30 April 2008

OMG they're so cute, I can't help myself.

The Daily Puppy

You Walk Wrong

This shoe and the stilettos and Adidas sneakers on the subsequent pages are trompel'oeil paintings applied directly to the feet. Nice as they look, you can't buy them.
Makeup by John Maurad and Jenai Chin.
(Photos: Tom Schierlitz)

It took 4 million years of evolution to perfect the human foot. But we’re wrecking it with every step we take.

You walk wrong.

Look, it’s not your fault. It’s your shoes. Shoes are bad. I don’t just mean stiletto heels, or cowboy boots, or tottering espadrilles, or any of the other fairly obvious foot-torture devices into which we wincingly jam our feet. I mean all shoes. Shoes hurt your feet. They change how you walk. In fact, your feet—your poor, tender, abused, ignored, maligned, misunderstood feet—are getting trounced in a war that’s been raging for roughly a thousand years: the battle of shoes versus feet.

Last year, researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, published a study titled “Shod Versus Unshod: The Emergence of Forefoot Pathology in Modern Humans?” in the podiatry journal The Foot. The study examined 180 modern humans from three different population groups (Sotho, Zulu, and European), comparing their feet to one another’s, as well as to the feet of 2,000-year-old skeletons. The researchers concluded that, prior to the invention of shoes, people had healthier feet. Among the modern subjects, the Zulu population, which often goes barefoot, had the healthiest feet while the Europeans—i.e., the habitual shoe-wearers—had the unhealthiest.

“Natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person,” wrote Dr. William A. Rossi in a 1999 article in Podiatry Management. “It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot.” In other words: Feet good. Shoes bad.

I know what you’re thinking: If shoes are so bad for me, what’s my alternative?

Simple. Walk barefoot.

Okay, now I know what you’re thinking: What’s my other alternative?

29 April 2008

Alexander Hamilton was a known asshole.

But he's still my favorite founding father. Probably because he was an asshole. 221 years after the Federalist Papers were first published,

The home of America's Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton, is being moved one block and then restored to become a museum in Manhattan.

The city hopes the move will attract visitors to the house, where Hamilton lived mostly after he retired from public life.

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Moral of the story? Go visit his house! :-)

Laundry laundry

Ok, I'll admit I've been a little obsessed with clothing care lately. I think it's because I have to lug my clothes to the laundromat a few blocks away at least once a week. I hate doing laundry, but I really don't trust anyone to handle my delicates better than I can.
Fabric Care 101
Before you get down and dirty, it's important to know your fibers
How to Wash Cotton
William Abranowicz
How to Wash Cotton

Made from the fluffy fibers of the cotton plant, most cotton fabrics are preshrunk, so “you really can’t mess them up,” says Chris Allsbrooks, a textile analyst at the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, in Laurel, Maryland.
How to Wash: Machine-wash in cold or warm with all-purpose detergent.
Tip: Sun yellows it; line-dry in shade.

How to Wash Synthetics
William Abranowicz
How to Wash Synthetics

Polyester, nylon, spandex, acrylic, and acetate won’t shrink and will resist water-based stains. Most produce static and may permanently wrinkle in a hot dryer, so dry on low.
How to Wash: Machine-wash in warm with all-purpose detergent.
Tip: Use fabric softener to curb static.

How to Wash Wool
William Abranowicz
How to Wash Wool

Woven from the undercoats of sheep, goats, and other hairy mammals, wool is ultra-durable. But it shrinks in warm water, so take precautions.
How to Wash: Dry-clean or hand wash in cold with mild detergent. Air-dry.
Tip: Use cedar hangers to repel moths.

How to Wash Silk
William Abranowicz
How to Wash Silk

Made from protein fibers produced by silkworms, this durable, luxurious fabric is treated with sizing and may have dyes that bleed.
How to Wash: Dry-clean or hand wash in cold with mild detergent. Air-dry.
Tip: Test for colorfastness.

