Talk to Books/Plastic Razor Blades/Fuji Instax Mini


Recomendo: issue no. 132

Find a book by asking questions
Google’s Talk to Books uses experimental AI to browse book passages that respond to your questions. I asked “How can I time travel?” and got back a rabbit hole of responses. It’s pretty much a dream come true. — CD

Plastic razor blades
These look like old fashioned safety razor blades, but they’re made of plastic and you can’t shave with them. You can’t cut paper with them, either. But they excel as scrapers. Put one into the included handle and you can cleanly remove labels and stickers stuck to almost any surface (add a bit of Goo Gone to speed up the process, if you wish). I used one to clean the labels off a cigar box for a project I recently made. — MF

Instant photo prints
I will never go back to analog film, no matter how retro hip it becomes. Digital photography is just better in all respects — except for one special case. When I shoot in exotic localities I carry a Fuji Instax Mini which produces small — quite small — instant prints, similar to Polaroids. Portraits done with these and instantly handed out are wonderful icebreakers. Popular at parties as a mini photo-booth, too. — KK

Mindful eating tip
In a now-deleted Reddit LPT that stuck with me, I read that in France people do not eat to the point of being stuffed or rarely say “I am full,“ instead they say “Je n’ai plus faim” which translates into “I am no longer hungry.” My French neighbor couldn’t verify if this was true, but even so it’s a good mindset to have when eating. Especially when dining out or in a friend’s home where I feel pressured to finish everything on my plate. — CD

What song is that?
Maybe everyone already knows this, but I just figured out you can ask Siri on your phone to identify music playing in the background. No need to load an app; similar function is built in to Android, too. But further coolness: if you go into the iPhone’s iTunes Store app, tap Menu upper left, then tap Siri, you get a list of all your queries so that, of course, if you want to buy the music, there it is. At least it’s a way to record/remember the new tunes. — KK

Faster way to make yogurt
If you don’t boil milk before using it to make yogurt, it will end up runny. But it takes time to boil the milk, then let it cool down before adding the starter. I recently learned that when using ultrapasteurized (or ultra high temperature) milk instead of pasteurized milk, you don’t need to boil the milk first. I’ve been using my Instant Pot lately to make yogurt. I just pour in a half-gallon of ultrapasteurized milk, stir in a tablespoon of yogurt, secure the lid, and press the “yogurt” button. Eight hours later, it’s ready! — MF


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-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 02/3/19