Thursday, May 31, 2007

ESP @ Human Computation

Luis von Ahn is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, ... all » where he also received his Ph.D. in 2005. Previously, Luis obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Duke University in 2000. He is the recipient of a Microsoft Research Fellowship.
ABSTRACT Tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs. This talk introduces a paradigm for utilizing human processing power to solve problems that computers cannot yet solve. Traditional approaches to solving such problems focus on improving software. I advocate a novel approach: constructively channel human brainpower using computer games. For example, the ESP Game, described in this talk, is an enjoyable online game -- many people play over 40 hours a week -- and when people play, they help label images on the Web with descriptive keywords. These keywords can be used to significantly improve the accuracy of image search. People play the game not because they want to help, but because they enjoy it.
I describe other examples of "games with a purpose": Peekaboom, which helps determine the location of objects in images, and Verbosity, which collects common-sense knowledge. I also explain a general approach for constructing games with a purpose. «

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The difference between Marketing, PR, Advertising and Branding

The buzz word in today's business world is MARKETING.
However, most people often ask for a simple
explanation of "Marketing."
Here it is:
You're a man and you see a gorgeous woman at a party.
You go up to her and say, "I'm fantastic in bed,"
That's (((Direct Marketing)))
You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a
gorgeous woman. One of your friends goes up to her and
pointing at you says,"He's fantastic in bed,"
You see a gorgeous woman at a party. You go up to her
and get her telephone number. The next day you call
and say, "Hi, I'm fantastic in bed," (((That's
You're at a party and see a gorgeous woman. You get up
and straighten your tie. You walk up to her and pour
her a drink and then say, "By the way, I'm fantastic
in bed," That's (((Public Relations)))
You're at a party and see a gorgeous woman. She walks
up to you and says, "I hear you're fantastic in bed,
That's (((Brand Recognition)))
You're at a party and see a gorgeous woman. You talk
her into going home with your friend - That's a
(((Sales Rep)))
Your friend can't satisfy her so he calls you - That's
(((Tech Support)))
You're on your way to a party when you realize that
there could be gorgeous women in all these houses
you're passing. So you climb onto the roof of
one situated toward the center and shout at the top of
your lungs, "I'm fantastic in bed!" That's (((Junk
Mail)) ( Via adsoftheworld )

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Günter Grass: A recruit in the Waffen S.S.

In 1943, when I was a fifteen-year-old schoolboy in Danzig, I volunteered for active duty. When? Why? Since I do not know the exact date and cannot recall the by then unstable climate of the war, or list its hot spots from the Arctic to the Caucasus, all I can do for now is string together the circumstances that probably triggered and nourished my decision to enlist. No mitigating epithets allowed. What I did cannot be put down to youthful folly. No pressure from above. Nor did I feel the need to assuage a sense of guilt, at, say, doubting the Führer’s infallibility, with my zeal to volunteer. It happened while I was serving in the Luftwaffe auxiliary—a force made up of boys too young to be conscripts, who were deployed to defend Germany in its air war. The service was not voluntary but compulsory then for boys of my age, though we experienced it as a liberation from our school routine and accepted its not very taxing drills. Rabidly pubescent, we considered ourselves the mainstays of the home front. The Kaiserhafen battery became our second home. At first there were attempts to keep school going, but, as classes were too often interrupted by field exercises, the mostly frail, elderly teachers refused to travel the wearisome dirt road to our battery.( more from The New Yorker )

dammit! trust me ... son of a bitch

A collection of the best catch phrases throughout 24. In order of appearance: agreement/immunity, dammit, database, division, encrypt, immunity, intel, patch, protocol, son of a bitch, trust me.

Burn, Baby, Burn: A Book Funeral?

Tom Wayne amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero's Books. His collection ranges from best sellers like Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" and Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities," to obscure titles like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But wanting to thin out his collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops, which said they were full. So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books protest what he sees as society's diminishing support for the printed word."This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.The fire blazed for about 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department put it out because Wayne didn't have a permit to burn them.
Wayne said next time he will get a permit. He said he envisions monthly bonfires until his supply estimated at 20,000 books is exhausted.
"After slogging through the tens of thousands of books we've slogged through and to accumulate that many and to have people turn you away when you take them somewhere, it's just kind of a knee-jerk reaction," he said. "And it's a good excuse for fun."
( to watch video )

Wind Along the Coast

It is a lyrical and funny story about the hard life of a seaside village, suffering from very strong wind that scrapes the coastline.

Ivan Maximov is a well known Russian animator. Upon graduating from the Filmmaking and Scriptwriting course in 1988, he produced a number of animated films which earned him international attention
He also seems to be a funny guy...
The soundtrack is a version of Sea Journey by Chick Corea, as performed by Daniil Kramer and Alexei Kuznetsov

Couldn't they have used a little girl?

This 1903 short is the first version ever put on celluloid of the Lewis Carroll classic. Seen today, it's of great historic value, and it's amazing that it still exists, given that many silent films were lost forever. The surviving print is in a pretty bad shape, with many big white spots and missing frames, but no one should be surprised. Anyway, it's watchable enough.

The film, which, at a running time of 10 or 12 minutes in a common silent movie projector, was the longest ever produced in UK to the day (the standard being 3 or 4 minutes, and so, some distributors bought and showed just some parts of this Alice, not the full footage), is more an illustration of Carroll's book than an adaptation. That is, the director assumes you know the story, and so the movie is more like filmed drawings from the book than a filmed story. All the best-known passages are here: the White Rabbit, Alice shrinking and growing up to pass through the door (very primitive but strangely effective FX), the garden, the oversized Alice inside the Rabbit's house, the Ugly Duchess, the baby-pig, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter's tea party (with a March Hare that looks amazingly like "Frank" from Donnie Darko!), and the Queen of Hearts procession. You won't find Carroll's witty satire here (as you won't find it either in most of the posterior versions), but it's actually a cute set of vignettes and illustrations from the book... if it wasn't that the actress portraying Alice is old and ugly! Couldn't they have used a little girl?

