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Sunday, July 8, 2012

What if you could make anything you wanted? - #TED -

In the 20th century, getting your child a toy car meant a trip to a shopping mall.  In the 21st century, it can mean going to your computer, downloading a file and creating the toy on your 3-D printer.

Only that is not quite revolutionary enough for Massimo Banzi, who spoke at the TED Global conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, in late June. As Banzi pointed out, the 3-D printer a friend of his used to build a toy car was itself an open-source device -- one that could be produced by anyone from freely available plans.

Read the article online here: What if you could make anything you wanted? -

David Byrne's favourite #Venezuelans, Los Amigos Invisibles, share tour playlist CBC Music #LAI

Los Amigos Invisibles by the numbers would go something like this:
- One Latin Grammy plus two Latin Grammy nominations.
- Three Grammy (NARAS) nominations.
- Seven studio albums.
- Twenty years in the music business.
- Countless happy sweaty dancers in 60 or so countries.
So what does Venezuela’s finest funky, disco-meets-Latin band listen to when they’re touring those 60 or so countries? We had to ask. And Los Amigos Invisibles was happy to oblige.
Check out their playlist, but first, get in the mood with a video from the band that David Byrne fell in love with after discovering one of their LPs in a record store (subsequently signing them to his label, Luaka Bop).

See the whole playlist and related videos here:

David Byrne's favourite Venezuelans, Los Amigos Invisibles, share tour playlist CBC Music - Free Streaming Radio, Videos, Songs, Concerts & Playlists

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How To Eat #Chocolate _#Switzerland - @NatGeoTraveler

There are no rules for eating chocolate. But like most things, there is a better way.
Standing inside the tasting room at La Maison Cailler chocolate factory in the village of Broc, I watch hundreds of fellow tourists tasting varieties of sweet Swiss chocolate. This is the all-you-can-eat tour and the adults in the room are like kids in a candy shop—rather, like kids in a candy factory (although the younger kids know when to quit).
Quite smartly, Cailler has posted a lifeguard in the room—a “welcoming staff” who oversees the samples and prevents anyone from drowning in chocolate, if you will. Her name is Nadège Piller and whilst nibbling on squares of Cailler chocolate, I asked her what it’s like to watch people eating chocolate all day.
“It’s fun!” she said with a smile. “I like meeting all the people who come here. They all react differently to the chocolate.”
What does she wish people knew about eating chocolate?
“The biggest mistake is that they don’t look at it or smell it—they just pop it in their mouth.”
Nadège is right. Seeing and smelling the chocolate are essential to truly tasting it—she doesn’t know this because she works in a chocolate factory. She knows it from experience.
The Swiss did not invent chocolate (the Maya did—in Mexico!), but they helped perfect the solid bar-form that we all know and love today. In 1819, François-Louis Cailler opened the very first chocolate factory in Switzerland, and much of what makes Swiss chocolate so famous can be traced back to methods developed by Nestlé and Lindt.
Good chocolate is powerful stuff—it was considered a spiritual medicine for the Maya and forbidden for children. Today, chocolate abounds the world round, but in Switzerland, I find it still manifests that ancient power and is, in a way, still worshipped.
According to most everyone on the Internet, the Swiss consume more chocolate than anyone else on the planet, claiming they ingest some 22 to 26 pounds per year (the New York Times quotes 24 pounds/11 kg).
Made in Switzerland: A rich dark chocolate "pavé," the popular Swiss truffle named for its cobblestone shape. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Traveler)

