Sunday, January 07, 2007


When I fly I love to browse through the SkyMall catalogue. It lists all the true applications of scientific progress! Here is a sample of such inventions the world just can't live without:

Fish Finder Watch

This sonar sensor attaches to your wrist and doubles as a watch. It operates in a 75' remote radius, transmitting views of fish to the LCD display. The sensor reads depth to 120' with a wide 90° sonar beam. Includes display backlighting. Remote sensor runs 500 continuous hours, and automatically shuts off after removal from water. With instruction manual, carrying case and remote sensor. Includes lithium watch battery. Sensor is ABS plastic.

Remote Control Golf Ball

Detailed to resemble a real golf ball, it zigs and zags at a touch of the remote control, allowing you to fool golf partners as they watch putts drift wide of the cup at your command. The joystick on the discrete remote control lets you direct the ball within a 100' range. The ball can operate on three different, selectable frequencies, allowing you to race two at a time.

Excuse Box

'Hey, I gotta call you back later...' Everybody gets those annoying phone calls. The kind where you sigh heavily, roll your eyes, and make those annoying "blah-dee-blah" hand gestures like some demented muppet that won't shut up... Believe me, we get those calls, too. We feel your pain. Luckily, we have an awesome solution.
The Excuse Box is no ordinary key tag. Its onboard memory holds 10 full minutes of environmental effects designed specifically to befuddle your annoying caller. Click on the links below, and imagine yourself gleefully escaping from an otherwise awkward and potentially trouble-filled phone call.

USB Missile Launcher

The USB Missile Launcher is the ultimate deterrent against those annoying people who lurk around your desk because they've nothing better to do. The Launcher holds three foam missiles, and Missile Command is located on your desktop (which is a great deal more convenient than having it buried under Cheyanne Mountain in Colorado - but that's Norad for you). You simply use your mouse to control the launcher which rotates and tilts as you zero in on your victim, that, despite being deeply childish, is immensely satisfying. The Missile Launcher fires its three foam missiles sequentially as you hit the 'Fire' button, and though collateral damage is minimal, the fun factor is exceedingly high. We just love USB toys.


Procrastinate At The Office With Confidence! [...] The Stealth Switch is the answer. Quickly install the software and plug the hidden foot switch in (it goes either between the keyboard and your computer, or just into an available USB port) and you are safe. It hides in the shadows and just a light tap of your toes will let it work its magic. Based on your preferences, it can hide the current window, hide all windows, or hide all windows except for specified windows. Not just minimize, mind you, but totally erase from your screen. The Stealth Switch can also mute the sound, hide the taskbar, hide the desktop icons, and password protect the restore function. When the coast is clear, another quick tap and you are ready to frag in peace.

Graphic Equalizer T-Shirt

A t-shirt with a built in "graphic equalizer" panel that is sound sensitive. As the music beats, the shirt's equalizer lights up to the beat of the music. Great for concerts, raves, parties or just to impress your mates. [...] made from 100% cotton, beware of inferior shirts made with polyester.
It has a fully functional EL (Electro Luminescence) panel with a battery pack and sound sensor that snuggles discretely into a pocket inside the shirt. The end result is an awesome sound sensitive music T-Shirt that commands attention.


  1. That's very cute and advanced! I don't even know whether at least some of these things are real. It's more funny than the cartoon about Harvey's place at CV.

    I didn't find it funny either. It simply showed a poster of Jeff Harvey's place that was vandalized by a crackpot who discussed with him on the radio some time ago and happens to be your friend.

    The smaller poster about the bullshit could have been posted by the dog, maybe. Who knows. Well, we didn't get it. ;-)

  2. Ah, the comment at CV actually appeared. I wonder what kind of a filter they have. I only wrote that one sentence and got the message that my comment would need to be approved by an administrator. I wonder what could possibly have been objectionable. The word 'fail'?

    Anyway, I honestly have no idea what you mean with Jeff Harvey's place [...] was vandalized by a crackpot ?

    I am afraid all that stuff is real in the sense that somebody actually produces these things. Whether they do what the ads say, I don't know.

  3. I think that the Jeff Harvey vs Lee Smolin radio discussion was pretty well-known and the cartoonist could have referred to it.

    Even if it is the case, this is a kind of cheap cartoon that only refers to something that is being discussed in a part of the society, adds no new idea, and expects a huge success. And with CV, it seems to work.

    Have a nice evening

  4. And I wrote that the small poster was posted by a crackpot because, as you know very well, I think that whoever thinks that the question is "whether string theory is bullshit" must be one.

  5. Skymall? Are you back in a flying tin can?

  6. Hi Arun,

    yeah, I'm back... but don't tell anybody, I'm taking a day off to cure my jetlag ;-)

    Hi Lumo,

    ah. I didn't hear the radio discussion, and actually, I still don't understand what's funny about it. But well. Humor is complicated. I also never understood what's supposed to be funny about this. But while were at it, this one couldn't stop laughing about :-)



  7. What's funny about "Science works bitches" is also beyond me, especially because it is sad as we are really surrounded by bitches who thinks it doesn't work.

    On the other hand, the fire professor is a good joke, as we appreciate it in Europe, clear and laughable. :-)


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