The seat for my 13-year-old (out of warranty) Aeron chair has cracked rather dramatically, with stabby bits pointing out. What's this thing made out of, and what's the best glue for it? [more inside]
Kid is interested in training himself to program in order to get a job. Is programming still a good job skill? If so, what programming language should he learn, and how? [more inside]
What Mac or web-based software is available for my 11-year-old daughter to do character animation? She's ready to move on from GoAnimate. [more inside]
Is shaving cream different from foamy soap? Are there actual beard-softening agents in there? Is there any reason to use shaving cream instead of shampoo? (I suppose this is the perfect question to have in the shower.)
We want to stop overnight somewhere around Winterthur, so we can wake up, drive to the museum, see the gardens, and head back to the City. What towns along the way are worth staying in? Any notable hotels or B&B's? We're driving back from DC to NYC around June 22. [more inside]
My neighborhood is full of buskers in the summer. Some are excellent musicians. Some are easy to ignore. Some of them can't hit two notes in a row, and sing the same five songs over and over. I generally ask them nicely to move a block away, but some won't do it. Unfortunately, I can't work in the presence of off-key singing. I would like a powerful boombox to play Louis Armstrong at them until they move away. Recommendations? Bonus points if it pairs easily with an iPhone.
My 87 year old Dad is awash in medical bills. He'd like not to spend most of his time filling them out. Is there the equivalent of an accountant, but who fills out medical paperwork? Where would I find such a person? (He's in New York City.)
We'd like to get a Portuguese Water Dog. They are very rare as rescues. (Which is a good sign, I imagine!) Is there any way to adopt a grownup dog? Or is buying a puppy from a breeder the only alternative to rescues?
I've installed new LED-compatible dimmer switches. But I still find that the dimmable LED's I've bought don't dim all the way. [more inside]
Stepson now lives in Massachusetts. He needs Obamacare, but has an aversion to the phone and has not figured out the website. Is there a physical office in Boston (ideally near Cambridge) where a live human could help him sign up?
I'm looking for a great karaoke game. (Not a karaoke machine.) [more inside]
We have some linoleum floor tiles which might be asbestos. I'd like to get rid of them. How dangerous is this? [more inside]
I have a slim leather belt with lovely Mexican silver hardware; but the belt itself is fairly shredded, and has already been repaired once (by a shoe repairman, who did the best he could). Who fixes belts these days? How do I find someone to put the hardware on a new piece of leather, in Montreal, in New York, or on the Internet? How much should I expect to pay?
My daughter loves the BBC Kids show The Lingo Show, in which bugs from different countries teach a little bit of their language. She's only seen bits and pieces on YouTube. Is there any legitimate way I can get her full episodes of the show?
What's the best GPS for my folks? They're in their 80s, and want it to speak directions to them. [more inside]
We're upgrading from an old Ikea queen-sized mattress to ... we don't know what. We know very little about proper mattresses. What should we look for in a mattress? [more inside]
What is the modern equivalent of 1995's lovely LOGICAL JOURNEY OF THE ZOOMBINIS computer games? They taught math logic skills rather neatly for children, but I don't have a computer that will run the old games.
I'm considering a possible tech job in the Seattle area (actually Kirkland). I live in Montreal. We're not planning to relocate to Seattle as yet -- it's a 9-12 month contract only. What sort of expenses should I factor in? A two bedroom apartment my family can visit, a car, health insurance (as a dual national, I don't pay for health insurance here in Quebec), trips home... anything else? I'm trying to figure out how much I would net after the temporary relocation expenses. (The company does not pay relocation expenses.) What sort of non-financial factors should I consider, based on your experience temporarily relocating without your family?
I've been reading Bruce Catton's history of the Army of the Potomac, which is excellent. It occurs to me I've only ever read Civil War history from the Union side. So, it's all about those terrible Union generals and all the mistakes they made, and Lincoln's frustration, and how eventually superior manpower and manufacturing, and the Emancipation Proclamation, crushed the feisty Rebs. Now I'd like to read about what the Rebs were thinking during the Late, Great Unpleasantness. Who's the Bruce Catton of the South?
The beloved Bouzou Dog left us years ago. I would love another Bouvier, but I can no longer carry a hundred pound dog; and sooner or later, you have to carry your dog. The Bouzou Dog was true to breed: even-tempered, active out of doors, lazy in the apartment, alert to new people without being barky, watchful of our daughter, smart, trainable, and non-sheddy (hence relatively hypo-allergenic). What sort of mid-sized (30-50 pound) dog has all those attributes?
