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rebecca's pocket

.: 2005 --> november


@ I fell in love with Copenhagen instantly. We had wonderful meals with old friends and new. Amsterdam seems frenetic by comparison, but as I acclimate I can see its appeal. I think I will always love visiting Amsterdam. But I could live in Copenhagen. [ 11/03/05 ]

@ Wired: Windmills in the Sky

Roberts, a professor of engineering at the University of Technology, Sydney, believes there is enough energy in high-altitude winds to satisfy the world's demands. Wind-tunnel data suggests a cluster of 600 flying electric generators, or FEGs, could produce three times as much energy as the United States' most productive nuclear power plant.

(thanks, chris!) [ 11/03/05 ]

@ BBC: Can a home wind-turbine make money? [ 11/03/05 ]

@ CSM: Egalitarian Finland most competitive, too.

As the leaders of other European countries desperately seek ways to preserve their expensive systems of social protection in a competitive globalized world, Finland's circumstances and mind-set aren't easily copied. "Finland is an exceptional case Europe," cautions Riisto Erasaari, professor of social policy at Helsinki University. "We are a small homogenous country, heavily state-based, and our social model as a whole is so typically Finnish that it won't travel. But parts of it," - such as the government-funded focus on innovation and education, "are exportable."

[ 11/03/05 ]

@ Gothic knitting! But the designs are for all knitters (and other crafters). (thanks, chiara!) [ 11/03/05 ]

@ Wikipedia: A list of television and theatrical characters who are never seen or heard by the audience. (via (via rw) [ 11/03/05 ]

@ I'm pretty sure I saw Alton Brown walking through the restaurant tonight while I was having dinner. [ 11/05/05 ]

@ A Big Pharma marketing executive paid a shady book publisher a six-figure commission to write a novel about a group of terrorists who conspire to murder thousands of Americans by poisoning imported Canadian medicine — then offered them $100,000 never to speak of it again. (via effect measure) [ 11/05/05 ]

@ An interview with the consultant, PhRMA Executive, and author of the Big Pharma thriller/coverup I wrote about yesterday. (Thanks, ODub!) [ 11/07/05 ]

@ Phoneswarm! "Pay phone of the week. You call, maybe someone answers. Maybe you go out there to get calls. Hard to say." [ 11/07/05 ]

@ The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard is rapidly gaining currency as the gold standard of green design, but some green developers complain that the expensive certification process is burdensome, arbitrary, and often ineffectual. [ 11/07/05 ]

@ I am astonished to learn that Findhorn, the grand-daddy of all sustainable communities, now contributes £5-million a year to their local economy. [ 11/07/05 ]

@ OH DEAR HEAVEN, it's a Chocolate Chip Cheeseball. [ 11/07/05 ]

@ A new study shows that when reacting to humor, women are more analytical, and feel more pleasure when something is funny. "It doesn't take a lot of analytical machinery to think someone getting poked in the eye is funny."  [ 11/08/05 ]

@ A small polio outbreak in a Minnesota Amish community is at the center of a medical puzzle, a public health challenge, and a cautionary tale for the rest of the world. [ 11/08/05 ]

@ Cargill Dow has created a plastic bottle that can can be composted, but will not degrade on the shelf. [ 11/08/05 ]

@ The Conquest of Nature: A Brief Economic History of the World, 10,000 BC-2000 AD, by Gregory Clark, Department of Economics, UC-Davis, is a forthcoming book that is available online (and seems to be missing two chapters). This link goes to the HTML Table of Contents, which points to PDF versions of the work. [ 11/08/05 ]

@ Liberia is tallying the results of their historic runoff election between football star George Weah and former World Bank economist Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. I'm rooting for Ellen.

Whoever wins the runoff, the result will make history. Grandmother Johnson-Sirleaf could become Africa's first elected female president, while a win for Weah would make him the world's first top international footballer to become a head of state.

[ 11/09/05 ]

@ The American Museum of Natural History in "Voices From South of the Clouds" is an amazing exhibit of 45 photographs taken by villagers in northern Yunnan, China. It is part of Nature Conservancy's Photovoice project. [ 11/09/05 ]

@ Law enforcement's latest weapon: Tasercams. [ 11/09/05 ]

@ Note to anyone who has sent me email in the last two weeks: I'm home but my computer is in the shop with your email on it. I'll get back to you when it is back home. [ 11/14/05 ]

@ Like some modern television, more films are being constructed of multiple threads, instead of the traditional linear plotline. A symptom of our impatience or disconnectedness? I'd say it's one of the first manifestations of our move from a literate society to a post-literate pattern-recognition age. [ 11/14/05 ]

@ Your mom was right: Bundle up in the cold to stay healthy. Also, use that scarf. Breathing cold air may make you more susceptible to colds. [ 11/14/05 ]

@ Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf: "If you're competing with men as a professional, you have to be better than they are ... and make sure you get their respect as an equal. It's been hard. Even when you gain their acceptance, it's in a male-dominated away. They say, 'Oh, now she's one of the boys.'" [ 11/15/05 ]

@ "Stimulation of the brain while it is still under construction may not be beneficial." (via rw) [ 11/15/05 ]