"Midnight Peacocks" - Port Said- this friday in ein hod

Directed by Tchelet Semel.
From "midnight Peacocks debut Album, "It's a brutal Machine".

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Aron Kodesh @ Nechin brothers

...I started fooling around with various shapes, including cylinders, pyramids, and cones. The problem was that none of the shapes would hold Torah scrolls. I was faced with the plain old box: form follows function.
Then I got two ideas that ultimately led to the final design: I realized that I could use different layers of wood—and different woods—to make the shape less rigid, and I saw that boxes of wood didn’t have to have square edges that they could be softened by rounding them over.
The next step was to design the front. I have gained some skill as a craftsperson, but I am neither a designer nor an artist. Luckily, my brother, Bob Nechin, a former Fabrangener and a stained-glass artist in Ein Hod, Israel, is both. He sent me six excellent sketches, some too aesthetically simple, and others too complex for me to realize in wood. From those sketches, I took the most interesting elements that I was able to build and combined them to create the aron you see now.
The aron is made primarily of walnut and maple, which are not only two of my favorite woods but complement each other beautifully, allowing contrast to become an integral part of the design. The maple I used is called curly maple. The wavy darker stripes in the wood, when finished, create an effect that makes you think that you are looking into the wood, not just at it.
The ten amorphous shapes on the doors represent the Ten Commandments. The irregularity of the shapes both follows the general softness of the design and acknowledges that even these commandments are still interpreted. Each shape is crafted from a different wood: padauk; cherry; tiger wood; mahogany; pine; canary wood; cedar; purple heart; oak; and lacewood. ( more from Fabrangen)

Bookshop Memories [1936] by George Orwell

When I worked in a second-hand bookshop — so easily pictured, if you don’t work in one, as a kind of paradise where charming old gentlemen browse eternally among calf-bound folios — the thing that chiefly struck me was the rarity of really bookish people. Our shop had an exceptionally interesting stock, yet I doubt whether ten per cent of our customers knew a good book from a bad one. First edition snobs were much commoner than lovers of literature, but oriental students haggling over cheap textbooks were commoner still, and vague-minded women looking for birthday presents for their nephews were commonest of all
Many of the people who came to us were of the kind who would be a nuisance anywhere but have special opportunities in a bookshop. For example, the dear old lady who ‘wants a book for an invalid’ (a very common demand, that), and the other dear old lady who read such a nice book in 1897 and wonders whether you can find her a copy. Unfortunately she doesn’t remember the title or the author’s name or what the book was about, but she does remember that it had a red cover.( more from Librarian )

T. vaginalis (green) adheres to a vaginal cell (pink)

An international team of more than 60 researchers got a shock when they published a draft of the genome of Trichomonas vaginalis, one of the world’s most common sexually transmitted infections. Because T. vaginalis is a tiny single-celled protozoan that must hijack human cells to survive, it was expected to have a rather paltry genome. As it turns out, T. vaginalis has an astounding three times as many genes as its human host. “There was 10 times as much DNA as we originally thought there would be,” says Jane Carlton, who led the project while at the Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Maryland. No one is quite sure what all those genes are for, says Carlton. The parasite’s genome isn’t really that complex; it’s just repetitive. The recurring elements may relate to T. vaginalis’s evolution away from its ancestral home in the human intestine. “When the parasite moved from the intestinal tract to the urogenital tract, it increased in size, which may have something to do with the considerably expanded genome,” she says.( via discover )


Gan Nahum high school, Rishon Le Zion, Israel
המגמה לעיצוב גרפי בגימנסיה גן נחום ראשל"צ
יום פעילות בסדנת דאדא בעין הוד,

Friday, May 25, 2007

Life is worth losing - George Carlin

"Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits."
The George Carlin engine runs on three types of fuel: humor, rebellion, and drug use. A bit of a discipline problem who ran away from home more times than he can remember, Carlin attended a parochial high school on and off for less than six months until the age of sixteen - when he officially abandoned any pretext of fitting in with society. His need to uproot the establishment took a poignant turn early in life, when he joined the United States Air Force.
On July 29, 1957, Carlin was dishonorably discharged for failing to report for guard duty. And driving while intoxicated at 0030 hours. And disrespecting Air Policemen, failure to comply with lawful instruction, and refusal to obey direct orders. And driving government-issued vehicles with the deliberate intention of causing disruption and property damage. Carlin was regularly counseled by supervisors and his First Sergeant concerning not only his personal appearance but his inability to maintain his bunk bed in the prescribed manner. He consumed alcoholic beverages to such an extent that he could neither control his movements nor fully explain his responsibilities as an Airman. At age seventeen, he decided to pursue a career in comedy.

"There are 400,000 words in the English language," Carlin mused. "And there are seven of them that you can't say on television. What a ratio that is. 399,993 to seven. They must really be bad. You know the seven don't you? Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that will infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war. I can dig why some of those words got on the list, like cocksucker and motherfucker. Those are heavyweight words. There's a lot going on there, man. Besides the literal translation and the emotional feeling. They're just busy words. There's a lot of syllables to contend with. And those K's. Those are aggressive sounds, they jump out at you. Forget those seven, they're out. But, there are some two-way words. You can prick your finger -- but you can't finger your prick."

