In “2001: A Space Odyssey” director Stanley Kubrick opens his film with a group of apes discovering the monolith, which was a towering structure of great significance, that would serve as a beacon to change of global proportions, and shape the events of everything that was to come.
In 2013, we now know this was not a creative plot device and instead a herald of the real future, as the monolith was recently discovered, and it has taken the form of an arcade machine called The Last Barfighter.
The machine runs off of motion sensors that recognize cups and not quarters, and it only appears at special events, most around the brewery’s home state of North Carolina. With any conceivable amount of luck though, they will start getting these to venues everywhere as it is not only one of the more significant milestones in all of human endeavors, but the best combination of beer and games ever.
With the biggest blizzard of the winter set to pound sections of northeast with potential snowfalls of 3 feet, most are preparing by buying canned goods, bottled waters, and similar items to ready themselves for the worst.
Let’s not forget though that if everything works out okay, you’ll be left with a large winter battleground for perhaps the last snowball fight of the winter. Take no chances then of living with humiliating defeat all through the Spring, Summer, and Fall, and arm yourself with gadgets designed to make you a snowball fight king.
Before the first wave of attacks, you’re going to need to arm yourself up with a primary arsenal of snowballs, and there is no quicker way to do that then with the Sno-Baller.
It’s a simple clamp that makes a perfectly formed snowball every time without muss, fuss, or freezing wet hands. It may not make as large of snowballs as you could the old fashioned way, but with an estimated output capacity of 60 snowballs a minute, it’s an essential tool for preparing your assault and defense on the snow fields of battles.
Icebox Igloo Maker
Whether it is your primary attack position or an area of retreat, every snowball fight soldier needs a good fort.
Waste no time then in building your base and employ the Igloo Maker from Icebox. It’s basically a scoop that allows you to perfectly pack in a hunk of snow and build a snow brick from. With 8 adjustment sizes, you have the option to create the perfect layering for your fort, meaning even under the heaviest of onslaughts, you need not worry about the integrity of your base, or break your back constructing it.
The best medieval forts and castles knew the advantages of having a good series of archers in place when fortifying your position and generally crippling your enemies’ chances of victory.
And what better substitute for a company of archers then the snowball crossbow? Composed of high quality plastic and elastic, the crossbow uses a band and pulley type system that lets the user load a snowball in the muzzle and, through a varying degree of force, absolutely launch a snowball up to nearly 60 feet. It’s built to last, and is one of the best first wave weapons you could ask for in a snowball fight.
The Snowball Blaster
As great as the snowball crossbow is, when you need a more primary attack device, you can accept no substitutes and must turn to the 50 foot snowball blaster.
As you may have gathered, it gets its name from its ability to launch a snowball up to 50 feet, and can hold up to four snowballs at once (three in reserve, and one in the chamber). Function wise, it works in a similar capacity to the crossbow, and while it may have a slightly shorter range, it does have a greater ammo capacity and handier design, making it a must have go-to in any snowball fight, and prevents you from resorting to your hands as a primary attack like some sort of animal.
Of course if things turn sour in the battle, and you find yourself needing to escape, or at least temporary retreat to a better position, then there is no better alternative than the Slegoon,
It resembles those chute pods used to enter contestants into “The Running Man” game, and it’s aerodynamic design allows for maximum speed capabilities for a non-motored power unit, plus the roll cage bars not only add some much needed safety, but double as a shield from incoming snowball attacks. Not that you will have to worry about that, as unless you’re facing opposition armed with some of the other tools on this list, you shouldn’t have be concerned about anyone reaching you in this.
The only disadvantage? They’re not exactly easy to find through retail, if available through that avenue at all.
Between the chilly weather, my fondness of sleeping, and preference to not work as opposed to going to work, It’s been harder and harder to get going in the morning.
Is the problem a lack of motivation and general laziness? No, I’m sure not. Instead it must be my simple alarm clock, which just isn’t capable of besting my urge to stay in bed. If you share that same problem, then allow me to present you some more intense alarm alternatives, all of which have ways beyond an annoying beep to force you to get up in the morning.
Electrifying Alarm clock
Taken in aesthetically, the singNshock alarm is just a well designed and good looking alarm clock, with a soothing music playing wake-up feature, and multicolor LED display. On first glance, it’s actually very welcoming.
But once it’s time to get up, the singNshock immediately ceases all notions of friendliness, and straight up shocks you into waking up. The moment you try to turn your alarm off, the alarm sends a small millivolt (1 thousandth of a volt) electrical charge through your body. It’s not enough to make your hair stand on end, and can actually be turned off, but it will get your attention when it’s most needed, which is kind of a theme on this list.
