First up, apologies if this post contains more typos than usual, I'm sending it from my new ultra-small netbook and I'm still getting used to its itty-bitty keyboard. Which brings me nicely to my first story. That according to a survey for satellite channel SKY-HD, British consumers waste £52 billion a year on hi-tech features they don't use. For example, half of the people polled did not know their high definition television also required a hi-def signal source such as a blu-ray player or HD satellite receiver – like the ones sold by SKY-HD perhaps (Telegraph).
And it's not just the the British, military officials in Russia recently discovered 100 front-line battletanks parked and forgotten by the side of the road near Yekaterinburg in the Urals. Locals say the tanks, which were unguarded and unlocked, have been there for several months and lack only ammunition and the all important starter keys (Reuters).
Someone who might have had a use for those tanks were guests at a wedding in New Delhi in India recently. The Hindu ceremony was somewhat marred when an elephant hired for the event went on a rampage after becoming aroused by the smell of a nearby female in heat. The amorous pachyderm then proceeded to crush 20 limousines, smash through a nearby mall and mount a truck before it could be tranquilised (Orange).
Also losing it this week was the man on the RyanAir flight who found he had won 10,000 euros on a scratchcard he bought on the budget flight from Poland to the UK. Furious that the airline had not seen fit to equip all their planes with the requisite amount of cash onboard, hence he could not be given his prize there and then as he demanded, the unnamed passenger ate the winning card rather than wait to claim it at his destination (BBC News).
Of course, not everyone had bad ideas in those old issues of Popular Science. Many of the ideas for new products were quite brilliant. This series will look at ideas that were ahead of their time. Today's lesson: In Car Tape Deck.
(from the March 1954 issue of Popular Science)
For a little background, the modern tape recorder came about in 1939, but it wasn't refined enough for commercial use until the late 1940s. Reel to reel tape recorders started to become common home recording machines in the mid 1950s and as a professional home audio format in the late 1950s. The first automobile tape player was the Muntz Stereo-Pak of 1962 which evolved in the Lear Jet Stereo 8 (better known as 8 Track) in 1964. Even so, 8 track players didn't become common in cars until the late 1960s, so unfortunately A. P. Sabol had another fifteen years to wait before his request was answered...