Wall-to-Wall Books, and All of Them for the Landlord

The line outside the Gotham Book Mart in Midtown snaked down the block yesterday morning. Several dozen eager bargain hunters, book dealers, art collectors and former employees of the storied shop waited to bid on a piece of literary history.
They had each put down a $1,000 deposit for the privilege of attending the auction. Books signed by John Updike. Letters from D. H. Lawrence and Anaïs Nin. Andy Warhol’s wig rack. All were up for sale.
In the end though, all the property that was auctioned went to the building’s landlord for $400,000.
The auction was ordered after a judgment last fall evicting the store’s owner, Andreas Brown, over a claim of more than a half-million dollars in rent owed. Now the landlord plans to sell the property.
Yesterday, Mr. Brown, 74, got teary while removing books from the shelves in his office. He left before the auction began.
“It’s a bit like interviewing me at my own funeral,” said Mr. Brown, who has a penchant for quoting Mark Twain.
Even from the beginning, many at the auction figured that they would be outbid. Many also seemed disappointed that the goods being auctioned were in such large lots that only major players stood a chance. ( more from NYtimes )

Salsa @ Maayan HaBira

A very simple and not spotlessly clean eatery whose food often has heavenly qualities. Splendid eggplant dishes, chopped liver, and ikra, then spare ribs, pastrami and, when available, grilled suckling pig. " ...This is not the place to take your spouse for your anniversary! It's a little shady workers' joint, open only a daytime. Here you come for a cold beer and some Romanian delicacies. Romanian sauages are made on the spot by the grandmother. Don't miss the Kostica. But, be warned, this place is not for people with heart condition (or pregnant women...). Everything is full with fat and/or fried. Actually, I would say the healthiest dish on the menu is the beer! ..."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

pretty dyana

An intimate look at Gypsy refugees in Belgrade suburb who make a living by transfoming Citroen's classic 2cv and Dyana cars into Mad ... all » Max-like recycling vehicles, with which they ollect cardoard, bottles and scrap metal. These modern horses are much more efficient than the cart-pushing competition, but more important - they also mean freedom, hope and style for their crafty owners. Even the car batteries are used as power generators in order to get some light, watch tv and recharge mobiles! Almost an alchemist's dream come true! But the police doesn't allways find these strange vehicles funny...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


This movie, based on a hit Broadway play, showcases Whitey's Lindy Hoppers dancing the most famous and most spectacular Lindy Hop scene ever preserved on film. The dancing was choreographed by Frankie Manning.
The scene starts when musicians Slim Galliard and Slam Stewart, in workmen's garb, discover some musical instruments while supposedly delivering a package backstage. They play a few tentative notes, and a spontaneous, swinging jam starts cooking . More backstage "workers" join the jam, including Rex Stuart on trumpet and C.C. Johnson on the ''Bongo drums''. The music builds in excitement until, as if out of nowhere, four Lindy Hopping couples, dressed in overalls and uniforms, swing out into the cameras at a frenetic tempo. Each couple executes amazing acrobatic shines. Then the group unites for precision ensemble work filmed at an angle that emphasizes legwork and speed.
The choreography and the dancing are as near to perfect Lindy Hop as you can see anywhere! The scene will take your breath away no matter how many times you see it. It is no wonder that this film was responsible for the simultaneous revival of Lindy Hop in Sweden and Britain in the 1980's.

frankincense & myrrh.

From earliest history until today, fragrant, alluring smells have been regarded as essential elements of civilized relationships. Exotic plant odors and the scents that could be utilized for body application have inspired explorers, aristocrats, writers, poets, merchants and priests, and they have been of fundamental relevance to religious practices and to courtship. Many societies have felt that the burning of fragrant woods provides an ideal, ethereal token of appreciation to their gods. The liberation of incense smoke was a source of perfume: this word comes from the Latin per fumum, “by smoke”. Incense is a word that means “that which is lit”. The main incense fragrances were frankincense and myrrh.The sophisticated Greeks greatly appreciated such aromatic sources (aromata) as the turpentine tree, and this became an important import. They also valued the older Egyptian fragrant woods, and their exudates, such as those of myrrh, frankincense (olibanum) and cinnamon. Enormous amounts of money were spent on these exotic imports. The Greek island of Chios was the source of the valued gum exudate mastic as well as turpentine; the mastic was also used as a sort of chewing gum, and it gave rise to the word masticate. The more precious perfume incenses and spices came as imports through Arabia along well-established incense routes to be eagerly purchased by Mediterranean merchants who sold them to satisfy the increasing demands of markets throughout Europe.
The most important ancient fragrances were frankincense and myrrh. The Arabs used the milky sap of the frankincense tree, and called it al lubán, from the word for milk. (The same word gave rise to the name of Lebanon, whose mountains were always capped by milky snow). “Al lubán” became anglicized to olibanum, which is another name for frankincense; the latter name refers to the pre-eminence of this resin, the true or frank incense. Myrrh is a resin that has a bitter taste; its name is derived from Hebrew murr or maror, meaning bitter. Frankincense came mainly from the Dhofari region of Oman, and the best of this fragrant oleoresin source still characterizes this remote region. Myrrh traditionally came from Punt; this area was probably in Somalia, Ethiopia or Eritrea, but it may have been in Yemen, Oman or Southern Arabia. The domestication of the camel around 1200 BC stimulated the growth of the incense trade with Eygpt and eventually with Greece and Rome. (more...)

The calf survives!

A battle between a pride of lions, a herd of buffalo, and 2 crocodiles at a watering hole in South Africa's Kruger National Park while on safari

(via presurfer)

ein hod fashion (hebrew)

(more from YNET)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Splash of Photo History Comes to Light

At first glance the two pictures seem to be gorgeous anachronisms, full-color blasts from the black-and-white world of 1908, the year Ford introduced the Model T and Theodore Roosevelt was nearing the end of his second term.
But they are genuine products of their time, rare ones, among the few surviving masterpieces from the earliest days of color photography, made using a process developed by the Lumière brothers in France and imported to the United States by the photographer Edward Steichen a century ago this year. They were taken by Steichen, probably in Buffalo, and are thought to be portraits of Charlotte Spaulding, a friend and student who became his luminous subject for the portraits, which resemble pointillist miniatures on glass.

