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April 4, 2012

Chinese is — by far — the best language for micro-blogs like Twitter


From a March 31 article in The Economist: "Chinese [is] ideal for micro-blogs, which typically restrict messages to 140 symbols. Though Twitter, with 140m active users the world’s best-known microblogging service, is blocked in China, Sina Weibo, a local variant, has over 250m users. Chinese is so succinct that most messages never reach that limit."

"Twitter's growth around the world has reduced the proportion of total global tweets in English to 39% from two-thirds in 2009."

"Though ubiquity and flexibility may give English hegemony, Twitter is also helping smaller and struggling languages. Basque- and Gaelic-speakers tweet to connect with other far-flung speakers. Kevin Scannell, a professor at St Louis University, Missouri, has found 500 languages in use on Twitter and has set up a website to track them. Gamilaraay, an indigenous Australian language, is thought to have only three living speakers. One of them is tweeting — handy for revivalists."

April 4, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: Smaller than a bread box.

Another: 300 series stainless steel.

April 4, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Apps to reduce your cellphone data usage and monthly bill


Onavo's iPhone and Android apps, which help consumers monitor and shrink their data usage by optimizing data in real time,


have been downloaded by millions of users in 150 countries.


Free, the way we like them.

April 4, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cedar Rope Swing


From the website:



A sturdy, handmade swing by Dzierlenga F+U

Made from locally-harvested cedar in upstate New York. Reminiscent of a breadboard, this is your traditional tree swing. It’s made from sustainably-harvested cedar, a wood that’s excellent at standing up to the elements. By design, much of the end grain of the wood is covered to prevent soaking up too much water.


Use & Care:

Going gray is a natural part of life — for swings too. Expect to see the swing take on a silvery tint over time, and to see small cracks. But don’t worry, they won’t affect the structural integrity of the swing. To help preserve it, rub in a coat of tung oil every so often, and take it inside over the winter.

Look for a tree branch that’s sturdy and living. Make sure it's high enough off the ground. Once you've selected a branch, tie the rope to it (a rolling hitch knot is supposed to be the best). Tie the swing to the rope at the desired height, and repeat on the other side.


Production & Design:

First, two pieces of cedar are glued together, and then the breadboard ends are cut, which is achieved by cutting the end tenons on the table saw, then cutting a precisely-matching mortise with a dado stack (or a bunch of saw blades used simultaneously). Next, it's all glued together, holes are drilled for the rope, and an inset space between the two holes is cut on the underside to allow the rope to lie flat. Finally, it's sanded, treated with tung oil, and threaded with rope tied in a hangman's knot that's been whipped at the ends for added security.



April 4, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Online pharmacies

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Wrote Jonathan D. Rockoff in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, "Recent news that counterfeit versions of cancer drug Avastin were found in the U.S. has renewed fears about the integrity of our drug supply. It has also rekindled concerns about Internet pharmacies selling prescription medicines to patients looking for lower prices."

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I've never ordered a prescription drug — or any drug, for that matter – from an online pharmacy because of my own uncertainty about what I would be getting.

More from Rockoff's story: "To reassure and protect patients, there are organizations that vouch for the authenticity of certain Web pharmacies."

"Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and LegitScript.com certify Internet pharmacies based in the U.S. PharmacyChecker.com reviews sites from other countries including Canada, the U.K. and Israel. The Canadian International Pharmacy Association does similar work."

I just may try one of these vetted online sources next time I fill a prescription.

Readers with experience in this regard, here's your chance to educate the rest of us.

April 4, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Kanji "Courage" Badge


From the website: "Literally translated from Japanese, this badge spells 'courage.' A poll was taken around the offices at Best Made and we all agreed this iconography would make for a nice tattoo, but for those not willing to go that distance quite yet, you may wish to consider investing in the badge first."

Felt-backed; 2" x 2".


[via Paul Biba]

April 4, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

"Similar to you" – in my dreams, maybe

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Twitter does know how to flatter, I will say that.

April 4, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Strawberry Huller





$7.95 (strawberries not included).

[via Fancy]

April 4, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

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