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January 2, 2012

"Riddley Walker"— A modern classic by Russell Hoban

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I first read this novel within a year or two after it was originally published in 1980.

At first I had trouble dealing with the remarkable, sui generis language, grammar and vocabulary.

After about 50 pages something shifted in my brain and I began thinking in Riddley Walker-speak and the book came alive.

Below, the first page of the book, to give you a sense of what I'm talking about:

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To say it's an account of life in southeast England a few thousand years in the future after a nuclear apocalypse has destroyed civilization is to not even scratch the surface of the brilliance of this book.

Up top, the map (by Russell Hoban) from the beginning of the book, superimposed on the outlines of present day southeast England. The area is about 40 square miles. 

Look inside the book, including the opening six pages and the author's Afterword, here.

For those who'd like to learn more about this singular book's author, here's an excellent resource page.

If you'd like to explore the book in depth via annotations, notes on particular themes and subjects, and its rich and varied words and phrases, you'll find a treasure trove here.

Aaa

Russell Hoban died on December 13, 2011, at the age of 86, but "Riddley Walker" is likely to be around long after you and I and everyone we know have vanished into dust.

January 2, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Putz Sink Plug

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Actually, "Putz deine zähne" means "brush your teeth."

Chrome and plastic.

7cm H x 4cm Ø.

€14.95.

January 2, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunken Bridge

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From DeMilked:

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"Ro Koster and Ad Kil Architects built this amazing sunken bridge for crossing the defensive fortress in Halsteren, The Netherlands."

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"The bridge sits within the water and slope surrounding the 17th Century Dutch fort

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and gives visitors a unique opportunity to walk through parted waters like Moses."

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"The so-called 'Moses Bridge' was made from Accsys Technologies' Accoya wood sheet piling on either side with a hardwood deck and stairs in between."

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"Accoya wood was chosen for its durability, stability and sustainable benefits."

January 2, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Happy Pixels Beanbag Chair

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How big is it?

Same size as the red one below, which costs €159.

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The pixelated version is €199.

January 2, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pinterest — Online Pinboard

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I get a lot of traffic from Pinterest so yesterday I stopped by to have a look.

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Amazing: scores of my posts "pinned" there by all manner of folk.

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The top four in terms of frequency:

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Knots your pockets make

• USB Wall Socket

Fantastic Eames chair

Exploded log

January 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Black Rock plays a song when your egg is done

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Say what?

It's true: "The Black Rock PiepEgg plays one of three different rock hits, depending on the degree of firmness desired:"

"Smoke on the Water" — for soft-boiled eggs

 "I Was Made for Lovin' You" — for medium-boiled

 "The Final Countdown" — for hard-boiled eggs

Can your egg timer do that?

Didn't think so.

From the website:

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Forget everything that you thought you knew about egg-timers. Introducing… PiepEgg!

PiepEgg is an egg-timer which cooks along with your eggs!

Breakfast eggs cannot be cooked more easily and more precisely!

This (c)ultimate egg-timer actually recognizes the temperature of the egg yolk as it coagulates.

Just place PiepEgg in a saucepan along with the eggs and an effective melody will sound when the desired firmness is reached inside of the eggs.

Thanks to PiepEgg, debates about how to properly boil eggs can now be avoided, since PiepEgg produces perfectly cooked eggs, as was demonstrated on the German broadcast "Galileo."

The Black Rock PiepEgg plays, depending on the degree of firmness desired, 1 of 3 different rock hits:

  • "Smoke on the Water" for soft boiled eggs
  • "I was made for lovin' you" for medium boiled
  • "The Final Countdown" for hard-boiled eggs
Friends, avoid the guessing game when boiling eggs and just use PiepEgg!

You'll have success and good spirits at breakfast, guaranteed!

Awarded the "Egg of Columbus" by the Innovation Foundation.

The PiepEgg contains a non-replaceable battery with a minimum battery endurance of 2 years.

• Dimensions: 4.3cm L x 4.3cm W 5.2cm H
• Material: Plastic
• Weight: 50g
• Color: Black

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€19.80 (eggs not included).

You say you like everything about this device except for its color?

No problema: how about Pink? 

Does Pink work for you?

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Bonus: the Pink iteration is the Disco version, playing — depending on the degree of firmness desired — one of the three following songs:

"Celebration" — for soft-boiled eggs

"That's The Way (I Like It)" — for medium-boiled

"Last Night A DJ Saved My Life"— for hard-boiled eggs

Also €19.80.

January 2, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Seeing through the eyes of a butterfly

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Caption for the images above, from the weekend Wall Street Journal: "A photo of a Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly. The grainier images show a simulated compound-eye view of how one butterfly would see another from different distances. At 18 centimeters (7 inches) — the view at top right and the typical courtship distance for the species — if either the eye or the butterfly moves slightly, large portions of the image flash back and forth between all orange and all black."

For further reading: "What Is It Like To Be a Bat?," Thomas Nagel's classic 1974 Philosophical Review essay.

I would pay plenty for an iPhone app that let me see the world as a dog, cat, horse, lion, butterfly, spider, etc. sees it — and I expect I'm not alone.

January 2, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Travel Scale with Integrated Alarm Clock and Flashlight

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Can your alarm clock weigh your luggage?

Can your flashlight?

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Didn't think so.

From the website:

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Help keep your bags under the weight limit with this compact, easy-to-use travel scale.

At this price, it will quickly pay for itself by saving you overage fees at the check-in counter.

Digital readout displays for 6 seconds after lifting, so you can use two hands for weighing.

Measures up to 88 pounds; also displays weight in kilograms.

Foldaway design converts to a travel alarm with snooze function.

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Built-in flashlight is handy for navigating unfamiliar rooms in the dark.

3"H x 4½"W x 1"D.

Batteries included.

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Blue, Orange or Black.

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$34.95.

[via the Wall Street Journal]

January 2, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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