Almost as intriguing as the pictures themselves, however, is the story of how they recently made their way from a house in Buffalo, where they apparently sat unseen for decades, to the collection of the George Eastman House in Rochester, one of the world’s leading photography museums, where they will be exhibited for the first time this fall ( more from NYTimes )

Monday, May 21, 2007

Art Brut

The encounter between art and psychiatry began about 100 years ago. Emerging in the framework of social, cultural, scientific, and economic progress, psychiatry reflected a new approach to understanding humankind, one in which human beings came to be regarded less and less as the product of divine intervention or social fate, and more as individuals with personal histories, rights, and potentials.
Around the same time, the avant-garde, in the course of overcoming canonic concepts of art, became interested in non-European and nonacademic forms of art, including the work of van Gogh and Henri Rousseau, African sculpture (which influenced cubism), folk art (which influenced Russian futurists and Marc Chagall), children's art (which influenced the Blue Rider -- Der blaue Reiter -- movement in Europe), and the art of the mentally ill (whose importance to modern art was pointed out by the artist Paul Klee as early as 1912).
By the late 19th century, psychiatrists were already taking an interest in the creative output of patients, albeit solely for diagnostic purposes. In his 1907 book, L'Art chez les fous, the French psychiatrist Paul Gaston Meunier, writing under the pseudonym Marcel Réja, was the first to make the connection between art and the works of the mentally ill. In the decades that followed, an interdisciplinary dialogue between art and psychiatry took shape, and through this dialogue the art of the mentally ill came to be regarded in a new context, in terms of both psychiatry and cultural history. Switzerland, Bern, and especially the work of Adolf Wölfli played important roles in this process. ...
Adolf Wölfli was an outsider on multiple levels: impoverished, mentally ill, imprisoned, institutionalized, and artistically untrained. Within the confines of his cell at the Waldau Mental Asylum, he created a highly complex and intricate mental world with its own private mythology -- the St. Adolf-Giant-Creation. In the course of the last century, this singular vision left the private world of the asylum, gained broad recognition, became internationally known and highly collected, and entered museums, galleries, and libraries all over the world. (from chronicle )

Hungarian Sausage ÁHT Hurka Gyurka

Via: VideoSift

Chomsky Sucks?

Has a remote Amazonian tribe upended our understanding of language?
One morning last July, in the rain forest of northwestern Brazil, Dan Everett, an American linguistics professor, and I stepped from the pontoon of a Cessna floatplane onto the beach bordering the Maici River, a narrow, sharply meandering tributary of the Amazon. On the bank above us were some thirty people—short, dark-skinned men, women, and children—some clutching bows and arrows, others with infants on their hips. The people, members of a hunter-gatherer tribe called the Pirahã, responded to the sight of Everett—a solidly built man of fifty-five with a red beard and the booming voice of a former evangelical minister—with a greeting that sounded like a profusion of exotic songbirds, a melodic chattering scarcely discernible, to the uninitiated, as human speech. Unrelated to any other extant tongue, and based on just eight consonants and three vowels, Pirahã has one of the simplest sound systems known. Yet it possesses such a complex array of tones, stresses, and syllable lengths that its speakers can dispense with their vowels and consonants altogether and sing, hum, or whistle conversations. It is a language so confounding to non-natives that until Everett and his wife, Keren, arrived among the Pirahã, as Christian missionaries, in the nineteen-seventies, no outsider had succeeded in mastering it. Everett eventually abandoned Christianity, but he and Keren have spent the past thirty years, on and off, living with the tribe, and in that time they have learned Pirahã as no other Westerners have. (more from New Yorker by by John Colapinto )

Too much sex, especially masturbation, can make you go blind

It’s important to separate fact from fiction, especially when the topic is eyesight. And old wives’ tales abound about the eyes. Many of these have no basis in fact and, for that matter, can be dangerous if you followed the advice put forth.
But knowing how to take good care of your eyes is the first step to protecting your sight for a lifetime. So here’s the lowdown on some eyesight myths:
Myth #1: “Sitting too close to the TV will damage your vision.”
There is no evidence that sitting close to the television will damage your eyes. So sit wherever you are most comfortable. Eyes may become tired from sitting too close for long periods, if the light in the room is too dim, or if the picture screen is out of focus.
Myth #2: “Reading in the dark will weaken your eyesight”
As with sitting too close to the television, reading in dim light can cause eye fatigue, but it is not harmful and cannot damage your vision.
Myth #3: “Some eye exercises can improve your vision.”
Being alive and looking around at your world is all that is necessary to keep your muscles “toned.” Any extra effort is a waste of time and has no benefit. This myth has made many people wealthy, but rolling your eyes around has no effect on your vision.(more... via presurfer )

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Monty Hall Problem

The Monty Hall Problem gets its name from the TV game show, “Let’s Make A Deal,” hosted by Monty Hall. The scenario is such: you are given the opportunity to select one closed door of three, behind one of which there is a prize. The other two doors hide “goats” (or some other such “non–prize”), or nothing at all. Once you have made your selection, Monty Hall will open one of the remaining doors, revealing that it does not contain the prize. He then asks you if you would like to switch your selection to the other unopened door, or stay with your original choice. Here is the problem: Does it matter if you switch?
This problem is quite interesting, because the answer is felt by most people including mathematicians to be counter–intuitive. For most, the “solution” is immediately obvious (they believe), and that is the end of it. But it’s not. Because most of the time, this “obvious” solution is incorrect. The correct solution is quite counterintuitive. Further, I’ve found that many persons have difficulty grasping the validity of the correct solution even after several explanations. Thus, this web page.
Before I continue, you may wish to attempt to solve this problem by yourself. You’ve a good chance to do so, because you now know not to trust your instincts in this and that you should consider the problem very carefully. Try it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tom Waits For No One-the first music video created for the new and upcoming MTV

An animated film starring Tom Waits.
Performed for us live (at the La Brea stage in Hollywood, 1978), and rotoscoped - a process that traces back the live action
frame by frame and turns it into animation. The original live
action was shot with 5 cameras - 2 high, 2 low and one hand
held. The music from "The One That Got Away" blared in the
background as Tom sang karaoke style different lyrics on each
take. Two strippers, 6 takes and 13 hours of video footage were edited to make a 5 1/2 minute live action short which we turned into animation. A total of 5,500 frames were caricatured and then re-drawn, inked and painted by hand onto celluloid acitate to produce this film.

