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November 20, 2008

'Don't Miss a Sec' — The 'Loo with a View'


There are two types of people in the world: Those who'd use this toilet — and the rest of you.

It's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned.

Wait a minute, that didn't come out right.

Neither did that.

Never mind.

From a website:

    Transparent public toilet in Basel, Switzerland

    This toilet, called "Don’t Miss a Sec," was first shown in December, 2003 by conceptual artist Monica Bonvicini and was immediately called "Loo with a View" by the press.

    The photos show this transparent glass toilet at the Messeplatz in Basel, Switzerland at a major exhibition centre where the largest exhibitions about watches and jewelry — called "Basel World" and the "Art" (one of the biggest art exhibitions worldwide) — take place.

    From the outside looking in, it appears to be nothing more than a monolith made of mirrors; from the inside looking out, it’s a fully transparent 360-degree window on the world. Although the stainless steel potty within the glass cube is fully functional, it’s still more a work of art than what you’d call an "official" public toilet.

    Nobody can see you during daytime, but what about at night when the mirror is one-way in the other direction? People could also come up to the wall and cup their hands between their eyes and the glass, and then see quite a lot of the action going on inside.

    The "Don’t Miss a Sec" toilet originally stood on a bustling construction site facing the Tate Britain Museum in London.



Bonvicini was born 1965 in Venice, Italy. The artist lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles.

[via Milena]

November 20, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What are they?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

November 20, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

bookofjoe says 'show me the money'


Richard Pérez-Peña's November 18, 2008 New York Times front page story about the rise of web-based news operations made me stand up straight and pay attention.


    Consider the following excerpts from his article:

    “No one here welcomes the decline of newspapers,” said Andrew Donohue, one of two executive editors at VoiceofSanDiego. “We can’t be the main news source for this city, not for the foreseeable future. We only have 11 people.”

    The executive editors, Mr. Donohue, 30, and Scott Lewis, 32, each had a few years of experience at small papers before abandoning newsprint. So far, their audience is tiny, about 18,000 monthly unique visitors, according to Quantcast, a media measurement service.

    Mr. Donohue and Mr. Lewis earned $60,000 to $70,000 last year, according to the VoiceofSan Diego I.R.S. filings.

    On a budget under $800,000 this year — almost $200,000 more than last year — everyone does double duty.



I started the same year they did, in 2004.

"We only have 11 people."

That's 10 more than I've got to work with.

"... earned $60,000 to $70,000 last year" — they only thing I earned was a couple cease-and-desist letters.

"... about 18,000 monthly unique visitors" — I had more than that Wednesday last week:


My budget this year?

Well, let's see: I pay TypePad $14.95/month to host bookofjoe and Sitemeter $19.95/month so I have some idea of what's happening... lemme get my calculator, hold on.... OK, that's a total of $34.90/month x 12 months = $418.80 a year.

That's what it costs me to produce bookofjoe.

After 4+ years, total income here is $0.00.

I must've missed the clue train when it came through my Podunk town....

    But wait, there's more from the Times story:

    Most of this new breed of news sites have a whiff of scruffy insurgency, but MinnPost, based in Minneapolis, resembles the middle-age establishment. Its founder and chief executive, Joel Kramer, has been the editor and publisher of The Star Tribune, of Minneapolis, and its top editors are refugees from that paper or its rival, The Pioneer Press in St. Paul.

    MinnPost is rich compared with its peers — with a $1.5 million bankroll from Mr. Kramer and several others when it started last year, and a $1.3 million annual budget — and it has been more aggressive about selling ads and getting readers to donate.

    The full-time editors and reporters earn $50,000 to $60,000 a year, Mr. Kramer said — a living wage, but less than they would make at the competing papers. MinnPost has just five full-time employees, but it uses more than 40 paid freelance contributors, allowing it to do frequent reporting on areas like the arts and sports.

