Two things about working in coffee shops. First, don't assume everyone else in there is a hipster. Second, don't assume that the elderly person who befriends you is a crazy old man telling tall tales. Else you may miss out on the meeting experience of a lifetime
posted by Wordshore
on Aug 8, 2012 -
When Arunachalam Muruganantham hit a wall in his research on creating a sanitary napkin for poor women, he decided to do what most men typically wouldn’t dream of. He wore one himself--for a whole week. [...] It resulted in endless derision and almost destroyed his family. But no one is laughing at him anymore, as the sanitary napkin-making machine he went on to create is transforming the lives of rural women across India.
An Indian Inventor Disrupts The Period Industry. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis
on Dec 19, 2011 -
In 1983, Ken Hakuta
's mother in Japan sent him some toys in the mail for his kids. They were octopus shaped, and when you threw them against the wall they "walked" down the wall. Seeing some marketing potential, he bought the rights to the toys for $100,000, and the Wacky Wall Walker was born. It became a HUGE success after a slow start, being offered as a prize in Kellogg's cereals
and even inspiring a Christmas special on NBC
. Eventually they ended up (according to Hakuta) selling a over 240 million units!
Sometime during this wildly successful period, Dr. Fad
was born. Ken wanted to everybody to invent and create. From 1988 to 1994, the Dr Fad Show
featured a Wall Walker-covered-sweater wearing Hakuta as "Dr Fad" in a kids' gameshow format, with contestants coming on and showing off their inventions, the winner being judged by an applause meter. The show also had a "Golden Gizmo" segment, honouring the great fads of the past - a young Rodney Mullen
accepted the Golden Gizmo for skateboarding, while other "famous" folks responsible (or in some other way related to) the fads appeared to receive the award in other segments.
posted by antifuse
on Jul 28, 2011 -
Starlite: Ineffective for Car Bonnets, Great Against Nuclear Blasts.
In the late 1980s, an English amateur inventor and hair-dresser released
a plastic which, he claimed, had unusual heat-resistant properties. BBC Television demonstrated the material, dubbed Starlite, keeping an egg cool despite a five-minute onslaught from a blowtorch; here the inventor provides
links to the footage
. After initial skepticism, the reception from industrial and military players was rapturous. But while Starlite apparently stood up to the heat of 10000 Celsius lasers, its inventor, wary of being cheated, proved equally stubborn in negotiation, and Starlite seems never have been brought to market or mass production. [more inside]
posted by darth_tedious
on Jun 11, 2011 -
Once, there was a boy named Yves. He lived in the mountainous country of Switzerland, and he dreamed of flying. He loved the idea of being free to soar through the air so much that he became a pilot
. Later, he went on to fly bigger planes
. Perhaps he's even been your pilot.
But being a pilot was never quite enough. Yves still dreamed of soaring through the air, like a bird. And now, he does. Meet Jetman
posted by anigbrowl
on Nov 7, 2010 -
The Personal Photographs of Dr. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, Television Pioneer.
The screen images are time exposure photographs of the picture on the kinescope in the monitoring rack in the main control room. Some were taken with stationary frames of moving picture film projected upon the iconoscope by a standard moving picture machine. Others are actually the pictures transmitted with the iconoscope camera in the studio and outdoors.
posted by tellurian
on May 3, 2010 -
were, in the 1930s, trialling new ideas for their children's range. An employee suggested that as "women and children were afraid of mice," rather than a chocolate mouse, a chocolate frog
would be more popular with children. Three days later, what would become Australia's most popular children's confectionery, the Freddo Frog
, was born. Its supposed creator, Harry Melbourne, died last week
, having never received a cent in royalties. However, to this day there remains confusion as to whether he, or rather the inventor of the Cherry Ripe
, Lesley Atkison, was in fact responsible
. Those that only know him in chocolate form may be surprised to find out that Freddo was also the star of Australia's first cartoon
posted by Mil
on Jan 29, 2007 -