The Five-Second Rule or How Dirty Is That Salami?

The rule applies to foods that have fallen to the ground. Normally, customary rules of hygiene dictate that food that has fallen to the ground should be discarded, in order to prevent ingestion of disease-causing agents acquired from the dirty surface. The rule states that if the food is picked up within five seconds, it can still be eaten.
The true pioneer of five-second research was Jillian Clarke, a high-school intern at the University of Illinois in 2003. Ms. Clarke conducted a survey and found that slightly more than half of the men and 70 percent of the women knew of the five-second rule, and many said they followed it.
She did an experiment by contaminating ceramic tiles with E. coli, placing gummy bears and cookies on the tiles for the statutory five seconds, and then analyzing the foods. They had become contaminated with bacteria.
For performing this first test of the five-second rule, Ms. Clarke was recognized by the Annals of Improbable Research with the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize in public health.
It’s not surprising that food dropped onto bacteria would collect some bacteria. But how many? Does it collect more as the seconds tick by? Enough to make you sick?
Prof. Paul L. Dawson and his colleagues at Clemson have now put some numbers on floor-to-food contamination.
Their bacterium of choice was salmonella; the test surfaces were tile, wood flooring and nylon carpet; and the test foods were slices of bread and bologna. ( more from NYtimes )

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.( cont...)

Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Ray Charles -Medley Songs

Shot at the Storyville nightclub in New Orleans, Fats & Friends features Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles--each a member of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame--strutting their stuff, individually and collectively. Also onstage are musical director/host Paul Shaffer, Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood and drummer extraordinaire Steve Jordan.

raanana,schmaranana-Alabama potter Jerry Brown throws a jug

Jerry Dolyn Brown was born in 1942 in Pine Springs Alabama. His parents, Horace Vincent Brown (1889-1965) and Hettie Mae Stewart Brown (1911-1996), were both products of multi-generational pottery making families. The Browns, one of the South's most famous pottery-making families, are usually associated with Georgia, but in fact, members of the family have also made pottery in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. It is believed that Browns were potters in the late eighteenth century and possibly earlier. The Stewarts established a pottery in Louisville, Mississippi after moving there from Alabama shortly after the Civil War.
In 1982, Jerry reentered the pottery business and took advantage of an urban market interested in southern folk heritage. In 1985-1986, the Alabama State Council on the Arts and Appalshop shot and produced the film Unbroken Tradition. This documentary, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, documented pottery making at Jerry Brown's shop. This along with the new public consciousness of traditional Southern pottery encouraged Jerry's resolve to reenter the pottery business. You can visit Jerry and Sandra at their shop near Highway 78 in Hamilton.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Eat Whatever You Fear Most

While dieters are accustomed to exercises of will, a new English translation of Germany's most popular diet book takes the concept to a new philosophical level. The Nietzschean diet, which commands its adherents to eat superhuman amounts of whatever they most fear, is developing a strong following in America
The book, which tells dieters to "be truthful about what thinness is."
Fat Is Dead, proclaims the ambitious title of the dense, aphoristic nutrition plan, which was written by Friedrich Nietzsche in the late 1880s and unearthed three years ago. After reaching bestseller lists in Europe, the book was translated into English by R.J. Hollingdale and published by Avon last month.
"One must strive to eat dangerously as one comes into the Will to Power Oneself Thin," Nietzsche wrote. "What do you fear? By this are you truly Fattened. You must embrace your Fears, as well as your Fat, and learn to Laugh as you consume them, along with Generous Portions of Simple Salad. Remember, as you stare into the lettuce, the lettuce stares also into you."
First formulated by Nietzsche, who felt lassitude and weltschmerz overcome him after a steady diet of Schopenhauer, the diet retains elements of that philosopher's "The Fruit Bowl As Will And Representation," but adds a persuasive personal challenge.
( more from onion )


Report: 70 Percent Of All Praise Sarcastic
Report: 70 Percent Of All Praise Sarcastic
Is that compliment real or not? A new report tells you how to know the difference

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

you can only lose it once

The poignant thing about innocence is that you can only lose it once.
Starting in 1967, millions of viewers lost their innocence to a British television production known as The Prisoner. Unlike anything previously seen in mainstream television or film, The Prisoner permanently changed the rules of engagement between makers of entertainment and consumers of entertainment.Before The Prisoner, you could settle down in front of the TV secure in the knowledge that you would be served up a tasty and reasonably satisfying bit of fluff with a beginning, a middle and an end. While the quality might vary, depending on the skills of the writers, directors and actors involved, you knew for certain that everyone was trying their best to give you what you wanted.( more... )

