You Want Brussels Sprouts with That?

Take that free-range chicken dish. Just as in a high-end kitchen in Chicago or San Francisco, the rôisseur here cooks the chicken breast at a different spot from the one the legumier uses to sauté the brussels sprouts, squash, and cranberries. Of course, the two elements—the chicken and the vegetables—have different cooking times. Lyfe’s software is ready for such complication, though, and sequences the timing.


(From Wired)

It’s that time of the year

Just telling y’all that the annual American Science & Surplus sale is on. I think you’ve got four days, and that’s it. I am for sure buying the set of folding cardboard binoculars.

What are corn holders?

From one of those articles that really did not cry out to be written:

There are two parts to a corn holder. The first is a pair of spikes which are designed to penetrate the corn. The second part is a handle, usually made from a cool grip material so that it will not pick up heat from the corn. One corn holder is inserted into either end of an ear of corn, and the diner grips the corn holders to eat and manipulate the corn, rather than having to handle the corn itself.

Cats that I made using only MY MIND!

It’s true. AND: I did it in a dream the premise of which was: THIS IS NOT A DREAM.

You know how you have those dreams? Those other dreams? You realize, “Wait! This is a DREAM!”

This was not like that. THIS IS NOT A DREAM was the foundation of the dream.
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Trashcam Project (Hamburg)

Garbage collectors of Hamburg made giant rolling pinhole cameras by drilling tiny holes into dumpsters and hanging large sheets of photo paper inside. You can see some of their Hamburg Trashcam photos on the project’s Flickr photostream.

The Allure of Cheap Gadgetry

Ron Popeil’s Chop-o-Matic commercial (at nearly four minutes, surely the predecessor of the infomercials that now clutter the American TV landscape) I find hypnotic. My sales resistance would have been broken down by the repetitive motion of the device and by — oh, what is the name of the rhetorical device that achieves its effect by . . . ? Anyway, I’d have been overcome by the piling-up of heaps of chopped nuts, chopped celery, chopped onions, chopped potatoes, chopped radishes, chopped peppers, chopped carrots, chopped cabbage, chopped eggs, chopped meat, chopped ice . . .

I’ve a friend whose father is addicted to buying culinary gadgets, who watches the QVC kitchen segments for up to five hours at a time, invariably buying devices each of which is devoted to a singular purpose which can oftimes be accomplished cheaper and more easily with things already in the kitchen, such as knives or colanders.

Another friend nailed the allure of such items: They suggest a problem, even if wholly imaginary, and provide an immediate solution. He confessed that he himself had bought “a wire thing with a tiny grab on the end (it cost £1.00) purely because of the anticipated joy of being able to extract something that had fallen behind the fridge.” 

He added that it now reposes somewhere in a cupboard.

Do you have Prince Albert in a can?

Unless it turns out that Alexander Graham Bell didn’t really want to see Watson — that he was just goofing on the guy — then the first documented prank phone call would appear to have occurred about eight years after that famous 1876 exchange . . . and at the expense of an undertaker in Providence, R.I.

Poo WiFi

Poo WiFi


smoke signals

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from the comments

Sheila Ryan:

I’m taking notes in shorthand and will transcribe them on my typewriter.

This American Life Retracts Mike Daisey’s Apple Story

Turns out @MDaisey made up a lot of elements in his piece, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”, which deals with the questionable way in which we get our shiny Apple products. Unfortunately, there were small and large lies told in the process, and This American Life is retracting the whole thing.  Meanwhile, Mike Daisey’s standing by his story, as “theatre” and not “journalism”.  I loved his work, and saw “If You See Something Say Something”, but I think Mike Daisey’s done a big disservice to human rights interests — the headline is likely to be “Apple’s just fine, it was all a crazy liberal lie”. I’m disappointed, to say the least.

tweet of the day


My mother was one of the many who visited the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. I asked her once about the Futurama, a kind of ride into the future twenty years hence.

“You rode the Futurama?” I asked her.

“Yes. Of course.”

“Wow! What was it like?”

[Dismissively.] “Oh, we just sat in little cars that we didn’t drive. We rode around on tracks and looked at the future.”

California may legalize driverless cars.

blog of the day

Pictures of People Scanning QR-codes

from the comments


Regarding artistic farting.

video out of context

Publishers hate you: readers’ notes as “derivative work”

From Steve Lawson’s library blog See Also . . . :

Reminder, publishers still hate you. From The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus blog comes this report, E-Textbook Vendor Sues Publisher for Ending Licensing Agreement. The actual fight between the parties seems like it may be more complex than they are letting on (and I admit that I haven’t read the entire lawsuit which is embedded as a document in the blog post), but here’s the crux of the matter from my point of view (with emphasis added):

The conflict began last August, when Kno introduced new features to its e-reader platform. One of those tools, Journal, lets readers take notes and make excerpts for later reference in the software. The next month, Cengage claimed the added note-taking feature enabled copyright infringement “through the creation of a derivative work,” according to the complaint.

anecdote retold as a text made into a post

Amy’s dance teacher, Tambra, is in her eighties.

