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April 4, 2013

A note on free will

I believe it is a skill that can be acquired rather something that either exists or doesn't.

In other words, some people have more free will than others.

It's not something that's baked into the fabric of the universe as philosophers and thinkers of every persuasion under the sun have debated since the subject first came up.

Why do I think it is a skill rather than something embedded into the very armature of reality?

Because where once I began a task and carried it out to completion, plugging ahead regardless, now I can undertake that same task — say, sweeping up the detritus of last night's movie watching, consisting of a floor strewn with sunflower seed shells and empty soda cans, tossed over the side of my chair during the film — and then say to myself, STOP!.

And I put the broom down and leave the floor half swept, for several hours now.

And it doesn't bother me in the least.

That, dear readers, is free will at its finest.

I take the opportunity whenever possible to suddenly break into routines of years-long repetition with such discontinuities: it is the most wonderful feeling in the world to finally emerge from a shell that I for the longest time didn't even realize was enclosing me.

Try it, you'll like it.

If you're not satisfied with the results, simply email me and I'll cheerfully refund twice what you paid for this advice.

That's the bookofjoe Way®™©.

April 4, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Inka Mobile Pen + Stylus


From the website:



For pen fanatics, adventurers, environmentalists, and writers of every stripe.


The Inka Mobile is designed to go where you go, write where you need it to write, and stay where you want it to stay so it's always conveniently at hand.


Made of durable nylon and carbon fiber that's tough, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant, one end of the Inka Mobile features a carabiner clip that securely anchors to a key ring, zipper pull, or nearly any loop or D-ring, so you can always know where the pen is when you need it.


Release the pen from the clip with a couple of quick twists — its replaceable pressurized cartridge contains blue waterproof ink that writes smoothly and consistently in extreme temperatures, upside-down, at any altitude — even underwater.

To add to its versatility, the cap at the opposite end of the Inka Mobile opens to reveal an easily accessible touch-screen stylus — perfect for everything from quick notes to business presentations.

With its compact size, durable construction, reliable performance, and replaceable pressurized blue ink cartridge, the Inka Mobile is designed to be everything you need in a pen and stylus.


Details and Features:

• Easy-access touch-screen capacitive stylus for convenient use with iPads, iPhones, Android and other touch screen devices

• Replaceable pressurized blue ink cartridge that gives the Inka Mobile its amazing ability to write in extreme conditions

• Durable lightweight carbon fiber and nylon components

• Carabiner clip for secure attachment and easy release

• Easy-access quick use pen

• 4.25" x 0.71" x 0.43"

• Weight: 0.35 oz.



April 4, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gaines, On Brains — "Blogging about the brain — without the jargon"


Jordan Gaines is a science writer and Ph.D. candidate in sleep studies at the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine who styles her website "the neuroscience blog for scientists and laypeople alike!"

I won't argue with her description: it's spot-on.

Pictured above, an MRI scan of her brain.

Below, her wetware case.


I feature her sprightly and entertaining Gaines, On Brains here because of her vivid description on Twitter this past hour of her previous life as a rowing team member at St. Mary's College of Maryland where she matriculated, graduating in 2011 with a B.A. in biology and neuroscience en route to Happy Valley.

There are lots of blogs and websites about science and neuroscience but none other than hers whose principal describes her sport — rowing — as feeling like "having a vacuum tube down your lungs and sulfuric acid poured on your legs" and "the most beautiful ugly sport there is."

No pain, no gain, no brain, no Gaines — catchy, what?

Lots more from her here.

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 11.54.09 AM

Fair warning: there goes the day.

April 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Semi-transparent Playing Cards


"I can see right through you" jumps the linguistic shark.


Think of the possibilities.


Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?

April 4, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Arturo Toscanini conducts Beethoven's 5th Symphony

The first movement, performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and broadcast live on television on March 22, 1952.

[via Open Culture]

April 4, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Kuwaete Sukkiri Tongue Exerciser — "Anti-flab muscle mouthpiece, fight sagging cheeks"


"Anti-flab muscle mouthpiece" may be my favorite phrase of the still relatively young year.


But I digress.


From the website:



The Kuwaete Sukkiri Tongue Exerciser has three muscle-building techniques that can help improve your face line and those flabby, sagging cheeks.

Put the mouthpiece over your tongue and feel it work as you exercise your mouth and facial muscles.

It might look a little unusual from the outside but, with its grapefruit flavor fragrance, it will be comfortable and healthy to use.

Supervised by professional esthetician Kimiko Hirayama*, just use the Kuwaete Sukkiri ("just add and feel fresh") for one minute per day.

Use your tongue to lift it up and down, or lightly clench down on it over and over again.

Lastly, you can also push out with your tongue while holding it between your teeth.


Details and Features:

• Made in Japan

• Size: 3" x 1.1" x 1.5"

• Weight: 0.5 oz (13 g)

• Silicone with grapefruit fragrance (lasts 1-2 months)


"You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve?"

Never mind: save it for another time 'cause you're not gonna be whistling with this puppy in situ.


*From the website it is not all clear to me how you will be "Supervised by professional esthetician Kimiko Hirayama" as stated, but I'm certain this will become clear once you own the device and its associated manual, which for your sake — unless you are Japanese or are conversant with the language — I hope is in English.

April 4, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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