Gun Alarm Clock
Most of us have aggressive tendencies towards our alarm clocks and, in moments of sleep deprived frustration, you may have even fantasied about shooting it.
Don’t suppress those darker urges though, but rather encourage them with the Gun O’ Clock. Whenever the alarm goes off in the morning, a target pops up from it and requires you to use the light gun accessory to shoot it down via either quick shot mode (5 perfect shots in 3 minutes), a quick draw speed shot, or a random mode. It’s not a beat you over the head school of alarm clock design, but it does require a little hand eye coordination, and provides a bit of entertainment to get you started with the day.
Carpet Alarm Clock
We now get more into the idea of motion based alarm clocks, as the toughest part of any morning is getting out of bed.
The carpet alarm directly addresses that issue, as you are required to stand up and step on the carpet in order to turn it off. There’s even a nice LED pressure sensitive clock built into the otherwise normal rug, bringing it closer to the traditional alarm clock look. While there are quite a number of cheats for this such as placing it right by, or even on your bed, and then going back to sleep, purists will put this on the other side of room and force themselves out of bed every morning.
Rolling Alarm Clock
Like the carpet alarm clock, this one is based on the idea of you moving to wake up in the morning. Unlike the carpet alarm, this one presents few cheats to counter it.
One of the oldest and most effective of the tough alarm designs, Clocky is equipped with wheels so that when your alarm goes off, so does the clock. As it rolls around, you’re forced to chase it down in an effort to turn it off. The clock moves with good speed, and in random patterns, making it an effort to pursue it, and providing you with the necessary amount of motion, and a healthy bit of early exercise, needed to get you going.
Weight Alarm Clock
Then again, if a little exercise isn’t enough to get your day started, you should probably consider an alarm that demands a full amount of reps.
Modeled like a dumbbell, the shape up alarm has no problem turning off in the morning, so long as you are willing to do a few curls. Specifically it requires 30 curls done in succession for the alarm to deactivate, which is a healthy amount designed to make sure that you are using more than a quick motion, or hazy chase down, to try to get moving. Instead it takes a concentrated physical effort to overcome this hardcore alarm.
IQ Alarm Clock
Of course, there are more important parts of your body to work out in order to have a productive morning than your biceps, one of which would be your brain.
In fact, more than your limbs, it’s usually your brain that’s the last thing to start working in the morning, and the IQ alarm knows that. That’s why it ditches the snooze button, and comes equipped with an extremely difficult battery compartment, ensuring that to stop the alarm you will have to answer 1-3 (the required number is changeable) IQ test level questions. It’s a clever design, as it requires you to be equally clever to best it.
Sonic Boom Alarm Clock
When you don’t want to trust to gimmicks and novelties to wake you up, you need an alarm clock that has no interest in, or ability to, play games.
The Sonic Boom is a standard alarm clock in that it displays time, makes a beeping sound, and even has a snooze button. The difference is the main alarm on its top setting can achieve a level of 113 decibels (the equivalency of a jackhammer or rock concert). Not only that, but it is equipped with bright flashing red lights, and a disk that fits under your mattress and shakes your bed with extreme authority until you turn the alarm off. There may be no additional features to assure you won’t roll back to sleep, but the ruthless aggressiveness of the Sonic Boom may just put you into fear of disobeying it by even suggesting you rest your eyes. Such is its authority.
When I saw “Taxi Driver” for the first time, I was too young to fully comprehend, and appreciate, the incredible characters, biting social commentary, or tightly structured plot. What I did take away from Scorsese’s second best movie (first is “Goodfellas”, naturally) is the sheer coolness of those spring loaded, sleeve hidden gun launchers that main character Travis Bickle wielded.
Of course, like all great over the top movie inventions, someone will eventually find a way to incorporate them into our everyday lives. Those hidden gun launchers are no exception, but even still I found the manner in which inventor Showta Mori worked that technology into the real world to be…a bit odd, as he demonstrates in this gut bustlingly hilarious video.
Not only is that device that can shoot your phone, via forearm pressure, into your hands from your sleeve stupendously moronic, entirely superfluous, and even irresponsibly hazardous, it’s also completely awesome and on sale via the inventor’s Etsy shop, where it retails for about $80 and is compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5.
Before you completely dismiss the validity of this device, be sure to consider that in an increasingly pop culture obsessed world that is already way too in love with their smartphones, and value any device that will allow them to use them with minimal physical effort, this device could, against all odds, actually make a sale or two.