My 9-year-old daughter likes to animate things on GoAnimate.com. The website allows you to upload flash animations, and she'd like to make her own animations of, say, the Sesame Street characters. The canonical program for building flash animations is Adobe Flash Professional. I'm guessing that is beyond her capabilities (and may be beyond mine!). Are there simpler programs that allow a patient but unsophisticated user to build very simple flash animations?
What is this chair? My wife, a huge fan of design magazines, doesn't recognize it. She thinks it might be handmade, but it looks too industrial for that. No marks on the chair, either. What is it?
Dimmable LED light bulbs seem more economical than halogens. But they're really expensive. Will they quickly come down in price, so I should wait? Or will they come down slowly, so I might as well start saving? Also, how good is the dimming? I tried dimmable CFL's, but they don't seem to dim past 50%.
Many early sailboats were fore-and-aft rigged, e.g. Egyptian Nile sailboats of antiquity. But soon enough, boat designers moved to square-rigged ships. Then, just before the end of the Age of Sail, at the beginning of the 20th Century, come these ships with multiple schooner-rigged (fore and aft) sails, for example the seven-masted Thomas Lawson and all of these six-masters and all of these five-masters. What was the advantage of the many-masted schooner, and why did it come so late in the development of the commercial sailing vessel?
My 9-year-old autistic daughter has 5 cavities, three in adult teeth. The dentist wants to put her under general anesthesia. While this would certainly be way more convenient for the dentist, and less hellish for her, I'm concerned about the dangers of anesthesia. I've read about hospital patients suffocating in anesthesia screwups. Is that a possible outcome in dental anesthesia, or is that a different procedure? Do I have a reasonable concern? Should we try to do it normally? Snowflake details: on the spectrum, she's definitely a bit more sensitive and rigid than neurotypical kids, but not drastically so. On a side note: how important is it to fill cavities in baby teeth she will probably lose in a year or two?
I'm looking for advice and resources on how to use improv to flesh out a written scene. I'm not looking for freestyle improv where you're trying to create a new situation, or general theater games, but a more targeted form of improv, where you already have a scene and characters and backstory and dialog, but you want to get the actors to exercise their imagination and flesh out the relationships rather than just play the dialog that's already on the page. What are some parameters? How involved should an improv scenario be in this situation? Should you tell the actors where to end up? How far do you let it go?
Our 9 year old daughter is maturing alarmingly fast physically. Should we be concerned? And is there any way it has anything to do with our habit of eating roast chickens from the supermarket? Could it have anything to do with growth hormones in the chickens?
Do I have to wash the inside of my romaine lettuce? [more inside]
My daughter loves to make cartoons on GoAnimate.com. But it is an incredibly cranky site on Chrome on her Mac, often freezing, and always incredibly slow. Is it just a slow site? Would it be better on a different browser? Is there anything I can do to speed it up? Are the student or professional versions faster? Is there a better site to make animations on? (She's 8.)
My teenager would like to find a job. What are the best resources for finding a job for a 17-year-old high school graduate in Montreal? How about New York? [more inside]
With the power out in downtown New York, I'm wondering what devices I should buy against the next blackout / ice storm / zombie apocalypse to keep my electronics going. [more inside]
Best temporary black hair dye for Hallowe'en? [more inside]
I want to buy a microscope for an 8-year-old kid. [more inside]
In the heat, Bedouins wear long, flowing robes. Westerners wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats. What are the advantages of the robes? [more inside]
How does US law handle foreign nationals (e.g. Saudis) who have legally married multiple wives? Could someone be prosecuted for bigamy? Could multiple wives get a green card? Would a foreign national be expected to divorce all but one wife should he become resident in the US?
I'm working out, particularly around the torso, and I'm much stronger. My waistline hasn't budged. My weight has barely changed since I started going to the Y and doing 20 minutes of cardio a day plus lifting weights. Loving wife says that's because I'm building muscle, and "muscle weighs twice as much as fat." What's truly going on?
Should I move to a laser printer? [more inside]
Are there accountants who handle health insurance? [more inside]
What is the science of a gluten free diet? [more inside]
Mrs. Musofire strained her ankle. Why are we icing it? [more inside]
What shirt should I work out in? [more inside]
The "Pink Panther" theme and the "Peter Gunn" theme are both jazz pieces created by Henry Mancini in the 1960's. But musically, how are they similar? If I add Lalo Schifrin's "Mission Impossible" theme ... is this a particular flavor or genre of jazz? If I like these as music, what other pieces (that are not necessarily theme songs) would I like?
Free-lancers: when do you charge for travel time? [more inside]
Best low light still camera under $250? [more inside]
How is it chimps are stronger than humans? [more inside]
Uh oh, I think we used old shellac. Now what? [more inside]
Help, my iPhone freezes! [more inside]
Will I be as perky without coffee? [more inside]
How can I clean the air in my open plan loft? [more inside]
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