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November 11, 2011

"Starting with your next billing cycle, the price of bookofjoe will decrease from $1.99/month to $0.99/month."

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Above in the headline, an email from Amazon to my Kindle blog subscribers — all six (6) of them.

One-third of my subscriber base emailed me with the news; one — my Beverly Hills correspondent — wrote, "I was thinking I should just pay you and cut them out of the loop :)."

No, no, don't do that: somehow it's more fun going through Amazon.

I mean, they only take 70% off the top.

The other communicant, my Los Angeles bureau chief, wrote, "There goes the retirement fund!"

Ha ha ha.

I'm trying to remember who and where my other four (4) subscribers are: one's in Chicago, one's in Mumbai, and the other two live in the U.S. but I don't know exactly where.

I'd never have known about the new subscription price if I hadn't heard from my readers: Amazon never contacted me.

But I'm OK with that.

November 11, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Microphone Tongs

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Heat-resistant silicone with faux on/off switch and locking handle.

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14" long.

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$12.

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

BehindTheMedspeak: Your saliva can predict your age

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True.

Scientists from my alma mater (UCLA Medical School — GO BRUINS!) have developed a test which can accurately predict a person's age from a saliva sample without knowing anything else about the person.

Excerpts from a Discover Magazine story about the work follow.

 The researchers began by taking saliva samples from 34 pairs of identical male twins between the ages of 21 and 55 years old.

[They] focused their attention on methylation, a chemical process where a methyl group (a carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms) attaches to a gene and affects how it turns on or off. Unexpectedly, the team found that the degree of methylation in certain areas of the genome increased with the age of the twins. They repeated their experiments with a population of singletons and found the same pattern.

The scientists then identified the two genes that had the strongest age-related link to methylation, and used them to build a predictive model. When they plugged in data from the saliva samples, they were able to predict people’s ages to within five years.

In previous studies, scientists noticed significant DNA methylation differences in people with age-related diseases, [and the UCLA team] are now studying how biological age relates to health. They are looking at whether people with lower biological ages live longer and suffer fewer diseases than their peers with higher biological ages.

Below, the abstract of the scientific paper, published online in June 2011 in PLoS ONE.

Epigenetic Predictor of Age

From the moment of conception, we begin to age. A decay of cellular structures, gene regulation, and DNA sequence ages cells and organisms. DNA methylation patterns change with increasing age and contribute to age related disease. Here we identify 88 sites in or near 80 genes for which the degree of cytosine methylation is significantly correlated with age in saliva of 34 male identical twin pairs between 21 and 55 years of age. Furthermore, we validated sites in the promoters of three genes and replicated our results in a general population sample of 31 males and 29 females between 18 and 70 years of age. The methylation of three sites—in the promoters of the EDARADD, TOM1L1, and NPTX2 genes—is linear with age over a range of five decades. Using just two cytosines from these loci, we built a regression model that explained 73% of the variance in age, and is able to predict the age of an individual with an average accuracy of 5.2 years. In forensic science, such a model could estimate the age of a person, based on a biological sample alone. Furthermore, a measurement of relevant sites in the genome could be a tool in routine medical screening to predict the risk of age-related diseases and to tailor interventions based on the epigenetic bio-age instead of the chronological age.

For those who prefer their science unabridged, you can read the paper in its entirety, along with tables, figures, and references, here.

November 11, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

iPad Chef Sleeve

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How very timely, following on the Professional Chef iPad app post that just appeared.

Long story short: look at the photo above.

nuf sed.

From the website, for those who find enuf is never enough:

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Ultra-clear plastic seals tightly to protect both front and back of iPad.

Touchscreen sensitivity unaffected by sleeve.

Fits iPad and iPad 2.

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Pack of 25 sleeves, each reusable multiple times: $19.99.

November 11, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Professional Chef ($49.99) is by far the most expensive cooking app in the iTunes store

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It's also been in the top 10 in its category since it went on sale last month.

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Wrote Julia Moskin in a story in Wednesday's New York Times Dining section, "Since the 1970s, arriving students at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., have been issued essential tools of the profession: chef's whites, a set of knives and several heavy cookbooks. As of next June, they will also need a tablet loaded with the institution's new app, The Professional Chef, a complete digital edition of the basic textbook the institute has published since 1962. In addition to reference materials and video, the app brings in networking ability and social media.

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"Each student user is assigned a virtual notebook, used for jotting notes and questions. (Currently, this function is served by food-stained index cards on which the students rewrite each recipe.) Within the app, class members are linked together through the institute's wireless network and can read one another’s notebooks — as can their instructor. The goal is for students and faculty members to use the app as a substantive, interactive, 24/7 teaching tool, said Brad Barnes, the school’s head of culinary education.

"Nonstudents who buy the app can link to other users, too."

I have a feeling my Los Angeles correspondent is en route to the App store as you read these words.

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

Paper* Airplane Doorstop

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*Not made of paper — and it won't fly.

From the website:

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Paper airplane-shaped doorstop is made of ABS plastic.

Keeps your door in a holding pattern (get it?).

8.25" long x 4" wide.

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$11.99.

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

How to overcome procrastination

Underconstruction

Atrocitologist Matthew White's got a page just for you.

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

What is it?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: no medical application.

November 11, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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