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American business is about to go... into the RED

The Dissolve's Nathan Rabin kicks off One and Done - a look at writers, directors and actors who only made a significant contribution to a single film - with a dive into Carrot Top's Chairman of the Board.

Cribbing from Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Yahoo Serious, this 1998 opus failed to establish the college prop comic as a box office draw. However, the appearance of Chairman of the Board co-star Courtney Thorne-Smith on Conan O'Brien (with guest Norm MacDonald) is unforgettable.
posted by porn in the woods on Jun 23, 2014 - 53 comments

Patent Improved Widget Self-Snaffelizer

Can you guess what the invention does? Beautiful and baffling machines in wood and brass from the Age of Steam. Selected from the collections of the Rothschild Petersen Patent Model Museum.
posted by Erasmouse on Jun 12, 2014 - 17 comments

The Indian Sanitary Pad Revolutionary

"I will be honest," says Muruganantham. "I would not even use it to clean my scooter." The incredible and funny story of a man who set out to change the way sanitary pads are viewed and made in India.
posted by secretdark on Mar 4, 2014 - 36 comments

The Sound Da Vinci Invented, but Never Heard

Leonardo Da Vinci is well known as a man who invented many things on paper that never found their way into three-dimensional reality. Some would later prove to be unworkable in reality. Others would later prove to be potentially life-saving. But not all of Da Vinci's inventions were of a practical nature. Consider his plans for the viola organista, a keyboard instrument containing a system of revolving wheels, strings and other machinery to create a kind of cello that can be played with a keyboard. Never constructed in Da Vinci's lifetime, the inventor himself could only imagine what it would actually sound like. We no longer have to imagine that. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Nov 18, 2013 - 43 comments

BECAUSE HE GODDAMN WELL COULD, THAT'S WHY

'News of impending fatherhood affects men in different ways. Some guys pump their fists. Others light cigars. A few flee. When 33-year-old Colin Furze learned that his girlfriend was pregnant, he channeled his paternal excitement into building the world’s fastest baby stroller.' The twin-exhaust, 10-horsepower, gasoline-fueled pram has four gears. And cupholders. And it can accelerate to 50mph in less than 30 seconds. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 17, 2013 - 28 comments

Gay Byrne says hello to his fanclub

In Which The Irish Invent Twitter, 1984 (via Broadsheet.ie) Back in 1984 on the Late Late Show Gay Byrne shows off a new invention, a machine that allows you to send text over the phonelines. Among the uses to which this invention was put was securely communicating with Nelson Mandela in prison. Although, unfortunately, it didn't work reliably with South African phone lines. [more inside]
posted by Fence on Aug 9, 2012 - 15 comments

"Technology presumes there's just one right way to do things and there never is." - Robert M. Pirsig

The Museum of RetroTechnology is a curated online collection of (mostly) obsolete inventions. The exhibitions include Gearwheels From Hell, the Dynosphere monowheel, Unusual Pedal Bicycles, Propeller-Driven Sleighs, Water Engines, Dog and Goat Engines, Acoustic Location and Sound Mirrors, Optical Telegraphs, and Combat Cutlery.
posted by troll on Feb 14, 2012 - 14 comments

Seeing with sonar

Tacit is a wearable sonar system for the vision-impaired that communicates the distance of nearby objects using variable pressure on the wrist of the user. Part list, circuit diagram, and detailed instructions for building the ~$100 device included.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Aug 19, 2011 - 9 comments

Dr Fad... Dr Fad... Dr Fad...

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. [more inside]
posted by antifuse on Jul 28, 2011 - 35 comments

"A Socially Developed Product™"

Quirky is sort of like Threadless, but for inventions. (via) [more inside]
posted by flex on Jun 24, 2011 - 14 comments

"Watch how it works."

Fifth Wheel Driving! [SLYT]
posted by Fizz on Feb 28, 2011 - 20 comments

The Future's So Bright ...

A Day in the Future. "I don’t live in Philadelphia, but my friend has a machine that lets us see what’s happening there. I have one too. Almost everyone does. The sun won’t rise for another hour, but I don’t need to light a fire or candles. I have artificial ones, mounted on the ceiling. Hit a tiny switch and I can see everything, any time of day."
posted by WCityMike on Jan 12, 2011 - 78 comments

Speed-Creating

Dominic Wilcox (previously) spent a month speed-creating - inventing something new every day for 30 days with the resources around him. Amongst his creations are lightbulb bread, a diary in the form of measuring tape, and a football that makes smoothies.
posted by divabat on Nov 1, 2010 - 8 comments

A man with a new idea is a crank…… until he succeeds.

