When Sight, Smell, Hearing, Touch & Taste Just Don’t Cut the Mustard

Let me start out by saying that fires are no laughing matter. They cause immeasurable, irreversible death and destruction on a daily basis. In short, fires are jerks.

That said, a robotic “optical flame detector” seems a bit like overkill. Chances are pretty good that, in most situations, you’ll be able to detect a flame by some other means. Humans generally have five senses (some folks have more, some less), all of which can detect a flame in some way, so that’s a good start in flame detection right there. Plus, find me one building in the Western world that doesn’t already have some other form of fire detector/fire alarm. With those mechanisms added to the mix, it seems that non-flames are pretty well equipped to ferret out flames in their general vicinity.

However, as fire has no natural enemies in the wild (except water…and that foam stuff that’s in fire extinguishers…and…well, you know what, fire actually has quite a few natural enemies, I guess…), it’s probably not a bad idea to stack the deck against fire and flames. As one of the most destructive forces on the planet, fire could do with a considerable handicap.

To paraphrase America’s greatest anthropomorphic talking fire safety bear, “Only you and an automated flame detector can prevent fires, forest or otherwise.”

Average Labels

So, I found a new website name that for some reason just rung weird in my mind’s ear. It’s called Advanced Labels. How can labels be “advanced”?  I mean, is there a test they take like children in school for advanced placement in Label high school? Not only that, but this company seems to do signs and decals and all kinds of stuff. But apparently it’s just the labels that are advanced. All that other stuff – the decals, stickers, signage – whatever – that’s just average. I bet they were all like, “Well, most of our stuff is pretty average, but ‘Average Labels, Decals and Signs’ is a pretty crummy name. Oh! I know! Let’s just call it “Advanced!”

“Wait, “Advanced Labels, Decals and Signs? That’s awfully long. And besides, the acronym would be ALDS, which sounds like some kind of hemorrhoid medication.”

“Well, how about just ‘Advanced Labels,’ then? That term is polling well with over-30’s who live through their children’s achievements, which – let’s be honest here – is most of America right now.”

“Genius! ‘Advanced Labels!’ Give this man a raise and a big cigar right now!”

It totally could have gone down like that. Umm, or else I’m just watching way too much Mad Men lately. It’s a really good show.  If you don’t like what’s being said, just change the conversation.

 

The Vanilla Ones Are the Best

Sometimes, a website is dubbed Weirdohead based on the name alone. In this case, it’s the service that’s being offered that makes the cut. Wafer dicing?

Wafer dicing sounds like something my Grandma would have done back in the day when she was trying to church up the bland, store brand pudding she always made for dessert. Chopping up those little, equally tasteless wafer cookie things to mix in with the pudding. You know, the allegedly crispy, but actually just strangely rubbery, creme-ish filled wafer cookies that came in packs of about 3,000, with one thousand each of “strawberry,” “chocolate,” and “vanilla” flavored wafers.

The worst thing about those gods-awful cookies was, because there were so many of them in a package, and because my Grandma never limited my cookie intake when I was visiting, I would eat so flippin’ many of them that I would start to like them. “Why would you eat them in the first place if they were so gross?” you ask. Because I was a little kid with access to an essentially unlimited supply of cookies, that’s why. When you’re seven, you’re going to gorge on those things, good or not.

Perhaps the most amazing and/or egregious thing my Grandma ever did with a gelatinous dessert was putting broccoli, carrots, and shredded lettuce in orange Jell-O and calling it “salad.”

Eye ♥ Doctors

Normally, Weirdohead is devoted to mocking weird things found on the internet. We do it a lot, and we’re dang good at it. But, we’re going to break with tradition this time around, and do something a little different.

So, a while back, some friends and I were traveling across the country, road trip style. We stopped for the night, a few days into our journey, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After checking into our hotel room, we set out on foot for the nearest watering hole, as we are wont to do in such situations. Our evening at the pub passed without incident, but on the way back to the hotel, some good natured shenanigans went awry.

To make a fairly short story shorter, a few of us were freestyle walking (what the hip kids nowadays might call “parkour”), and I took a bit of a tumble over a bench. While I was miraculously unhurt, my glasses fell off and pretty much exploded all over the sidewalk. They were the only pair I had with me, I don’t do contacts, and I am blind as a bat without them.

The next morning, one of my friends, using the internets via his intelligent cellular telephone, found us a Cedar Rapids eye doctor who didn’t require appointments. We went there and got me some new glasses lickety split. The rest of the trip would have been ruined without them (for me anyway), so these cats were real life savers. Or at least vision savers.

Freely?

Without doing any research—I’d look it up, but Google’s all the way over there—I will just assume that “Ethernet IP” is called “Ethernet IP” for a reason. Whoever came up with the name surely had a perfectly good reason for choosing it. But I think it’s safe to say they didn’t really think it through “long term.”

First of all, “Ethernet” is just too close to “internet.” Most of the time when people say “Ethernet,” people who hear them say it probably just think they have a lisp. This close-but-no-cigar-ness must have lead to more than a few problems over the years.

Secondly, it kind of sounds like an incomplete thought on how best to catch fish. “Either net or hook or spear,” seems like it would be the logical conclusion to what sounds like a dangling mangling of the English language.

Thirdly, while kids on the schoolyard playground probably have little to no use for Ethernet IP, anyone who has ever been a kid on the schoolyard playground could readily tell you that that particular duo of letters is not the best choice. Ye gods, imagine if some company made a small, portable version, roughly the size of a deck of cards, perhaps, and that they made the fatal mistake of calling the portable model “In Your Hand.”

¡Viva La Whoosh Tubes!

You know the pneumatic tubes that they have in the drive-through lines in banks, the ones where you put your transaction, et cetera, into the little cylinder, put the cylinder in the receiver, and it shoots off back to the bank teller? When I was a kid, I called those “whoosh tubes,” and I thought it would be the coolest thing in the world to be able to ride in a human-sized one.

Then, the criminally-underappreciated Futurama came along and proved, through their bizarrely awesome—or is it awesomely bizarre?—depiction of life in the 30th century, that I’m not the only one who thought this way. (For the unfamiliar, characters on the program often travel throughout New New York in what are basically giant, above ground, high speed pneumatic tubes, instead of using the subway, which, for reasons that would take too long to explain here, no longer exists.)

So, in the midst of a late night/early morning bout of insomnia and a little punch-drunk from lack of sleep, I wondered if it would be possible to create such a thing in real life. Surely all the components are readily available thanks to our friend the internet, yes?

I need about 600 of these, and they all need to be about 50 times bigger.

Well, as it turns out, yes and no. Rounding up the necessary equipment to build a system of pneumatic tubes isn’t the problem. Finding the correct tubing, pneumatic connectors, air compressors, et al, in human-sized proportions is. The physics of it might prove somewhat problematic as well, but I’ll worry about that after I’ve got my system of giant tubes built.

Until the equipment I need is available in the required sizes, all pneumatic component manufacturers are hereby put on the Weirdohead list. Until human-moving pneumatic tube systems exist, you have failed us. Shame on you, sirs and madams, shame on you all.