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December 28, 2012

Jerry Seinfeld's first "Tonight Show" appearance — May 6, 1981

He was 27.

December 28, 2012 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mini Biohazard Tape

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Just got mine — hope you don't put it on your to-do list because it's gonna sell out and then who you gonna go crying to?

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Me?

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Ha.

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From the website:

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In our eyes that pair of underpants on the floor is clearly a biohazard.

Use this sticky Mini Biohazard Tape to communicate in a passive-aggressive way when your boundaries of personal cleanliness have been compromised.

Just put a strip of this tape in front of any situation where you want to communicate that IT'S GROSS!

Have a child, spouse, or significant other who leaves dirty dishes in the sink and drinks directly from the milk carton?

This is the tape for you.

Each plastic dispenser has 100 feet of 3/4"-wide tape, which should be enough to get the message across to even the sloppiest slob.

Who knew that office supplies could save a marriage?

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$4.50.

December 28, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Are your eyes closed? 'Cause you must be blinking.

"... our eyes are closed for roughly 10% of our waking hours overall."

That got my attention during the other 90%.

Excerpts below from a December 24 Smithsonian.com story about our heretofore unappreciated dark time.

The average person blinks some 15-20 times per minute — so frequently that our eyes are closed for roughly 10% of our waking hours overall.

Although some of this blinking has a clear purpose — mostly to lubricate the eyeballs and protect them from dust or other debris — scientists say that we blink far more often than necessary for these functions alone. Thus, blinking is a physiological riddle. In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group of scientists from Japan offers up a surprising new answer — that briefly closing our eyes might actually help us to gather our thoughts and focus attention on the world around us.

The researchers came to this hypothesis after noting a fact revealed by previous research on blinking: the exact moments when we blink aren't actually random — people tend to blink at predictable moments. For someone reading, blinking often occurs after each sentence is finished, while for a person listening to a speech it frequently comes when the speaker pauses between statements. A group of people all watching the same video tend to blink around the same time, when action briefly lags.

As a result, the researchers guessed that we might subconsciously use blinks as a sort of mental resting point, to briefly shut off visual stimuli and allow us to focus our attention. To test the idea, they put 10 different volunteers in a fMRI machine and had them watch the TV show "Mr. Bean" (they had used the same show in their previous work on blinking, which showed that it came at implicit break points in the video). They then monitored which areas of the brain showed increased or decreased activity when study participants blinked.

Their analysis showed that when the Bean-watchers blinked, mental activity briefly spiked in areas related to the default network — areas of the brain that operate when the mind is in a state of wakeful rest, rather than focusing on the outside world. Momentary activation of this alternate network, they theorize, could serve as a mental break, allowing for increased attention capacity when the eyes are opened again.

To test whether this mental break was simply a result of the participants' visual inputs being blocked rather than a subconscious effort to clear their minds, the researchers also manually inserted "blackouts" into the video at random intervals that lasted roughly as long as a blink: they observed that the brain areas related to the default network were not similarly activated. Blinking is something more than temporarily not seeing anything.

Though far from conclusive, the research demonstrates that we do enter some sort of altered mental state when we blink — we're not just doing it to lubricate our eyes. A blink could provide a momentary island of introspective calm in the ocean of visual stimuli that defines our lives.

Below, the abstract of the original paper.

Blink-related momentary activation of the default mode network while viewing videos

It remains unknown why we generate spontaneous eyeblinks every few seconds, more often than necessary for ocular lubrication. Because eyeblinks tend to occur at implicit breakpoints while viewing videos, we hypothesized that eyeblinks are actively involved in the release of attention. We show that while viewing videos, cortical activity momentarily decreases in the dorsal attention network after blink onset but increases in the default-mode network implicated in internal processing. In contrast, physical blackouts of the video do not elicit such reciprocal changes in brain networks. The results suggest that eyeblinks are actively involved in the process of attentional disengagement during a cognitive behavior by momentarily activating the default-mode network while deactivating the dorsal attention network.

December 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Eames Wire Base Low Table (1950)

Uu

So perhaps the classic Lounge + Ottoman's still a bit out of reach — no reason not to accessorize in advance, what?

Wrote Wired, "The Eameses used them to host a tea ceremony with Isamu Noguchi and Charlie Chaplin."

Good enough for them, good enough for you.

15½"W x 13¼"D x 10"H.

$199–$209.

December 28, 2012 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cycloramic makes 360° panoramic videos — without a tripod or swivel

Can your phone do that?

It can if 1) it's an iPhone 5 and 2) you pay 99 cents for the Cycloramic app.

Wrote David Pogue in yesterday's New York Times, "You stand the phone upright and tap the Go button. Incredibly, the phone, balancing on its end, begins to rotate itself. Freakiest darned thing you ever saw."

"If you've ever seen a phone scoot itself along a table when it is in buzz mode, you get the principle. The app triggers the phone's vibration module at exactly the right frequencies to make the phone turn on the table. The phone's sensors figure out how far it's rotated."

"It works only on shiny surfaces like glass, polished granite, or laminated wood (like desks), and only the iPhone 5 has exactly the right balance. It's a jaw-dropper."

According to inquisitr and TechCrunch, "Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is fascinated with the Cycloramic app."

I will buy the app and try it out myself, featuring the resulting video (assuming there is one) in the upcoming "Cycloramic: Episode 2."

December 28, 2012 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Emergency Affirmation Button says "You are awesome!"

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From the website:

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Finally, an inanimate object that understands you

You know how you are awesome every second of every day but other people are too caught up in their own stuff to notice?

Take this Emergency Affirmation Button with you and it's just like having a best friend that always says the right thing when you need it.

So the next time you do something excellent (yet again) and no one seems to recognize it (yet again), just press the button and you'll hear an enthusiastic, "You are awesome!"

Ahhh, now doesn't that feel better?

This button will help you through the darkest times, propping up your ego when no one else will — you'll want to marry it!

Each 4-1/4" x 2-3/4" x 3/4" plastic device has a hole in the back so you can hang it on a wall.

Requires two AAA batteries (not included).

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$10.71 (self-esteem not included).

December 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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