A chair that can diagnose depression and bipolar disorder and calibrate medication. Solar paint that turns every surface into solar power collection material. A infinitely variable geared transmission that never loses the sweet spot. A tool for microscopes that can detect bacteria quickly and cheaply using flashed light. And a power plant the size of a room that can turn out 10kw power from low grade heat. These five inventions were finalists in the Australian science show The New Inventors. And the winner is... [more inside]
posted by Kerasia on Sep 23, 2010 - 42 comments

Fighting to Return My Obligation to the American Taxpayer

Dirty Medicine — How medical supply behemoths stick it to the little guy, making America’s health care system more dangerous and expensive. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jul 12, 2010 - 14 comments

50 Worst Pageviews Ever

What do you do when you're supposed to come up with 50 separate webpages on a poorly defined topic? You come up with a mix of dangerous products (most of which were successful before their dangers were known), second-best technologies, just plain silly ideas, cool things that never caught on, uncool things that DID catch on and modern annoyances (including one that your website uses) to make "Time Magazine's 50 Worst Inventions" (link points to FULL LIST, or just refer to all the tags).
(I know, not the BEST of the web; just the MOST of the web)

posted by oneswellfoop on May 30, 2010 - 43 comments

Intellectual Ventures

Intellectual Ventures is an invention factory founded by Nathan Myhrvold, who previously founded Microsoft Research and was MS's CTO. Bill Gates raves about IV, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article about the IV invention process in The New Yorker, Newsweek profiled Nathan’s company in April 2010, and this week there was an hour-long TV interview with Myhrvold on Charlie Rose. Take a 6-min video tour of the laboratory.
posted by stbalbach on May 26, 2010 - 43 comments

The Amazing Inventions of Steven M. Johnson

Steven M. Johnson is a prolific inventor whose designs revolutionize everything from office apparel to recreational vehicles to basketball. Many of of these inventions are found in his 1984 book What the World Needs Now.
posted by twoleftfeet on May 2, 2010 - 15 comments

Variations on Normal

Variations on Normal - the unusual inventions of Dominic Wilcox. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Feb 25, 2010 - 9 comments

Flying bicycles

Kolelinia is a city fly attempt. We are born to move, this makes us alive. The transport is not only a transport, it has to be an experience! (via)
posted by mrgrimm on Jan 13, 2010 - 41 comments

Les Freres Lumière

The Lumière brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean, were among the earliest filmmakers. Their father, Claude-Antoine Lumière, ran a photographic firm and both brothers worked for him. It was not until their father retired in 1892 that the brothers began to create moving pictures. They patented a number of significant processes leading up to their film camera — most notably film perforations as a means of advancing the film through the camera and projector, and the cinématographe. Their first public screening of films at which admission was charged was held on December 28, 1895 in Paris. This history-making presentation featured ten short films, including their first film, Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). Each film is 17 meters long, which, when hand cranked through a projector, runs approximately 50 seconds. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Oct 6, 2009 - 11 comments

Dumb inventions

LIFE magazine presents: 30 Dumb Inventions of the 1950s and 60s. via laughing squid.
posted by serazin on Oct 6, 2009 - 82 comments

And the Pursuit of Happiness

Maira Kalman (previously - 1 | 2 | 3) on Benjamin Franklin.
posted by ericb on Aug 1, 2009 - 16 comments

He ain't heavy, he's my guitar ...

"The StringStation introduces a fresh and inventive playing surface allowing one musician to play in real time on an instrument that offers thunderous bass, compelling rhythm, 3-D orchestration and melody. It uses new ways to approach groups of strings that find amazing intertwined performance techniques. It opens and lays out new paths to evolve tactile music composition skills." It's the baby of engineer/inventor Jim Bartz, who is on a mission to bring his invention into the musical mainstream. Start your exploration of what the StringStation can do with this video of Bartz playing his prototype model (actual performance comes in at 2:25). [more inside]
posted by woodblock100 on May 8, 2009 - 28 comments