@ With the advent of the Internet, consumer-generated media (read: cellphone pictures), and more aggressive reporting tactics, Hollywood publicists find themselves with more problems and less power with the celebrity media. [ 11/15/05 ]

@ With the acquisition of Flickr and its new focus on user-generated media, is Yahoo! returning to its founders' vision of a human-edited Web? [ 11/15/05 ]

@ Jorn's proposal for social software designed to save the world. [ 11/16/05 ]

@ A historic South African village near Cape Town is undergoing extensive government development to create the city's first sustainable eco-village. [ 11/16/05 ]

@ To compete against the ubiquitous big-box stores, small retailers are using ecommerce to develop deep niche markets — enabling them to expand their in-store inventories to attract more physical shoppers. I had thought the big advantage of Web retail was that it does not require a physical retail space. Instead, it seems, it's simply the vastly extended reach. [ 11/16/05 ]

@ I swear I am not making this up:


Greetings. Im not sure how I came across your site, but I am glad i did. I am the Casting Producer for the hit show Wife Swap on ABC. We are looking for amazing families with outrageous dynamics for the second season of the show. There is a $20,000 honorarium offered to the family that is selected and a $1,000 bonus if you refer us to a family that is picked! I was wondering if you or anyone you know is ready for the prime time experience of a life time, please feel free to contact me with any questions or thoughts you may have!

Best regards,

Xxxxx Xxxxx
Casting Producer
Wife Swap

Um.... [ 11/16/05 ]

@ Ramp up for the upcoming film — or to start early on your Christmas shopping — with this Narnia reading list. [ 11/16/05 ]

@ Andrea Tone: "This view of psychology as a series of problems that can be solved with pills is relatively brand new. It's more elastic, and more subjective, so it lends itself more to taking matters into our own hands." [ 11/17/05 ]

@ I have read that hot climates tend to spicy cuisine because spices stimulate the appetite, which tend to languish in the heat. It seems that spices provide significant anti-microbal properties, too. (via rw) [ 11/17/05 ]

@ Gardening with moss. [ 11/17/05 ]

@ A British mobile phone service aimed at students plans to condense literary classics into SMS text messages. If you're a long-time Pocket reader, you've already seen Chris Coutts' brilliant Tales for the L33t, a condensed "hax0r" version of Romeo and Juliet. Even if you've seen it before, there's no better way to start your weekend. [ 11/18/05 ]

@ The FBIs Top Ten World Art Crimes. [ 11/18/05 ]

@ "Add it all up - which The New York Times did, in an analysis of the major costs and benefits of owning and renting, including tax breaks - and owning a home today is more expensive than renting in much of the Northeast, Florida and California." [ 11/18/05 ]

@ A Little Weekend Reading: What's Hurting the Middle Class: The myth of overspending obscures the real problem.

If families are making more money than ever and are still in financial trouble, surely the critics are right: Americans are overspending, then overborrowing, and then avoiding the consequences by declaring bankruptcy. But the data tell a different story.

[ 11/18/05 ]

@ Glow in the dark meat: In Australia, it's what's for lunch. (thanks, Chris!) [ 11/21/05 ]

@ Doris Payne is a jewel thief who has used her intelligence and charm for the last 50 years to steal diamond rings — and to escape from custody. [ 11/21/05 ]

@ Presentation: Ruralisation – integrating settlements and agriculture to provide sustainability, Folke Günther, Dept. of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University [ 11/21/05 ]

@ A (Non-controversial) Alternative to Google Print: Legal and Robust Book Searching. [ 11/22/05 ]

@ November's Bloggers on Blogging interview is with the Instapundit himself: Glenn Reynolds.

Looking back at my archives, I think the older stuff is more self-assured and more likely to call people stupid. I still do that sometimes, but I'm more inclined to let things speak for themselves.

[ 11/22/05 ]

@ How much energy do your appliances draw when they are not running? "As a country we pay $1 billion a year to power our TV's and VCR's while they're turned off."

Vampires and wall warts are only part of the problem. DSL or cable modems, among other things, are increasingly likely to be left on around the clock. A computer left on continuously can draw nearly as much power as an efficient refrigerator — 70 to 250 watts, depending on the model and how it is used.

We have most of our electronics plugged into a power strip that we turn on when we want to watch television. It sounds like we can do better.

Update: DaveJ provides some real-life measurement of the energy consumption of the computer equipment in his home. (via rw[ 11/22/05 ]

@ Cool Tools: Listeroid Diesel Engine[ 11/22/05 ]

@ Why mid-sized farms are the answer to America's food crisis. (via usfp) [ 11/23/05 ]

@ Retired home economist Ruth M. Siems, the 74-year-old inventor of Stove Top Stuffing, "an enduring emblem of postwar convenience culture", has died. [ 11/23/05 ]

@ Typographers explore the evolution, in a pre-computer alternate universe, of a ligature for "wtf" and "lol". (via rw) [ 11/23/05 ]

@ Stanford University Computer Science professor Donald E. Knuth explains why he opted out of email in 1990. And he got out before it became ubiquitous. [ 11/23/05 ]

@ Marc Eisenstadt: Eight years of email stats, pass 1. [ 11/23/05 ]

@ Happy Thanksgiving! [ 11/24/05 ]

@ "There's only now becoming a more pan-Indian sense of what Native food can be. You're talking about evolving a cuisine from a people whose cuisine has been whatever we could get for a long time." [ 11/24/05 ]

@ Wendell Berry: The Idea of a Local Economy.

