MulletOver #470

There are few inventions that have had as much social and economic impact as Eli Whitney’s 18th century cotton gin. However, not all students of history realize that “gin” was simply an abbreviation of “engine.” For years I thought the invention had something to do with an alcoholic drink containing nutritious fibers.

Likely the reader has witnessed a dog vigorously shaking to remove water from its fur. The technique is both efficient and common amongst mammalian quadrupeds. Mice have been observed to oscillate at 29 times per second while the polar bear seems content with a mere 4 times per second.

Have you been delighted with all our recent U.S. presidents?  It appears that the citizenry has long been dissatisfied with White House performances. For instance, Martin Van Buren was referred to as “Martin Van Ruin” during his re-election bid.  He was not re-elected.  I will mention a linguistic side note: It was during this 1840 campaign that a distiller named E.C. Booz (supporting W.H. Harrison) sold whiskey in log cabin shaped bottles.  Mr. Booz made a fortune marketing his innovative product.

Sometimes removing bandages to check the healing processes is damaging to the healing processes. Clever persons in Switzerland may soon provide a dramatic improvement to the medical world. Placing flexible optical fibers into bandages enables physicians to observe wounds without risking the dangers (exposure, infection, etc.) of dressing removal.

I trust that none of my readers would deliberately remove a towel from a hotel, cruise ship, etc. However, towel pilfering is a huge problem in some locales. An unnamed Hawaiian resort was losing 4,000 towels per month because of “inadvertent” theft. This rate has been cut by 81% since RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips have been sewn into the fluffy terry cloths.

Until 1910, a person who enjoyed chewing on “unstruck” matches risked being poisoned by white phosphorus. Records indicate that toxins from those hazardous matches did kill at least one man.

The first modem (short for “modulation/demodulation”) was used in 1949 by the U.S. Air Force to transmit radar data.

The ubiquitous “qwerty” keyboard was arranged by Christopher Sholes and first used on a Remington typewriter in 1874.

“Bwana Devil” was released in 1953 and was the world’s first full length 3-D movie.

Before SOS became the internationally recognized distress call in 1911, CQD (Come-Quick-Danger) was used for that purpose. Well, I suggest that you refrain from gnawing on old matches – and do have a pleasant weekend.