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.: March 2010 --> March 2010

March 2010

» How to make the best tea. Detailed instructions on choosing teas, brewing equipment, and a simple trick to ensure that your water is the proper temperature.  [ 03.01.10 ]

» The next time I'm in Tokyo, I'm going to make a point to visit the Studio Ghibli Museum.

"The Ghibli Museum is a portal to a storybook world. As the main character in a story, we ask that you experience the Museum space with your own eyes and senses, instead of through a camera's viewfinder. We ask that you make what you experienced in the Museum the special memory that you take home with you."
Fair enough. Still, there are areas within the museum that seem to be crying out for a photo op, such as the fabulous, furry Cat Bus, over which little kids (age limit: 12) scramble over in pure glee.

Maki has posted a detailed review that includes instructions for non-Japanese speakers for purchasing tickets (at the Lawson's!).  [ 03.02.10 ]

» Get your baby some earmuffs to protect their hearing!

Hearing loss from exposure to loud noises is cumulative and irreversible; if such exposure starts in infancy, children can live "half their lives with hearing loss," said Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology at Children's Hospital Boston.
Because a young child's ear canal is much smaller than an older child's or an adult's...the sound pressure entering the ear is greater. An infant might perceive a sound as 20 decibels louder than an older child or an adult. The shorter length of the ear canal increases dangerous noise levels in the higher frequencies, which are crucial to language development.

 [ 03.02.10 ]

» New science shows that film directors have become more adept at structuring their films to produce pink noise - the natural rhythm of the brain. Bonus: the scientist studying film editing patterns is named "James Cutting".  [ 03.03.10 ]

» We live in wondrous times: A machine that prints organs is coming to market - for about $200,000. My dentist has an in-office machine that produces a crown in about half an hour from a scanned image of your tooth. When I saw that, I felt like I was in the future. But the prospect of creating on-demand custom organs is straight out of Star Trek.  [ 03.04.10 ]

» Chart of the day: Payday lenders' lobbying expenditures.

The meat of the story, though, from Keith Epstein of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, is well worth reading: it shows an astonishingly effective lobbying organization which has persuaded lawmakers around the country that payday lenders are both popular in their local communities and not particularly profitable.
One of the biggest payday-lender lobbyists calls itself the Community Financial Services Association; it increased its spending by 74 percent over the past year, to $2.56 million. That helps pay for people like Steven Schlein, who goes around saying things like "Who's going to make that kind of credit available to working people besides us?". (Answer: banks, community development credit unions, non-profit lenders, etc. And if "that kind of credit" is being extended at 650% APRs, then maybe it shouldn't be made available at all.)

Are lawmakers really this stupid? Corrupt? It's shameful.  [ 03.05.10 ]

» Fascinating. A new study suggests that subsidizing healthy food at the supermarket results in the purchase of more junk food! Taxing junk food had the opposite effect. I would have predicted the opposite outcome.  [ 03.08.10 ]

» Three Proven Steps to Advance the World's Women, on International Women's Day. Absolutely right, and absolutely critical. (via @BillGates)  [ 03.08.10 ]

» Are extreme couponers practicing a time-honored form of augmented reality gaming? That's not quite what it is, of course. But when you assemble a 6-foot tower of Jello and post it to a coupon forum, clearly it isn't about saving money. It's about the game itself.  [ 03.09.10 ]

» Have you heard of Pandora? You select a song and it will program a stream of "more like this" music based on its musical "genome". Now the company is poised for success as it positions itself to be as ubiquitous as FM radio.

My problem with Pandora? My ideal radio station would be based on two or three favorite songs. / (2) Comments / [ 03.09.10 ]

» Read about Nestle's brilliant strategies for building a deep following in Japan for Kit Kats: limited-edition and regionally specific flavors, sales points in the Post Office, and wacky, whimsical flavors like strawberry-cheesecake, wasabi-flavored white chocolate, and their best-seller, soy sauce.  [ 03.10.10 ]

» The biggest winner at the Vancouver Winter Olympics? Local hotdog stand, Japa Dog.

People are standing outside in cool wet weather for the popular Japanese hot dogs, waiting an hour and up to 90 minutes for a taste. Instead of the standard beef wiener with ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, and sauerkraut, the flavors include mayonnaise, seaweed, bonita flakes, fried cabbage, plum sauce, and grated radish.

 [ 03.15.10 ]

» For the Dishwasher's Sake, Go Easy on the Detergent and other tips for optimum efficiency when using your dishwasher and clothes washer. Pre-rinsing wastes water!  [ 03.16.10 ]

» Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History s an online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard Libraries. (via tra)  [ 03.17.10 ]

» German teenager Helene Hegemann's book, which includes unattributed passages from other writers, has been selected as a finalist for the prize of The Leipzig Book Fair. When a blogger noticed his own work in her book,

[Ms. Hegemann] presented herself as a writer whose birthright is the remix, the use of anything at hand she feels suits her purposes, an idea of communal creativity that certainly wasn't shared by those from whom she borrowed.

After exploring the historical precedents of allusion and mashups, the article gets to the heart of the matter:

You could argue, of course, that Warhol's use of a soup can or Danger Mouse's use of the Beatles and Jay-Z on the Grey Album represent one thing, a re-contextualizing of cultural artifacts so well known they are a kind of shorthand. But does lifting from an obscure blogger -- or even importing a description of a sunset by Steinbeck or a suburban tableau from Updike -- accomplish the same thing?

 [ 03.17.10 ]

» Two book lists for you: Steampunk: 20 Core Titles which ranges from Steampunk precursors through the classics that defined the genre to newer titles worth reading. And Top 10 Graphic Novels: 2010. / (1) Comments / [ 03.17.10 ]

» Xavier University's 1991 basketball MVP and inductee to the Xavier athletic hall of fame? A 5-foot-4-inch, 77-year-old nun.  [ 03.18.10 ]

» What is the foodshed of a typical San Francisco Taco? Recent research by the California College of the Arts "reconfigures the idea of a Mission taco" from a local food to one with global origins - but it took weeks of research and persistence to source all the ingredients.

"It was very difficult to trace the origins of these foods," said John Bela, a director at Rebar and an instructor for the class. "There was an intentional obfuscation of food origins that we didn't anticipate. We were stonewalled by corporations. So we had to use subterfuge, like having our Puerto Rican aunt call to ask."

 [ 03.19.10 ]

» Useful.  [ 03.19.10 ]

» Lovely - A new tradition in the White House: Seder.  [ 03.29.10 ]

» This really makes me wish I had a dog. (via jmff) / (1) Comments / [ 03.31.10 ]



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