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August 9, 2011

State-dependent learning


From John Eligon's April 23, 2011 New York Times article: "Studies of a theory called state-dependent learning have suggested that some people who witnessed an event while they were drunk were better able to recall the details later when they were brought back to the same level of drunkenness, said Seema L. Clifasefi, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Addictive Behaviors Research Center."

"'In essence, the state of being intoxicated may serve as an internal memory cue and allow access to information that may not be readily available under a sober state,' she wrote in an e-mail."

From Wikipedia:

"Godden and Overton clearly established that information gained in a drugged state may only be recalled when and if the individual's original internal 'drugged' chemical environment had been been reinstated."

What an interesting can of legal worms to be opened by an intrepid attorney.

More from Wikipedia: "When investigating ways of training deep-sea divers to perform certain crucial underwater tasks, Godden and Baddeley clearly established that things learned underwater were best remembered in an underwater environment (and, as well, also established that things learned 'on land' were best remembered 'on land')."

"They also clearly demonstrated that it was counter-productive to train people 'on land' in activities and procedures that they would later exclusively perform underwater."

Immediate application: try to study in the same classroom in which an exam will take place rather than in the library or at home.

And: "Our commonsense experience verifies the notion of 'state-dependent remembering': if, for example, we arrive in the lounge room only to discover that we have forgotten whatever it was that we have come from the kitchen to find, we instinctively know that we'll recall whatever it was far better if we return to the kitchen and stand in the spot in the kitchen where we had our original thought."

August 9, 2011 at 04:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bheestie Bag Device Dryer — Bring your electronics back from the dead


I bought this figuring if it worked, it was well worth the $19.95.

I placed a dead iPod nano and a dead iPod shuffle in the bag at 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon, then waited three days to get every bit of benefit out of the stuff I could.

Lo and behold, after I charged the nano Thursday afternoon, it worked like new!

No crazy shutdowns, skipping songs, sampling the first 10 seconds of songs, etc. like it was doing when I put it on my "Dead Stuff" shelf two weeks ago.

The shuffle, still nothing: doesn't even register on the computer screen when I attach it.

Both devices went on the fritz after long runs on very hot and humid days during which I was handling them constantly, with less and less success as the sweatfest progressed, my brain boiled and dexterity dwindled.

Oh, well.

One for two isn't bad, considering the nano cost me $150.

I'm now a Bheestie advocate, for what that's worth.

From the website:


The moisture-removing Bheestie Bag is designed to absorb the water out of portable electronics... a phone, a camera, a watch... anything that can fit inside.

It might even save a device that's been completely submerged.

Just seal the object in the bag for 24-72 hours and let the moisture-absorbing beads inside [below]


go to work.

Bag lasts about a year under normal use; less if used to dry items that have been submerged.


Don't take their word for it: Scientific American says it's the real deal.



August 9, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Where to get the world's best — and worst — customer service


The best by a pretty wide margin is in Japan.

Russia has the worst — and it's not even close.


I guess it's hard to change lanes after "70 years on the road to nowhere," as one Russian characterized the country's Communist era.


Wrote Nate Silver in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, "The guidebooks tell you never to tip in Japan. Do you get better service in countries where gratuity isn't expected, or is Japan unique? The answer is a little bit complicated and involves something I call the Tipping Curve."


"If servers expect a generous gratuity, there is a strong economic incentive for them to do superior work. And if they expect nothing at all, good service is taken completely out of the economic context and becomes a matter of custom. But when countries try to split the difference or if they introduce confusing rules into the system, their servers are more likely to leave customers dissatisfied."

August 9, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Fork and Cream Sauce Cord Controller










[via Fancy]

August 9, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Caine is Carter


Above, a poster for the 1971 film "Get Carter" starring Michael Caine.

As I recall, it's excellent.

Sent yesterday by Flautist who wrote, "I thought I'd seen all the 'Carter' posters but somehow I don't remember this one from 1971. I really love it — it just nails MC in that role."

I love it too, nicely done by my Georgia correspondent who posts posters but defies imposters, disdaining posturing, that being true for posterity, from my position.

August 9, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Flux Capacitor


From ThinkGeek:


Ever since 1985, we've wanted two things: a De Lorean and a Flux Capacitor. Well, they don't make De Loreans anymore (at least, not the original company) and Flux Capacitors are just a thing of imagination. Until now. That's right — we're offering you this authentically replicated, fully-functional unit straight from the brains of Dr. Emmett Brown. OK, so it doesn't really time travel... at least, we don't think it does.

You'll have to pump in your own 1.21 gigawatts (pronounced and written in the script as "jigowatts," which was the accepted pronunciation at the time) to actually travel in time — and that's up to you. Or you can be content to just pop in 3 AAs and use the knob to adjust the lights. Details down to the warning messages from Doc Brown stuck to the front door will awe anyone who sees it. So get one now, put it in your car, and see what happens. Just make sure not to mess around with your parents — or else you may spawn sequels.

Please Note: ThinkGeek is not responsible for any problems created in this, or any other, time stream. Nor are we responsible if you are pulled over for speeding and try to get out of it by claiming you had to get up to 88mph.


  • Able to stand up on desktop or mount to wall or car (mounting hardware not included)
  • Dimensions: approx. 16.5" (to top of pipe) x 11.25" x 5.5"
  • All metal case with two securing latches
  • Uses 3 AA batteries (included)
  • Movie-accurate details
  • Light control knob



[via Milena]

August 9, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sand magnified 250 times


From Hurricane Vanessa: "Each piece is either a fragment of crystals, spiral fragments of shells or crumbs of volcanic rock."


"To see these incredible images, Dr. Gary Greenberg goes through a painstakingly lengthy process. First he takes many photos from different points of focus. Then, he combines them using software to produce one spectacular image."


Greenberg's authored a book entitled "A Grain of Sand — Nature's Secret Wonder."


August 9, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Official Banana Slicer of Gwen Stefani


She even had a song* about it.

From the (banana slicer) website:


Families will go bananas over this clever kitchen tool.

Designed to make the kid-friendly fruit more fun than ever, our innovative banana slicer quickly creates thin, uniform slices.

Just squeeze the handle.


  • A fun, easy-to-use tool that makes lightning-fast work of slicing bananas
  • Innovative design ensures safety, protecting fingers from the blades
  • Just squeeze the handle to create 5 thin, uniform slices at a time
  • Stainless steel blades guarantee precision slicing
  • Polypropylene
  • 7" long



$9.99 (bananas not included).

*"Hollaback Girl" lyrics here.

Sing along here.

[via Richard Kashdan]

August 9, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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