    "The biggest of the new nonprofit news sites, MinnPost in the Twin Cities and the St. Louis Beacon, can top 200,000 visitors in a month....


Lessee, a $1.5 million bankroll to get going and then $1.3 million a year — I could do quite a lot with that.

And $50,000 to $60,000 a year would be nice to have for walking around money, fer shur — though there's not a whole lot you can use it for while you're shuffling along on a treadmill all day.

MinnPost has five full time employees, and with all that money sloshing around they've managed to "... top 200,000 visitors in a month."

Well, they've got me beat there, as any fool can plainly see by looking at my traffic stats below:


But not for much longer.

November 20, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Flying Tampon


Milena sent me a link to this item, writing "All I know is that it looks like a flying tampon. Maybe your Russian is better than mine."

Alas, it's not.

Maybe yours is.

Designed by Ji-yun Kim, Soon-young Yang and Hwan-ju Jeon.


From the website:

Ветряная мельница для подзарядки батарей


О том, что нам давно пора использовать энергию природы в свое благо, говорят не только дизайнеры, но и сама жизнь диктует именно такие условия. Скажем, энергия ветра в наши дни используется очень мало, а ведь из нее можно столько пользы извлечь!


Скажем, например, о батарейках, именно им посвящен этот пост. Перезаряжающиеся батарейки заметно облегчили нашу жизнь – без них уже ее и представить нельзя. Но вот устройства, которые позволяют их перезаряжать… Вот это вечная проблема. Они же весят почти тонну! Даже если не утрировать, то таскать с собой их всегда, когда они нужны, кажется сумасшествием. Также считают и дизайнеры потому и создают такой простой и легкий девайс. Да еще и который работает от энергии природы!


Это – «Febot», ответ всем тем, кто мечтает о легком и совсем небольшом заряжающем устройстве. Оно представляет небольшую капсулу, у которой есть крылышки. Но запускать ее в небо как самолетик не нужно. Достаточно лишь повесить на стену со стороны улицы! Но предварительно не забудьте положить в нее батарею, которую нужно зарядить. Ветер будет крутить эти небольшие лопасти, которые больше на указатель смахивают, и в устройстве будет появляться энергия, заряжающая вашу батарейку. Такой простой и, кажется, волшебный способ заставить природу работать на человека! Но пока это лишь концепт.

November 20, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

World's most technical egg slicer — Episode 2: 'Absurd'


That's the essence of Jaiyant Cavale's entertaining Trends Updates review yesterday of Tuesday's pièce de résistance (top).

His appreciation — filed in Trends Updates' "Bizarre, Strange Gadgets" category — follows

    Absurd Technical Egg Slicer

    Talk about technology pervading all spheres of life and there are umpteen examples to be given. Here is what I found on the net, posing as the world’s most technical egg slicer. I fail to understand why someone would need a technical egg slicer when a good old butter knife is enough to slice boiled eggs.

    In the quest to fool consumers and perhaps play with their zany tastes, companies will create technical egg slicers, robotic scissors, etc. However, if you want to consider the product seriously, it comes with blades that cut the eggs into halves or slices and an integrated egg piercer to prevent an egg’s shell from cracking while being boiled.

    It also comes with a concave cup to support your egg’s hind while its front is being whacked off. And if you think you will slip while slicing an egg, worry not, because it comes with non-slip feet. All said and done, I would love to slice my boiled eggs with the knife I bought many years ago. I must remind myself to get the knife sharpened and have a good laugh at "technical" posers such as these.


Poseurs — not posers.

But I digress.

I wonder what they're paying him at Trends Updates?

Yo, Jaiyant — I'll triple it and even sweeten the deal with a knife sharpener.

Let's take a meeting.

November 20, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

LED Watch — by Hironao Tsuboi


From a website:

    LED Watch di Hironao Tsuboi

    Non amo portare orologi (perciò sono spesso in ritardo!), ma questo proprio mi piace: LED Watch é semplice, chiaro ed elegante.