How to Wash Rayon
William Abranowicz
How to Wash Rayon

Created from wood pulp treated with chemicals, cool and comfortable rayon is considered a semisynthetic fabric. When laundered, it may bleed, shrink, or lose its crispness.
How to Wash: Dry-clean or hand wash in cold with mild detergent. Air-dry.
Tip: Iron it when slightly damp.

How to Wash Linen
William Abranowicz
How to Wash Linen

Linen, woven from fibers of the flax plant, is sometimes treated with sizing, a finish that makes it crisp. It wrinkles very easily and requires ironing.
How to Wash: Dry-clean or hand wash in cold with mild detergent. Air-dry.
Tip: Or machine-wash on gentle.

Spring cleaning is on my mind

How to Clean Clothing and Outerwear
How to Clean Clothing and Outerwear
William Abranowicz
You sort your clothes for washing; you should do the same for drying, so you’re not mixing slow- and quick-drying items. And wash your hands after transferring loads to the dryer. “People assume washed clothes are germ-free,” says Sandra Phillips, a cleaning consultant and the author of A Clean Break (Live-Right Books, $10, http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Break-Sandra-Phillips/dp/1880759799). “But the dryer helps kill even more germs.”

Button-Down Shirts
Unfasten all buttons, including the tiny ones at the collar, before laundering. Otherwise, the agitation in the machine and the weight of other garments may cause buttonholes to tear. It’s a good idea to pretreat collars every time you wash them. “Once stains from body oils build up, they are very difficult to remove,” says Chris Allsbrooks, a textile analyst at the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, in Laurel, Maryland. Use a stain remover (see
Essential Laundry Products), or spot-clean with a mixture of water and liquid detergent. Pour it over the area, then rub with a soft toothbrush. It’s especially important to spot-clean permanent-press shirts and other items that have been treated with resins so they retain their shape, because these fabrics tend to hold soiling. Wash permanent-press shirts with all-purpose detergent on the permanent-press setting, which is gentler than the regular one, uses warm or hot water, and has a long cool-down rinse to further minimize wrinkling. Opt for the dryer’s permanent-press feature, which has a cool-down period at the end. Wash non-permanent-press shirts on the regular cycle in cold or warm water.

Hats and Gloves
Wash knit hats and gloves like sweaters. Spot-clean structured hats, like newsboy and baseball caps, which could become misshapen. You can hand wash gloves with small sections of leather if the leather is the same color as the knit; otherwise bleeding may be a problem. To dry, insert the handle of a wooden spoon in one finger and set the spoon end in a vase. This will help the glove retain its shape.

Down and Polyester Coats
You can wash down coats in front-loading machines with a mild powder detergent and warm water on the gentle cycle. (If you have a top-loader, take these coats to a dry cleaner; most top-loaders have agitators that can compress and displace down filling and prevent pieces from tumbling freely.) Smaller items, like children’s jackets, whether filled with down or polyester, can go in a front- or top-loader on the gentle cycle; tumble dry on low. Put a few clean, dry towels in the dryer to help soak up excess moisture and speed drying.

Many knits made of cotton, synthetics, or blends can be machine-washed in cold or warm water on the gentle cycle with all-purpose or mild detergent. To combat wrinkles and stiffness, dry items on low for 5 to 10 minutes before laying them flat on a mesh sweater rack ($9,
http://www.organizeit.com/) or a towel. Place a wool, cashmere, or fine cotton sweater in a zippered pillowcase; wash on the delicate cycle with cold water and lay flat to dry. Delicate knits, like crochet and silk, are a different story: Dry-clean these, or test for colorfastness (dip a cotton swab in detergent and hold it on an inconspicuous area for two minutes to see if the color bleeds) and hand wash in cold water with mild detergent. Some knits may stretch out; reshape after washing and lay flat to dry.