P Power vs V Power

Alexyss Tylor hosts a show with her mother

Replica of Noah's Ark

Environmental activists are building a replica of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat — where the biblical vessel is said to have landed after the great flood in an appeal for action on global warming, Greenpeace said Wednesday.
Turkish and German volunteer carpenters are making the wooden ship on the mountain in eastern Turkey, bordering Iran.
1. Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
2. Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.
3. Don't listen to critics--do what has to be done.
4. Build on high ground.
5. For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
6. Speed isn't always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board, but so were the snails.
7. If you can't fight or flee-float!
8. Take care of your animals as if they were the last ones on earth.
9. Don't forget that we're all in the same boat.
10. Stay below deck during the storm.
11. Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.
12. Remember that the woodpeckers INSIDE are often a bigger threat than the storm outside.
13. Don't miss the boat.
14. No matter how bleak it looks, there's always a rainbow on the other side.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

ein hod potters in raanana

An exhibition of the ceramics created by the best of Israel's artists will open at the Hutzot Gallery.During the exhibition, works of sculpture, pots, and other ceramics will be on saleThe annual Israel Ceramics Celebration will be held for the 8th consecutive year, in conjunction with the Raanana Municipality and Israel's Association of Ceramic Artists.61 artists, who were selected by the curator's committee, will participate in the event. They will display the best of their creations and a wide variety of artwork, including: sculpture, functional pottery, design ware, etc. Their work will be on sale to the public. Naomi Verchovsky and Zeev(from Ein Hod) will be there.Among the artists presenting are: Mark Yodel, Boris Katz, Rachel London Katz and Natan Halperin, who will present humoristic sculptures. Meir Mohaven, Michal and Gilles Goure will present functional pottery made by anegam fire. Shulamit Miller will display objects made with a crystal glaze and Anna Carmi, objects with palm tree designs. Marcel Klein, Stella Lahav, Laurie Goldstein will display special designs each with their own flair. Tanat Avaka will display Ethiopian ceramics. Young artists will present some innovative designs, such as Cochavit Ben Ezra Goldberg, Studio MUD and many other talents.
The exhibition will include special displays such as the video-art display of Tal Gilboa Ardon; a potter's wheel demonstration, where potters will display their work methods, and activity centers, where children can take a turn at making their own pottery, together with students from the Tel Hai College.(more..)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Former snake handler from West Virginia is now Ein Hod's chieftain

A typical snake-handling meeting usually consists of songs of worship and preaching. The front of the church, beyond the altar, is the designated area for handling snakes. Many participants bring their own boxes containing rattlers, copperheads or cobras. The snakes are symbolic of Satan (Genesis 3:15; Luke 10:19). One demonstrates his power and authority over the enemy by picking up snakes. As the service progresses and the anointing flows, those receiving the unction open the box lids and lift the snakes high into the air. Some practitioners hold several snakes at a time, allowing them to slither and wrap themselves around their bodies. Usually the snake-handling members slip into altered states of consciousness during such episodes. Their eyes roll back and they twirl or dance in the Spirit and speak in tongues. However, not all are expected to handle snakes; only the anointed.
( via cynical-c )

And now for something completely different-Biggus Dickus

moral judgments

A trolley is coming down a track, and it’s going to run over and kill five people if it continues. A person standing next to the track can flip a switch and turn the trolley onto a side track where it will kill one but save the five. Most people think that’s morally permissible—to harm one person when five are saved. Another case is when a nurse comes up to a doctor and says, “Doctor, we’ve got five patients in critical care; each one needs an organ to survive. We do not have time to send out for organs, but a healthy person just walked into the hospital we can take his organs and save the five. Is that OK?” No one says yes to that one. Now, in both cases your action can save five while harming one, so they’re identical in that sense. So why the flip-flop? People of different ages, people of different religious backgrounds, people even with different educations typically cannot explain why they think those cases differ. There appears to be some kind of unconscious process driving moral judgments without its being accessible to conscious reflection.
( more from Discover )

Would "Casablanca" have been rated XXX?

Depictions of smoking in movies will now be a factor when deciding what a film's rating will be, possibly making a PG-13 movie R-rated, the Motion Picture Association of America said yesterday. The policy affects only new movies.
Along with violence, depictions of sex, adult language and other content considerations, ratings organizations will examine new releases to determine if they glamorize smoking or if it is pervasive through the films, even among adults. Underage smoking has always been considered when rating a film.
"Clearly, smoking is increasingly an unacceptable behavior in our society," Dan Glickman, chairman of the motion picture association, said in a statement. "There is broad awareness of smoking as a unique public health concern due to nicotine's highly addictive nature, and no parent wants their child to take up the habit."
A number of groups have called for almost all movies that depict smoking to automatically receive an R rating, a plan the movie studios oppose. Children under 17 are not allowed in R-rated films unless they are with an adult.
Cigarettes were once an indispensable movie prop -- something for actors to do with their hands and to establish character traits, such as "edgy" and "rebellious." Sex symbols such as Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis helped make smoking seem sophisticated. A leading man was not a gentleman unless he lit a lady's cigarette.
* more from Washington post )

a child who suddenly became more bold

Kellogg's Cornflakes, the bland breakfast flakes that go almost instantly limp in milk were originally invented to bore you into such a deep coma that you would fall face down in the milk drenched flakes, drown, and thereby be spared the temptation and sin known as masturbation.
Like many Christian conservatives before and since, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg believed that masturbation, and in fact all sexual excess, was sinful -- "sexual excess" here defined as "sex for anything beyond reproduction". For instance: after marrying, Kellogg chose to spend his honeymoon sequestered from his wife, valiantly striving to complete his his influential book Plain Facts for Old and Young: Embracing the Natural History and Hygiene of Organic Life (1892). Talk about your dull, soggy flakes.
Kellogg himself seems to have solved the problem by redirecting his attentions to an obsessive fascination with cleansing the bowels. For Kellogg, the tube linking anus to lips was a seething quagmire of pollution, poisoning the mind and spirit as well as the body. Kellogg, a vegetarian himself, recommended abstaining from flesh and spicy foods, augmenting the diet with plenty of fiber, drinking lots of water, and irrigating with regular enemas of water with a yogurt chaser. And as director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Kellogg had ample license to apply his approach to many captive well-to-do neurotics in need of mental restablizing. (more from rotten)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The harp of Yuval Kainer and the drums of Nobuya Yamaguchi

Last summer the team at Roth//Tevet> Experience Design unveiled "Soundscapes", an installation computer-controlled musical instruments, mostly realized at a giant scale. The dramatic lighting and setting enhances the muli-sensory experience of the project. Starting in April the exhibit re-opened in the courtyard of the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem and will run through the summer of 2007. According to the designers 'the instruments are played automatically and controlled via a computer, yet keeping a natural and acoustic sound.'(more via core 77)
Nobuya Yamaguchi and Yuval Kainer from Ein Hod created the "steel drums" and the "harp".The music for the installation was composed by Didi Fire. Fire developed a special program for music that integrates the artist’s decisions and the logic system of the computer. The resulting compositions are a combination of the composer's personal inspirations and the logic of the computer
watch the video from themedialine.

