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September 9, 2008

BehindTheMedspeak: Interactive Talking First Aid Guide


When I espied this puppy I got all excited, figuring an Interactive Talking Anesthesia Emergency Guide would be coming soon.

Then I got to thinking about it a little and realized that no robot handheld could ever replicate the sweat pouring down the small of your back as the O2 sat monitor beep gets lower and lower pitched and the patient's face turns first pale then gray, edging ever closer to cyanotic blue....

Besides, there's no panic button.

From the website:

    Interactive Talking First Aid Guide

    Do you know what to do in a medical emergency?

    This handheld guide gives you immediate access to critical emergency instructions at the touch of a button.

    Essential for the new mom or dad, this handheld interactive talking first aid guide prompts you with lighted keys and gives you easy-to-follow, step-by-step verbal instructions delivered in a clear, calm voice.

    With eight first aid categories and over 30 interactive recordings for infant, child, and adult first aid issues, it ensures you’ll always have immediate access to the information you need.

    Potentially life-saving in case of an emergency and also a great way to learn how to handle emergencies before they happen.

    It’s easy to use and interactive.

    Open it and it turns on automatically.

    Flashing lighted keys prompt you to respond to yes/no questions, then a calm, clear voice delivers specific instructions based on your answers.

    Lightweight handheld design fits easily in a stroller, diaper bag, purse, briefcase or glove compartment, and can also be wall-mounted.

    Provides audible and visual warnings in case of low battery.

    Instructions can be spoken in English or Spanish.

    Uses 4 AA batteries (included).

    3½"W x 7"L x 1½"H.

    Weighs 11½ oz.


Interactive demo here.


September 9, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Radiator Mug — by Stephen Reed


"Bone china cup for hot beverages can be held without burning the user's hands. The fin structures put distance between the hot liquid and the held surface, allowing for a natural grip as heat is dispersed to gently warm the hands."


3.5" (9 cm) Ø x 4.5" (11.5 cm) H; holds 10 oz.



[via Milena]

September 9, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

'Burglar whacks man with sausage'


But wait, there's more.

"Burglar wakes men with spice rub."

It all happened early last Saturday morning in central California.

You could look it up.

"Dog eats sausage used as weapon by burglar."

Gonna be hard to lift prints, what?

Here's the full scoop from Sunday's Fresno Bee story.

    Burglar wakes men with spice rub, sausage attack

    Fresno County authorities have arrested a man they say broke into the home of two farmworkers, rubbed one with spices and whacked the other with a sausage before fleeing.

    Fresno County sheriff's Lt. Ian Burrimond says 22-year-old Antonio Vasquez of Fresno was found hiding in a nearby field wearing only a T-shirt, boxer shorts and socks.

    Burrimond said Vasquez was arrested after deputies found a wallet containing his ID at the ransacked house just east of Fresno.

    The victims told deputies they awoke Saturday morning to the stranger applying spices to one of them and striking the other with an 8-inch sausage.

    Burrimond said money allegedly stolen in the burglary was recovered. The sausage was tossed away by the fleeing suspect and eaten by a dog.

September 9, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Prada Ruffle Ankle Boot


Four-inch heel, suede platform, ruffle trim, black.


Made in Italy.



September 9, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Authonomy.com — Are you the next J.K. Rowling?


Here's where you find out.

From a September 3, 2008 post on the site's blog: "After more than three months running in private Beta, authonomy.com is finally live and open to all. It's a hugely exciting day here in London — we'd like to welcome our new visitors and also offer a huge 'thank you' to all the committed members who've helped us test, develop and launch the site."

More in Simon Kuper's September 5, 2008 Financial Times column, which follows.

    Following the crowd is not a novel idea

    A hundred and one years ago, the British intellectual, Francis Galton, published a strange discovery that has only recently come into fashion. Galton, Charles Darwin’s half-cousin, had seen a competition at a county fair where 800 people guessed the weight of an ox. The average of the crowd’s guesses, Galton calculated, was 1,197 lbs. The animal’s actual weight was 1,198. No individual expert had got half as close. Galton had discovered the wisdom of crowds.

    Now the London publisher HarperCollins hopes to apply that wisdom to the market in first novels. HarperCollins estimates that it receives at least 50 unsolicited manuscripts each week. Most publishers know the feeling. Typically, the Jiffy-bags get dumped on to the traditional “slush pile”, where they may get skimmed by a 21-year-old intern before being returned to the wannabe J.K. Rowling with a rejection slip.