Most denim is top-dyed, meaning only the surface of the fibers is colored. To keep jeans from fading or acquiring white streaks, wash in small loads in cold water (with more water than clothes) with all-purpose detergent. This cuts down on abrasion, says Allsbrooks. “It’s common for jeans to shrink in length” when washed, says Steve Boorstein, author of The Clothing Doctor’s 99 Secrets to Clothing Care (Boutique, $20,
http://www.amazon.com/Clothing-Doctors-Secrets-Cleaning-Care/dp/0971766916). Hold them by the waistband and legs and gently stretch them vertically before drying. Dry on low or medium heat; overdrying causes unnecessary wear and tear, so take jeans out when the legs are done but the seams and the waistband are slightly damp.

24 April 2008

Reality TV is PROBABLY not the solution

Paris Hilton, 27, is using the Internet to cast potential friends for her new reality show, "Paris Hilton's My New BFF."

The MTV series, which begins production next month, will follow 20 contestants as they live together and vie for the chance to be Hilton's permanent plus-one.

Q: Do you think you can find a real, lasting friendship this way? Do you have a preference of male or female?

HILTON: I just want to see the contestants and see how they are. I don't care if it's a boy or a girl, just as long as its someone I can trust, someone I can have fun with and just someone who's going to be able to like handle all the other things that are going to come with being my best friend.

Q: Like what?

HILTON: Just being in the media, just someone who's not going to care about that, just someone who cares about me.

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22 April 2008

Women, Repeat This: Don’t Ask, Don’t Get

From the New York Times, by LINDA BABCOCK

Published: April 6, 2008

ABOUT 10 years ago, I heard that my boss was recommending two of my male colleagues for promotion. Both of these men had joined the faculty the same year I was hired, both were good teachers, and both had published important research. They were certainly qualified to move to the next level, from associate professor to full professor.

But so was I. I figured it was just a matter of time before my boss stopped by my office with the good news that he was promoting me, too. So I waited. And waited. As time passed, it became clear that I might be waiting a very long time.

Finally, I worked up the nerve to talk to him about it. I vividly remember his reaction. A big smile spread across his face. “Well, let’s promote you, too!” he said.

When my two male colleagues had asked to be promoted, my boss, seeing that they met all the requirements, readily agreed. Since he was a busy man, he didn’t stop to think about who else was ready for promotion. A question was posed, he answered it, and he went on to the next problem.

About three years later, I held my boss’s job. While hiring two people with similar credentials, a woman and a man, I made each the same salary offer. The woman accepted the offer without negotiating. The man bargained hard, and I had to raise his offer by about 10 percent before he would agree to it.

In between these two events, I watched similar situations play out among my students and friends. Time and again, I saw women accept the status quo, take what they were offered and wait for someone else to decide what they deserved. Men asked for what they wanted and usually got what they asked for.

Prompted by these experiences, I started a research project with several colleagues to study how and when men and women initiate negotiations. In my book “Women Don’t Ask,” I laid out overwhelming evidence that women are much less likely than men to use negotiation to promote their goals and wishes.

With my co-author, Sara Laschever, I also showed that this problem extends into most realms of a woman’s life, hampering her success not just at work but also at home and in her dealings with everyone else in her world: contractors, retailers, service providers, family members, even friends.

I also found strong evidence that this reluctance to promote their own interests is not an innate quality or a genetic blind spot in women. As a society, we teach little girls (and I have a little girl, so I see this all the time) that it’s not nice or feminine or appropriate for them to focus on what they want and pursue their self-interest — and we don’t like it when they do.

The messages girls receive — from parents and teachers, from books they read, from movies and television shows they watch, and from behavior of the adults around them — can be so powerful that as women they may not even understand that their reluctance to ask for what they want is a learned behavior, and one that can be unlearned.

More recent research that I conducted with two colleagues, Hannah Bowles and Lei Lai, points to another reason that women don’t ask: They face a much chillier reaction — from men and from women — when they do negotiate for what they want.

Behavior that can lead a man to be seen as ambitious or a go-getter can brand a woman as too pushy and aggressive. She may be called rude names, receive negative evaluations based solely on her personal style instead of her work and find herself closed out of networks or opportunities from which she might benefit. My boss was pleased that I asked him for what I wanted. A lot of women aren’t so lucky.

