« August 14, 2008 | Main | August 16, 2008 »

August 15, 2008

One mystery solved, another remains


I've always wondered how many people do things like submit a correction when they espy an error in something they read.

It's so much easier now that there's the Internet — I suspect many more readers actually go to the trouble than would have back in the snail mail day.

Anyway, when I read in an article about Hadrian that "He commissioned the Parthenon..." in the July 19, 2008 issue of The Economist (in my opinion the least likely of the many publications I regularly read to err) I immediately headed for the treadmill and slugged an email "letters@economist.com," in which I pointed out that Hadrian was responsible not for the Parthenon (built during the 5th century B.C.) but, rather, the Pantheon (circa 125 A.D. and pictured up top in a virtual reality reconstruction of what it might have looked like during Hadrian's reign).

In the next issue of The Economist (July 26, 2008) at the bottom of column one on page 97 appeared the following:


    Our review last week of the British Museum's new exhibition, "Hadrian: Empire and Conflict," mistakenly reported that the Roman emperor Hadrian commissioned the Parthenon. It is, of course, the Pantheon this is Hadrian's most famous monument. Our thanks to the 46 readers who have written in to point this out, and our apologies for the howler.


So now I know that I'm one in 46.

So much for one in a million.

But I digress.

That number 46 has sent me into speculative heaven since it appeared, because for the first time I get a sense of the relative numbers in something like this.

As I noted above, I've always wondered how many people notice errors and what percentage respond actively.

Back in the day I would've guessed one in a hundred but now I'd offer one in 20 to 1 in 40, considering how much easier — and more satisfying, to be sure — it is to react with an email than a stamped letter pointing out some miscue.

So for the sake of argument let's say one in 30 readers who noticed the Hadrian error contacted The Economist.

That means around 1,500 people registered the mistake.

Now things start to get hazy as we wonder how many people read the Hadrian article of those who read The Economist.

I'd guess 5%, since the article was towards the back of the magazine and I suspect the great majority of Economist readers peruse primarily the news and business-related sections up front.

The Economist's circulation is about 1.3 million, so 5% would be 65,000 — assuming (a huge assumption again) that the great majority of copies are seen by only one person.

So we're left with 46 people of 1,500 who noticed an error of the 65,000 who read the story.

1,500 is about 2% of 65,000, pretty close to my 1% rule of thumb for most things.

That is, if there's a penny on the sidewalk, 1% of people will pick it up.

If there's a hat or a glove at the side of the road, 1% of people will take it.

Besides, 1% is such a cool number.

You got a better one?

August 15, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Portable Drink Table — You're the party


Who says you can't take it with you?


This has clifyt's fingerprints all over it.


From websites:

Portable Drink Table

Set up a "refreshment stand" anywhere, anytime


It's a portable table that unfolds like an umbrella and stakes securely in the ground.

Beverage holders at each end of the supportive arms hold wine and martini glasses, soda and beer cans, water bottles and cocktail shakers.


There's enough tabletop to handle a platter of appetizers, too.

Sunbrella® fabric surface is supported by a scratch-resistant alloy frame.


Folds into its own backpack for easy toting.

Adjustable from 25" to 40" high; top 36"Ø.

Weight: 5.75 lbs.


Cape Cod (Red), Orange Fizz, Lemon Drop, or Mocha.


August 15, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Online alarm clock — Episode 2: Less is more


Sometimes you don't really need a cockerel and or an electric guitar riff — you just want a simple alarm clock that wakes you up.

For those moments — as it were — there's OnlineClock.net.

I only learned about this stripped-down iteration this morning when Tom Churm, its "creator guy & webmaster," emailed me to give me the skinny.

He wrote, "OnlineClock.net has been online since early 2006 and we strive to be the world's most useful internet alarm clock."

Sounds pretty good to me.

But wait — there's more!

"We offer a wide range of different kinds of online alarm clocks, stopwatches, countdowns and timers, all of which can be found on our site map page here: onlineclock.net/about/.

Added Tom, "Hey, we don't do rooster sound effects — we're for grown ups!"

Wait just a minute....

But I digress.

"We receive about 28,000 page impressions each day. We currently rank number one on Google for 'alarm clock' so you can tell that our site has become popular."


And considering there are over 25 million results when you search that term, I'd say he's doing a bang-up job with it.

He closed, "We'd be thrilled if you would consider making a blog post about our website."

Hey, Tom, bet you didn't know I was this easy....

August 15, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mini Flashlight Lantern


Can your keychain flashlight do that?

Didn't think so.

From the website:

    MightyLite Mini

    Save space in your pack, carry-on bag, glove box or tool bag

    The MightyLite Mini pulls double duty as a miniature lantern you can read by or a flashlight to light up your path — just slide the light tube in or out.

    The powerful long-life LED bulb produces 26 lumens of light and the water-resistant aluminum housing can take rough use.

    Palm-sized at just 3-3/4" long and a featherweight 2-1/2 oz.

    Runs up to 12 hours on a single AA battery (included).

    Comes with a lanyard strap and carabiner.




August 15, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is the black stuff on beach volleyballer Kerri Walsh's right shoulder? Mystery solved


My crack research team was assigned to bring back an answer to this question after yesterday's US v Belgium tilt, during which, once again, not a word was spoken by the TV announcers about what the intricate black pattern on Ms. Walsh's right shoulder (above and below) — the site of surgery last November to repair a torn rotator cuff — was all about.


This morning they presented the results of their latest all-nighter (a more and more frequent occurrence around here as we gear up to enter the ever more rarified air of the blogging heights).

They happened upon a post by Craig on fishstripes.com that appeared to offer definitive information.

An excerpt follows.


"Oh, in case you were wondering what that black stuff is on Kerri Walsh's shoulder, it is Kinesiotape. The pattern of the tape being used is to support the rotator cuff. Baseball pitchers aren't the only ones who have rotator cuff problems. The good news is that beach volley players are the only ones who wear bikinis so you can see it."


According to Ms. Walsh in today's USA Today story by David Leon Moore, the tape increases circulation in her shoulder joint, which is also receiving acupuncture treatments twice daily.


Get yours (Kinesiotape, sillybilly ... sheesh) here.

August 15, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Life Clock


Each number represents years elapsed since birth.

Designed by Bertrand Planes.

Limited edition of seven.

[via EZDAY]

August 15, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Windshape — World's only air cathedral


Alas, you'll have to get into a time machine to see it


because the ephemeral structure


(above and below)


came and went


in the summer of 2006


in Lacoste, France.


All that remains are memories.

[via Milena Castulovich]

August 15, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Got Height? No-Stoop Luggage Handle Extender


From the website:

    No-Stoop Luggage Handle Extender

    Ergonomic comfort for tall people or short handles

    Visiting Paris?

    Don’t become the new hunchback of Notre Dame.

    Attach this 5-inch ergonomic extender easily to the handle of any wheeled bag and walk comfortably upright, not stooped over.

    Ergonomic handle rotates 360° and corrects arm position to reduce wrist, elbow and shoulder strain.

    Made of high-impact polymer with nylon web straps.

    Allows you to pull bags briefcase-style if desired.

    5-3/4"W x 3/4"D x 6-1/2"H.


August 15, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

« August 14, 2008 | Main | August 16, 2008 »