"What? . . . I can't hear you!"
That is the sorry refrain from many of the so-called "baby boomer" generation. Soon, it could be echoed by the "iPod generation." (I don't like to be labeled so I'm not declaring allegiance to either group.) We've all read the scary articles about hearing loss in the "iPod generation." According to one survey, about 13% -- more than five million kids (ages 6-19) -- have hearing loss in one or both ears already. Sure, loud rock music contributed to hearing loss among baby boomers. Take me for example; it took years of reviewing concerts before I got smart and statred wearing ear plugs, but by then I suspect I'd already done some damage.
But the real culprit is the new music players which make the problem much worse for the next generation. Don't get me wrong -- I think the iPod is the best new discovery since the Walkman, but I worry about the iPod generation, specifically my 11 year old daughter, Mackenzie, who is permanently attached to her pink iPod. Any device which pumps music directly into the ear canal, as ear buds do, easily desensitizes the listener to dangerously high sound levels. Since damage to hearing caused by high volume is determined by its duration, and we tend to listen to iPods for long periods of time, we damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear that transmit sound impulses to the brain. Studies have shown that listening to anything over 80 decibels can ultimately create hearing loss.
Addressing this problem, France and other European countries have enacted laws that limit the volume of iPods and other devices to 100 decibels. It took only 2 days before posts appeared on the web with detailed instructions on how to circumvent the new laws. Of course.
A recent study conducted by MTV of 10,000 people who responded to a survey posted on the MTV web site, indicates that only 8 percent considered hearing loss "a very big problem."
That was even below their concern about acne (18 percent). As an aside, I'd like them all to read Pete Townshend's account of his Tinnitus . That's enough to make you instantly turn down the volume.
So, what's been done about this problem? Realizing that you've got to get the kiddies early, Kid's Ear Saver has developed an attachment that permanently attaches to headphones and reduces the volume of any connected sound device, including CD/DVD players, games, computers and stereos.
That's great for the little ones, but this isn't going to work when they notice their friends don't have this attachment. That's where Ingemi comes in.
As fun as 'smart' shopping trolleys, like the U-Scan Shopper, might be to use, they hardly solve one of the fundamental problems of supermarket trolleys - they never go where you want them to.
Shoppers are likely to welcome the new MarkitCart. Its makers claim that it is more user-friendly, convenient and safe to use than the conventional shopping trolley. With a low centre of gravity, a lightweight body (made of recyclable, shock-absorbent plastics) and large fixed rear wheels, it is supposedly easier to steer. It's also less likely to run away from you and cause accidents; in addition to a conventional travelator brake and a manual foot brake, a built-in braking mechanism automatically kicks in when the trolley travels at 6km per hour. Some thought has been given to the basket too: it holds more than the conventional trolley, has a child seat that holds two, and there's a separate section for fragile items.
Via The New Inventors.
I've been searching for ways to avoid showcasing a TV in my living room short of chucking it into a dumpster (which is where it came from originally). Séura Television Mirrors are an answer to the problem, and a very sexy one. By using a specially designed two way mirror the company is able to hide a television that can be clearly seen when on, but vanishes behind the reflective face when the power is shut off. The mirrors may be flush mounted, or hung on the wall in a decorative frame.
From 20x30 with a 15 inch LCD TV to 49x32 with a 45 inch television; there is a range of Séura mirrors to fit any decor, but not most pockets. The mid range 32x36" mirror with a 15 inch LCD hidden inside is almost $3,000, and the premium line caps out at $12,000. Not cheap, but a great piece for hiding an eyesore in plain sight.
The NanoNuno umbrella has been nominated as one of the best inventions of 2006 by Time magazine. As I wrote previously, this umbrella does not allow moisture to penetrate through it's fabric, and hence there is no tedious drying to do after a walk in the rain.
The other equally interesting contenders in the clothing category are the Sphere Macro React tennis dress from Nike and the Hug Shirt from Cute Circuit. The tennis dress incorporates a fish scale pattern on it's back that swings open to release heat and moisture, ensuring that you stay cool and dry. The Hug Shirt, in contrast, keeps you warm by simulating the experience of being hugged by a loved one, using Bluetooth and mobile phone technologies.