    Progettato dal giapponese Hiranao Tsuboi e apprezzato al Tokyo Design Week 2008, questo gioiellino digitale — assicura lo studio nipponico — è perfettamente funzionante e sará presto in fase di produzione. Cosa ne pensate?


Alas, just a concept — at present.

[via Milena, Design Blog and Inspire me, now!].

November 20, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Genetic Paparazzi


Let's give credit where credit is due to Dr. Kathy Hudson, founder and director of Johns Hopkins University's Genetics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., for coining the great phrase in the headline above.

I saw it for the very first time ever in today's fascinating USA Today story by Rita Rubin about the prospect of future presidential candidates having their DNA stolen and then analyzed for evidence of susceptibility to debilitating diseases which would prevent them from carrying out their duties.

Here's the article.

    Could a politician's DNA be abused in a campaign?

    In this year's presidential race, John McCain's campaign made sure voters heard about his mother, still sharp and energetic at 95, while Barack Obama's campaign staff kept relatively quiet about his grandfather's death from prostate cancer, a history that suggests an above-average risk of prostate cancer.

    Family history is one thing, but what if voters had access to detailed genetic information about the candidates themselves? Could candidates be doomed politically if the electorate learned they carried genes that raised their risk of lethal diseases or psychiatric conditions?

    That idea might not be so far-fetched, scientists suggest today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    Although only a handful of humans have had their entire genome sequenced so far, the price of doing so is dropping, and DNA is pretty easy to obtain, especially from someone who shakes a lot of hands and eats a lot of rubber chicken, says lead author Robert Green, a professor of neurology, genetics and epidemiology at Boston University.

    Last month, Complete Genomics, in Mountain View, Calif., announced it plans to sequence 1,000 humans' genomes in 2009 for $5,000 each — about 1/20th the current cost. And enough DNA to sequence can be obtained from "coffee cups, discarded utensils, or even a handshake," say Green and coauthor George Annas, a Boston University bioethicist.

    "There are some legitimate things you can learn," Green says, such as whether an older candidate has a higher-than-average risk of Alzheimer's disease. But, he says, a 20% higher risk of breast or prostate cancer or diabetes isn't very informative when the average risk is fairly low to begin with.

    "People can be fooled by numbers and how numbers can be spun," Green says. "We are heading into an era where there's going to be more and more information, and, for a little while, it's going to be more difficult to interpret." For the "foreseeable future," he and Annas write, genome sequencing "is likely to result in large numbers of false positive findings."

    Dr. Kathy Hudson, founder and director of Johns Hopkins University's Genetics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., says she's "not particularly concerned" about a presidential campaign disclosing its own candidate's genetic information.

    Hudson says she is concerned about what she calls "genetic paparazzi," people who surreptitiously obtain someone else's DNA and have it sequenced. "We've actually been looking at the various laws at the state level that are relevant to unauthorized collection and analysis of DNA."


"The Man With the President's Mind," Ted Allbeury's 1977 novel (top), is a compelling exploration of a Cold War Soviet Union's creation of a Russian double of the president of the United States, who thinks so like him that the Russians can then use their man to predict the future actions and responses of the actual president and act accordingly with this foreknowledge.

Superb story, and it would make a sensational movie.

Ridley Scott?



November 20, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Squirrel Underpants


I thought the Skid Mark Brief Safe was just awful but here I've gone and hit a new low.

From the website:

    Squirrel Underpants

    Squirrel Underpants are real!

    They started as an April Fools joke, but the reaction to them was so strong we decided to actually make them.

    Are you sick and tired of squirrels running naked in the trees around your house?

    Have you had to hide your children’s eyes when a tiny furry streaker crosses the sidewalk in front of you?

    We’ve got the answer: Squirrel Underpants!

    Each pair of tiny briefs has a 3" waist and is made of 100% cotton.

    Also good for hamsters, frogs and gerbils.


November 20, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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