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January 21, 2011

Cooper's Hawk in Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress


From today's 1:00 p.m. Washington Post story by (I kid you not) Elizabeth Flock:


What appears to be a Cooper's hawk has taken shelter inside the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress [top].

First spotted Wednesday night, the bird of prey may have flown in through a broken window at the top of the Main Reading Room's 160-foot high dome, and it hasn't yet found its way out.

Reference librarians have furiously been looking through the library's collection of books on birds, including "Sibley's Guide to North American birds," to identify the bird and find a way to lure it down.

They've also been consulting their community of fans on the web. When asked how the library knows the bird is a Cooper's hawk, a Library of Congress representative says, "We've been getting a lot of comments on our Facebook page and blog from people who seem to know what they are talking about."


January 21, 2011 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Suits of James Bond


"Few fictional characters have inspired men to wear a suit to the extent that James Bond has."


"The goal of this blog is to determine what defines Bond's style


by examining the clothes in detail and looking at the clothes in context."


"This blog is committed to providing all the answers one needs in order to dress tastefully in the manner of 007."


How many of the six actors pictured above and below who've played Bond can you name off the top of your head?


[via @colsonwhitehead, @TimOBrien and @brainpicker]

January 21, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Dr Who Sonic Screwdriver and Ink Pen Set


From the website:


We paired the new Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver replica with a Sonic Screwdriver Ink Pen to create this exclusive set.

Flip open the cap at the end of the Screwdriver to reveal a button that triggers light and sound effects when it's in full-extension open mode.

Based on the Doctor's trusted Sonic Screwdriver, this is a top quality executive pen complete with both black and green ink cartridges.

Sonic Screwdriver Ink Pen is essential for time traveling escapades or general desk work.

Sonic Screwdriver requires 3 button cell batteries (included).

Each approximately 6 inches long.

Pen uses standard ink refills.



You say you've already got a pen, but what you need is a flashlight?

No problema: read on.




From the website:


Doctor Who fans have to have this Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor set.

We took the newest Sonic Screwdriver LED Flashlight and paired it with a Sonic Screwdriver working screwdriver to create the hottest Doctor Who multitool replica set on the market.

Screwdriver includes Phillips and flat-head screwdriver bits — it lights up and makes sounds when in use.

LED flashlight includes 3 replaceable button batteries.

Limited stock.





January 21, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Shanghai Time Machine: 1990 to 2010


Videre est credere.

[via 11even.net]

January 21, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pocket Radar — Handheld radar gun

Pretty impressive technology.

The opening paragraphs of David Waldstein's December 12, 2010 New York Times story follow.


Like a rapidly spreading fire, word began to circulate Wednesday through the crowded lobby of the Dolphin Hotel at baseball’s winter meetings. General managers, scouting directors and at least one owner had heard the news and were eager to see if it was true.

What seized their curiosity was not the fast-developing Carl Crawford signing or speculation over Cliff Lee’s future. Instead it came from the bowels of the hotel, where a trade show booth was demonstrating a product that could revolutionize scouting and coaching.

Steve Goody, the chief executive of Pocket Radar, a new company that developed a radar gun the size of an iPhone, was trying to keep up with the mushrooming demand. One by one, executives, including Frank Wren, general manager of the Atlanta Braves; Bill Singer, the Washington Nationals’ director of pro scouting; representatives of the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins; and even Jeffrey Loria, owner of the Florida Marlins, stopped by.

“What team are you with?” Goody said before being told he was speaking to a reporter and not a team employee. “Oh, sorry. I think all but about five teams have been down here in the last couple of hours. It’s been pretty crazy.”




January 21, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Baidu Beat — The pulse of China


From a story in the January 17, 2011 issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "Baidu Inc., owner of China’s biggest search engine, started an English-language blog site aimed at overseas users as it expands services globally.

"'Baidu plans to post articles on what it deems as the prevailing trends and topics of interest among China’s Internet users on the site,' said Kaiser Kuo, a spokesman for the Beijing- based company. The service, called Baidu Beat, started January 10 and is intended for 'China watchers,' he said.

"'It’s a window on Chinese Internet culture,' Kuo said in a telephone interview. 'It's all derived from what's being searched most in China.'

"Baidu, which started a Japanese-language search-engine service in 2008, accounted for 72.9 percent of China’s online search market in the third quarter of last year, according to iResearch, which studies Internet traffic. That’s almost three times the level for second-place Google Inc., according to the Shanghai-based research company.

"China had an estimated 420 million Internet users at the end of June, data from the government-sponsored China Internet Network Information Center show.

"Users of Baidu Beat can send feedback, though they won’t be allowed to post directly to the blog, Kuo said. As of today, the site included posts about a Chinese hit song called 'Perturbed' and a gunfight between police and a murder suspect in eastern Shandong province."

January 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Black Rose Cup & Saucer


"Fine bone china and saucer glazed in rich black, garnished with a red rose."

Handle inner painted with 22 carat gold; made in England.

Who's your Valentine?


January 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Shy Chair


By London-based designer Émilie Voirin.


The rattan chair was part of the "Made in China" series exhibited in Milan in 2009.


Viorin explained that the chair "suggests that one can be seen without seeing."


[via Examiner.com and damnmagazine.net]

January 21, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Cellphone recording made easy (cheap, too)


Editor Oliver Hulland's review in the latest edition of Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools follows.


Interviewing someone over the phone is never easy, and it is a task that has been made a bit more difficult since the switch to mobile phones. Whereas with a landline you could use something like the previously reviewed Mini Phone Recorder, there are no simple bypasses for cellphones.

I was originally hopeful when a previous reviewer devised a way to record cell phone interviews while wearing a hands-free headset using parts found at Radioshack. But I wanted something simpler.

With a little bit of research I discovered the Olympus TP-7 telephone recording device [above and below], a miniature microphone that slips into your ear and plugs into your recording device (or computer) and enables easy recording of phone calls. At $11 it seemed like a low-risk move to try one out.


Given its low cost, I didn't have any expectations in terms of audio quality, but was surprised to find that it was crystal-clear (or as clear as a cell phone conversation normally is, clipping and all). While it's true my questions were louder than their answers, the difference didn't hamper playback and transcription. Furthermore, the TP-7 is comfortable enough in-ear that I practically forgot it was there (just remember if you ever switch your phone to the other ear you have to move the microphone as well). The TP-7 comes with a bevy of plug adaptors, as well as different-sized ear plugs for a comfortable fit.

I have, in the past, tried Google Voice's recording services that only work on incoming calls to your Google Voice-activated line (and also announce that the telephone call is being recorded due to varying state requirements).  The recording quality is significantly worse compared to what my TP-7 and Olympus LS-10 recorder produced, and the transcription (another feature offered by Google Voice) was laughable.

Also, unlike the previously reviewed hands-free setup, the TP-7 has the added advantage of being a single piece of equipment that requires no extra cables or accessories, and is small enough to be carried around in my bag all day just in case I have to record a call on the road. If you ever have a need to record phone calls or interviews over the phone (mind you, legally) I can wholeheartedly recommend this tiny, lightweight-but-high-quality in-ear microphone.




January 21, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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