Of course, if you do buy one, you are required to occasionally pop your phone into your hands and answer it by saying, “Are you talking to me?”
Bartender is a job that still carries some mystique to the common drinker, as the person behind the bar still exists as a figurehead to many patrons. There’s something striking about even a standard server of spirits, and something downright mythical about the one who can create that perfect drink, or control a crowded room like they’re dangling strings over the masses.
It’s not an easy life though, as a truly great bartender must have an eye on every little aspect of the bar, a head full of drink recipes and orders, and the quick hands that put it all together. So while everyone may not be cut out to be a bartender, thanks to a tool called the bar10der, everyone can make mixing drinks a little easier. It’s basically the drinker’s Swiss army knife (the Irish army knife perhaps?), and features 10 tools essential for any good bartender:
- A jigger to measure ½ ounce and ounce pours
- Muddler for crushing
- Reamer for squeezed juice mixtures
- A bottle opener
- A zester for citrus
- A channel knife for fruit twists
- And of course a basic 4” blade
All of the tools are neatly packaged into a less than 9 inch long rubber handle, that comes in multiple colors, and though it is a bit pricey at $49.99, it is really just a fantastic all around device, especially if you’ll soon be hosting a new years eve party.
The Nest may be cornering the market on the future of central air conditioning, but even with such a great innovation, there will always be room for the classic ceiling fan set up. It’s not only the preference of many home owners, but still the necessity in some regions when it comes to cooling down a room. Yet unlike central air’s revolution with the Nest, the ceiling fan has not really had the privilege of new age influence creating a fresh design.
Until the bladeless fan from Exhale Fans that is. Supposedly inspired by the works of Nikola Tesla, the bladeless ceiling fan works much in the same manner as a tradition fan, as it redistributes the existing air in a room and converts it to a cooling flow. The difference is that it’s more discreet, more stylish (available in several colors in fact), extremely quiet, cheaper, and most importantly can provide cool (or warm depending on the need) air evenly throughout a room instead of in select spots like the usual ceiling fan. A great example of this can be found in the demonstration video that shows the fan’s capabilities of complete air flow coverage with the help of a smoke machine.
If you’d like to support the bladeless fan…you’re too late. It’s already achieved its funding goal on the site indiegogo, and will soon go into production and be available via the manufacturer’s website. Should you buy it when available then? Well, it’s not often that you see a device which can improve upon the classic design of a necessary object, and vastly improve the functionality of it as well, so unless you’re aiming for a classic Havana kingpin inspired design for your home, it’s hard not to recommend jumping on the biggest improvement to come to the ceiling fan since…well the ceiling fan.
The way in which we read is changing, as is the way we consume most media. The introduction of Ebook readers and tablets has of course changed the book market. But is it for the better or for the worse? There are of course arguments for both sides, but either way the world and market is becoming more digital. To embrace it is to thrive.
There is of course some negative impact on the sales of printed books with the introduction of new technology. Fewer people are buying print copies, and even with soaring sales of Ebooks there are differences in the way people buy, and the way the book industry makes a profit. For example hardback copies are in decline, meaning a decline in the higher profit margin publishers receive. Though of course there will always be consumers who resist the new technology in favour of the emotive experience of a printed copy. Over time Ebook readers are becoming more authentic though and increasing numbers of traditionalists are embracing the digital future of books.
People also consume books in a different way, whilst multibuys were highly valued by consumers in sales of printed books, the same techniques would not be so profitable when it comes to digital.
The reason for the difference in buyer behavior is that books are now more convenient. It’s far easier to purchase that new title, and it takes just moments whereas previously consumers liked to stockpile either whilst buying online (fewer deliveries and lower cost) or in the shop.
This also means that if a particular author, or book crosses a consumers mind they can buy it there and then. This drastically reduces basket abandonment and will obviously lead to higher sales overall. Impulse buying is a real advantage of our new instant book culture. As we all know, consumers want their purchases delivered yesterday.
The costs of producing digital versions is also far lower, eliminating print costs, packaging and postage means that profit margins are higher. Despite the slightly lower cost to the customer.
Ebook readers and tablets have brought reading back up to date, and in line with the digital age. A development that long term will see the continuation of reading as a popular pastime, as opposed to it being left behind.
The future of books
Leaps in technology now also mean that children are becoming more and more familiar with the Ebook format, especially with the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire and other color Ebook readers. For the first time children can enjoy picture books in all their glory on a digital device. This will encourage a younger generation to read, and enjoy reading whilst keeping up to date with the latest technology.
