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February 9, 2019

Amy Turk Plays Bach on Harp

Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, transcribed by Turk.

February 9, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Clingstone

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Clingstone, an unusual 114-year-old mansion in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay, survives through the love and hard work of family and friends.

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Henry Wood (below),

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the owner, runs the house like a camp: all skilled workers welcome. The Jamestown Boatyard hauls the family's boats and floating dock and stores them each winter in return for a week's use of the house in the summer. 
  
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Mr. Wood, a 79-year-old Boston architect, bought the house with his ex-wife Joan in 1961 for $3,600. It had been empty for two decades.

Clingstone had been built by a distant cousin, J.S. Lovering Wharton.  Mr.  Wharton worked with an artist, William Trost Richards, to create a house of picture windows with 23 rooms on three stories radiating off a vast central hall.

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The total cost of the construction, which was completed in 1905, was $36,982.99.

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Above, an early sketch of the house. Mr.  Wood is as proud as any parent of his house, and keeps a fat scrapbook of photographs and newspaper clippings that document its best moments. Many of the historic photos he has were provided by the company that insured the house for its original owners.

The Newport Bridge is visible from the windows of the ping-pong room, to the left of the fireplace (below).

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The house is maintained by an ingenious method: the Clingstone work weekend. Held every year around Memorial Day, it brings 70 or so friends and Clingstone lovers together to tackle jobs like washing all 65 windows. Anne Tait, who is married to Mr. Wood's son Dan, refinished the kitchen floor on one of her first work weekends.

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There are 10 bedrooms at Clingstone, all with beautiful views.

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The dining room table seats 14. 

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Refinishing the chairs is a task on the list for a future work weekend.

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A sign by the ladder that leads to the roof reads, "No entry after three drinks or 86 years of age."  "It used to say 80 but we had a guy on a work weekend who was 84, so I changed it," said Mr. Wood, ever the realist. "It would have been a shame to curtail the activities of a willing volunteer."

February 9, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Duct Cleaning: Scam City

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Long story short: don't fall for the touts who beat on you about your never-cleaned heating and cooling ducts, warning you of all the bad things they house that you inhale day and night.

Because if you cave and let them into your house to remedy what isn't in fact a problem, 

1) You will give them a nice chunk of your hard-earned change

2) You will lose use of your home for a day while they do what they do

3) After they leave, the air in your home will be worse, not better

4) Worst of all, even after air quality settles down, you will be stuck with a plethora of new noises resulting from metal-on-metal banging and rubbing that formerly was masked by many years of edge-to-edge adaptation sealed by the detritus of decades. Remember: if dirt and dust are solidified and locked in place, you're not breathing it in.

You couldn't pay me to have my ducts cleaned again: lesson learned about twenty years ago.

It took about a decade before the cleaning-induced noise resolved to baseline.

Don't take my word for it: read what experts say.

The best thing you can do for your indoor air quality is buy top-of-the-line air filters and change them as recommended by the manufacturer.

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I use these, pictured above.

Yes, they're a lot more expensive than others, but 

1) They're the very best you can buy at removing the smallest particles 

2) You only need to change them every three months

February 9, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

David Aguilar built his own prosthetic forearm using Lego — when he was 9 years old

Born without a right forearm due to a rare genetic condition, now 19-year-old David Aguilar built the first in a series of four increasingly sophisticated artificial limbs for himself out of Lego parts when he was nine years old.

From ABC News Australia:

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[Above: each of his four versions improved on the last, with MK IV (left) the  latest]

David Aguilar, 19, who studies bioengineering at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Spain, is already using his fourth model of the colorful prosthetic and his dream is to design affordable robotic limbs for those who need them.

Once his favourite toys, the plastic bricks became the building material for Mr. Aguilar's first, still very rudimentary, artificial arm at the age of nine, and each new version had more movement than the one before.

"As a child I was very nervous to be in front of other guys because I was different, but that didn't stop me believing in my dreams," he said.

He uses the artificial arm only occasionally and is self-sufficient without it, with all the versions on display in his room in his university residence on the outskirts of Barcelona.

In November 2017 Mr. Aguilar, who uses Lego pieces provided by a friend, proudly displayed a fully functional red and yellow robotic arm, built when he was 18, bending it in the elbow joint and flexing the grabber.

The latest models are marked MK followed by the number — a tribute to comic book superhero Iron Man and his MK armour suits.

The MK II was a predominantly blue model built from a Lego plane set, including a motor, while MK III was created from a set for a piece of mining equipment.

In a presentation video on his YouTube channel that he runs under the nickname Hand Solo, the Andorran said his aim was to show people nothing is impossible and disability need not stop them.

After graduating from university, he wants to create affordable prosthetic solutions for people who need them.

"I would try to give them a prosthetic, even if it's for free, to make them feel like a normal person, because what is normal, right?" he asked.

February 9, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Standing Pen

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"A wooden pen that stays put when not in use."

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Can your pen do that?

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nuf sed*

StandingPen-Yellow-Lifestyle-16F-02-CZSPCY_3600x@2x

Features and Details:

• Beech

• 7.25"H  x 1.5"Ø

• Designed by Clara von Zweigbergk

StandingPen-Group-16F-lifestyle-02-CZSP_3600x@2x

$15.

*My rap name, in case you were wondering about the spelling variant

February 9, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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