The ADE 651 is a fake bomb detector produced by ATSC (UK), which claimed that the device could effectively and accurately, from long range, detect the presence and location of various types of explosives, drugs, ivory, and other substances. The device has been sold to 20 countries in the Middle East and Asia, including Iraq and Afghanistan, for as much as US$60,000 each. The Iraqi government is said to have spent £52 million on the devices.
Investigations by the BBC and other organizations found that the device is little more than a ‘glorified dowsing rod’ with no ability to perform its claimed functions. In 2010, export of the device was banned by the British government and the managing director of ATSC was arrested on suspicion of fraud. The company was dissolved in 2013, and the founder, Jim McCormick, was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. Similar ‘bomb sniffing’ devices, which are still widely used, have also come under scrutiny in the wake of the revelations about the ADE 651.read more »
The Knee Defender is a device that an airplane passenger can place on the struts that support his/her drop-down airplane seat tray table to limit the extent to which the seat directly in front of him/her can be reclined. The device was invented by Ira Goldman, and it was first sold to the public in 2003.
In August 2014, on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver, an argument developed between a passenger using a Knee Defender and the passenger seated in front of him who wanted to recline. Ultimately the pilot diverted the flight to Chicago and both of those passengers were deplaned.
A male bra (also known as a compression bra, compression vest, or gynecomastia vest) is a brassiere worn by a man. Adolescent boys and middle-aged men sometimes develop breasts (gynecomastia). Although there are options for treating gynecomastia, some elect surgery to reduce their breasts or wear a male bra, which typically flatten rather than lift. Other men wear bras for cross-dressing, for sexual purposes such as transvestic fetishism or feminization, or as a form of submission to their partner.
Additionally, some male athletes – more specifically runners – may choose to wear a sports bra under their shirts in order to prevent a common medical condition called jogger’s nipple, also known as nipple chafing. This condition is caused by excessive rubbing of wet sweat-soaked material over one’s nipples. In an episode ‘Seinfeld,’ titled ‘The Doorman,’ Kramer invented a male bra, which he called a ‘bro,’ for Frank Costanza, who was said to have very large breasts. Frank initially decided to market the invention, but disagreed on the name, instead wanting to call it a ‘Manssiere.’
‘The Mosquito’ or Mosquito alarm is an electronic device used to deter loitering by young people by emitting sound at high frequency that older people have lost the ability to hear. It has two frequency settings, one of approximately 17.4 kHz that can generally be heard only by young people, and another at 8 kHz that can be heard by most people. The maximum potential output sound pressure level is stated by the manufacturer to be 108 decibels. The range of the sound is 140 feet with the sound baffle, and 200 feet without.
The sound can typically only be heard by people below 25 years of age, as the ability to hear high frequencies deteriorates with age (a phenomenon known as presbycusis). Crafty teenagers turned the sounds into a mobile phone ringtone, which could not be heard by older teachers if the phone rang during a class. Mobile phone speakers are capable of producing frequencies above 20 kHz. This ringtone became informally known as ‘Teen Buzz’ or ‘the Mosquito ringtone’ and has since been sold commercially.read more »
An oyster pail is a folded, waxed, paper food container commonly used by American Chinese restaurants, traditionally with a handle made of solid wire (microwave-safe plastic handles are also available). In the US oyster pails are now available in standard sizes and can also serve as self-measuring containers, so that many take-out foods are sold in pints and quarts and packed into pails of the appropriate size. They can also be found in some European countries such as Germany and England, but are rarely seen in China. The container has the advantage of being inexpensive, durable, and fairly leakproof, as long as it is kept upright. The top usually includes a locking paperboard tab. The simple origami-like folded construction also allows for some escape of steam from hot food. If the sides are unfolded, the pail can also double as a makeshift plate, but it is more common to eat directly out of the container, a feat that the long reach of chopsticks makes possible.
The paperboard oyster pail was invented in the US around 1894, at a time when fresh oysters were more popular, more plentiful, and less expensive than they are at present. Since shucking oysters (removing the raw meat from the shell) can be difficult and dangerous, it was common to ask the oyster seller open them. The oyster pail provided an inexpensive and sanitary way to bring home shucked oysters. In the early 20th century oyster pails were also used to hold honey. In the mid-20th century, overfishing (and the subsequent rise in price) of oysters left manufacturers with a significant number of unsold oyster pails. However, in the US after World War II, there was a huge increase in sales of prepared foods that could be purchased from restaurants, and heated or finished at home. Chinese food proved to be a popular choice, since it was relatively inexpensive and traveled well. The oyster pail was quickly adopted for ‘Chinese takeout.’
