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August 16, 2011

Experts' Experts: "The last cutting board you'll ever need"


Cook's Illustrated, in its latest issue (September & October 2011) unhappy with how their once-favorite cutting board broke down, decided to put nine new boards through their "test kitchen boot camp."

"To get the toughest board we could find, we distributed copies of each model to our test cooks, who put them through three solid months of daily use — the equivalent of years of use in the average home kitchen."

Long story short: The winner by a wide margin was the Proteak Edge Grain Teak Cutting Board (top).

Testers' comments: "Roomy, knife-friendly, and exceptionally durable, this teak slab was worth every penny ($84.99). It resisted warping and cracking, showing only minor scratches, never seemed 'thirsty' [i.e., needed to be oiled] and — despite its heft [15.05 lbs.] — was easy to lift and clean, thanks to handholds on each end."

Of note is that the most expensive (they ranged in price from $21.99 to $199) of the nine boards tested — the Epicurean Big Block Series Thick Cutting Board with Cascade Effect — was rated the worst of the bunch.

So it would appear that in this arena, the old adage "You get what you pay for" isn't operative, as they say inside the Beltway.

August 16, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

USB Pregnancy Test


Fantastic, when you consider they've crammed mass spectrometry into a device this small and can still make a profit selling it for $17.99.

Truly remarkable technology.

From the website:


Yes or no. Pregnancy tests are binary by their very nature. So when we found p-Teq's USB Pregnancy Test Kit that's chock full of extra scientific information, we knew we had to get this geeky goodness to our potentially spawning fans.

The process starts off like most pregnancy tests. You pee on a stick, specifically the absorbent test strip at one end. But everything's different after that first step. Remove the cap from the other end of the stick (cleverly provided to keep you from accidentally contaminating the wrong end) to reveal the USB connector. Pop it in your computer. The power from your USB port starts the electrospray ionization process, creating a spectrograph of the various masses for your analysis. Get it? Your analysis? Urinalysis? *rimshot* Moving on.

You don't actually get to see the spectrograph yourself. The mass analysis happens inside the device. And p-Teq's device only analyzes for specific chemical makeups, so you don't have to worry about this thing busting you for that "poppy seed bagel" you had yesterday. The mass spectrometry software on the device comes with several sequenced hormones, including hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin), hCG-H (hyperglycosylated hCG — for detection before your first missed period), and LH (luteinizing hormone — for detection of your most fertile days).


We like the fact that it does all three. After all, if you're not pregnant and you wanna be, you need to know if now's the time to be gettin' it on.

While most home tests can detect a level of 15-50 mIU/mL of hCG, the enhanced methodology of the USB Pregnancy Test Kit can detect 5-50 mIU/mL, and will show you the exact concentration via its friendly onscreen interface. In addition, the LCD display on the device itself will light up and show you the symbol of a baby, no baby, or multiples and your Estimated Delivery Date based on the concentration of hCG, hCG-H, and LH in your urine. So you can clear your calendar in advance.

After you're done reviewing your test results, just pop the device out of your computer and change the test strip. The display will remain lit for five minutes and then automatically power off. Note: We recommend the use of horizontal USB drives for this product to prevent accidental moisture transference.


• USB 2.0 compatible

•Plug-and-play, easy operation

•No batteries required — draws power from USB

•Operating Systems: Win 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Linux 2.4 or higher, Mac OS 8.6 or higher

•20 test strips included

•99% accuracy*

*This test is 99% accurate in detecting hCG, hCG-H and LH. However, these hormones do not necessarily indicate pregnancy or ovulation, respectively. Extenuating circumstances can affect levels of these hormones in your body.



[via Richard Kashdan]


Note added at 3:16 p.m. today: I just received a Facebook comment on this post from Richard Kashdan, who wrote: "Oops, you actually published this. There is something that perhaps I should have warned you about...."

Yes — like that it's an APRIL FOOL'S JOKE.

As I noted on Facebook in response to Richard's comment above, "You know how gullible I am; I prefer to believe everything rather than doubting all."

That is true.

Fooling me is child's play and if anyone finds it fun to do so, well, have it.

I'll laugh too.


August 16, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

One-time pad for the Internet?

Screen Shot 2011-08-16 at 1.47.58 PM

Wrote reader Vigilis,

Not sure if this is of interest to you or not. Just found it myself: http://www.useridpassword.com

More than just password generator (big deal), the site facilitates secure encryption/decryption of brief messages between those in possession of private "pass phrases."
Yes, Vigilis, it is of interest to me and will be of even more interest to that subset of my readers who have more of a clue than I do as to what's happening in the virtual world.
"joe, how about everyone except the pre-literate kids noodling around your site on their iPads?"

August 16, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Eraser Shield


Wrote reader HeavyG in a comment on Sunday's tricked-out eraser post, "I was a draftsman for many years and a standard drafting tool is an eraser shield which is a small piece of steel sheet (a bit larger than a credit card) with cutouts of various shapes that you place over your drawing to protect areas that you do not want to erase.Here's a shield [top]. Very handy tool that everyone should keep in their wallet."

August 16, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Experts' Experts: "Nutritional yeast was a big hit for seasoning popcorn" — Cook's Illustrated


Who knew?

From the September & October 2011 issue of Cook's Illustrated:

Like baker's yeast, nutritional yeast is a member of the fungus kingdom. It's grown on a mixture of beet molasses and sugarcane, and then heated to deactivate its leavening power. There are several brands available — usually in the form of fluffy yellow flakes — at natural foods stores and mail-order sources. Vegans and vegetarians find it especially valuable because it contains the essential nutrient vitamin B12, which is usually obtained from animal products. We'd also heard that it packs big savory flavor, so we popped a batch of popcorn and sprinkled a little on to evaluate.


Despite its clinical-sounding name, nutritional yeast was a big hit for seasoning popcorn, with tasters describing its effect as "tangy," "nutty," "cheesy," and "addictive." The key is its high level of glutamic acid, the main chemical compound responsible for boosting the umami taste in food. Just don't confuse the product with brewer's yeast, which looks similar but tastes bitter.

A must-try here at boj World Headquarters®™©.

August 16, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

T-Rex in a bottle


From the website:


10mm long (0.4") super tiny dinosaur.

Tiny bottle: 22mm high (0.9") × 12mm diameter (0.5")



• Tyrannosaurus — paper

• Land — plastic clay

• Bottle — glass and cork


Please Note:

The contents of the bottle are made of paper and clay so I think it would be light enough to wear but the bottle is normally made as an ornament. I don't recommend it be worn or carried since the bottle is glass and the item inside is fragile. But, if requested, I will include a rubber band and a ring (for wearing) or a strap (for carrying) at no additional charge. Please indicate the color rubber band and strap you want.

Rubber band color choices: pink, blue, yellow, purple or green.

Strap color choices: yellow, light blue, pink, red, white or black.

Not responsible for any damage occurring if the ornament is worn or carried.




[via Fancy]

August 16, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Chess Notation Test


"This test will help you get better at reading algebraic chess notation."

August 16, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Big Golden Flat Spoon


"This is a traditional Chinese hand-made copper metal spoon for serving tofu pudding. It is a beautiful object with an extraordinary shape. There is so much 'rawness' in it and also a resonance of customs past."


 Spoon diameter 10cm.


22cm long.




August 16, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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