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May 15, 2012

Four-Dimensional Tesseract Concept App


Wrote A.T. Faust III in an April 27, 2012 AppAdvice review:

Drew Olbrich's The Fourth Dimension, an educational app that sets out to demonstrate — via easy-to-understand terms and interactive 3-D models — the titular world of the fourth dimension, is perhaps the single greatest tesseract primer to date.

Using the theoretical cube-sided shape, the app claims it

explains a single mathematical idea, the fourth dimension, in language that anyone can understand. Instead of static images or canned videos, this app employs a unique 3-D touch interface that lets you literally grasp the concept of the fourth dimension with your own hands.

Of course, it's all a bunch of hooey. Now, that's not Olbrich's fault by any means, and The Fourth Dimension absolutely succeeds in describing what can be described about such fourth-dimensional objects. It's just that the premise itself is completely impossible, and 4-D space is utterly unknowable as defined by experiential human concepts.


The app tries to do what every tesseract discussion does: It uses 2-D shapes to represent 3-D spaces to visualize 4-D motion. It's preposterous! Yes, Olbrich goes a step further in employing cross-focused stereoscopy to heighten the illusion, but it's still just an illusion. While we can emulate 3-D shapes via 2-D constructs (imagine pretty much any modern open-world video game), we are only able to do so because we live in a 3-D world. In other words, our brains are wired for the third dimension, so it's familiar and generally simple to visualize. But while you can go down the ladder (first- and second-dimensional shapes are easy to grasp), you cannot similarly climb up past the third rung. That's just the way it is.

That said, I still love the app, and it does a truly remarkable job of explaining what little can be explained of the famous tesseract concept. I've been toying with tesseracts for a long time, and The Fourth Dimension — in 15 minutes — explains a year's worth of work on the subject. Unfortunately, no matter how much study you pore over and pour in, you'll never be any closer to understanding the fourth dimension.

Unless, like me, you go along with the notion that the fourth dimension isn’t spatial at all.

Then, it's only a matter of time


[via Richard Kashdan, who probably understands what this app tries to make clear]

May 15, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

YMSK Triangle Clips


Katie Hagar reviewed them yesterday on Better Living Through Design as follows:


"If you think the standard paper or binder clip cannot be improved, think again. Yamasaki Design Works has made a simple revision in shape that improves the function of a paperclip. The triangle clips lay flat, thus keeping a low profile when holding papers together, and leave the paper unwarped when slipped off. Small changes, sure, but small details sometimes make a big difference."


25 stainless steel clips, each measuring 1" x 0.75": $12.50.

May 15, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How many of these iconic brand names are you mispronouncing?


Reader Pamela Daley sent this test and added, "This is MUCH harder than I thought it would be. I got TWO right... out of 32!

May 15, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack



Wrote Katie Hagar on Better Living Through Design, "AIRbudz is an earbud attachment that allows you to hear ambient noise while listening to music. When you're out walking or running, certain noises can alert you to potential safety hazards (like bikes, cars, or buses), but unfortunately your regular headphones muffle, if not completely silence, those sounds that alert you to danger. The AIRbudz have air channels that let ambient noise in — thus keeping you aware of your surroundings without sacrificing your soundtrack. It's currently a Kickstarter project, and for $10 or more you'll get one of the first sets."


From AIRbudz on Kickstarter: "AIRbudz fit onto your existing headphones that have removable earbuds and will fit approximately 70% of those headphones currently on the market. Simply replace the noise-cancelling earbuds that came with your headphones with AIRbudz."


May 15, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: "He who saves one life, saves the world" — Maimonides

Screen Shot 2012-05-15 at 11.42.19 AM


My friend Paul Biba, editor of TeleRead, had a colonoscopy earlier today.

Read his post about it (top), then go ahead and schedule yours.

You know who you are: you're over 50, in good health, and without any concrete reason to have this admittedly unpleasant and yucky procedure.

You'll thank Paul and me for leaning on you.

Trust me — I'm a doctor.

And no — it's NOT OK to put it on your to-do list: we both know you won't do it unless you start making arrangements right now.

Am I right or am I right?

Screen Shot 2012-05-15 at 11.34.39 AM

Like I said: trust me....

May 15, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

OXO Food Scale with Pullout Display


Pullout display enables readout window to be visible when weighing large bowls.


Stainless steel weighing surface measures 8.5 inches per side.


May 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Experts' Expert: Jane Friedman on the best e-publishing resources


Jane Friedman is a full-time assistant professor of e-media at the University of Cincinnati, and the former publisher of Writer's Digest. She has spoken on writing, publishing, and the future of media at more than 200 events since 2001, including South by Southwest, BookExpo America, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Yesterday on her website she wrote, "This week I’m teaching a 101 course on e-publishing with Writer's Digest. I've taught it several times in the past year but each time I have to carefully update it. New services pop up, standards change, and things you couldn't do before suddenly become possible — and vice versa. It can be a challenge even for me to keep up."

"With that in mind, I thought I'd share what I consider the most trusted resources on e-books and e-publishing."

A note from moi: Converting my book "Quantations" from paper into a Kindle book took six months, cost about $1,000, and required many, many hours of intense hands-on collaboration with the very knowledgeable Diana Brewster.

Fair warning.

May 15, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bubbles Soapdish


Finally, bubbles that don't burst.


15.7 x 12 x 2.3 cm.



May 15, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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