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February 7, 2010

What is it?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

February 7, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

FingerTongs Enable Food Puppetry

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"Fingertongs are silicone cooking tongs you wear on your hand."

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"For cooks who love to be close to their food, no more burned fingers."

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 "Slides onto either hand and gives precise control when flipping food, turning sausage, stir-frying, etc."

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$17.95.

[via 7Gadgets]

February 7, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Money for nothing: The zero-rupee note takes off

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Long story short, from the January 28, 2010 Economist: "Its aim is to shame corrupt officials into not demanding bribes."

Here's the article.

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Fighting corruption in India

A zero-contribution — an unconventional way to combat petty corruption

A zero-sum game is one in which the gains of one player are exactly balanced by the losses of another. In India a local non-governmental organisation has invented a new sort of zero sum which, it hopes, will leave everyone better off: the zero-rupee note [top].

What on earth is the point of that? The note is not legal tender. It is simply a piece of paper the colour of a 50-rupee note with a picture of Gandhi on it and a value of nothing. Its aim is to shame corrupt officials into not demanding bribes

The idea was dreamt up by an expatriate Indian physics professor from the University of Maryland who, travelling back home, found himself harassed by endless extortion demands. He gave the notes to the importuning officials as a polite way of saying no. Vijay Anand, president of an NGO called 5th Pillar, thought it might work on a larger scale. He had 25,000 zero-rupee notes printed and publicised to mobilise opposition to corruption. They caught on: his charity has distributed 1m since 2007.

One official in Tamil Nadu was so stunned to receive the note that he handed back all the bribes he had solicited for providing electricity to a village. Another stood up, offered tea to the old lady from whom he was trying to extort money and approved a loan so her granddaughter could go to college.

Mr Anand thinks the notes work because corrupt officials so rarely encounter resistance that they get scared when they do. And ordinary people are more willing to protest, since the notes have an organisation behind them and they do not feel on their own. Simple ideas like this don’t always work. When India’s government put online the names of officials facing trial for corruption, the list became a convenient guide for whom to bribe. But, says Fumiko Nagano of the World Bank, transforming social norms is the key to fighting petty corruption and the notes help that process. They are valueless, but not worthless. 

February 7, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blow Sofa

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Dunnage (scrap wood) bags, 

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painted metal supports, 

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rubber straps and 

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air.

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Inflated size: 180cm W x 90cm H (71" x 35").

[via my7475 and designboom]

February 7, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Open Letter Books — Found in translation

Lost 

FunFact: Open Letter's blog, "Three Percent," is "... a mordant reference to the literary ghetto to which translation is consigned" — about 3% of the overall book market.

Excerpts from Larry Rohter's December 26, 2009 New York Times story follow.

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“There’s a set of readers out there that’s very interested in translations and international literature and is not getting what it wants,” said Chad W. Post, Open Letter’s director. “So we believe our business model can work. American literature has a lot of great works. But English-speaking readers don’t have full access to voices and viewpoints from around the world, and we’re trying to rectify that.”

Though none of Open Letter’s 16 titles has yet sold more than 3,000 copies, its efforts have quickly attracted attention and critical praise. Open Letter books, including the recently published “Season of Ash,” by the Mexican novelist Jorge Volpi, have appeared on Best of 2009 lists....

Open Letter published its first title, a collection of essays by the Croatian novelist Dubravka Ugresic called “Nobody’s Home,” in September 2008, just as the economic crisis was erupting. But more than a year earlier, to herald the book’s arrival and attract potential readers, Open Letter had begun a blog called Three  Percent (rochester.edu/threepercent), a mordant reference to the literary ghetto to which translation is consigned.

Though it might have initially been conceived as a marketing device, Three Percent has turned into a lively clearing house for everything related to literature in translation, and logs more than two million page views a year, with obvious commercial benefits for Open Letter. Readers can post their own reviews and learn what foreign publishing houses are up to, and translators can discuss their craft and check to see which works are available and which have already been snatched up by colleagues.

A seven-member selection committee that includes University of Rochester faculty chooses the titles Open Letter publishes. While members of that group say they would not be averse to picking a book that could become a best seller — the Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson’s trilogy of crime novels having shown once again that American readers will embrace certain books not written in English — they say that is not their principal goal.

“We want the openness in the name Open Letter to register,” said Joanna Scott, a professor of English here who is the author of nine novels. “What we are looking for is excellent work, from any language, eclectic modern fiction that is overlooked. Commerce does not enter the discussions; I wouldn’t know a commercial book if I saw one.”

“They’ve been really smart in creating immensely eye-catching books that readers are going to pick up when they see them in a store window or on a friend’s bookshelf, just because they are so interesting-looking,” said Paul Yamazaki, lead buyer at City Lights in San Francisco. “Their books really stand out. They’re creating a house identity with visual cues, and with all the choices that readers have these days, that helps, especially when most of what you’re doing is introducing writers new to Americans.”

In line with that concept, Open Letter, like Archipelago Books, also offers a subscription service. For $100 a year (or $60 for six months), a reader can receive each of the books that Open Letter publishes during that time: that works out to $10 a title, with shipping costs within the United States thrown in as a bonus.

Next year Open Letter plans to broaden its mission and publish its first collection of poetry. Translators, as might be expected, are especially delighted to see the press’s emergence and are flocking to Open Letter with ideas for new and adventurous projects.

“Open Letter has become important all out of proportion because it is willing to take a chance on work in languages that are not well known in the United States, like Icelandic or Lithuanian,” said Clifford Landers, who has translated the Brazilian writer Rubem Fonseca’s collection “The Taker and Other Stories” for Open Letter and hopes to do more. “Commercial publishing houses have become infected with the jackpot mentality. But Open Letter creates an outlet for works that are not expected to have broad popular appeal but nonetheless are of important value in a literary sense.” 

February 7, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Samurai Chopsticks

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"Dispatch sushi with honor.

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There are three sets of chopsticks in the samurai sword series,

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all named after actual 17th century Japanese samurai (Date Masamune, Sanada Yukimura and Maeda Keiji)."

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¥7,500.

February 7, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: The mind, mapped

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From the UK's

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Times Online.

[via Alistair Why and Why's Words]

February 7, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Invisibility is Visibility

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A 2004 work made from pins and buttons by Korean-born, New York-based artist Ran Hwang.

[via mappeal and acidolatte]

February 7, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Computer Chip Earrings

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I wonder how long till you can just jack in?

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8- or 16-pin chips, sterling silver posts.

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$19.

[via Likecool]

February 7, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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