The Monobloc [mon-uh-blok] chair is a lightweight stackable polypropylene chair, often described as the world’s most common plastic chair. Based on original designs by the Italian designer Vico Magistretti in 1967, variants of the one-piece plastic chair went into production with Allibert Group and Grossfillex Group in the 1970s. Since then, millions have been manufactured globally. Many design variants of the basic idea exist.
The Monobloc chair is so named because it is injection molded from thermoplastic polypropylene, the granules being heated to about 220 degrees Celsius, and the melt injected into a mold. The gate of the mold is usually located in the seat to ensure smooth flow to all parts of the tool. The chairs cost approximately $3 to produce, making them affordable across the world. Social theorist Ethan Zuckerman describes them as having achieved a global ubiquity: ‘The Monobloc is one of the few objects I can think of that is free of any specific context. Seeing a white plastic chair in a photograph offers you no clues about where or when you are.’
A combo washer dryer (also known more simply as a washer-dryer in the UK) is a combination in a single cabinet of a washing machine and a clothes dryer. It should not be confused with a ‘stackable’ combination of a separate washing machine and a separate clothes dryer.
While combo washer dryers are not as effective and efficient as full-sized, fully functional, separate washer and dryer machines, they are useful in smaller urban properties as they only need half the amount of space and most don’t require an external air vent (water vapor is condensed from moist air and flushed out the drain hose). Additionally, combination washer dryers allow clothes to be washed and dried ‘in one go,’ saving time and effort from the user. Many units are also designed to be portable so they can be attached to a sink instead of requiring a separate water line.read more »
Soylent is a food substitute intended to supply all of a human body’s daily nutritional needs, made from powdered starch, rice protein, olive oil, and raw chemical powders. It was designed by software engineer Rob Rhinehart as a low cost alternative to traditional food that can be prepared and consumed very quickly.
Lacking background in chemistry or nutrition, Rhinehart developed the formula through research and self-experimentation. He named it after a fictional food from the novel ‘Make Room! Make Room!’, on which the 1973 film ‘Soylent Green’ was loosely based.read more »
Virtuix Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill video game peripheral for virtual reality games currently in development by Virtuix. The Omni uses a slippery platform used to simulate the motion of walking. The platform requires special shoes that reduce friction when walking. The player is fully enclosed within a ring that works with a safety harness to absorb the player’s weight. The Omni is designed to be used with a head-mounted virtual reality display, such as the Oculus Rift.
SodaStream is the maker of a consumer home carbonation product based on the principles of making a carbonated drink as originally invented by Guy Gilbey in 1903. The device allows users to take ordinary tap water and carbonate it to create soda water (or carbonated water) to drink. With the addition of one of over 100 different types of concentrated syrups and flavorings produced by Sodastream, owners can create carbonated beverages. After the company merged with Soda-Club in 1998, it was relaunched with an emphasis on healthier drinks. It went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2010. Sodastream is currently headquartered in Israel, and has 13 production plants.
In its marketing, the company currently focuses on environmental attractiveness of using tap water and returnable gas cylinders. Sodastream has been involved in numerous environmental projects, including waste reduction, beach cleanup and reforestation.read more »
The Flowbee is an electrically powered vacuum cleaner attachment made for cutting hair. It was invented in 1988 by Rick Hunt, a San Diego carpenter. Hunt initially sold the Flowbees out of his garage before finding success with live demonstrations at a county fair. The product was advertised as being capable of performing ‘hundreds of precision layered haircuts’ in frequently aired late-night television infomercials. By 2000, two million Flowbees had been sold.
The Flowbee can also be used to groom dogs with long hair such as Maltese or Bichon Frisé with a special pet grooming attachment which is sold separately. The Flowbee is still being manufactured and sold via their factory (in Corpus Christi, Texas) direct website and various outlets across the Internet.
Slim Jim is a brand of jerky snacks or dried sausage manufactured by ConAgra Foods, Inc., the food conglomerate based in Omaha. They are popular in the United States. More than 500 million are produced annually in at least 20 varieties. The Slim Jim itself has been transformed in the years since Adolph Levis invented it in 1928. He sold the company in 1967 for about 20 million dollars to General Mills, who moved the operations to Raleigh, N.C., and merged them into other meatpacking operations that it renamed Goodmark Foods. It sold Goodmark in 1982 to a group led by Ron Doggett, who sold it to ConAgra in 1998.
The product Levis created is different from the one known today. Lon Adams developed the current Slim Jim recipe while working for Goodmark. Slim Jim is one example of a food product which is listed as containing mechanically separated chicken in its ingredients by requirement of the USDA. Production was interrupted after an explosion and fire in 2009 destroyed the packaging operations of the formerly-sole Garner, North Carolina manufacturing facility, but has since resumed there and in Troy, Ohio. On May 20, 2011 the facility in Garner, N.C. closed, the same day that former spokesperson ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage died.read more »