There will never be a fat president???

ALMOST 700,000 online viewers have watched "A Fat Rant," a YouTube sermon that dares fat women to stop obsessing about how they could look and start feeling good about the way they are.
And if you're one of them, you will understand the brazenly self-righteous appeal of "A Fat Rant's" creator, Joy Nash, talking to the camera, tooling around in her convertible, West Adams in the background, and walking through the rose garden at Exposition Park.
Other performers may try to reform America's attitude toward fat, but Nash wants to reform fat people's attitude toward themselves. "We need to expand our souls," she says, "and I think there are a whole lot of fat people out there who can use a whole lot more self confidence. Stop putting life on hold." (more from LA Times)

Lora Verhovsky in the Museum of Applied Arts

The Israeli artist Lora Verhovsky's exhibition of large-size artworks made of leather and suede in the Museum of Applied Arts was a success - with numerous articles in the press, and sincere appreciation from Muscovites and visitors to the Russian capital. Thus the exhibition "Revival" enjoyed no less popularity than in Israel, and at least one of the attractions was the technique - the so- called "leather intarsia".
For the Russian ear the term "intarsia" - though it sounds the same compared to other languages - is much less familiar: Russians use the word "incrustation" instead. In the West the word "intarsia" is used not only to describe decorated leather consumer goods such as belts, bags, gloves and the like. It is also applied to knitted decorated garments, and even to some music pieces, like, for example, Haflidi Hallgrimsson's "Intarsia: Six Movements for Wind Quintet" which he composed in 1991.
So, no doubt many Russian viewers resorted to dictionaries and the Internet to check the meaning of the word. Following woodwork in Ancient Egypt. Greece and Rome the application of wood incrustation reached its peak in the Renaissance, and by the 15th century Florence alone was proud to have more than 80 workshops dealing with mosaics in wood and stone (from Nattella Volskounski article in The Tretyakov Gallery )Передача о выставке коллекции уникальных картин Лоры Верховской, выполненных в коже и замше, в Российском Государственном Музее Декоративного искусства в Москве


Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, and where is the use of a book, thought Alice, without pictures or conversations? So she was considering in her own mind, (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid,) whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain was worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when a white rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.( more... )

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Little Red Riding Hood (The Politically Correct Version)

There once was a young person named Little Red Riding Hood who lived on the edge of a large forest full of endangered owls and rare plants that would probably provide a cure for cancer if only someone took the time to study them.
Red Riding Hood lived with a nurture giver whom she sometimes referred to as “Mother,” although she didn't mean to imply by this term that she would have thought less of that person if a close biological link did not in fact exist. Nor did she intend to denigrate the equal value of nontraditional households, and she was sorry if this was the impression conveyed.
One day her mother asked her to take a basket of organically grown fruit and mineral water to her grandmother's house.
“But mother, won't this be stealing work from the unionized people who have struggled for years to earn the right to carry all packages between various people in the woods?” ( more via XahLee )

Friday, May 11, 2007


Robert Wright thinks the crises the human species now faces are moral in nature, and that our salvation lies in the intelligent pursuit of self-interest. In his book Nonzero, Wright argues that life depends on a non-zero-sum dynamic. While a zero-sum game depends on a winner and loser, all parties in a non-zero-sum game win or lose together, so players will more likely survive if they cooperate. This points to an optimistic future of ultimate cooperation among humans -- if we recognize the game.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Diaper-headed Whores; Or, How Not to Translate "Nappy-headed hos"

On April 4, 2007, radio host Don Imus, on his nationally syndicated program "Imus in the Morning," referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."
Imus was speaking with executive producer Bernard McGuirk when the NCAA Championship game between Rutgers and Tennessee came up. McGuirk compared the game to "the jigaboos versus the wannabes," and Imus commented, "That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos...." "Some hardcore hos," replied McGuirk, to which Imus added,"That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that."
These three words -- nappy-headed hos -- set off the media frenzy that sometimes erupts when a well-known person says something racist, sexist or homophobic in public. And they also resulted in a host of false, misleading or ridiculous translations around the world.
For the past 40 years, two of author's major interests have been maledicta (insults, curses, slurs, blasphemies, obscenities, vulgarities, and other "bad words") in all languages and their (mis)translations into other tongues. Don Imus's "nappy-headed hos" has demonstrated once again how incompetent many translators are in matters of maledicta and how non-English-speaking readers are misled by such poor translations. The Italian saying traduttori, traditori ("translators are traitors") comes to mind. Almost all translators mistranslated nappy-headed or hos or both. Below are samples from 16 languages to prove my assertion that foreign readers were severely misled by the wrong translations and that Don Imus was depicted as having been far nastier than he actually was.( more via Language Log )

Moscow Flood at 1908

These are rare photos of the flood happened in Moscow at 1908. (more from English Russia)

Strange Towers of the Third Reich-Winograd recommendations

Not just phallic symbols of power;
they actually served a practical purpose.
These concrete towers were unique AIR RAID SHELTERS of Nazi Germany, built to withstand the destructive power of WWII bombs and heavy artillery. Their cone shape caused bombs to slide down the walls and detonate only at a heavily fortified base.
Cheaper to build above ground than to dig bunkers, they were quite effective, as it was possible to cram as many as 500 people inside. Plus the "footprint" of such tower was very small when observed from the air, so it was very hard for the bombers to ensure a direct hit. First appearing in 1936, they were quickly dubbed "cigarette stubbs" or "sugar beet heads". Officially they were called Winkeltürme (Winkel Towers)- after their architect Leo Winkel of Duisburg. Winkel patented his design in 1934, and in the following years Germany built 98 Winkeltürme of five different types ( much more via Dark Roasted Blend )

