Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 "Best of Lists" List


Rex has the best of 2007 lists up -- its huge!

Go check it out

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds from the movie Yellow Submarine

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Friday, December 28, 2007

How to winterize your car

Get your wheels ready for cold and snow: A thorough winterization is no longer necessary -- but if you live where it snows, there are a few things you can do to prepare your car for winter.

Check the coolant for the proper mix of antifreeze and water. You can have a mechanic do this or you can buy a tester at your local auto parts store.

Check the oil recommendations in your car's owner manual. Some manufacturers recommend a different grade of oil that flows better in cold temperatures.

Check the battery, specifically the level of electrolyte. If it's low, top it off with distilled water. (Note: Electrolyte can be nasty stuff; wear eye protection or have a mechanic check it for you).

Buy a set of snow tires. They do a much better job than the all-weather tires fitted to most cars. If you've upgraded the wheels on your car, mounting the snows on the original wheels will make changing over much easier.

Check your tire pressure. So, you didn't get those snows, huh? Well, at least make sure your tires are properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction as you drive along — and traction is often severely jeopardized in wet, snowy or icy conditions. You can expect to lose 1 pound per square inch whenever the temperature drops by 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Replace your windshield wiper blades with snow blades.

Examine your belts and hoses. Make sure the belts and hoses get checked for wear and tear — even if you’re driving a modern car. Cold weather wears belts and hoses, so they deserve attention.

Get a snow brush and an ice scraper; leave them somewhere in the car.

Run your car air conditioning (at least) once a month. (Running the A/C speeds up window defogging).

Stock up on windshield washer fluid and top the washer tank off regularly. Be careful not to pour windshield washer fluid into the wrong tank!

Prepare an emergency kit. Store this stuff in your trunk during the winter months, especially if a road trip is in your future:
     A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit.
     Jumper cables, a tool kit and tire chains.
     A blanket, warm clothes and gloves.
     Paper towels.
     A bag of abrasive material, such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter.
          (Use this for added traction when a tire is stuck).
     A snow brush, ice scraper and snow shovel.
     Extra washer fluid.
     Extra food and water.
     Extra boots and gloves
     Small shovel


How to winterize your car 
Aaron Gold

Winterize Your Vehicle
Brent Romans
Edmunds Automotive

10 simple ways to get your car ready for winter

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Thursday, December 27, 2007


via NYT

Right about now we need a break from winter: How about some tropical recipes?

Zombie Punch:


Adapted from Jeff Berry Mr. Berry believes that this recipe, found in a waiter’s notebook, is the original Zombie introduced at Don the Beachcomber’s in 1934.

3/4 ounce lime juice

  1/2 ounce white grapefruit juice

  1/4 ounce cinnamon syrup (see note)

  1/2 ounce falernum (see note)

1 1/2 ounces dark Jamaican rum, such as Appleton Estate V/X

1 1/2 ounces gold rum, such as Cruzan 5-year-old

1 ounce 151-proof Lemon Hart Demerara rum

Dash Angostura bitters

6 drops ( 1/8 teaspoon) Herbsaint or Pernod

1 teaspoon grenadine

3/4 cup crushed ice.

  Put everything into a blender. Blend at high speed for 5 seconds. Pour into a highball glass and add ice cubes to fill. Decorate with sliced fruit or berries and a mint sprig.

Yield: One drink.

Note: Cinnamon syrup from Sonoma Syrup Company is sold at Dean & DeLuca, Whole Foods and other retailers. To make it, boil 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cinnamon sticks pounded in a mortar or with the back of a knife; stir until sugar dissolves, remove from heat, let sit for 2 hours, then strain. Excess can be kept refrigerated for a month. Names of retailers selling falernum, a syrup tasting of lime juice, almonds and ginger, are available from Fee Brothers at (800) 961-FEES.

Beachbum Berry’s Zombie 

Adapted from Jeff Berry This recipe nearly matches the flavor of the 1934 Zombie, but it is simpler.

3/4 ounce lime juice

1 ounce white grapefruit juice

  1/2 ounce cinnamon-infused sugar syrup (see note)

  1/2 ounce Bacardi 151 rum

1 ounce dark Jamaican rum

Sliced fruit and mint for garnish.

Shake all ingredients well with ice cubes. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with fruit and a mint sprig.

Yield: One drink.

Note: Cinnamon syrup from Sonoma Syrup Company is sold at Dean & DeLuca and Whole Foods. To make it, boil 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cinnamon sticks pounded with the back of a knife; stir until sugar dissolves, remove from heat, let sit for 2 hours, then strain.

Beachbum’s Own

Adapted from Jeff Berry

3/4 ounce lemon juice

  3/4 ounce pineapple juice

  3/4 ounce orange juice

  3/4 ounce passion fruit syrup (see note)

  3/4 ounce Cuarenta Y Tres liqueur (Licor 43)

1 1/4 ounces smoky, medium-bodied rum such as Lemon Hart Demerara, El Dorado, Pampero or Mount Gay Extra Old

1 1/2 ounces light rum, such as Cruzan 2-year-old.

  Pour all ingredients into a shaker with plenty of ice and shake well. Pour, ice and all, into a double old-fashioned glass.

Yield: One drink.

Note: Passion fruit syrup is available from Finest Call ( and Funkin ( To make it, dissolve

1/4 cup sugar in 1/4 cup boiling water, then stir in 1/2 cup thawed frozen passion fruit pulp, made by Goya and sold in many bodegas and supermarkets.

