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September 1, 2011

Virginia Woolf speaks: the only known recording of her voice

From Open Culture: "The clip above features the only surviving recording of Virginia Woolf's voice. It comes from a 1937 BBC radio broadcast. The talk, entitled 'Craftsmanship,' was part of a series called 'Words Fail Me.'" 

From mhpbooks: "She talks about the difficulty of using English  words. According to Woolf, their long history weights them down, despite the fact that neologisms spring to our lips with ease."

Transcript of the recording here.

I found reading along silently while she read aloud enchanting.

[via @kirstinbutler]

September 1, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

USB WiFi Antenna — "Wireless broadcast range up to 1 mile line of sight"


Tell us more.

From the website:


Need to improve WiFi reception?

Just install the Super USB WiFi Antenna 3 into your computer's USB port to experience a 4.5dBi antenna gain and a 25dBm chipset gain.

You'll be able to reach 802.11b, g and n access points up to a mile away, and experience fast data transfers up to 150Mbps.


The weatherproof antenna can be mounted outside or, using the included suction cups, to a window pane for maximum connectivity.

Includes 15-foot USB cable, zip ties, suction cups, fasteners, lanyard and software on CD-ROM.

Requires Microsoft Windows 2000+ or Mac OS 10.4+.

Note: Operation may not be legal in all jurisdictions.




September 1, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Panic Room: Treasures of the National Gallery in the event of WWIII


Long story short: National Gallery of Art curator of prints, watercolors, drawings and rare illustrated books Andrew Robison is responsible for 106,000 works.

Of these he selects 74 works of paper — pieces of the highest value — which are placed in seven boxes — four for European holdings, three for American — in two separate storerooms, said containers in the event of catastrophe to be quickly spirited away from Washington to an undisclosed location.


Excerpts from Ned Martel's August 15, 2011 Washington Post front page story about the care and maintenance of the gallery's holy of holies follows.


In 1979, with Washington worried about 52 hostages in Tehran and terrorist threats at home, Robison's boss asked him to create a big container for works of the highest value. Because his works are so fragile and light-sensitive, they live most of their lives in protective storage, going on the walls for viewing only in short spurts.

In the two storerooms that Robison asked not be photographed or their locations disclosed, the black, cloth-lined boxes, each the shape of very large books, bear the label "WW3," drawn in calligraphy. These in-case-of-World-War-III containers lie ready for any possibility, and in Robison's absence, security guards have a floor plan that shows their exact location, like an X on a pirate map.


Showing off a box's contents, he growled lusty approval of Peter Paul Rubens’s huge reclining Pan, which Robison counts among the most powerful in the WW3 boxes. He admires beautiful women in the works of art as robustly as Rubens did when he sketched a model for a figure in "The Assumption of the Virgin" — "Clearly he was in love with this woman," Robison said, holding up the black chalk sketch.

Though he must know prices and trends, the art market, he said, cannot be the arbiter of what gets included in the WW3 boxes. "Money was just not a good guide," he said.


To merit inclusion in the box, each work gets a thorough going-over by Robison’s team. The first criterion is aesthetic: Is it pleasing to the eye, well-made in both concept and execution? Next, historic: does it say enough about when it was made and who made it? Of all the moments of human history to which art can transport us, is this one worth remembering?

And then he has a more nebulous but convincing factor that Robison merely calls "power." Of all the things that could be demonstrated with lines on paper, does this — through imagery alone — have a pronounced psychological impact? Does it change minds, just by viewing it?


"Very great quality will be more intriguing, more telling, more meaningful for visitors. It won't be as meaningful if we had some sort of spread — one work from every great artist. It'd be more meaningful if we had really great works regardless of whether the artist is normally known as great or not."

Only 27 percent of what Robison first put in the boxes in 1979 is still inside them.



Slide show of a number of Robison's selections (some of which appear above) here.

From the top down: Rembrandt self-portrait in chalk; Winslow Homer watercolor sketch for "Hounds and Hunter" (1892); German artist Caspar David Friedrich's "Moonrise on an Empty Shore," sepia washes over graphite on woven paper; Edward Hopper's watercolor "Haskell's House" (1924); "Two Women on the Shore," woodblock print by Edvard Munch; "Pan Reclining" by Peter Paul Rubens.


September 1, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Faux Fur Bear Hat


One size fits all wanna-bears.




[via Svpply]


September 1, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Periodic Table Table

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Wrote reader Evan Lazer,

You really missed the boat on this one, check out The Periodic Table Table: http://theodoregray.com/periodictable

Amazingly interesting element collection, with thousands of samples all in high-res, plus videos and stories of how some of the samples were acquired — there goes the... week.

Seriously, when I found this site ~5 years ago I think I wasted a whole week at my internship reading this site.

I would take issue with Evan's use of the word "wasted": rather, it may well have been the highest and best use possible of that internship week.

From the Periodic Table website:

What is this thing anyway?

This website documents, in great depth, a large collection of chemical elements and examples of their applications, common and uncommon. Click any element tile and you will find probably more than you ever wanted to know about that element. All these samples (well, at least the ones that fit) are stored in a wooden periodic table, by which I mean a physical table you can actually sit at, in my office at Wolfram Research.

I decided to build this table by accident in early 2002, as a result of a misunderstanding while reading "Uncle Tungsten" by Oliver Sacks. I won't bore you with the details here but once it was finished I felt obligated to start finding elements to go in it (because under the name of each element in my table there is a sample area).

Then I started building a website to document all my samples, and that's when things really got out of hand. A few months later my little table won the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry, clearly the highest honor for which it is eligible.

Sensing an audience, I began to take the website more seriously, which led to my being asked to write a monthly column for Popular Science magazine, which I've now been doing continuously since the July 2003 issue.

Later I formed a most satisfying partnership with Max Whitby building high-end museum displays, selling element samples and sets, and filming video demonstrations of the chemical properties of the elements.

This website now contains the largest, most complete library of stock photographs of the elements and their applications available anywhere, as well as a large and growing collection of 3-D images documenting hundreds of samples rotated through 360°. Try clicking on some elements in the table: I think you'll be surprised what's lurking behind those little tiles.

Fair warning, from both  Evan and myself.

September 1, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Minimalist Bicycle

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It comes from Michigan-based Inner City Bikes.

Said designer Joey Ruiter, "Our goal was to hit the reset button on bike design."

By George, I think they've done it.

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From Men's Journal, "The end product is a sci-fi cycle with the essentials only: an aluminum frame, freewheel rear hub, 36-inch tires, disc brakes, custom-fit cranks, and a seat. Not even a chain or drive train."

Added Ruiter, "It's a city cruiser. More fashion than function."

Plenty cool.

Below, with optional fenders.



Put your name on the waiting list here.


September 1, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Magic Button

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[via Fancy]

September 1, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Liquid Lamp


Res ipsa loquitur. 



[via nellouise]

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

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