest 10 more likely than not to give the best approximation of the state of my circulation?

Yes, that's the case.

The myriad scientific studies concluding that results which are numerically close are in fact "significantly different" and therefore "prove" a drug is efficacious or better than an alternative are so much baloney (trust me, I've been there, done that and published more than a few).

As someone (Benjamin Disraeli? Mark Twain? Who knows) remarked a long, long time ago, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

The digital gauge costs $59.95.

Note that at $4+ a gallon for gas you're leaving a significant amount of money on the table over time if you're driving on underinflated tires.

If I were making money off this gauge I'd say you'll earn back its price in no time flat (as it were).

July 28, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The problem with the butterfly effect (the movies, parts 1&2)


I watched the second in the series (bet you didn't even know a sequel existed) last night, a few days after viewing the first, and find myself asking the following three questions:

1) Why does replaying one's past and then unwinding it into a different future have to be accompanied by scary music, all manner of disturbing on-screen visual distortions, apparent excruciating head pain on the part of the individual undergoing the time shift and — most inexplicable of all to this observer — a nosebleed?

Why not blood from the mouth or the ear?

Why a nosebleed?



2) Why should movies with such a fascinating premise be so bad?

3) For that matter, why didn't the filmmakers call on Edward N. Lorenz, the father of chaos theory, for guidance? I'll bet he'd have been delighted to help out.

Lorenz died on April 16 of this year at the age of 90 and according to Kenneth Chang's New York Times obituary, "Dr. Lorenz remained active almost to the end of his life, in both research and outdoor activities. 'He was out hiking two and one-half weeks ago,' Cheryl Lorenz [his daughter] said, 'and he finished a paper a week ago with a colleague.'"

Here's an idea: Get a copy of Ken Grimwood's great 1987 novel, "Replay".


Only $8.37 vs. $12.99 for the two movies and a much, much better time to be had.

July 28, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Swivel Glass


Designed by


Rikke Hagen.




for $45.

July 28, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who you gonna believe: Her, or her lying brain?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

July 28, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Magnetic Barbecue Utensil Light


From the website:

    Magnetic Barbecue Utensil Light

    Strong, stay-put compact magnet attaches to most metal barbecue tools to illuminate your grilling experience.

    Not just for grilling — use anywhere a magnet will stick.

    Light swivels in any direction for full range of motion.

    Three LED bulbs produce a bright light.

    2" tall with 2" long head.

    Batteries included.




July 28, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

GraphJam — 'Pop culture for people in cubicles'


Hey, that's you — but not forever.

At least, I hope not.

I'm doing my best for you.

Trust me.

But I digress.

And anyway, what's with this "trust me" stuff all the time, huh?

It's getting old.


That's another thing to lose, along with rocky transitions between posts, for which I was taken to the woodshed last week by a reader who will remain unnamed since I can't remember my middle initial, much less his name.

But I digress yet again, don't I?

No — I'm not stopping the digressions.


I read about GraphJam in the August 2008 issue of Wired magazine, where it said "This site's homages to pop culture come in the form of perverted infographics."

Don't worry, not that kind.

Watchoo tink, mon?

July 28, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Note: this could be the best one ever.

July 28, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

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