May 30, 2008

Fritz Kahn draws man as ‘industrial palace’

German author and artist Fritz Kahn made this poster in 1926 depicting the human body as an ‘industrial palace’ by turning it into a complicated chemical plant using metaphors of 1920’s industrial life.

I find Kahn’s almost morbid ‘dream anatomy’ very interesting. His mechanical visualization of the inner workings of the human body reminds me of a somewhat similar illustration I loved to look at when I was in the fourth grade.

I found a ‘mechanical inner man’ illustration in an old three-volume encyclopedia in the school library. It was less complicated than the Kahn poster (pictured) but as a fourth grader I was intrigued by it and often drew my own versions (wish I’d kept those drawings).

More on Kahn’s ‘body machines’ here.

The cutting edge

Flood or not, the lawn needs mowing!

Car dealer gives free gun with car purchase

A Butler, Missouri car dealer is holding a controversial promotion involving handguns.

Max Motors in Butler is offering anyone who buys a car the choice of $250 in gas or a free semi-automatic handgun.

"Like I say, it's a choice -- protection or gas," said Walter Moore with Max Motors.

The handgun is the more popular choice with 80% choosing the gun.

Moore said the dealership will hand the customer a certificate to get the gun, but you must pass a background check.

The local police chief said he is OK with the promotion as long as the weapons aren't handed out at the dealership.


May 29, 2008

McDonald’s fries now free of trans fat

McDonald's Corp announced last Friday, it has switched to cooking oils free of trans fats in all of its restaurants in the United States and Canada.

Consumption of trans fats -- often in the form of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils -- increases the risk of coronary heart disease, according to health authorities.

Wendy’s, KFC and Taco Bell made the switch last year.

Burger King still uses trans fat cooking oils but promises to make the change this year.


Will you give Google all of your medical records?

Google Health is now open for business. The service will allow users to link information from a handful of pharmacies and care providers, including Quest Diagnostics labs.

Similar offerings include Microsoft Corp.'s HealthVault and Revolution Health, which is backed by AOL co-founder Steve Case.

Google Health differentiates itself from the pack through its user interface and things like the public availability of its application program interface, or API, said Marissa Mayer, the Google executive overseeing the service.

Google hopes you will use their online filing cabinet to store all of your medical records.


May 28, 2008

Remembering the old telephone Exchange names

We only had one telephone number with an exchange name. We were living in Lincoln, Nebraska and our exchange name was Ivanhoe. Our number was IVanhoe 9-xxxx (can’t remember the last four digits).

When the exchange names were dropped in the early 1960’s, our number remained the same but was dialed as 489-xxxx.

Glenn Miller's tune "PEnnsylvania 6-5000" made telephone exchange names famous. The telephone number in the song was for New York's Hotel Pennsylvania

The ‘PE’ was changed to ‘73’ when telephone companies dropped exchange names.

We thought exchange names added a little class to phone numbers and we hated to see them go.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We had that same phone number for several years until we moved from College View to Colonial Hills. Even though the move was less than three miles we had to change phone numbers.

Click here to see how our son Norm and his friends dealt with the number change in a 2005 posting we called Telephone Tag.

Monster from Kashyyyk?

No, this is really not a mask worn by a monster from the planet Kashyyyk.

(click on picture to enlarge)

It’s the nose of a nuclear submarine as it rolls through a small British town.

It is from a British Astute class nuclear submarine seen on the streets of Barrow-In-Furness, a town in west central England several months ago.

‘Slugging’ on the rise as gas prices soar

What is ‘slugging’ anyway? Is it more than modern day hitchhiking?

Actually, “slugging” is a term used to describe a unique form of commuting found in the Washington, DC area that may spread to other metro areas as gas prices soar.

Each weekday morning, in large parking lots in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, hundreds of people stand in lines waiting for free rides to work from total strangers.

According to

The system of slugging is quite simple. A car needing additional passengers to meet the required 3- person high occupancy vehicle (HOV) minimum pulls up to one of the known slug lines.

The driver usually positions the car so that the slugs are on the passenger side. The driver either displays a sign with the destination or simply lowers the passenger window, to call out the destination, such as “Pentagon” “L’Enfant Plaza” “14th & New York.”

The slugs first in line for that particular destination then hop into the car, normally confirming the destination, and off they go.

No money is exchanged because of the mutual benefit: the car driver needs riders just as much as the slugs need a ride.

Each party needs the other in order to survive. Normally, there is no conversation unless initiated by the driver; usually the only words exchanged are "Thank you" as the driver drops off the slugs at the destination.

Link here and here.

Dr. Krauthammer reports on Obama's metastatic gaffe

Charles Krauthammer says in a recent Washington Post report that an unmistakable sign that election-year discourse has entered the realm of the surreal is when a presidential candidate makes a gaffe, then, realizing it is too egregious to take back without suffering humiliation, decides to make it a centerpiece of his foreign policy.

Before the Democratic debate of July 23, Barack Obama (pictured) had never expounded upon the wisdom of meeting, without precondition, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il or the Castro brothers.

But in that debate, he was asked about doing exactly that. Unprepared, he said sure -- then got fancy, declaring the Bush administration's refusal to do so not just "ridiculous" but "a disgrace."

After that, there was no going back. So he doubled down. What started as a gaffe became policy. By now, it has become doctrine. Yet it remains today what it was on the day he blurted it out: an absurdity.

Should the president ever meet with enemies? Sometimes, but only after minimal American objectives -- i.e., preconditions -- have been met.