But Swiss chocolate sage Michel Baud (who works for Philippe Pascoët) says the numbers are rubbish.
“The Swiss do eat a lot of chocolate, yes, but it’s not as much as the numbers say. Most of these statistics are per capita figures, based on Swiss chocolate production divided by our population. That’s a false figure—the fact is that we export a huge amount of our chocolate.”
In fact, the Swiss consume about half the chocolate they produce, which is still a lot of chocolate. The food holds a special place in the Swiss palate and I am very curious to know how much chocolate they actually eat.
And so, during my first week in Switzerland, I’ve conducted my own casual survey—asking every Swiss person I meet how much chocolate he or she eats in one day. According to my random sample of about 70 people (so far), the average Swiss person consumes 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of chocolate per day. That’s about one medium-sized bar.
Though some eat far more or much less, what strikes me is the one common response I hear from everyone: “I eat chocolate every day.”
Chocolate is a daily delight for the Swiss, and for me too while I’m in Switzerland. The research has proven intense, but I am keeping my own chocolate diary while I’m here (so stay tuned).
In the half hour I spent sniffing through his shop in Carouge, Michel taught me a lot about chocolate and quickly shattered some common myths about Swiss chocolate.
“I hate this image of the little Swiss miss bouncing up the mountain with her braids and bucket of milk. That is not what Swiss chocolate is about. Not all of us like weak milk chocolate.”
He also warns of chocolate being too dark.
“I know there are chocolate makers turning out varieties of chocolate with 90 to 95 percent cocoa, but honestly, it makes no sense—C’est la sciure—it’s sawdust!”
Michel believes the best dark chocolate ranges from 70-72 percent cocoa, and he shared some valuable tips with me on how best to enjoy chocolate:
  • Begin by snapping the chocolate in half. Inhale and ponder the aromas you can sense: cocoa, vanilla, smoke, malt, etc.
  • Let the first bite be small to “warm up” the tongue, which can taste only sweet, sour, salty, bitter. Some chocolates can hit all four tastes.
  • The second bite is the one that counts. Suck on the chocolate and feel how it melts, sense the texture (grainy or smooth?). Is it sweet or dry?
  • Don’t rush on to the next bit. Enjoy the aftertaste—good chocolate will offer new and subtle flavors after a few seconds.
  • Whether eating truffles or bars, always start with softer flavors and move slowly up to stronger varieties.
  • Don’t ever eat more than four or five different kinds of chocolate at a time. You will overwhelm your sense of taste and ruin the experience.
  • For very rich chocolates or truffles, don’t taste more than two in one sitting.
  • Cleanse your palate with water before and in between each new variety that you taste (not in between bites).
When tasting truffles, begin with lighter flavors and move up to stronger tastes and darker blends. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Traveler).

How To Eat Chocolate

________________________ The MasterLiving Blog

Who Made That Baby Bjorn? -

June 29, 2012

Who Made That Baby Bjorn?

Bjorn Jakobson — himself a father of young children — went into the baby-equipment business after returning to Stockholm from a 1961 trip to America with a “baby sitter” bouncer chair. At first, the fledgling entrepreneur was unable to persuade any Stockholm department store to take a chance on the contraption. After finally selling two to one department store, he was reduced to sending in his mother to buy them (the store then ordered more). It was only then that Jakobson thought to appeal to pediatricians — and struck upon the formula that would guarantee his success: clean-lined design, with a progressive medical seal of approval. Ultimately the chair would become a hit worldwide and a standard item on baby registries. But it was the Hjartenara (Close to the Heart) baby carrier, introduced in 1973 and later known as the Baby Bjorn, that made him a household name.
The Baby Bjorn drew on the work of physicians at Cleveland’s Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, who, beginning in 1970, published a series of studies about the importance of close parental contact in early childhood development. Jakobson resolved to create a baby carrier that would maximize the baby-parent bond. Working with pediatricians, he perfected the shape, while his wife, Lillemor, a textile designer, handled the aesthetics, creating a minimalist look at odds with the era’s pastel-hued baby paraphernalia. The couple tested the prototype on their baby. The combination of a nurturing, earthy image and medical testimonials made the Bjorn a sensation.
Baby Bjorn found its American home when Bengt Lager and Luanne Whiting-Lager, who had two children while living in Sweden, decided to bring Scandinavian baby gear to the United States. Their Georgia-based company, Regal Lager, was Baby Bjorn’s U.S. distributor until 2005 and is widely considered responsible for its boom in the ’90s.
To date, Jakobson’s company has sold more than 25 million baby carriers worldwide and spawned a whole industry of slings and carriers designed to enable what is now known at attachment parenting. Still, parents of today may or may not agree with Jakobson’s ’70s-ish sentiment that “carrying your newborn on your chest is like floating on a cloud.”
Read the rest of the article online here: Who Made That Baby Bjorn? -

________________________ The MasterLiving Blog

Why a change is better than a rest -

Tyler Brule argues it would be useful to send executives into the small business wilderness during the summer:
Recently, I’ve met many senior executives selected by their companies to spend a couple of weeks at business schools such as Stanford and Harvard. While I’m sure many good business contacts will be made and everyone will learn how to be more efficient with costs, I’m not convinced how much will be learnt about relating to customers, managing volatile personalities, meltdowns in supply chains and real-world PR crises. Rather than shelling out hundreds of millions to centres of higher business education for senior managers to listen to lectures by gurus and participate in scenarios, it would be far more useful to send executives into the small business wilderness and let them run their own enterprises for a month or two.
Read the whole article here:

Why a change is better than a rest -


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