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'After all, great inventions, he says, “always require a little luck.”'

The Invention Of The AeroPress
There’s really nothing bad to say about the device other than the fact that it’s a funny-looking plastic thingy. Then again, its inventor, Stanford professor Alan Adler, is a world renowned inventor of funny-looking plastic thingies; while Adler’s Palo Alto based company Aerobie is best known today for its coffee makers, the firm rose to prominence in the 1980s for its world-record-setting flying discs. This is the story of how Adler and Aerobie dispelled the notion of industry-specific limitations and found immense success in two disparate industries: toys and coffee.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 7, 2014 - 95 comments

 

Stinkor. The He-Man Canonical villan who still stinks

Almost 30 years after original sale, some 80's toys are sought after for their less than pleasant odour. If you can get hold of one today, you'll discover that the He-Man villains Stinkor and Moss Man still cling to their particular [pungent] aroma. [more inside]
posted by Faintdreams on Jan 14, 2014 - 68 comments

Protean Adaptability

A brief history of plastic: "Having crossed that material Rubicon, comb makers never went back." [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on Oct 10, 2012 - 11 comments

Just one word - Plastics

Even if cars soon start running entirely on electricity or hydrogen, they'll still need 100 gallons or more of oil to make their plastic parts...
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist on May 26, 2009 - 69 comments

Got a crafting urge all bottled up?

Even though you recycle the plastic you discard, you sometimes feel guilty about how much you throw out and worry about where it's going. Would you like to be a little more hands on and proactive and recycle some of your plastics yourself? If so, I've got some ideas for you. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Nov 1, 2008 - 28 comments

Welding Plastic

Most people are familiar with welding metal, but it’s entirely possible to weld plastic. There are a surprising number of ways to weld plastic, but first you will need to identify what kind it is. The smell of burning plastic is a particularly effective diagnostic. This man is welding with hot air. Many instructional videos are made by companies whose products are featured in the video, like this somewhat surreal demonstration of speed tip welding. Perhaps the most low-tech method is with a soldering iron.
posted by Tube on Jul 19, 2008 - 42 comments

Would I like it? What a DREAM! But hey, what happens if I push this red button?

In the early 1950's, Monsanto Chemical Company, MIT and Disneyland collaborated their resources and creative brainpower to build "the house of 1986." Using 30,000 pounds of plastic (The building's structure, carpet, chairs, sinks, appliances and floors were all plastic. About $7,500 to $15,000 worth.), the Monsanto House of the Future* was opened to an excited public in June of 1957. It was closed in 1967 as ideas of the future were beginning to change. Let's take a quick tour, shall we?
*(Not to be confused with Xanadu Homes of Tomorrow.) [more inside]
posted by miss lynnster on Dec 12, 2007 - 30 comments

The Faces of War

The Faces of War, a fascinating document of the prosthetic masks used to cover serious facial injuries from the battlefield. Before plastic surgery was widely practised and used to reconstruct the horrific facial injuries of the First World War soldiers, men with the most serious facial injured were often hidden away from society.

Men such as those recorded in watercolour, and in pastels (warning: some may find these images disturbing); patients of Harold Gillies, pioneer of facial reconstruction at Queen's Hospital, Sidcup, the wars major centre for facial reconstruction and plastic surgery.
posted by chrisbucks on Oct 1, 2007 - 24 comments

Little Beauty

Loes Modderman's Science Art
Beautiful microscopic art, often striking similar to some modern art. Dig the abstract crystal images: cholesterol, crystal landscapes, vitamin c is psychedelic. Explore the sands of the world! Bubbles are pretty, plastics rock, fluids are minimalist. (via)
posted by MetaMonkey on Mar 30, 2006 - 5 comments

Mold A Rama!

Mold A Rama! Remember those plastic lions, tigers and gorillas? How about an Abraham Lincoln bust or locomotive? You remember those machines where you stuck a quarter in and watched as 250 degree plastic was pumped into a mold and then automotive antifreeze was hosed in to supposedly cool the mold before the animal was pushed into the compartment below for your waiting hands. Remember the burnt plastic smell? Those really hot to-the-touch animals that you wore down your parents until they gave you a quarter animals are not just simply things from your fading memory. Uh uh, new molds are being made even today. Not good enough you say? Then buy your very own vintage Mold A Rama for a mere $9,500!
posted by Juicylicious on Jan 21, 2005 - 43 comments

Chat Room

Microscopic fragments of plastic are a "major pollutant", floating in the ocean, settling on seabeds, and washing up onshore - with unknown consequences for marine ecosystems, according to a new study. "We've found this microscopic plastic material at all of the sites we've examined," [lead researcher] Dr Richard C Thompson [of University of Plymouth, UK] said. "Interestingly, the abundance is reasonably consistent. So, it suggests to us that the problem is really quite ubiquitous."
posted by mcgraw on May 7, 2004 - 15 comments

Plastics! A new revolution in packaging,

Plastics! A new revolution in packaging, "By some measures, films made of metallocene-based polyethylenes can have two to three times the tensile strength, five times the impact strength, and twice the tear strength of a traditional polymer. That allows users to make much thinner films and parts, saving on everything from plastic resin to transport costs."
posted by kliuless on Dec 17, 2001 - 1 comment

One word...Plastics.

One word...Plastics. New techniques for restoring bones. Speaking of broken bones, is everyone else dreading the full media coverage of Ronald Reagan's slow liquefaction over the next several years.
posted by ritualdevice on Jan 15, 2001 - 12 comments

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