In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Crazy contraptions

By Randy A. Salas

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Recent online buzz about a ridiculously clever hamster-powered contraption reminds us that Plato was partly right when he wrote that necessity is the mother of invention. After reading about it and other fanciful devices chronicled on the Web, maybe the axiom should be restated, "Absurdity is the mother of invention."


The Hamster Shredder is not an actual device but a clever concept by British designer and artist Tom Ballhatchet. The idea is simple: Put a sheet of paper in a slot atop a hamster cage. The little rodent spins his exercise wheel. That powers a shredder housed in the cage top. The cut-up paper drops into the cage to provide bedding for the little fella. Brilliant! Or, as the Core77 Design Blog (www.core77.com/blog) said, it's "a sparkling beacon of analog promise." For all the hubbub that the Hamster Shredder has created online, there are few details, just two photos at Ballhatchet's site and a note by Core77 that a model of it was exhibited last week at a prestigious international design show in Milan, Italy.


Halfbakery celebrates the "birth of a notion," as one of the site's many funny sayings goes. Users post their crazy concepts for everyday devices, and the rest of the community weighs in with votes of yea or nay. Sure, the idea for a hamster-powered paper shredder has already been taken, but there are loads of other off-the-wall inventions just waiting to be built, based on recent Halfbakery suggestions. Take the floor-cleaning Doggy Lick Meat Spray Mop, for example. "Simply spray our special meat-based aerosol over your entire vinyl, wood or tile floor, and then sit back with a beer as your dog carefully licks all the meaty yumminess off every square inch of your floor," its creator says. But wait -- there's more: Doggy Lick is the perfect complement to the Cat's Tongue upholstery cleaner.


No man and canine know more about crazy inventions -- or, in their parlance, cracking contraptions -- than Wallace and Gromit, the animated duo popularized by England's Aardman studio. Click on "Films" and then "Cracking Contraptions" at their official site, and you'll find a picture gallery of 10 of their absurd creations, such as the Soccamatic rapid-fire soccer-ball shooter and the Snowmanotron automated snowman-builder. I like the burglar-deterring Bullyproof Vest. A video clip of only Soccamatic was available on a recent visit, but Google Video (www.startribune.com/a2650) has a 24-minute compilation of all of the Cracking Contraptions in action.


Of course, the legendary Rube Goldberg inspired all of this hamster-powered, half-baked crackery. The cartoonist, who died in 1970, became famous for his drawings of elaborately kooky devices to carry out simple tasks. The Artwork Gallery at his official site offers examples, such as the 19-step Simplified Pencil Sharpener, which involves the use of a kite, an iron and a potted tree with squirrel. Annual academic competitions keep the spirit of Goldberg alive by having students build complex working devices to execute simple tasks. Videos of contest entries as well as other real-world Goldbergian contraptions can be viewed online at Rube Is Cool (www.mousetrapcontraptions.com/links-10) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rube+goldberg).


Use your computer to build your own crazy contraptions through the long-running "Incredible Machine" games. The link above will take you to Download.com's page for "Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions," where you can download a free working demo of that program. But many sites offer free downloads of early games in the largely defunct, but popular, series. Just do a Google search for "incredible machine" abandonware. No hamster required.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Randy A. Salas is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Do you have a favorite Web site or a question about how to find something on the Internet? Send a note by clicking here.


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