A Century of Disasters: The Top 10 Worst Inventions in History

The Cat Wig, The Inflatable Dartboard, et al. Plus, two inventions that sound bad, but aren't.
posted by forrestal on Mar 18, 2009 - 23 comments

new designs

DesignFilter: Walking house designed to beat the floods [pics and vid] l Wearable Gadgets [pics and vids] l Backpacks l Commuting by JetPack l Blog Designs l Twitter Clapper l and for Halloween, some awesome [whoa] carved pumpkin designs.
posted by nickyskye on Oct 31, 2008 - 13 comments

Make it work

"He's always thinking about lots of things — he's a pollinator, he brings ideas to the table" You probably know Neal Stephenson for his work as an author (generally in or adjacent to the Science Fiction genre), but he's also an inventor at Washington based "Idea Factory" Intellectual Ventures, a place with modern goals like stomping out malaria and preventing hurricanes. This is after his old job as part-time rocket scientist.
posted by Artw on Sep 1, 2008 - 17 comments

Invention Playhouse

Explore the playful side of invention and the inventive side of play in Invention at Play. Learn how play connects to the creative impulse of both historic and contemporary inventors. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jun 1, 2008 - 1 comment

Water water everywhere, now with more drops to drink

Not content to rest on his laurels after creations like the portable kidney dialysis machine, the IBOT robotic wheelchair, the Segway, and the innovative cyborg replacement limbs, DEKA Research President Dean Kamen demonstrates his new vapor compression distiller on The Colbert Report. [more inside]
posted by mullingitover on Mar 21, 2008 - 71 comments

On The Fence

On November 24, 1874, Joseph Glidden was granted patent number 157124. The invention decribed within is the subject of striking images, body art, and painfully bad movies. Yet, the history of barbed wire is interesting enough to warrant multiple museums.
posted by DWRoelands on Mar 6, 2008 - 19 comments

dining designs

Cutlery pen caps l Top 10 Picks of the Dining in 2015 competition. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Feb 1, 2008 - 10 comments

flubber blue

Reporter whacks man with shovel [video]. d30 (dee-three-oh) is a specially engineered material made with intelligent molecules. They flow with you as you move but on shock lock together to absorb the impact energy.
posted by nickyskye on Oct 7, 2007 - 47 comments

Can Do But Why Bother?

Lazy-Ass Nation. "Somewhere along the way, we fell in love with the dream of the effort-free existence."
posted by amyms on Sep 19, 2007 - 41 comments

interesting visuals

AmazingFilter: foolish fun inventions, lovey dovey, trompe l'oeil and anamorphosis art by Eduador Relero, Bev Doolittle(?), on buildings, kirigami, photographs [disturbing] and irony.
posted by nickyskye on May 19, 2007 - 12 comments

this is going to change the world ...

Gizmo - using news footage from the 1920s to the 1950s, Howard Smith created an amusing 1977 documentary about contraptions made by the inventors, technophiles, and eccentrics of yesteryear. The last 7 minutes is Letterman interviewing Smith. (Google video, 1 hr., 19 min. Via beans beans good for your heart)
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 24, 2007 - 10 comments

Exhausted Air Recycling System

Australian inventor Chris Bosua, frustrated by the inefficiency of his air compressor, devised a method of recycling the exhaust air from air tools. His Exhausted Air Recycling System (E.A.R.S.) improves efficiency by eighty percent. It runs cooler, almost halves the power consumption, extends the life of the compressor, provides a cleaner working environment, and reduces the noise of an air tool to that of a sewing machine. Happy Earth Day, everyone!
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium on Apr 22, 2007 - 31 comments

Beer! Now! Fire!

The Beer Launcher. From the starry eyed minds of the students of Duke University comes the next great innovation in humankind's continued struggle to stay sedentary.
posted by parmanparman on Feb 26, 2007 - 69 comments

I (Y)am The Genius

Yoshiro Nakamatsu aka Dr. NakaMats has invented everything, other than all the other stuff that the rest of us have invented. He has 3218 patents to his name. (Edison had 1093.) Among his many inventions? The compact disc, the compact disc player ('natch), the digital watch, a unique golf putter, the floppy disk (!), and a water-powered engine. Besides being the founder of the World Genius Convention (where the world first learned of ingenuity of ADR ceramic disks, for instance), Dr. NakaMats was voted by the US Science Academic Society as one of five greatest scientists in history - in the company of Archimedes, Michael Faraday, Marie Curie, and Nikola Tesla - and he plans to live until 144!
posted by humannaire on Feb 23, 2007 - 27 comments

innovations of sorts

Some new gadgets, things and inventions: solar bikini that charges your ipod, paper soft wall, waterproof laptop, million dollar fishing lure, Obvio hybrid micro-car, needle-free injection, hi-tech dummies that can speak, breathe, bleed, react to drugs & die, dragon bag. Interactive sight, sound and physical objects from the student artists of the NYU Interactive telecommunications biannual showcase [video], including Animalia Chordata and Botanicalls, building telecommunications between people and their plants.
posted by nickyskye on Jan 7, 2007 - 22 comments

