Gasmasks.net provides more information than you probably ever wanted to know about the development of dog gas masks. For instance, one problem the developers of the dog gas masks had, which wasn't encountered by their counterparts working on the human versions, was how to build in a "slobber drain."
US Patent 5871518, issued on February 16, 1999, is for a "smoking cessation lighter and method." The patent abstract offers this description:
A lighter for tobacco products suppresses the urge to smoke by operant conditioning. It delivers a shock to the user's hand when the lighter is extinguished. This generally happens when the first puffs of smoke are being inhaled. Inhalation of the smoke gives a positive reinforcement of the habit because of the pharmacologic effects of the smoke. The shock provides a negative or suppressive action at the same time. The anticipation of the shock will negate the anticipation of the relief the drugs in the smoke provide. In an alternative embodiment, the shock is applied at the time of activation of the lighter. In yet another embodiment of the invention a negative stimulus is provided by a pin that pricks the user at the time of activation of the lighter.
Maybe I'm not understanding the invention, but it seems to me to be exactly the same as the electric-shock lighters that have been a favorite of pranksters for years. Except that the patent dresses up the prank with some scientific mumbo-jumbo. And instead of being conditioned not to smoke, wouldn't a smoker simply learn not to use that lighter? (Thanks to Sherry Mowbray!)
Tired of the constant struggle every morning trying to get your goatee to look perfect? GoateeSaver revolutionizes the way you shave and trim your goatee. GoateeSaver can be customized to your face in seconds, with three easy adjustments. Just slide it over your mouth and shave to get the perfect look that women will admire and men will respect.
Plus it can also double as a Hannibal Lecter costume for Halloween.
Steve Norris has built a Stonehenge Robotic Digital Clock. I don't think it would work so well as a bedside timepiece (the whirring of it might keep you up at night), but it would definitely be something you could show off to your friends. It would be even cooler if a version of this were built that was the actual size of Stonehenge. (via OhGizmo!)
And speaking of Stonehenge, Rhett Davis, a farmer in Hooper, Utah has built what he calls his "Redneck Stonehenge" to annoy his residential neighbors who apparently don't understand "him and his kind." It's three cars stuck in the ground, which is no rival to Carhenge in Nebraska. (Thanks, Katey!)
Of course we all know that the image of a hand-pumped railroad trolley is a comedy staple. But I find the notion of special little motorized vehicles adapted to ride the rails just as funny. As you might predict, there's an organization dedicated to hobbyists and collectors of these miniature rail-mounted transports, and it's to be found here.
My local newspaper has a great article about a fellow who restored the vehicle pictured to the right.
I imagine a Farelly Brothers movie in which the hero confounds the bad guys by making his unpredictable escape in such a vehicle--at a whopping 5 MPH!
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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.
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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.
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