I’ve concluded that this is a crucial leadership issue for any organization committed to sound management practices. When I realized that the woman I’d hired would be earning less than the man for doing equivalent work, I called her back and raised her salary. I couldn’t accept this disparity in my organization — not just because it was unfair but because I knew that it was bad for my organization, where it is crucial to attract and keep the best people.

Managers often watch talented women walk out the door when they discover that they’ve been treated inequitably. So good managers need to be on the lookout for these sorts of inequities and take steps to correct them.

THERE’S a lot that women can do, too. They can recognize more opportunities to negotiate and master basic negotiation skills. They can learn how to assess and strengthen their bargaining power; research, prepare and practice before their negotiations; and use strategies that won’t make them seem threatening and provoke a backlash.

I’ve also founded an organization, Progress (heinz.cmu.edu/progress), to teach young girls to negotiate. In partnership with the Girl Scouts, we’ve already developed a negotiation badge that takes girls through a series of 10 activities to develop their negotiation skills. We’ve created a video game that requires girls to negotiate in order to reach the highest levels and win.

We may not consciously realize that we’re tougher on assertive women than we are on men who behave in similar ways. But we need to be diligent on this score.

So the next time you react negatively to the behavior of a strong woman, stop yourself and say instead, “I’m glad she’s going after what she wants.”

Linda Babcock is James M. Walton professor of economics at the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University and the author, with Sara Laschever, of “Ask for It” (Bantam Books).

21 April 2008

The wonder fish

Yes, there is a toxin-free, sustainable, farmed fish. And, damn if it ain't tasty. And, like the cows at Chik-Fil-A, it eats chicken.

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11 great green ideas

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14 April 2008

Heidi Montag makes a living doing nothing (again)

I'm torn between whether I believe Heidi Montag is a brilliant mastermind who'll some day take over the world, or if she's just living in her 15 minutes of fame.  

I mean, how does someone that seemingly has no brains, no talent and no work ethic manage to make a living doing absolutely nothing???  And yet, Heidi has managed to do that time and time again.

She's capitaIized on her role in The Hills into an US Magazine cover on her plastic surgery.  She's leveraged her role as Spencer's girlfriend into a "music career" (and crappy music video that looks like a karaoke montage) she no longer talks about and seems to have lost interest in.  How she's managed managed to keep her job at Bolthouse and even receive promotions is a complete  mystery.  And now, she's managed to land her own clothing design line:  

Heidi Montag did her best catwalk strut for the debut runway show of her Heidiwood for Anchor Blue line.  But don’t count the budding designer out of future acting gigs. “I’d love to play Sydney Bristow on Alias. That’s my ideal role, like badass, that’s what I want to do, like Angelina Jolie roles.”

Truly, Heidi is way smarter than we give her credit.
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04 April 2008

Middle Age Has Beens on the Block

The NKOTB announce their reunion tour on the Today Show. Somehow, Middle Age Has Beens on the Block (MAHBOTB) doesn't have quite the same ring...

If this is true, then I'm committed to being single

For many college students, a new relationship isn't real until it's on Facebook.

Thanks to the main page's "news feed," which keeps tabs on everyone a user has listed as a friend, users can see every change their friends have made to their account, including up-to-the-minute reports on whether couples are still together.

Chris Neal, 20, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said listing relationships online solidifies the commitment.

When it's listed on Facebook "it's public knowledge," he said. "Guys won't try to come get with a girl in a relationship and girls won't come to get with a guy. It's like marking your territory."

Neal, along with Taikein Cooper, 19, a fellow sophomore at the UNC-Chapel Hill, started the Facebook group "If your relationship isn't listed on Facebook...it doesn't count!" almost a year ago as an inside joke.

"You got a Facebook and it's not on there, then it's not official," he said.

Cooper echoes: "If you want him or her to be exclusive then you need to put it out there."

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