Cracking the Code of the Zombie
NYT, November 28, 2007   

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Most Overlooked Story of the Year

This is my vote for the most overlooked story of the year:  Former DOJ Official Tested the Method Himself,  in Effort to Form Torture Policy

A senior Justice Department official, charged with reworking the administration's legal position on torture in 2004 became so concerned about the controversial, interrogation technique of waterboarding that he decided to experience it firsthand,sources told ABC News., Daniel Levin, then acting assistant attorney general, went to a military base near Washington and underwent the procedure to inform his analysis of different interrogation techniques.

Keith Olbermann *SPECIAL COMMENT* 11/5/07-

Part 1

Part 2

DoJ Official Declared Waterboarding Torture      

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Monday, December 24, 2007

White Christmas

Fun stuff:

click for animation


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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stairway To Heaven - The Beatnix

What might "Stairway to Heaven" have sounded like if it had been recorded for the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night instead of Led Zeppelin's IV? Like this, we guess. In the above video, Australia's premiere Beatles cover band the Beatnix remake Led Zep's all-time greatest song about stairways in the style of the Fab Four's early hits.

Where might one procure an MP3 of this wonderful cover? Here. You're welcome.

Hat Tip: Tube Junkie

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Six Ways Men Can Make Their Marriages Much Happier

Scott Haltzman, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, Providence, on how Married Men can improve their marriages:

1. Treat your wife like a business client. Many men say they don't know what's expected of them in romantic relationships -- yet the same men know what to do in business relationships. The two aren't as different as you might think. If a client made you unhappy, you wouldn't fight with him/her. Instead, you would try to smooth things out. if this client made a crucial error, you would not criticize him -- you would try to help him recover. Overall, you would try to understand who your client is, what his goals are and how you can help him succeed.

2. Forget the golden rule. When we treat our wives as we would like to be treated, we ignore the fact that our wives are quite different from us. Forget whatever you think you know about what makes people happy, and observe your wife for a while. What does she really appreciate? What are her deepest interests and goals? Stop doing things that you would appreciate if someone did them for you and start doing things she will appreciate.

3. Do more than say "I'm sorry."  According to research by the Gottman Institute, a Seattle-based couples therapy organization, marriage tend to be happy when the spouses -- wives as well as husbands -- interact with each other in a positive manner at least five times as often as they interact in a negative manner. Positive interactions might include paying her compliments, saying, "Thank you" or "I love you," offering to do something for her, holding her hand or paying attention to her.

4. Master the makeup. The happiness of your marriage is not determined by whether you fight -- all couples do. It's determined by how well you patch things up afterward. Wait until you cool down -- that typically takes about 20 minutes -- then make a peace offering. Bring her a cup of tea ...say you're sorry you argues ...or tell her that you love her. Such gestures generally help couples get past the fight fast and back to the happy marriage.

5. See your wife's opinion. Wives often feel that they don't have an equal voice in the decision-making. As far as most husbands are concerned, the issue isn't who is making the decisions, but whether the correct decisions are being made.

6. Do some cleaning. Most wives think their husbands should help more with housework. Many husbands think they do so much work around the yard and with the car that housework isn't their responsibility. To make your wife really happy, figure out which household task is her least favorite and do it without being asked.

Six Ways Men Can Make Their Marriages Much Happier
Scott Haltzman, MD
Brown University

Posted at 06:37 AM in Philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, December 21, 2007

Village Mosaics


When Jim Power created his first mosaic on a lamppost on Astor Pace in 1987, a concrete band shell still stood inside Tompkins Square Park, admission to the CBGB club cost $5, and about the same amount could buy a night’s lodging in the Bowery.

Plenty in the East Village has changed in 20 years, and, some say, that is one good reason the dozens of pieces of public art created in the neighborhood by Mr. Power ought to be preserved.

“The mosaics have became landmarks,” said Clayton Patterson, a photographer who has documented the area in Manhattan for 25 years. “They’re some of the only things left that give a feeling of familiarity to the neighborhood.”

In the late 1980s, Mr. Power decided to create 80 mosaics that would mark the neighborhood’s boundaries and some significant sites within its borders. The mosaic trail, as Mr. Power refers to the project, has proceeded in fits and starts as the artist’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed.

Following a Mosaic Path to Chart a Neighborhood’s History
NYT, December 11, 2007

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Human History

A short history of humanity:

  • First, tribes: tough life.
  • The defaults beyond the intimate tribe were violence, aversion to difference, and slavery. Superstition: everywhere.
  • Culture overcomes them partially.
  • Rainfall agriculture, which allows loners.
  • Irrigation agriculture, which favors community.
  • Division of labor plus exchange in trade bring mutual cooperation, even outside the tribe.
  • The impulse is always there, though: "Kill or enslave the outsider."
  • Gradual science from Athens' compact with reason.
  • Division of labor, trade, the mastery of knowledge, plus time brought surplus, sometimes a peaceful extended order and, rules diversely evolved and, the cooperation of strangers - always warring against the fierce defaults of tribalism, violence, and ignorance.
  • No one who teaches you knows what will happen.

-Alan Charles Kors


George H. Walker Endowed Term Professor of History
University of Pennsylvania
School of Arts and Sciences 



Posted at 06:38 AM in Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack