Bits and Pieces

Face Your Pockets

What's REALLY in Your Bag?

Links that have been gathering dust on my computer...

Bill Moyers Journal: Wendell Potter
With almost 20 years inside the health insurance industry, Wendell Potter saw for-profit insurers hijack our health care system and put profits before patients. Now, he speaks with Bill Moyers about how those companies are standing in the way of health care reform.

Blind Women Help Detect Breast Cancer
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Blind women are being trained to use their sensitive touch to help detect breast cancer earlier and more precisely than doctors.

Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle
Obama sips it. Paris Hilton loves it. Mary J. Blige won't sing without it. How did a plastic water bottle, imported from a military dictatorship thousands of miles away, become the epitome of cool?

Off the Deep End: A Look at the Decline of Dubai
Deserts have a way of reclaiming whatever is built upon them. In the case of Dubai, the global financial implosion has sent that process into overdrive. After six years of frenzied expansion, during which the emirate's population grew at 7% annually and nearly $600 billion went into construction (the world's tallest building! the world's largest shopping mall! the biggest man-made island! an indoor ski resort!), reality has come rushing into view.

Brand Yourself and 4 Other Tips for Success From The Sartorialist
Starting in September of 2005, Scott Schuman became The Sartorialist, a fashion blogger with a lot more up his tailored coat sleeves than street shots of pretty people. He has created a thriving street style blog, not only accrediting himself as a guy with a great eye for fashion, but as a world-recognized photographer, and as a brand. This August, he released a compilation book of his photos aptly titled, The Sartorialist. In honor of Mercedes-Benz Spring 2010 Fashion Week in New York City, we share with you his nuggets of wisdom, as well as a few peeks at his book.

DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated
Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases.

Fan-Made Music Video Restores Hope in Music Video Kind
Remember music videos being important, and good? Neither does anybody I know, because our memory's been wiped by MTV and VH1's current slate of programming. And then there's this beautiful, fan-made music video of indie band Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks."

Hollywood's Best Actors for the Buck
LOS ANGELES — In today's recessionary Hollywood, studio executives are no longer looking to cast actors who will demand upward of US$15 million just to appear in a movie and then a hefty portion of the film's revenue. Instead, the ideal package is a big concept with low-paid stars.

RealAge Test
Your RealAge is the biological age of your body, based on how well you've maintained it.

The Gold List 2009
Welcome to the fifth annual Gold List, our selection of the hotels around the world that have the best rooms, service, food, location, ambience and design, and leisure facilities. To compile this ultimate guide to the world's greatest hotels, we have combined our editors' choices with the highest-ranking hotels in the Readers' Travel Awards 2008.

24 Ways to Exploit Chaos
Economic crises can lead to fear and paralysis within executive boardrooms, not to mention a shortage of capital or credit to act on good ideas that do emerge. But they can also create opportunities. In Exploiting Chaos (Gotham Books, 2009), Jeremy Gutsche—an innovation consultant and the founder of TrendHunter.com, a site that tracks emerging trends—offers, as the book's subtitle says, 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change.

All Broads Lead to Rome
Mired in sex scandals, headed for an ugly divorce, dogged by investigators, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is a national joke. He’s also the richest, most successful politician in Europe—and has no intention of changing his ways. Will Italy change without him?

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' Hotel Room
Room 3918 - which features four huge bedrooms, a private lift, marble-lined bathrooms and state-of-the-art kitchens – takes up the entire 39th floor of the luxury hotel, and is not just the most expensive hotel room in Australia; but rather, it is one of the most expensive in the world.

The Wave of Hotel Foreclosures Sweeping the Globe
Prepare for a period of the greatest deluge in hotel loan history. How bad is the recession on the hotel industry? On a daily basis, we at Scene Advisor are hearing of hotel loans going into servicing because of default. Currently, over 80 major hotels a week are going into default or closing the doors. The Wall Street Journal reports that currently 5% of securitized hotel mortgages are currently in default, and over 4,000 hotels will default this year alone.

John Oliver: Comic Crumpet
John Oliver is certainly a funnyman of the ha-ha kind, though he's not without his peculiarities as we found out in this interview, which was conducted via email for his own safety –– did we mention he's the thinking woman's bit of crumpet from The Daily Show?

Kat Williams: Drugs in America
"Have you or one of your loved ones been killed from using our medicine? Dial 1-800-OurBad..."

Bubbies Story
As John describes the Bubbie persona, "She's the essence of the kindly Jewish grandmother who happens to be passionate about things like cooking and pickling. She stands for all Old World grannies who pamper their family with wonderful foods they've hand made using authentic ingredients and traditional recipes."

Transparency Triumph: Reviewing is the New Advertising
In fact, Twitter has established itself as the real-time snapshot of what people are thinking/feeling/experiencing and yes, reviewing, around the world. Expect numerous services to capitalize on this burgeoning ‘global brain'. One example: SkinniPopcorn provides Twitter feeds of users' real time comments about newly released films and the current US box office top ten, as well as the ten movies that are currently mentioned most often.

Pop-Up Restaurants: They're Quick, Sharp, Full-throttle, and Then They Shut Up Shop
Pop-ups are the embodiment of our high-octane, short-attention-span culture. One minute they're here - restaurants and bars opening in unexpected locations, causing a storm - and then they're gone. The temporary dining spot manages to break all the rules of what a traditional restaurant should be. Which is precisely why the trend for temporary locations dips into our whimsical 21st-century consumer mindset.

Is This London's Most Fashionable Restaurant?
Blink and you'll miss it. Flash is a pop-up extravaganza from the brains behind bistrotheque. They don't come any cooler.

Heston Blumenthal Recipes and Cooking Tips
Heston Blumenthal is the chef and owner of The Fat Duck, the three Michelin starred restaurant in Bray, Berkshire. The Fat Duck was named Best Restaurant in the World in 2005 by Restaurant magazine. Heston's recipes appear in The Sunday Times every week.

Bo Burnham: Welcome to YouTube
"Before YouTube I was just a skinny white kid that thought he was funnier and cooler than he actually was..."

The World's Highest Hotel...But Not for Long!
If a gob-smacking view is your thing - and heck, it's mine - you could do worse than check in at the Park Hyatt, Shanghai, which has just taken the mantle of the world's highest hotel. See that nice pagoda-shaped building you're looking down on out the window? Yeah, that's the Jin Mao Tower, and it's about 40 meters taller than the Empire State Building in NYC.

CinemaScore's Ed Mintz: Hollywood's Secret Box Office Swami
You never see him at any fancy movie premieres or making the rounds of the talent agencies. He hasn't turned up on any Hollywood power lists. But the 68-year-old Ed Mintz has quietly emerged as a key player in the movie business over the past year, thanks to the growing popularity of CinemaScore, his Las Vegas-based market research company that provides an invaluable piece of information to studio insiders every Friday night. His reports reveal just how much -- or little -- moviegoers liked the new movies that invade America's multiplexes each weekend.