When she married her second husband, she’d been alone for a while, and was used to sharing her bed with her dogs, two dachshunds.

The new husband didn’t want to sleep with the dogs, but instead of getting the dogs to sleep elsewhere, they moved to a guest room and gave the dogs the master bed.

The guest room began to be referred to as the sex room.

One day Tambra was changing sheets when a friend of hers, Hassie, called. Hassie asked Tambra what she was up to, and Tambra said, “Oh, fixing up the sex room.”

A little while later, Hassie ended up in the hospital, and Hassie’s brother, Cecil, went to visit her.

In the waiting room at the hospital was another woman who went to Tambra’s church named Ruth Ann Parish. Apparently, Ruth Ann Parish was Tambra’s spitting image.

Cecil crept up behind her, leaned in, and said, “I hear you’ve got a sex room.”

HTML5 Clear

I hope one day to build something just as beautiful.

30 Photos of a Chinese Sex Toy Factory

The Future of Reading

Tim Carmody’s keynote speech at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference. Beautifully articulated.


She thought about it for a minute and then told me a remarkable story about her relationship with technology during the last 40 years living up the mountain a bit east of where we stood. She did not exactly answer my question, but made a point nonetheless.

“I pretty much stayed on the mountain. There are no phone lines. There is no electricity,” she said. “I have my iPhone and I can get 3G and I can get what I want and I have a little solar panel and propane and candles. I’ve been off the grid forever. Now, I have the small solar panel and I can turn on the light and charge my cell phone. I’m not used to it. My daughter tells me, ‘You can plug things in!’ And I say, ‘I don’t have anything to plug in.’ Blow out the lights, not turn out the lights, is my thing.”

Her boss, the chef Michael Jones, filled in the rest of Liz’s story on his blog (punctuation all his). “Liz lives in a trailer on the mountain with no power and no water…two horses, a goat and two dogs. Cats don’t count. She carries water in plastic buckets to the critters….and to her own self,” he wrote. “She pays child support to a scumbag in Missouri or one of those other M states or square states…..Her daughter that I know is an honor student at Davis…….Because she has no power or water, Liz hangs with us after working her 10 hr shift at The Store. We are her TV.”

I’ve ridden my bike out past Cachagua Road and I can attest to the beauty and isolation of the area. It was very near Jamesburg that, climbing a long hill, I passed a man in a cowboy hat and boots, his back to me, urinating. The two cyclists coming down the hill had a much better view and the man made no attempt to stand behind cover.

This particular excerpt reminds me of the photos I’ve seen and the stories I’ve heard about my mother-in-law’s family when they lived in the mountains above Big Sur – a kind of lifestyle that seems almost extinct.

Historic Tale Construction Kit Recreated

A recreation in HTML and JavaScript of Historic Tale Construction Kit, a now-defunct Flash application.

There’s a description of the original (ein Authoring Tool basierend auf dem Teppich von Bayeux); it’s auf Deutsch.

The Amish Project

A 24-year-old student went 90 days without using a cell phone, email or social media. Yahoo News interviewed him about the experience:

I definitely just lost complete contact with people that normally would have been part of my life. I mean it’s also an interesting metric for your life to see who some of your closest friends are, you know, and who’s willing to take the time.

I find it an interesting thought experiment to contrast this idea with Clusterflock, which is the clearest example in my life of the relationship-building power of the internet and social technology. The internet made it possible to seek out an entirely new tribe of people – people with which I have so much in common and so much to talk about, but that I hadn’t realized existed.

But then there are social networks like Facebook, which at their worst takes all of the people who are already part of your life – your co-workers, your school chums, your family – and hands them a level of intimacy about our lives that they haven’t really earned and don’t particularly deserve. I think that’s why it’s so interesting when these online relationships predicated on intimate knowledge but passive communication go bust when one party pulls out of Facebook – we’re just learning a hard lesson about the differences between that kind of intimate knowledge and true friendship, which for the longest time I thought were one and the same.

A couple relatives recently found me on Google Plus (I use it primarily for the sad remnants of what was once Google Reader). I hadn’t even acknowledged their existence before they were already commenting on every single piece of information attached to my name. This, I’m told, is keeping in touch.

Listening to the Atomic Age

From the Canada Science and Technology Museum, sounds of the Algonquin hand-cranked Geiger counter detecting low-level emissions from another Atomic Age artifact, the Algom Uranium Marketing Sample.

Sounds like geckering to me.

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