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May 26, 2010

Sideview mirrors and blind spots — Episode 2: Not so fast

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A March 10, 2010 post about a different way of positioning one's car sideview mirrors so as to supposedly minimize blind spots drew a spirited dissent from reader Jeff Kohlsmith, who emailed me as follows:

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Blind spots: Counterthought

There is a reason that driver's ed has taught generations to set their mirrors the "traditional" way. The "new method that you have described is very useful for changing lanes on multi-lane highways because it points the mirrors towards the blind spot that the driver would only see if he then did the over-the-shoulder check that we were all taught to do as young drivers. Moving the mirrors outwards allows highway drivers to not have to turn their head to check their blind spots... nice.

Here is where the trouble starts, because moving the mirrors outwards does not eliminate the blind spot, it just moves it. Now the blind spot is right next to the car by the rear quarter panel. Not important on a multi-lane highway, but once you exit the highway and are in stop-and-go traffic in town where the lanes are narrower, this area becomes very important — especially to cyclists who are now sharing the road with you, and if you are now under the misconception that you have eliminated your blind spot, you become very dangerous to these cyclists when you change lanes without looking over your shoulder.

Setting the three mirrors so that there is no gap in the viewable area means that when you turn your head to check your blind spot, you only have to look out to the side, an easy turn of your head to glance over your shoulder. If you use the "new" method, your mirror now shows you this area and to check the blind spot next to your quarter panel involves craning your neck almost all the way around., which most people can't or won't do — cylclists beware!

We tend to assume that our elders are ignorant and the "new" thinking is superior to "old" thinking, but sometimes "new" thinkers distribute information without giving the same due diligence and reflective thought that our elders have invested.

Thans for considering this "old" point of view.

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Anybody else care to weigh in?

May 26, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Hose Nozzle with Integrated Digital Water Meter

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Can your hose nozzle tell you how much water you're using?

Didn't think so.

From the website:

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Built-in water meter helps you conserve water by showing how much water you're using as you wash the car, water plants or spray the siding.

Consistent flow rate regardless of water pressure, with 4 precision spray settings (cone, shower, soaker and flat).

Durable and ultra-break-resistant with a handle grip area for ease of use.

Installs by hand without tools; swap it out anytime you wish.

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$22.98 (water not included).

May 26, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

iPad + Velcro — 'Two of mankind's greatest inventions, together at last'

By Jesse Rosten.

[via SwissMiss]

May 26, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'Star Devours Live Planet'

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For a second there I thought I was in a parallel universe reading today's Astronomical Enquirer.

Just in, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope, the news that planet WASP-12b has only 10,000 or so years left until its sunlike star — yellow dwarf WASP-12, some 600-light-years away in the winter constellation Auriga — consumes it entirely.

A NASA artist's rendering of the ongoing process appears above.

The planet was previously known to be the hottest in the Milky Way galaxy and now we know why.

It's so close to its star that it's been superheated to nearly 2,800°F and stretched into a football-like shape by enormous tidal forces.

May 26, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Table Vase

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1. Screw jar lid to underside of table.

2. Drill a hole in table/lid.

3. Put water in jar.

4. Screw water-filled jar into lid.

5. Insert flower.

Estimated time: 5 minutes.

[via Paul Biba, Tomokaza Hayakawa and ikea hacker]

May 26, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

May 26, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

'The Joys of Jumpology'

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"When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping, and the mask falls, so that the real person appears."

So said photographer Phillipe Halsman about why he liked to photograph people in the act of jumping.

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"A wonderful exhibition of nearly 50 jumps that Halsman captured on film from the late 1940s through the '50s... can be seen at the Laurence Miller Gallery at 20 West 57th Street in Manhattan, through Friday," wrote Roberta Smith in a laudatory review in this past Monday's New York Times.

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From the top: the photographer with Marilyn Monroe; Aldous Huxley; Audrey Hepburn.

May 26, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Joker iPad Decal

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$20.

[via LikeCool; apologies to Joe Peach for yet another fanboy post]

May 26, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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