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December 16, 2010

"The anatomy of a perfect landing page" — Episode 2: IMPECABBLE


3. "In the example of an online retailer who is asking for visitors to purchase and provide personal and billing information, the trust of the customer will be risked if there are spelling errors and sloppy grammar."


December 16, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Butterfly Knife-style Pen


From the website:



Pen opens and closes like a butterfly knife.

Learn cool flippy tricks that will inspire fear — but not hurt you as you master them.

Black pen writes with blue ink.

4.5"L open; 7.75"L closed.



December 16, 2010 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Multivitamins before bedtime may disrupt your sleep

Excerpts from Anahad O'Connor's "Really?" column in this past Tuesday's New York Times Science section follow.


Millions of Americans take multivitamins daily, looking to get all sorts of health benefits. But when it comes to a good night’s sleep, can these pills do a disservice?

In one study in 2007, researchers recruited hundreds of subjects and investigated their sleep habits — including looking at their use of vitamins and medications — then had them keep sleep diaries for two weeks.

After controlling for age, sex and other variables, the scientists found a slightly higher rate of poor or interrupted sleep in people taking multivitamins. But because they found only an association, they could not rule out the possibility that people with poorer sleep are simply more likely to seek out multivitamins.

Some studies have shown that ingesting vitamin B6 before bed can lead to very vivid dreaming, which can wake people up. B6 helps the body convert tryptophan to serotonin, a hormone that affects sleep. Other studies have shown that vitamin B12 can affect melatonin levels, promoting wakefulness.

For those who suspect their multivitamins may be curtailing sleep, the best solution may simply be to take the pills in the morning, or at least several hours before bed.


I see no downside from a vitamin in the morning rather than at bedtime so as of yesterday I'm taking mine with breakfast.

Here's the abstract of the 2007 paper cited above.


Vitamins and sleep: an exploratory study

STUDY OBJECTIVE: We analyzed archival data from an epidemiology study to test the association between vitamin use and sleep.

DESIGN: Random digit dialing was used to recruit 772 people ranging in age from 20 to 98 for a study of people's sleep experience. These individuals completed a set of questionnaires about their sleep, health, and daytime functioning. Five hundred and nineteen of these participants had available vitamin use data.


PARTICIPANTS: Five hundred and nineteen people participated. Recruitment applied minimal screening criteria and no attempt was made to favor people with or without sleep disturbance.

INTERVENTIONS: This survey included no intervention. Participants completed 2 weeks of sleep diaries and a set of questionnaires. Of particular salience to the present study, participants reported their vitamin use in listing all medications and nutritional supplements being used currently.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: For those individuals taking a multivitamin or multiple single vitamins, sleep diaries revealed poorer sleep compared to non-vitamin users in the number and duration of awakenings during the night. After controlling for age, ethnicity, and sex the difference in number of awakenings was still marginally significant. The rate of insomnia, conservatively defined, and consumption of sleep medication were also marginally significantly higher among individuals taking multi-/multiple vitamins compared to those not taking vitamins.

CONCLUSIONS: Disturbed sleep maintenance was associated with multi-/multiple vitamin use. Five equally plausible explanations were advanced to explain this association including vitamins cause poor sleep, poor sleepers seek vitamins, and unidentified factors promote both poor sleep and vitamin use. These data are considered preliminary. Methodological characteristics of future studies were described that hold the promise of more clearly illuminating the association between vitamins and sleep.


Here's the abstract of the vitamin B6 paper cited above.


Effects of pyridoxine on dreaming: a preliminary study.

The effect of pyridoxine (Vitamin B-6) on dreaming was investigated in a placebo, double-blind study to examine various claims that Vitamin B-6 increases dream vividness or the ability to recall dreams. 12 college students participated in all three treatment conditions, each of which involved ingesting either 100 mg B-6, 250 mg B-6, or a placebo prior to bedtime for a period of five consecutive days. The treatment conditions were completely counterbalanced and a two-day wash-out period occurred between the three five-day treatment blocks. Morning self-reports indicated a significant difference in dream-salience scores (this is a composite score containing measures on vividness, bizarreness, emotionality, and color) between the 250-mg condition and placebo over the first three days of each treatment. The data for dream salience suggests that Vitamin B-6 may act by increasing cortical arousal during periods of rapid eve movement (REM) sleep. An hypothesis is presented involving the role of B-6 in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. However, this first study needs to be replicated using the same procedures and also demonstrated in a sleep laboratory before the results can be considered certain.


Here's the abstract of the vitamin B12 paper cited above.


Effects of vitamin B12 on plasma melatonin rhythm in humans: increased light sensitivity phase-advances the circadian clock?

Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) was administered orally (3 mg/day) to 9 healthy subjects for 4 weeks. Nocturnal melatonin levels after exposure to bright light (ca. 2500 lx) were determined, as well as the levels of plasma melatonin over 24 h. The timing of sleep was also recorded. Vitamin B12 was given blind to the subjects and crossed over with placebo. We found that the 24-h melatonin rhythm was significantly phase-advanced (1.1 h) in the vitamin B12 trial as compared with that in the placebo trial. In addition, the 24-h mean of plasma melatonin level was much lower in the vitamin B12 trial than with the placebo. Furthermore, the nocturnal melatonin levels during bright light exposure were significantly lower in the vitamin B12 trial than with the placebo. On the other hand, vitamin B12 did not affect the timing of sleep. These findings raise the possibility that vitamin B12 phase-advances the human circadian rhythm by increasing the light sensitivity of the circadian clock.

December 16, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Shroud of Vogue


Above, the past year's 12 editions of Vogue covers, overlaid.

"Click here to view each of the 12 editions [below]


as overlaid images."

[Via Magtastic Blogsplosion and @coverexplosion]

December 16, 2010 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

xeno-canto — "Sharing bird sounds from around the world"


Don't get out much?


No problema: xeno-canto makes your cubicle or room a virtual aviary.


Meet fellow birders here.

Free, the way we like it.

[via Joe Peach]

December 16, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lighted Grabber — "It gets where you can't (and don't want to) go"


From the website:


All too often that prized toy flies under the fridge, or your wedding ring falls into the garbage disposal, or your keys drop between your car seat and console.

Rather than getting yourself in a jam or jamming your fingers in these tight spaces to retrieve your lost goods, bust out the Alligetter [sic].

It illuminates the area you're searching in to help you find said lost goods, and then uses its jaws to grab and retrieve your items.

The tip-mounted LED light turns on with the flip of a switch and the jaws are easily controlled by a trigger grip.

Folds for easy storage.

Button battery included.



December 16, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: Plastic bag hideaway


"Looking for a way to corral the unwieldy (and ever-growing) pile of plastic bags? An empty paper towel roll makes a great hideaway."

[via Dimple Dudley (sic) of Newbern, Tennessee, in the "Quick Tips" feature of the January & February 2011 issue of Cook's Illustrated]

December 16, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cupcake Soap Dispenser


From the website: "Fill one of these ceramic Cupcake Soap Dispensers with liquid soap and put it by your bathroom sink. Fill another one with dish soap and put it by your kitchen sink. Fill a third with hand lotion and put it in the guest room. And finally, fill one with frosting and keep it with you at all times for all your pumpable frosting needs."

6-1/4" tall.


$9.95 (sans soap/lotion/frosting).

December 16, 2010 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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