Prompted by the recent threats from North Korea, Guam's Office of Civil Defense recently issued guidelines on what people should do in the event of a nuclear emergency. It included the advice that you should wash your hair with shampoo or soap. However, you shouldn't use conditioner "because it will bind radioactive material to your hair."
Self-lighting cigarettes seem to be an idea that inventors keep dreaming up, not realizing that the idea has already been tried. The basic problem with them is identified in this thread on the Guardian. Either the head of the cigarette rips off as you try to light it, or it doesn't light and you're left with a smashed-up cigarette.
Also, although I'm not a smoker, it seems like a problem that doesn't need a solution. I get the sense that smokers like the ritual of lighting their ciggies.
Muncie Evening Post - May 21, 1929
Des Moines Register - June 28, 1951
Deca self-lighting cigarettes were sold in the UK in the 1960s. Image via Flickr.
"1972: South Korean inventor Whang Kyu-bong invents the self-lighting cigarette."
The Infraphone, invented by Douglas Reddan circa 1960, used infrared light to allow people to communicate wirelessly at distances of several hundred yards. You had to aim your infraphone at another infraphone, which you did by looking through a sight on top of the unit. Then you could talk into the device, just like using a phone.
It's an interesting idea, but I can't really think of a situation when this would provide an advantage over using a radio walkie talkie. Maybe because the signal can't be intercepted as easily? But then there's the awkwardness of having to aim the device. Articles about it frequently suggested it could be used as a wireless intercom.
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
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