    This week HarperCollins launched Authonomy.com, a website where the wannabes can upload sample chapters. Anyone can read and rate them. Harper- Collins promises to read the 10 highest rated each month.

    Let’s forget that HarperCollins is publishing my next book. Let’s leave aside the probability that the wannabes will get their friends to give their books five stars, just like on Amazon.com. The question is whether HarperCollins could benefit from the wisdom of crowds.

    It is certainly an imaginative way of dealing with a market plagued by oversupply. Most people never read novels. Meanwhile, as John Lennon noted, hordes of others just wanna be a paperback writer. First novels that do somehow get published often sell fewer than 1,000 copies. Of the hundreds of debuts each year, probably fewer than 10 make significant money for anyone.

    It is, therefore, not worth seriously reading the slush pile. Even to speed-read 50 manuscripts a week would require five editors. Hiring them would cost almost £200,000. Instead publishers rely on agents to pick the most plausible wannabes. But agents themselves are knee-deep in unread slush piles. That’s where Authonomy.com comes in.

    The wisdom of crowds has worked for Google and Wikipedia. “Prediction markets” which pool that wisdom have proved much better than bow-tied pundits at predicting elections. So-called experts have dubious records in the fiction market too. Four or five publishers rejected an overlong first novel about (sigh) a child wizard named Harry Potter. Only after J.K. Rowling found an agent would anyone publish her. Speaking of experts’ poor judgment: Galton himself was the father of eugenics.

    Yet the problem with Authonomy.com may be that the readers, too, will turn out to be a small coterie of experts. They will be people who like novels. But the few novels that “break out” — the Harry Potters and Bridget Joneses — do so by appealing to people who do not normally like novels. The first publisher to turn itself over to a horde of semiliterate philistines may be onto a winner.

September 9, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Can your laptop case do that?


Didn't think so.


Created by Icelandic designer Hafsteinn Júlíusson, who wrote, "The Napbook is a laptop case which also happens to be a comfortable cushion. It is designed for students and commercial people of 105 Reykjavík. Whether it be a class at LHÍ, a lengthy business meeting in Borgartún or just the odd journey home, the NapBook should come in handy for the restless. It is sewn by a 105 Reykjavík local sewing room and it is available at the Apple store around the corner."


Any joehead who happens to be in Reykjavík and wants to make my day can do so by picking up the green iteration for moi.

[via baekdal.com and Milena, who commented, "Great idea but these look too girly (perhaps it is the contrasting center button). I don't see a guy using these at all, no matter that the models in these pictures are male...."]

September 9, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Chocolate Oysters


Not part of a bad fever-dream but, rather, a specialty of a shop on Market Street in Apalachicola, Florida.

Diane Roberts wrote, in a story appearing on the front page of this past Sunday's Washington Post Travel section, "Now, this bonbon is not like a turtle, which we all know contains nuts and caramel but not a trace of terrapin flesh. No, I'm talking about an actual oyster, dipped in good Valrhona chocolate. When I asked the man who makes them if he likes chocolate oysters, he said, 'No. It's the kind of item people come in and buy for other people.'"

You could look it up.

But then you could also have my nonpareil crack research team hot on the trail of these oysters, only to come up with the following December 15, 2007 comment on a post on seriouseats.com: "A must visit in Apalachicola is the Chocolate Factory [sic] on Market St. The shop owner is a truly nice guy. The chocolate is incredible. Try a chocolate oyster (contains no oyster)."

Well, which is it?

Oyster or no oyster?

My crack research team isn't very good interpersonally so I grabbed the proverbial bit between my teeth this morning and picked up the clue phone, dialing the shop (850-370-6937) direct.

A man answered on the first ring.

He just happened to be master chocolate maker George George Stritikus, founder-owner of the Apalachicola Chocolate Company.

We had a nice chat about this and that and I popped the question: "Oyster or no oyster?"

He replied, "Do you want the real answer or what I tell tourists who stop by?

I said I could handle one of each.

So that's what he gave me (answers, booboo — not chocolate oysters. Sheesh.).

And no — I'm not going to tell you if there's a real oyster inside or not.

Why should I?

What have you done for me lately, huh?

I can already envision the vituperative emails and comments sure to follow if I leave things like this.

So okay, then: no oyster.


The Apalachicola Chocolate Company (below) is at 61 Market Street.


They're open Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Email: gstritikus@aol.com

Say hi to George should you stop by.

You can even tell him I sent you.

He's got a great sense of humor, not to worry.

September 9, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?






this time



September 9, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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