There’s a new online cognitive science resource called CogNet forming at MIT, and
it’s got everything: searchable full-text library (including several
complete MIT Press books), community forums, job links, reference tools,
and more. A specialized interest, I know, cognitive science. But I’m a
rank layman in the field, not even knowledgeable enough to call myself
an amateur, really, and I still perk up over this stuff. (Blame Douglas
for this nerdiness of mine.) The site is in the prelaunch
phase, and it’s gathering charter members at no charge until August.

Serious fashion dirt

Color me officially impressed with the hipster credo of fashion
news-and-gossip site Chic Happens. (Ahem. I would just
like to remind you all that I work in Manhattan. I hang, from time to
time, with real live fashionistas. I’m so knowing, I’ve learned to sneer
at Wallpaper magazine, for heaven’s sake. So, my being impressed should
count for something. Yes, OK, I’m counterbalancing the dork coefficient
of the above cog-sci item, but it’s all genuine, damn it: I am large; I
contain multitudes; in my father’s house there are many mansions.)
Anyway. CH comes out on Wednesdays, and it should be a welcome shot in
the arm for those of us who care about these things. As I do, around
once every 10 days. More often would worry me — I mean, I have to make
time to read up on cognitive science, too. Oh, a woman’s work is never
done these days, I can tell you.

Crackpot department

Reason’s Walter Olson, in an end-of-last-year roundup column that
I have to say seems pretty tardy to me — this is the MARCH issue, guy
— makes note of some
by the name of Peter Hitchens, who claims that the ultimate
doom of the British family is going to be (wait for it) central heating.
It destroys the community of the hearth, you see, where everyone used to
gather together and huddle by the fireplace or stove and learn perforce
to get along with one another.

Whatever. I’ve spent winters in Britain. It gets bloody cold there. I
froze my butt off, and I just can’t see this as a good thing. Progress
is your friend, Mr. Hitchens. Especially when it comes to fundamental
matters such as staying warm in winter and cool in summer. These are
good things. This is why we have huge crania and opposable thumbs.


Locate clinical trials

There’s a new National Institutes of Health site for patients (and
their doctors) who want to find out what clinical trials are being
conducted out there that they might want to participate in. It’s at, and
succinctly presents all the requisite information without unnecessary
design frills. Be sure to read the page on Understanding Clinical
Trials, and do your own duly diligent research before you proceed.

Privacy alert

Visit Browser Check for
an instant report on what your browser may be giving away about you to
every site you surf on the Internet. This may include your e-mail
address, for starters. It’s not a cookie check. Cookies exist on your
hard drive. This is information your browsing software itself —
browsing software means Explorer, Netscape, or America Online’s
proprietary browser, as well as certain types of search engines — could
be handing over to your destination URLs. It gets a little technical,
but there is a decent FAQ and some other helpful privacy resources and

Heloise redux

It says here
that you can remove water rings from furniture using toothpaste. I’m
grateful for the tip, and plan to test it out shortly on a dining room
table that I love like a brother. But it’s weird, and, to say the least,
raises questions in my mind. Such as: where do other people besides
endlessly-surfing me ever find out these things? Is this something my
mother should have told me? Also, who came up with the concept of
cleaning furniture with toothpaste in the first place? These are the
things that go through my head. In the night. In the dark.

Down Home ‘Family Goodness’

I am starving. That is all.

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