Read more about these three inventions and many more at Time's website.
Do you ever wish your gadgets could be more warm and fuzzy? If only they could be as soft and loveable as these plush hi-tech keychains. Measuring 2.5”x2.5” you can choose from a camera, boombox, or cellphone. All are made of felt and sport happy little smiley faces. Currently on sale at Fred Flare for only $4.99, we can stock up now while we can in preparation for the upcoming gift-giving season. Old, young, or young-at-heart, it'll be hard to resist these cute little charms. You'll end up wishing you had life-size functioning versions each time you pull out your hard shelled mobile, digital camera, or other techie device.
Now here is a treadmill designed just for kids, the Kid Treadmill. Well, I never imagined I would see a product like this! I mean, I wonder if you could even convince your child to get on an exercise machine like this, even if you think he/she needs it. Aren’t there more fun ways your child can get some physical activity than being on a boring treadmill? And isn’t it an alarming indicator that obesity is setting in so early?
Nevertheless, if you are interested in the specs, the only new feature of this treadmill is that the height is customized for children. In addition, it has a normal treadmill display to indicate the speed, distance covered etc. And the speed can be adjusted to suit the required level of exertion.
Available at FutureMemories for $99.95
As the old joke goes, “If you can remember anything about the sixties, you weren't really there.” *
Hippies decorated their jeans with embroidery and drew daisies on everything, which sometimes included their cars. (See the photo below of the Merry Pranksters psychedelic bus, "Further.")
Beetle owners were big on decorating their cars and in honor of that , Volkswagen UK has launched Beetle Art , a site where you can customize your car by ordering special vinyl stickers for your Bug. On the accompanying microsite, prospective Beetle customers can configure their desired car, choosing a body style (hatchback or cabriolet), body colour and decal design. They can pick from and try different colours for each of the decals. That's my version pictured above.
The special vinyl stickers, called Beetle Art, were created by four up-and-coming artists and illustrators: Mibo, Parra, Steve Wilson and Jamie Cullen. Ultimately, customers will probably be able to custom design and order their own "car art."
Guaranteed for three years, the vinyl decals reportedly can last up to five years. If you want to sell your Bug, the stickers can be removed without damaging the car, though I would worry about fading. They cost from GBP 45 for a single panel to GBP 200 for an entire car. I want a big "MINE" for my stationwagon.
* Paul Kantner
The penguin lamp above was designed by Gi? Colonna Romano for the Italian light manufacturer Slide Design, and was launched across Europe this past September. A percentage of the lamps' proceeds will go to the penguin foundation to help Little Penguins.
But Kok? is not just a lamp. There is another initiative called "Kok? Smart" whose purpose is to allow young artists around the world to express their creativity on one of the penguin shapes, with the goal of raising awareness of environmental protection. These unique pieces will be exhibited around Europe and afterwards auctioned during the Salone del Mobile in Milan.
So far I haven't found any information on where to purchase a Kok? lamp.
It never fails. I selflessly agree to drive home late at night from a marathon day trip with friends. My passengers all religiously fall asleep 15 minutes after we get on the road. Since I can’t blast the radio, I make sure to turn the thermostat down. This ensures that the car stays cool and I stay alert on my lonely drive. Inevitably, someone eventually wakes up long enough to start whining about the cold.
To my rescue comes the heated electric travel blanket from the Auto Sport Catalog. Warm on its own but better plugged in! This simple yet ingenious cover includes a 5 ½ foot cord that plugs into a cigarette lighter for powered warmth. At 40” x 58,” this comfy cover is big enough for two. At last, I can drive in comfort.
Now, about that snoring problem…
Okay, I know Halloween is over, but for those of you who are missing all the dressing up, here's a nifty product that allows you to dress up before you get dressed. Scare a few people as soon as you get out of the shower with the ghost towel. Careful though! Watch the towel doesn't accidentally slip off mid-fright; that may result in a whole different kind of scare, one that could lead to a possible arrest.
Available from I Want One Of Those for £24.99/$44.98.