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August 26, 2009

Attitude Chair — Episode 2: Invented by Homer Simpson?


Just hours after Episode 1 appeared yesterday, Thomas Kvamme — the newest member of my Crack Research Team (so new he's just finding out now along with the rest of you) — chimed in as follows:


Now hold on just one second...

Granted, I can't read whatever language the original site is written in but I am pretty sure they don't credit the real inventor of this chair — Homer Simpson:



Sure enough, if you click on Thomas's link you will find, buried deep in the Wikipedia exegesis of the September 20, 1998 episode of "The Simpsons" entitled "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace" the following: "Feeling despondent over his failure to invent anything useful, his invention career is saved when he reveals he added two hinged legs to a chair making it impossible to tip over backwards. However, his hopes are dashed when he notices his poster of Edison shows his idol sitting in the same type of chair, which indicates Edison has already invented Homer's untippable chair. But Homer also finds out no one else has seen the extra legs on Edison's chair, and thus Edison has never received public credit for inventing it. So he sets out with Bart and his electric hammer to the Edison Museum in New Jersey to destroy the chair."

Well, there it is.

All credit to Homer Simpson, then, for this among many other wonderful additions to our weird, wonderful world.

Yo, Thomas — stop cheesing and get back to work.


August 26, 2009 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Lighted Pooper Scooper — Think outside the [litter] box


That's different.

"When you reach in to scoop, there will be no more guessing about whether you’ve thoroughly cleaned the kitty litter box, thanks to the scoop’s built-in light."

2 AAA batteries included.


August 26, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Public Collectors


Read all about this entertaining site, run by Chicago-based Marc Fischer.

Here are 11 collections among which to browse.

A bunch more here.

For those interested in Material Research, they've got stuff for you. 

Here are tons of publications in PDF form, free for you to read and/or download.

Fair warning: there goes the day.

[via LeRoy Stevens]

August 26, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Glowman Jumpsuit


Freak out.

"Highlighted with glow sticks that last about 10 hours once activated."

Small, Medium, or Large.



August 26, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Inherent Vice' — Thomas Pynchon's soundtrack


Wrote Jennifer Schuessler in last Sunday's New York Times Book Review, "Pynchon's novel ... comes with an entire soundtrack. At Amazon.com, Pynchon ... has posted a playlist of songs mentioned or overheard in the novel, from 'Soul Gidget' by Meatball Flag and 'Repossess Man' by Droolin' Floyd Womack (both fictional) to 'There's No Business Like Show Business,' sung by Ethel Merman (apparently real)."


His playlist appears up top.

August 26, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

'Jessica Biel named most dangerous celebrity in cyberspace'


You could look it up.

Long story short: "Fans searching for the actress have a one-in-five chance of ending up at a Web site designed to damage one's computer."

FunFact from her Wikipedia entry: Around 1995, "Biel ... played a lead role in a low-budget musical short titled 'It's a Digital World,' but the film was never released."

Talk about the shape of things to come ....

But I digress.

Rounding out the top 15 in the report issued yesterday by security technology company McAfee Inc. were, in order:

2. Beyoncé

3. Jennifer Aniston

4. Tom Brady

5. Jessica Simpson

6. Gisele Bundchen

7. Miley Cyrus

8. Megan Fox

9. Ashley Tisdale

10. Brad Pitt

11. Reese Witherspoon

12. Britney Spears

13. Rihanna

14. Lindsay Lohan

15. Kim Kardashian

Huge relief here at boj World Headquarters™ to learn we've succeeded in staying under the radar for yet another year.

August 26, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bicycle Magic — Carla and Henriette Hochdorfer

Carla Hochdorfer and Henriette Hochdorfer perform in the Artistic Cycling Junior Women's Pairs competition at the European Championships in Heerlen, The Netherlands this past May.

Videre est credere.

August 26, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World's first intelligent coffee mug keeps your brew at the perfect temperature


Long story short: By embedding a wax-like substance called phase change material between the walls of a porcelain mug, scientists have succeeded in creating a cup that keeps hot coffee at its optimal temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Here's Sabine Wygas's August 19, 2009 Spiegel article about this new technology.


Scientists Develop Intelligent Coffee Mug

The idea came to the researchers at the Christmas market in the Bavarian town of Rosenhiem. "We got upset because the mulled wine" -- Glühwein, in German -- "was always either too hot or too cold," say Klaus Sedlbauer, the head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP), and his colleague Herbert Sinnesbichler. "We had to find a solution."

And find a solution they did. The two scientists found it in phase change material (PCM), a wax-like substance used in the construction materials industry that is normally used to ensure comfortable room temperatures in the summer without having to use any energy for air conditioners.

The material can be embedded within plaster boards or placed on walls and ceilings -- where it absorbs and stores warmth, such as that emitted by the sun during the day, and releases it once again after the sun has gone down, thereby creating a pleasant room temperature at all hours. "But," Sedlbauer adds," a lot of winter and ski jackets also contain PCM to keep people warm. Most people probably have some somewhere in their closet."

PCMs also have long-term memory capabilities that make them ideal for storing computer data over extended periods of time without any need for an electrical current. For example, researchers at the Berlin-based Paul Drude Institute for Solid State Electronics (PDI) are looking into exactly why the material has these storage capacities.

A Highly Active Internal Life

The researchers at IBP came up with the idea of using PCM in coffee mugs. If it works in large office spaces and in jackets, why couldn't it also keep a cup of coffee warm? To test their theory, they created the first PCM mug [above and below].


The high-tech mug is made using a porcelain shell whose hollow interior is filled with a honeycomb structure made of ribbons of highly conductive material, such as aluminum. This honeycomb structure is then filled with PCM. "So now, if you are drinking hot coffee in one of these cups," Sinnesbichler explains, "the drink's heat is directed straight into the still solid PCM. This heat, in term, melts the PCM -- kind of like wax -- and turns it into a liquid."

Once the material has become liquid, it retains thermal energy, but without absorbing any more heat. The temperature at which it becomes liquid depends on the specific type of PCM, each of which has slightly different chemical properties and melting temperature. "Warm drinks -- like coffee or tea -- are best enjoyed at 58 degrees Celsius (136.4 degrees Fahrenheit)," Sedlbauer explains. "In order to reach and maintain this temperature, we fill the mug with a type of PCM that becomes a liquid at exactly 58 degrees Celsius."

The material absorbs the warmth of the mug's content like a sponge, stores it and brings it down to the optimal temperature. And then the PCM helps maintain the content's temperature at this optimal level by slowly releasing the stored heat back into the mug's contents. "Under ideal circumstances," Sedlbauer says, "the optimal temperature can be maintained for 20-30 minutes."

In order to even further insulate the mug and permit less heat to be lost, the outside part of the mug's hollowed-out cavity -- that is, the part farthest from the material whose temperature needs to be maintained -- is lined with a razor-thin layer of either plastic or ceramics. This helps further ensure that the contents of the mug only start cooling down once the PCM has released all of its stored thermal energy and returned to a solid state.

Hot & Cold Double Functionality

But PCMs aren't just about keeping things warm. "Cold drinks or ice can also be well regulated in PCM cups or mugs," Sinnesbichler says. As he explains, beer tastes best at 7 degrees Celsius (44.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and ice is best at -12 degrees Celsius (10.4 degrees Fahrenheit). "So you want to make cups or mugs that have a PCM type that melts at exactly these temperatures," he says. For the consumer, this unfortunately means that you need different types of high-tech mugs for different beverages, depending on whether you want them hot, cold or ice-cold.



I'll take one.

[via Milena]

August 26, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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