September 30th, 2003

Hand-Held Design Focuses the Massage Right to Tension

Does sitting in front of that computer for so long lead to stress, pain, or fatigue? Thanks to a friend’s Bulletin Board post on Friendster, I can point you to something to make it all melt away.

I do hope that version 2.0 will feature software control. Why hear “You’ve got mail!” when you could feel that you’ve got mail? Or maybe this is the perfect accompaniment to the force-feedback joystick. Add some stereo viewing goggles, and you’re on your way to the cybernautic holy grail, teledildonics.


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September 30th, 2003

A sting too far

Maybe it’s just because I have a mordant fear that a single bee sting will kill me instantly, but Slate’s Sting Operation – What’s the best remedy for a bee sting? By William Brantley article took things a bit too far for my tastes. The author intentionally inflicted 5 bee stings to his hands so he could test a variety of packaged and DIY remedies. The results are informative, but the whole process borders on the extreme. I love Slate’s “Shopping” column, and its sinister kicker: “How to be the best consumer you can be.” Some of my favorites are the recent review of reduced-carb foods and last year’s great meat-substitute cookoff. I just think there’s a line, and getting oneself stung is on the wacko side of it.


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September 30th, 2003

This explains a lot

Apparently primary schoolers in Australia like to toke up. At least the 5-year-old girl who made a bong in class does.

You gotta love the nonchalance displayed here:

“It’s not unheard of that primary school children will be found with drugs at school,” the teacher said.

“Usually it’s just a bit of dope _ they’ve probably nicked it from their mum’s purse and brought it along to show off.”


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September 26th, 2003

Lest anyone doubt…

…that I get my sense of humor from my old man, I thought I would share an email I received from him this morning.

A local animal rights group is advocating sterlizing bears in NJ as an alternative to a recently approved bear hunt. I’m all for cleaner bears but I’m surprised that an animal rights group would suggest boiling them.


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September 26th, 2003

More good news on Atkins

As David and I prepare to go on the Atkins Diet, I’m doing research on the negative health effects people get so worried about… and finding only the opposite. Healthtalk, a firm I might be doing a little work for soon,
summarizes a recent study that showed not only did obese women on an Atkins-style low-carb diet lose twice as much weight as women on a low-cal/low-fat diet, they had no negative impacts to their lipid profile, cardiovasular health, or general health. I continue to believe that whatever small risks low-carb has, they are dwarfed by the known risks of obesity.


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September 26th, 2003

Recalling California wines

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t enjoy California wines… they are almost as overpriced and snobby as French wines and many are just as ill-mannered. Slate has a great piece on the increasing crisis in the California wine industry by columnist Mike Steinberger (whose observations I am really coming to enjoy).

To quote Mike:

Americans are also expanding their wine horizons: Wine drinkers are often weaned on Napa merlots and Sonoma chardonnays but then become more adventurous, dabbling in Loire whites, Rhone reds, and other imports. Many find they prefer the foreign stuff, which usually has a lot more character and goes down better with meals. (California wines tend to be abusively oaked, high in alcohol, and low in acidity, making them distinctly food-unfriendly.)
But none of this adequately explains the contempt so many oenophiles now seem to feel for California wines. They aren’t just shunning them; they are cursing them. At any gathering of wine fanatics, you’re apt to find one person, and usually more, who will claim to have entirely sworn off California. The manager of a major East Coast wine store recently told me he no longer sets foot in his shop’s California section unless a client can’t be convinced to try something else.
….
In fact, California produces almost nothing worth drinking for under $15, a failure that borders on criminal. Finding something in this range that is merely inoffensive is a challenge, a point underscored by a recent feature in the Los Angeles Times. The paper gave four local sommeliers $300 each to come up with a list of good, fairly priced wines (fairly priced was loosely defined). Of the 39 wines selected, exactly one was from California. “There’s no price-quality ratio in California anymore,” David Rosoff of Opaline restaurant explained, “Great mistakes were made here …”

The biggest mistake is vanity: Most of the California producers with the means, skill, and desire to make good wine seem to measure success by the price tag on the bottle and would sooner flog pickles than “devalue” their brand by selling a $15 cabernet. You’d think one of California’s star oenologists might be inspired by the examples in France of great winemakers—Aubert de Villaine and Dominique Lafon come to mind—who are happily slumming it on the side, producing terrific, inexpensive wines from satellite appellations. But apparently that isn’t the California way.

OK, there are a few exceptions. Mike lists Ridge, which is generally great, and I am of course a huge fan of David Bruce (especially the luscious Petite Syrah that Bob and Terry cellar).

OK, now I’m ready to leave the office and drink. I’m going to try to stay for at least another hour.


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September 26th, 2003

Jay, you better watch out

I mean, you gotta wonder, just a little, how much longer folks will want to pay for your no-doubt top notch branding services when they can get their own logo for free on the web.

And it even came up with a good one for our little venture: Just for the Taste of SDS.

Or how’s about: Lipsmackin’ Thirstquenchin’ Acetastin’ Motivatin’ Goodbuzzin’ Cooltalkin’ Highwalkin’ Fastlivin’ Evergivin’ Coolfizzin’ Nonfamous.

And finally: Mama Mia, That’sa One Spicy Paulette Mckay!


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September 26th, 2003

Coke tracks rugby promo winners by satellite

In one of the weirder promos of the year, Coke is apparently using satellite tracking technology to identify the winners in its Thrill Seeker promotion for the Rugby World Cup to be held in Australia next month. Opening a winning bottle will trigger a device in the lid that is trackable by satellite, and a Coca Cola representative will travel to the winner immediately to deliver prizes ranging from finals tickets to a Peugeot.

The story is a little sketchy on the tech details, but obviously Coke is confident the system will work. It seems that Australia is a good test-bed for marketing technologies, but this one raises the question… what if the winner is in some godforsaken patch of the Outback? It could take quite a while to reach them. On the other hand, if the winner is in a Sydney apartment block, that 10-meter radius could include several apartments. I’ll keep tracking this one.


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September 25th, 2003

Fun with Lawyers

A lawyer writes this parody of a safety warning for a ladder.

Yes, folks, lawyers can be funny! Check out lawhaha.com for other examples if you don’t believe me. Even judges can be funny! (If you skip the boring guff on page 1, anyway. They’ve got the jokes down, it seems, but still have to work on the timing.)


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September 25th, 2003

What Libertarianism is Not

OK, I’ll admit it. I’ve heard a few people, especially on blogs and message boards and stuff, describe themselves as Libertarians, but beyond the freedom-is-good-government-is-bad-just-let-me-be mantra, I never really understood what it was, really. I did take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz though, once, but it didn’t make me a convert despite its bias.

Sometimes, you can learn most clearly what something is by being told what it is not. This Non-Libertarian FAQ demonstrates that point. I now know enough about it that it just ain’t viable. This quote from the author of the FAQ is pretty telling, for me:

Why do you spend so much time trying to debunk?
As I told creationists who wondered why I bothered, it’s interesting to me to study unusual beliefs for the same reason it’s interesting for doctors to study pathologies. You don’t have to catch a disease to be able to understand it, fight it, or vaccinate against it.

Comparing Libertarians with Creationists is the ultimate damnation.


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