Of course there’s the risk of consumers being distracted from their book by all the other apps that are available on these multifunctional devices, but in time publishers will adapt and find new ways to keep customer “in” their app rather than distracted by others.
In the land of sci-fi cops and criminals battles, the technological advancements to the fight usually comes in natural forms (better weapons, better vehicles, incredible computer systems) to the obscure (detecting crime before it happens, anti-graffiti walls, and of course, the above shown half-man, half-machine law enforcement officers).
Oddly one of the most important, and practical, devices that never seem to get much of an update in the fictitious future of film are the handcuffs. Maybe that’s because most of us just view them as simple restraints, that don’t actually need an upgrade past the purpose of keeping a convict’s hands to themselves.
There is a company called Scottsdale Inventions, though, that has a patent in the works that aims to change that perception. With their new design, handcuffs would provide active, non-violent solutions to truly restraining prisoners. The biggest feature in this is their shock capabilities, which can remotely send taser like voltage to a prisoner through the cuffs. This could be accomplished in a variety of ways, including a remote signal, to setting parameters similar to the shock collar on a dog. Items that are also off limits like weapons or door handles could be tagged so that going near them would send a shock as well.
Should the shocks prove to be ineffective, the cuffs have one more trick available, that could allow an injection of presumably pacifying drugs to be administered in extreme situations. This would either be in the form of a liquid or gas injection system.
Even in the early prototype model, there is already a very strong emphasis on safety and prevention. Early examples of this include visual and audio warnings that alert the detainee if a shock or shot is coming. The cuffs will also keep a record of the time, quantity, and severity of shocks and injections, as well as function as a tracking device.
While flying cars and android officers might be the more exciting and flashy images of future law enforcement, it’s devices like these handcuffs that will ultimately provide the real futuristic contributions to the war on crime.
Along with the dreaded stubbed toe, and the fierce paper cut (which thanks to technology, future generations may never have to know), a burnt tongue is one of the more annoying every day pains you can suffer.
The only problem is, even though the pain lasts all day and ranges from incredibly annoying to genuinely painful, you can never really let anyone know your discomfort without anyone questioning your toughness. At best, you’ll find a gentle soul to oblige you with a comforting “I hate when that happens”, but you’ll find little more sympathy than that to soothe your pain and even less in the way of actual relief.
Researchers at the University of Texas are hoping to change all that as they are working on a dissolvable strip similar to the ones used for bad breath that will cure the common liquid beverage burn in your mouth. The strip uses a benzocaine that numbs the pain in your mouth, and also helps the affected area to heal faster. The strip is supposed to very discrete, and comfortable, although it is not ready yet as scientists are preparing for human tests, with the biggest objectives still remaining being making the strips usable on more severe burns, and figuring out a way to make the taste pleasant.
Regardless of when they come out, it’s about time someone figured out a solution to a problem that dates back all the way to food being hot, and people being impatient. No longer relegated to grandmother cures like honey, sugar, or ice cream (why do grandmas want to fatten us?) for the burnt mouth, we could be staring a future where you are free to recklessly drink your coffee right away, or attack a bowl of soup like a maniacal homeless man without consequence.
They say the art of making authentic Chinese noodles from scratch is nearly extinct. If you watch this video from “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” of one of the few people left who can truly do it (it starts at about the 2:18 mark), you’ll understand why.
Much like many other aspects of the ever expanding nation though, rather than lament or dwell upon what was, they are instead moving forward with incredible speed and extreme ferocity. How does one do that in something like the noodle making industry? Why robots of course.
These robots are obviously pretty far away, technologically speaking, from completely replacing chefs, but the fact that they are taking jobs at any level right now is pretty incredible. Ignoring the gross moral questions that replacing humans with robots in these positions raises, you also have to consider that if this trend takes off in full, the restaurant industry will suffer long term for it. It takes years of hard work for chefs to become great, or even good, and this prevents entry level cooks from gaining the practical experience needed to start that path. In certain parts of Japan, if you want to cook sushi, you must first cook nothing but rice for years and years before you are even allowed to touch a fish. It’s not the point a machine could make the rice better, the rather that the chef must gain the necessary appreciation and technique of one of the most base and essential parts of the meal before moving on the part of the star making part of the dish.
Oh, and by the way, giving a robot glowing pulsating yellow eyes, a furrowed brow, and a knife under any circumstances is not cool. In fact, that whole design seems excessive for a machine that’s only function is supposedly to shave noodles. Are we really supposed to believe that’s this things only purpose?