The Shanghai communique was largely written long before Richard Nixon ever touched down in China. Yet Obama thinks Nixon to China confirms the wisdom of his willingness to undertake a worldwide freshman-year tyrants tour.

Obama incorrectly said that Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman as presidents who met with enemies.

The woefully inexperienced Obama proved by that statement that he doesn’t know history -- or is he trying to change history?

Neither Roosevelt nor Truman ever met with any of the leaders of the Axis powers.

Obama must be referring to the pictures he's seen of Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, and Truman and Stalin at Potsdam. Does he not know that at that time Stalin was a wartime ally?

During the subsequent Cold War, Truman never met with Stalin. Nor Mao. Nor Kim Il Sung. Truman was no fool.

Mr. Obama talks about John Kennedy meeting with Nikita Khrushchev as another example of what he intends to do.

That Vienna summit of a young, inexperienced, untested American president was disastrous, emboldening Khrushchev to push Kennedy on Berlin -- and then nearly fatally in Cuba, leading almost directly to the Cuban missile crisis.

John F. Kennedy was probably lucky to have gotten away with meeting with an enemy of the United States.

Would Barack Obama be just as lucky? Probably not since he wants to meet with several enemies of the United States. A very sobering thought!


May 27, 2008

Sunglasses do more than make you look cool

Tip for the summer: routine use of sunglasses may promote better eye health.

You don't have to be Joe Cool to realize the benefits of wearing sunglasses on a consistent basis. Most people remember to slather on the sunscreen during hot summer months to protect their skin from burning. Unfortunately many also forget to wear proper sunglasses to protect their eyes from excessive exposure to UV rays.

The same rays that can burn your skin can also damage your eyes, resulting in multiple conditions including cataracts.

If you are someone who spends any length of time outdoors you should invest in ample eye protection. Did you know you can actually burn the cornea of your eye, resulting in temporary vision loss?

If you don’t wear sunglasses, now is a great time to start - and then keep wearing them all summer.

If you do wear sunglasses, are you wearing the kind that will really protect your eyes?

When it comes to your eyes, a 99 cent pair of sunglasses often won't cut it.

There are certain features you should look for when investing in a pair of sunglasses to make sure you get the most bank for your buck while protecting your eyes the best way possible.

Click here for the criteria for selecting sunglasses.

Stubborn as a …

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Stubborn as a mule donkey.

Online newspapers strong but Drudge tops list again

The Newspaper Association of America reports the latest Nielsen traffic results for online news. Details at the link below.

Newspaper web sites had a strong showing but Drudge Report came out on top.

Matt Drudge (pictured) even outfoxed second place Fox News Digital Network.

The top 10:

2. Fox News Digital Network
3. Daily Kos^
4. CNN Digital Network
5. AOL News
6. Yahoo! News
7. MSNBC Digital Network
8. Real Clear Politics
9. Star Tribune


Lost parrot talks his way back home

An African grey parrot named Yosuke flew out of his cage and got lost.

Police rescued the parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo.

After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said.

He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet.

"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs.

They checked the address, and sure enough, a Nakamura family really lived there.

Yosuke literally talked his way back home once he got to the veterinary hospital. He evidently just didn’t want to talk to the police.


May 26, 2008

Have a great Memorial Day

A time to remember…

…a time to honor.

Birthplace of Memorial Day

The seeds of Memorial Day were planted in 1865 when Waterloo, New York pharmacist Henry Welles joined the jubilant crowds at welcome-home parades for Civil War soldiers.

The seeds took root on May 5, 1866 as the woolen mills along the canal shut down for the day. Banks and grocery stores did too.

Scores of villagers marched in mourning. Some visited all three cemeteries to decorate each veteran's grave with a floral cross.

More than two dozen communities around the United States, from Boalsburg, Pa., to Macon, Ga., and Carbondale, Ill., to Richmond, Va., claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Yet the official distinction, signed into law by President Johnson in 1966, is held by Waterloo, NY.


Movie star before and after makeup

Goldie Hawn before and after makeup. Does she wear tank tops all the time?

Most surveilled nation on Earth to get more spy cams

England is the most surveilled nation on Earth. Now the UK wants to install another series of spy cameras.

This time the cameras will be attached to the lollipop shaped signs of the school crossing guards in Britain.

Lollipop ladies, like the one pictured, face abuse and aggression from drivers every day.

But now lollipop Ladies have been given a new weapon against reckless or angry motorists. Video cameras are being built into their lollipop poles.

Lollipop ladies, along with the children they are helping across roads, are often abused and sworn at.

Drivers also hoot, rev their car engines, drive too close and too fast, or ignore a request to stop altogether.

As with almost everything else in Britain that doesn’t work, they tend to throw a few hundred cameras at the problem.

Are the thousands of spy cameras in the UK actually helping to reduce crime?

Link to the lollipop cameras here. The spy-cam failure story is here.

May 25, 2008

Strange place to plant corn

Willies Willys is pure biodiesel

Named for country music singer and biodiesel advocate Willie Nelson, the“Willie’s Willys” is a biodiesel-powered recreation of a 1941 Willys pickup truck (shown here).

Each Willie Willys is powered by a 6.5-litre, twin-turbo diesel engine with the production version generating 350 horsepower. The transmission is a six-speed automatic.

The truck has spark plugs, unusual for a diesel engine, which the designers state will help reduce particulate emissions. Tests indicated the truck should average thirty-eight miles per gallon.

While the frame is made of conventional stainless steel and the truck bed is oak, the body is made of a soy-based resin.

Treehugger would say: “this bright red truck is pure green.”

Each of the 500 limited-edition Willie Willys trucks will cost $97,000.

Link here.