1979 Eurovision: Milk and Honey - "Hallelujah".

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

and more from beer sources

geeks in bed

All engineers may be geeks, but not all geeks are engineers. Doesn't matter. You don't need to know how to build a platform in order to do a half-gainer in full pike with a twist into the river of love.
A geek is more likely to figure out how to customize toys and to design arousing environments for your avatars to play in than a non-geek. And that experience translates into a greater sensitivity to atmosphere and mood during sex -- beyond lighting a candle.
Don't be surprised if your geek lover puts more thought into arranging the boudoir than you do, or if common household items ("pervertibles") soon take on a new dimension.Home Depot is their favorite adult store. (more from wired)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

common errors

The concept of errors in English usage is a fuzzy one. Language experts like to distinguish between two opposed approaches to the subject: theoretically prescriptionists work from rigid rules and traditions and seek to impose their views of correctness on the writing and speaking public, while descriptionists simply note the prevailing patterns of writers and speakers and report their results without in any way judging them.
But in fact it is not so easy to distinguish between these two approaches to usage: all prescriptionists rely heavily on usage patterns to develop their prescriptions and are willing to make exceptions to general “rules”; and even the most laissez-faire descriptionist will admit that “hte” is a typographical error for “the,” that “Heineken remover” is based on a mishearing of “Heimlich maneuver,” and that “perverbial” is not just a variant spelling of “proverbial”—it’s a mistake.
( more... )

Monday, May 7, 2007

You Look Like Hell

A painting of Dante with a model
of his skull superimposed over it
shows where artist Giotto di
Bondone went wrong.
A painting of Dante with a model
of his skull superimposed over it
shows where artist Giotto di
Bondone went wrong.
After Divine Comedy poet Dante Alighieri died in 1321, painters depicted him with a harsh countenance and an impressively pointed nose that not even his beloved Beatrice would have called handsome. But the representations may not reflect reality, according to a team of Italian anthropologists and facial-reconstruction engineers who recently created a 3-D version of Dante’s head.
Following the Manchester method of facial reconstruction, which extrapolates soft tissue from bone structure, the team used a computer to combine information from a plaster cast of Dante’s skull and from pictures and precise measurements made by a University of Bologna professor who was given permission to examine the poet’s remains in 1921, the only time his crypt has ever been opened.(more from discover)

they dance at Jacob's Ladder

Friday, May 4, 2007

suffet at dani's

the best beer and folk songs in ein hod

tonight at jacob's ladder

Thursday, May 3, 2007

bar rashi the fiddle and maayan habira

(for jonatan bar rashi )

my visit in Nisco museum of antique mechanical music boxes in ein hod

It would seem that each item in the Nisco Museum has a story or two behind its melodic bars. "My music boxes and toys are all mechanical, they need to be wound up and therefore we are physically involved in giving them life - I just do not like pressing buttons," says Cohen with a grin.( old post)

(2) e-books are bound to fail?!

( from computerworld) E-books, those flat electronic tablets designed for reading downloadable, software-based books, are often packed with advanced displays and other leading-edge technology.
Every time a new e-book comes out, a ripple of chatter spreads through the gadget enthusiast community. Technology news sites cover such product and research announcements like major news, similar to the announcement of a new iPod or smart phone. Engadget and Gizmodo blog them without fail. Even The New York Times tech columnist David Pogue and The Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg have taken the time to test and review e-books.
Companies like Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi and Fujitsu have devoted millions of dollars over the past couple of decades developing what they hope will be a device that replaces the paper book -- the first disruptive shift in the way people read books since the Gutenberg Bible in the 15th century.(old post)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

russian bath

Russian and Turkish Baths on East 10th Street is oldest Manhattan bathhouse built by Jewish immigrants in 1892.

East Village location and a long history make this place one of the busiest banyas in New York. Heat rooms consist of "Russian sauna", "Swedish" and "Turkish" steam room. Or at least that's what the owners would like them to be called in quite an unorthodox classification.

The gloomy "Russian sauna" has cold shower, bare cement walls and benches. This may be an authentic Jewish shvitz you would likely to find in Poland, but why call it Russian?
(for more...)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Russian mat

Mat (Russian: мат, or матерный язык) is Russian sexual slang, based on the use of specific generally unprintable obscene words. Although it is commonly believed that the name derives from mat′ (Russian мать, "mother", where the prime represents the soft sign, which signals palatalization of the preceding t) the term comes from a word meaning "loud yell", which is now used in only a few expressions such as благим матом. It is at once almost universally understood and commonly employed, but also held in some cultural disregard, to the point of facing occasional social and legal proscriptions. Depending on context, as in languages besides Russian, speaking it may have the effect of conveying disrespect, congeniality or chic, cynicism, intensification, or self-assertion ( more mat... )

Art Of Hands

On a clear afternoon two older brothers started jamming there head's off
and this is what happened...

Yonatan Bar Rashi is the eldest son of the late Avraham Bar Rashi (formerly Allan Gittler), a time-bending guitar great who worked with Gil Evans, Elvin Jones and others. Yonatan's father used classical technique on electric guitar and designed the minimalist Gittler Guitar, the only musical instrument in the permanent collection of NY's Museum of Modern Art.
Yonatan was born and raised in NYC and began knocking on things from early youth. His sister got him his first pair of "congas" when he was 10 years old - two pickle barrels from Chinatown with goatskin heads on rims held on by C clamps. His first public playing was at some big parties in the late 60's in NYC and Woodstock, with African groups, including the drummers for Odetta.( for more... )