In default of government protections against the total economy of the supranational corporations, people are where they have been many times before: in danger of losing their economic security and their freedom, both at once.
But at the same time the means of defending themselves belongs to them in the form of a venerable principle: powers not exercised by government return to the people. If the government does not propose to protect the lives, livelihoods, and freedoms of its people, then the people must think about protecting themselves.
How are they to protect themselves? There seems, really, to be only one way, and that is to develop and put into practice the idea of a local economy — something that growing numbers of people are now doing. For several good reasons, they are beginning with the idea of a local food economy.

 [ 11/24/05 ]

@ Institute for Local Self-Reliance (via dm) [ 11/24/05 ]

@ A knitted pie (via not martha) [ 11/24/05 ]

@ Scientists are building machines out of bacteria to create powerful and inexpensive alternatives to computers, fuel, and other materials. Their latest achievement? An e coli hybrid that can photograph things. Read the part about "ethical issues" to have the pants scared off you. [ 11/24/05 ]

@ Snarky and knowing instead of directly critical, Chinese bloggers are challenging the totalitarianism of their government on their personal sites. [ 11/24/05 ]

@ "Top earners might also wish to consider evidence that their own families would have been better off, in purely practical terms, had it not been for the tax cuts of recent years." Plus, the government inspects beef processing plants at only a quarter the rate it did in the early 1980's??????? [ 11/25/05 ]

@ A Little Weekend Reading: The Daughter Track: "Despite a growing number of men helping aging relatives, women account for 71 percent of those devoting 40 or more hours a week to the task, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP in a 2004 study. Among those with the greatest burden of care, regardless of sex, 88 percent either take leaves of absence, quit or retire." Read to the end for a very sweet portrait of family devotion. [ 11/25/05 ]

@ Singing may fight alzheimers. (via rw) [ 11/25/05 ]

@ Scientists have found an iceburg that sings under pressure. [ 11/25/05 ]

@ Digital Scrapbooking. The tactile satisfaction is gone, but there are a host of other advantages. [ 11/25/05 ]

@ Work-life balance has graduated from being a "woman's issue" to become an Executive Issue. Fortune magazine profiled 3 business leaders to see how they engineered human-sized jobs[ 11/29/05 ]

@ Mayor Steve Bullock, mayor of Lewisham, a London suburb, was worried that he didn're represent the young people of his city, so he held a poll to elect a young counterpart — 14-year-old Wilf Petherbridge. [ 11/29/05 ]

@ NY Times Book Review: 100 Notable Books of the Year[ 11/29/05 ]

@ The Myth of the Native Babe. Pocahontas's role in history is both more and less interesting than our cultural mythology reveals. (via dm) [ 11/30/05 ]

@ CSM: Best nonfiction 2005. Two especially jump out at me: When Computers Were Human, by David Alan Grier and Miss Leavitt's Stars, by George Johnson. Oh, and Girl Sleuth, and Team Of Rivals, and 1776....  [ 11/30/05 ]

@ The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt has been recommended to me as the most comprehensive book ever written on the subject. So much so, that used copies — the book went out of print some years ago — now regularly sell for $250 - $750. (I know this because I am always searching for one at a reasonable price.) Of course the publisher should reissue the book. [more...]

Meanwhile, Amazon plans to cash in on the tremendous opportunity that publishers seem unwilling to take. Look again at that page, below the image of the book. You will see a link that says "I own the rights to this title and would like to make it available again through Amazon, which directs the interested party to the website of BookSurge, Amazon's print-on-demand company. There are riches to be made from the Long Tail — the accumulation of micro-markets that by themselves don't amount to much. It would do me a service for someone to print this book. And whoever is willing to do so for a sizable group of niche titles is going to make a fortune. [ 11/30/05 ]

@ Ashley Martineau's awesome "Recycled Yarn Tutorial (or, How to Unravel a Thrift Store Sweater) and How to Wind a Skein tutorials. I would advise you to add the washing step from these similar directions. (If nothing else, it helps to remove the kinks.) Of course I added them to my knit/crochet page[more...]

In my own unravelling adventures I've noticed that commercial sweaters are made of distinctly lesser quality yarn than that which you buy for handknitting, often composed of two or three very thin plys, loosely wound to make a yarn no handknitter would ever buy. So choose fairly bulky sweaters for this purpose, and always check the seams before you buy. [ 11/30/05 ]

@ FatWallet.com: 2004 FAQ: How to find the best airfare deals. "Several domestic airlines have a little-known policy that may allay the fear of losing out on a better deal. If you buy a ticket and notice that the price drops later for the exact same itinerary on the same dates of travel, you can call and the airline will issue a voucher towards a future ticket purchase." [ 11/30/05 ]


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