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Tell a friend squaring the circle

squaring the circle

I’d always wondered what the phrase "squaring the circle" meant. I figured it must mean something important, because it’s inspired titles for odd-shaped blank books and an obscure television show, as well as metaphors for geopolitics, economics, ecology, and even the performance and audio arts.

I posed the question to a friend who works in the Math Department at U.C. Berkeley. Her field is geometry, so I was sure that she’d be able to explain it to me. Weirdly, however, she didn’t know what "squaring the circle" meant, and she was barely even familiar with the phrase!

Posted February 16, 2006 by Mariva in education, innovations

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Tell a friend vintage products, brand-new

The Vermont Country Store

Ever feel nostalgic for products or supplies that you remember from childhood, but haven’t been able to find in years? Your search may be over. The Vermont Country Store offers a wide variety of products that your parents or grandparents used — all brand-new and recently manufactured. How is this possible? The proprietors get permission to re-create vintage products as close to the originals as possible — including design and packaging — and bring them to market for another generation of consumers. If you’re not in the neighborhood of one of the stores in Weston or Rockingham, Vermont, you can order vintage games, classic New England apparel (warning: not for the fashion-conscious), long-lost fragrances and even food and beverages online. If you can’t find what you want, let them know, and they’ll consider re-creating it for you.

Posted February 15, 2006 by Mariva in bath & spa, business, decor, edibles, fun, games, gifts, home, innovations, kitchen, resources

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Tell a friend It really makes you think…


It really makes you think

Philosophy Talk: A couple of Stanford University professors discuss one broad, intriguing topic — such as time, happiness, forgiveness, virtue, propaganda, science, free will, democracy, beauty and so on — each week on a public radio program.

Posted February 8, 2006 by Mariva in education, entertainment, fun, innovations, news, resources

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Tell a friend Pandora, the Music Genome Project

Pandora, the Music Genome Project

Ever wish there were a radio station that played exactly what you wanted to hear? Well, there is — sort of. Pandora is an online project put together by music experts who’ve spent the past five years analyzing recorded songs from over 10,000 different artists. The analysts have assembled hundreds of musical attributes — or "genes" — into a massive database, which they call the "Music Genome."

Posted January 23, 2006 by Mariva in entertainment, fun, innovations, music

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Tell a friend How Stuff Works

How Stuff Works

We use technology all the time — telephones, computers, the Internet, television, cars and so on — but do you ever wonder how these things work? What happens after you press the "on" button or turn the key? In plain English, Marshall Brain (yes, that’s his name, and no, it’s not a pseudonym) demystifies everyday things from tattoos to airplanes to cell phones in How Stuff Works, a fun reference book featured on today’s Oprah.

If you’re not sure whether to invest in the book, start with the web site, which features explanations of Google Earth (how it works), dieting (how it works) and chocolate (how it works), as well as experiential things you may not have even realized had explanations, like laughter and dreams.

Posted January 19, 2006 by Mariva in books, education, fun, innovations, resources

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Tell a friend Katamari

Katamari Damacy

Knowing that I have an addictive personality — at least with regard to the "soft addictions" — I do my best to stay away from treacherous time traps like Freecell Solitaire. And if I owned a game console that could play Super Mario, I’d probably never see the light of day.

Posted January 18, 2006 by Mariva in entertaining, entertainment, fun, gadgets, games, gifts, home, innovations, news

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Tell a friend the perfect water bottle

Nalgene water bottles

Even if you don’t believe that the average person is chronically dehydrated, it’s generally a good idea to drink fresh, clean water as often as you’d like. I seem to be thirsty all the time, so I never go anywhere without a water bottle. Because of its durable and unbreakable nature, my container of choice is the Nalgene bottle, which never compromises the taste of water. It’s the perfect companion to the Thermos food jar.

There’s no question that Nalgene makes bottles extremely well. The company’s founder was an innovative chemist who developed unbreakable laboratory instruments and containers. Today, Nalgene is known in the scientific world for its wide assortment of Nalgene Labware, in addition to its consumer products for outdoors enthusiasts and travelers.

Posted January 17, 2006 by Mariva in health, innovations, kitchen, resources, travel

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Tell a friend Thermos Food Jar with Folding Spoon

Thermos Food Jar with Folding Spoon

Archie Bunker once mused, “You got your Thermos here, see? You can put coffee in it and it stays hot, or you can put beer in it and it stays cold, right? So my question is, how does it know?" Clearly, Archie never grasped the concept of insulation; nonetheless, Thermos products — three decades ago — worked so well that they seemed like magic.

Thermos has been updating its line of products, including its signature beverage bottles. The container featured here ain’t your parents’ Thermos. This lightweight, double-wall vacuum-insulated Food Jar with Folding Spoon comes with a stainless steel folding spoon that fits neatly into a storage compartment, which, by the way, has enough room to hold condiments and other small items. The Food Jar keeps your meal hot or cold, just the way you (and Archie) like it — and it looks cool to boot.

Posted January 13, 2006 by Mariva in gadgets, gifts, health, home, innovations, kitchen, travel

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Tell a friend fun sites


Googlism: Find out what Google "thinks" of you — or of anyone or anything else.

The Dialectizer: Turn the verbal content of a web page into any of a variety of funny dialects, including "Jive," "Cockney," "Elmer Fudd," "Swedish Chef," "Moron," "Pig Latin" or "Hacker." I sound quite cornpone when Mariva’s Guide has been Redneck Dialectized.

5ives: Lists of five things within a random topic, such as "five ways to get on the home page" or "five terrible fake ideas for a retro TV comeback."

Posted January 11, 2006 by Mariva in business, education, entertainment, fun, games, innovations, resources

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Tell a friend Since Sliced Bread

Since Sliced Bread

Got an idea for improving the U.S.? Quit yelling at the talking heads on TV and submit your idea to Since Sliced Bread, an idea competition sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Since Sliced Bread is looking for interesting and practical ideas on how to grow the national economy in positive and productive ways. The judges include CEOs, writers, technologists, nonprofit directors and scholars. Be sure to submit your idea by December 5, 2005.

Update (January 10, 2006): Over 22,000 ideas have been submitted to the Since Sliced Bread contest, and the judges have narrowed down that massive brainstorm to 21 finalists. This week, you can view the finalists’ plans and vote for your favorite three ideas.

Update (February 22, 2006): Now that the winners have been announced, you may send your favorite ideas to your elected leaders.

Posted January 10, 2006 by Mariva in community, innovations, news

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