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July 27, 2012

Malta is the world's laziest country


A new paper in the Lancet reports that 72% of adults in Malta get too little exercise. 

Scientists "led by Pedro Hallal of the Federal University of Pelotas, in Brazil... were able to pool data from 122 countries, covering 89% of the world's population."

According to an article in the July 21 issue of The Economist, "Swaziland and Saudi Arabia slouch in close behind, with 69%. In Bangladesh, by contrast, just 5% of adults fail to exercise enough."

More from The Economist: "Paradoxically, human beings seem to have evolved to benefit from exercise while eschewing it whenever they can."

They got that right when it comes to yours truly: Though I'm running a half-marathon pretty much monthly now — and have been since last fall — I rarely meet anyone as lazy and eager to avoid working out as myself.

Below, the abstract of the Lancet paper.

Global physical activity levels: surveillance progress, pitfalls, and prospects

To implement effective non-communicable disease prevention programmes, policy makers need data for physical activity levels and trends. In this report, we describe physical activity levels worldwide with data for adults (15 years or older) from 122 countries and for adolescents (13—15-years-old) from 105 countries. Worldwide, 31·1% (95% CI 30·9—31·2) of adults are physically inactive, with proportions ranging from 17·0% (16·8—17·2) in southeast Asia to about 43% in the Americas and the eastern Mediterranean. Inactivity rises with age, is higher in women than in men, and is increased in high-income countries. The proportion of 13—15-year-olds doing fewer than 60 min of physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity per day is 80·3% (80·1—80·5); boys are more active than are girls. Continued improvement in monitoring of physical activity would help to guide development of policies and programmes to increase activity levels and to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases.

July 27, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2013 Carpe Diem Calendar




This will sell out and you'll be wondering what happened.


Trust me on this.


July 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Jane Austen's Cults and Cultures" — Claudia L. Johnson


This new book by Johnson, an English professor at Princeton, was reviewed in the latest issue of The Economist; excerpts from the review follow.

Jane Austen wrote six novels, lived quietly in Hampshire and died at the age of 41, having enjoyed moderate success. Since then, a cult of "Janeism" has ensured her legacy, and she has become one of the most widely read and revered 19th- century novelists.... Claudia Johnson (a Janeite with objectivity) traces the development of Janeism from the late 19th century to the present day.

The opening chapter on Austen's body and her image is the most memorable. Few pictures of Austen survive, and over the decades she has been re-imagined in paintings, books, plays and films. Her place and meaning in culture have also shifted as society has changed. The Victorians saw magic in her stories; disenchanted with modernism, they aligned her novels with fairy tales and an idealised England. In the first world war soldiers carried her books to the front line as companions in a terrifying conflict, perceiving peril in the pages and toughness in her words. During the second world war Austen was considered the epitome of Englishness, part of the restful home front that needed protecting.

Read the beginning of the book's Introduction here.

Read all six of Austen's novels here.

Free, the way we like it.

July 27, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cretacolor Monolith — Solid Graphite Pencil Set


Wood is so over.


From the website:



Six-pack of solid graphite cylinder pencils with a thin lacquer coating.

One pencil of each of the following grades: HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B, 9B.


Cretacolor's Monolith pencils are woodless and made from the purest Austrian graphite, formed into a 7-mm solid stick with a protective lacquer coating to minimize mess.

Pencils come pre-sharpened.

Each pencil transitions from the point to the edge in a single stroke to smoothly vary the thickness of a line.

Hardness grades range from HB (medium) to 9B (extra soft).

Use and Care:

Sharpen as you would a regular pencil.

Ideal for writing or sketching.

The softer pencils can achieve darker shades, while the harder pencils yield lighter ones.

Production and Design:

Austrian architect, inventor, and entrepreneur Joseph Hardtmuth founded a pencil factory in Vienna in 1792, producing the first pencils with modern burnt-graphite lead.

After World War II, his company Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth became a part of Cretacolor, and a few decades later the factory relocated to Hirm, Austria.

In the 1990s the company fell on hard times but was then revitalized by Hans Wolfgang Hromatka.

Cretacolor continues to make pencils and other fine-artists' materials today.


Set of six pencils in tin with eraser: $17.

July 27, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Louis Vuitton Waffle Maker


Created by Los Angeles artist Andrew Lewicki.


[via Bem Legaus!]

July 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Flavor Straws are back! (Not really, but you get the idea)


Those of a certain age (we're talking geezers) may or may not recall Flavor Straws, with chocolate or strawberry embedded within that made your milk sweet.


Now comes Giambri's Quality Sweets out of Clementon, New Jersey, with sweet straws for grown-ups.

Wrote Florence Fabricant in Wednesday's New York Times Dining section, "A venerable New Jersey candymaker has come up with a fun and frivolous embellishment for drinks. Giambri's Quality Sweets, a family business for 70 years, makes hand-pulled four-inch lemon and orange hard candy sticks that can be used like little straws, sweetening as you sip. The lemon will turn iced vodka into instant limoncello, and the orange will enhance Lillet or Campari. But unless you live near Clementon, not far from Philadelphia, and can shop at the company's store or a few local retailers, it pays to stock up because shipping ramps up the modest price of the candies."

Porous lemon and orange sticks from Giambri's Quality Sweets, 26 Brand Avenue, Clementon, N.J., (856) 783-1099, giambris.com, are $4.35 a dozen, $4.75 for the all-natural lemon, which has no artificial coloring and uses cane sugar in place of corn syrup. Shipping starts at about $10 for up to four dozen via regular ground delivery.

July 27, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Prime Number Patterns — by Jason Davies


Wrote Jodi Ettenberg,


"Beautiful visualization of prime numbers (can't stop staring)."

Screen Shot 2012-07-26 at 4.08.32 PM


July 27, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Skid Mark Brief Safe — Episode 3: Too good to stay quiet this long


First surfacing here in 2007, this singular security device reappeared in 2010 to rave reviews, so much so that Mark Frauenfelder featured it in Boing Boing.


Now it's time to introduce this clever safe to a whole new generation of Internetters (I figure a new online crowd surfaces every couple years at the current rate of churn).

Still cheap at twice the $11.95 price but guess what?

Now on sale for $9.56.

Bonus: Free shipping.

July 27, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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