Time Magazine's Best Inventions of 2006

Time Magazine has released its picks for the best inventions of 2006. Youtube beat out a vaccine that cures a STD that causes cervical cancer. Not to mention this extremely lifelike robot, this magic mirror, a wine-tasting robot and a shirt that simulates a hug!
posted by eunoia on Nov 13, 2006 - 25 comments

A technological Hero

Leonardo is overrated: the steam turbine was invented two millennia ago by Hero of Alexandria who developed the aeolipile as a toy. Hero was also responsible for the first vending machine (for holy water) and hydraulic automatic temple doors, along with advances in areas as diverse as physics and mathematics. A translation of Hero's influential Pneumatics is available online, featuring illustrated examples of many of his inventions, many of which are related to clever devices for drinking or prayer, or both.
posted by blahblahblah on Jun 20, 2006 - 18 comments

Boredom detector

Device warns you if you're boring or irritating MIT develops emotional intelligence prosthetic.
posted by srs on Mar 30, 2006 - 21 comments

Top 25 Inventions of 2006

The Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge named 25 finalists (selected from over 4,000 entries) in a competition to find the greatest invention of 2006. The winner will be named during History Channel's Great Inventions Week (May 24-27th), but you won't have to wait to check out the finalists. MAKE: Blog briefly profiled each invention in a series of posts this week: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. The inventions will also be on exhibit at the California Science Center in Los Angeles (April 7-15th), the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (April 20-30th), the Museum of Science in Boston (May 5-14th) and Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal in New York City (May 22-27th), and finally, the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, OH (through August 2006).
posted by paulychamp on Mar 22, 2006 - 10 comments

Where's My Flying Car?

Where Science Meets Fiction "Explore the wide variety of inventions and ideas of science fiction writers - over 975 are available on Technovelgy (that's tek-novel-gee!)." Science fiction inventions become reality. Sort of.
posted by ereshkigal45 on Mar 10, 2006 - 3 comments

The World's Most Underrated Inventions

The World's Most Underrated Inventions A curious list of the world's most underrated inventions. Including: the chariot; concrete; horse collar; longbow; eyeglasses; rotary printing press; barbed wire; carborundum; and bakelite.
posted by dios on Nov 14, 2005 - 41 comments

Meet The Melloman

"What did you do to my Intelligent Synthesizer?" Wonderful collection of DIY sound gizmos from Mike Walters at Mystery Circuits. Includes the Pena-Tron, the Electronic Earthball and detailed instructions for the Moog Source Membrane Switch Cure. Most recent: The Melloman, a hilariously elliptical DIY Mellotron. [note: 3rd, 4th and 8th links are mp3s] [via]
posted by mediareport on Oct 17, 2005 - 7 comments

Deafness in disguise

Concealed hearing devices of the 19th and 20th centuries. Great images in this delightful exhibit of wacky yet charming devices like auricle headphones, dentaphones, concealed beard receptors, barrettes, jewelry, hats, and acoustic chairs.
posted by madamjujujive on Oct 15, 2005 - 20 comments

Best idea since sliced toast? Or butter-side downer?

Since Sliced Bread: A union-sponsored contest to find and develop ideas to improve the U.S. economy - the winner will receive $100,000. Entries range from virally-spreading an anti-exploitation shame meme to increasing US world domination. Other greatest ideas since sliced bread include your own personal jesus toast, corporate logos on toast, and Liberty.
posted by Rumple on Oct 8, 2005 - 6 comments

Ancient Inventions

The Virtual Museum of Ancient Inventions, most of the discoveries and inventions on which modern societies have been constructed were made in prehistoric times. Ancient inventions tell detailed stories of complex knowledge for which no written records exist.
posted by nickyskye on Jul 12, 2005 - 13 comments

Bring along a demijohn

Captain Cornelius is a superhero and is also an ear of corn. He's probably destined to fall for Zea Mays, who is also corn, and encourages children to invent things.
posted by Wolfdog on May 18, 2005 - 5 comments

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