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February 11, 2011

MorphWorld: Lady Gaga into... Akhenaton?


Flautist commented on yesterday's Lady Gaga Vogue cover post, "In that picture, the face — I keep seeing Akhenaton."


Count on Flautist to go deep into time instead of confining herself to the flavor of the month.

I wonder if Lady Gaga knows about this resemblance?

Anyone reading this less who's than six degrees of separation from the Queen, give her a heads-up, would you?

February 11, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dolphin Flash Drive





[via Fancy]

February 11, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The three main sources of household dust

1. Cleaning

2. Cooking

3. Movement

No wonder my house is so clean.

What with my rather sporadic housekeeping (Mario Buatta once remarked that dust protects furniture from sunlight wonderfully), heavy reliance on the microwave and movement pretty much confined to my treadmill (which accumulates dust underneath remarkably fast and in huge quantities spiked with Gray Cat hair but is easily removed since it's bundled in one place), my house is just so spiffy.

I learned a lot about dust and its discontents in Michael Tortorello's story in yesterday's New York Times Home section; excerpts follow.


Apparently, the amount of airborne dust doubled in the 20th century, according to a recent paper in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

The claim sounds outlandish. The amount of dust in the world — like the amount of sin or acne — must be a constant. The finding was somewhat surprising even to Natalie Mahowald, the lead researcher on the study and an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at Cornell University.

Although she was working with inchoate historical data, Dr. Mahowald said, "Nobody has come up to me and said, 'I don’t believe you.'" Climate change seems to be one source for all the new dust. Human land use is another. Anyone looking for a scapegoat — and that’s all of us, isn’t it? — can start with the droughts and desertification in North Africa, she said.

Dr. Mahowald said, "Dust is such a vague term. I’m being very particular here: soil particles suspended in the atmosphere."

Cleaning can have an unintended consequence: Oddly enough, it actually breeds dust. In fact, cleaning is one of the three main sources of household dust, according to research on indoor particles. Cooking is the second; movement is the third.

Every step disturbs tiny particles of dirt, fiber, soot, pollen, paint, food and dead skin. In common parlance, it’s all dust, said Richard Flagan, the chairman of the chemical engineering department at the California Institute of Technology. As soon as these motes lift off a carpet (or a TV remote or a ukulele), "you induce air currents" that propel them around the room, he said.

Several thousand particles of this stuff will waft in any cubic centimeter of air, a space the size of a sugar cube. We travel through life emitting what scientists call “a personal cloud” of dust. The only alternative is death, which is actually worse — what with the whole "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" thing.

A clean house is easier to clean.

How does dust fall onto a bookshelf? Slowly. Very slowly.

A piece of dust that is 100 microns in diameter (the size of a dot of chalk powder) will fall about a foot a second, said Richard Flagan, chairman of the chemical engineering program at the California Institute of Technology. A mote that is 1 micron in diameter, the size of a bacteria, will fall just 30 microns a second. And many of the particles created by cooking, which is a leading source of indoor dust, measure less than half a micron across.

Where does dust this small go? Anywhere it wants. Trying to herd it into a dustpan is either an act of hubris or a clown routine. Might as well try to snare a moth with a hula hoop.

Given these absurdities of scale, cleaning will inevitably scatter dust around the room. Still, the forces of chemistry and physics can help.

There may be no more primitive dusting tool than a damp cloth. You will not see it advertised on late-night TV. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work. "The reason that you use a wet cloth rather than a dry cloth," Dr. Flagan said, "is the liquid introduces capillary forces."

The dust will bond to the wet surface, he said. "And then the particle doesn’t want to pull off."

The concept behind a vacuum cleaner isn’t hard to understand. The nozzle sucks air into a filter medium or a bag. "Some of the dust strikes the filters and sticks, and some strikes other particles and sticks."

Then there is the considerable amount of dust that doesn’t stick to anything. A spinning brush may send small particles in a kind of appliance thrill ride. And while the vacuum nozzle inhales, the vents exhale. A HEPA filter, with its fine fabric grates, should capture petite-yet-nasty particles — the ones that wear size 0, so to speak.

As for those newfangled bagless vacuums with their racy cyclonic action? Dr. Flagan contends that a centrifugal windstorm won’t capture smaller particles, except by dumb luck. That said, on the filth mats that we call carpets, "a lot of the stuff is big aggregates," he said. For that, "they’re pretty good."


For those who can't get enough of dust, consider this entertaining book:


February 11, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Right/Wrong Gloves


100% knitted lambs wool.


Green, Grey, Camel







[via CSYCB]

February 11, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Romania to imprison witches if their predictions do not come true


No, not from The Onion but, rather, this past Tuesday's New York Times.

"A month after the authorities began taxing Romania's witches and fortunetellers on their trade, Parliament is considering a new bill that would subject them to fines or even prison if their predictions do not come true. Superstition is taken seriously in Romania, and officials passed the tax bill in an effort to increase revenues. The new bill would also require witches to have permits and provide their customers with receipts, and it would bar them from practicing near schools and churches. Witches argue they should not be blamed for the failure of their tools. 'They can’t condemn witches; they should condemn the cards,' said Bratara Buzea, a 'queen witch.'"

Caption for the photo up top: "Romanian gypsy witch fortune tellers at a fair in Bucharest."

February 11, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Yoav Kotik's "Precious Metal"




from packaging.


But what jewelry.


From $22.


[via TheDieline and VisualBloc]

February 11, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Catatumbo Lightning

Roughly 160 nights a year, up to nine hours of lightning, visible from up to 285 miles away, illuminate the Catatumbo River basin where it empties into Lake Maracaibo (South America's largest lake) in western Venezuela.

From Slate: "Known as the 'Beacon of Maracaibo,' the Catatumbo lightning has guided sailors for centuries. It can sometimes be seen on the horizon from as far away as the Lesser Antilles, more than 200 miles distant. In his 1597 poem 'The Dragontea,' which tells the story of Sir Francis Drake's last expedition, Spanish poet Lope de Vega tells how the lightning — 'flames, which the wings of night cover' — illuminated the silhouettes of the English privateer's ships, tipping off the garrison at Maracaibo to his surprise attack. During the last major naval skirmish of the Venezuelan war of independence in 1823, the lightning was said to have helped steer the ships of Adm. José Prudencio Padilla to victory over the Spanish fleet. The storm is so central to the region's identity that the state of Zulia put a large lightning bolt in the middle of its flag."


The lightning flashes occur 15-40 times per minute and can reach an intensity of 400,000 amps.

Discharging more the 1.2 million times a year, the Catatumbo Lightning has been called the single greatest natural source of ozone on the planet.

February 11, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ShadowBox Personal 3-D Sports Recorder


From Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "Mount this 'black box' to your board to record flight data like jump height, hang time, degree of rotation, and spin rate. Upload the data via a USB port to review your ride path in 3-D."


From the website:




Attach the ShadowBox to any object, pick your sport (skiing, mountain biking, sailing, snowboarding, skateboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, wakeboarding), record your ride, see your performance on the Box.


View it back on 3-D in RideTracker — view results immediately on the ShadowBox or on a computer in detailed 3-D.


See not only what you do, but where do it — see your entire recorded path in Google Earth.




February 11, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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