Friday, 21 July 2017

A lack of J


You know the nursery song about the alphabet? Well, my keyboard currently goes "a b c d e f g, h i..."

And stops there.

The letter... um, the letter that comes after I and before K, won't type on my keyboard.  The only way I can get it is if I find it in a document or on a web page and copy and paste it in.

And then when you do that, the letter tends to keep the properties from the original source so you end up with words that look like:

 jam

and...

juice

and even...

Juniper


And as a result the words don't always fit with the formatting of the rest of the text.

Not only do I have this to contend with, but my mouse also seems to be dying. I'm not sure what is going on, but I have two mice, and both of them seem to be at breaking point, either refusing to work altogether or being very erky - i mean... hang on.

I meant to say that the mouse is being very Jerky.

Stay tuned for the next exciting adventures of Man With a Broken User Interface!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Doctor Who - the 13th Doctor announced

Today geeks up and down the UK, and around the world, sat watching the male tennis final at Wimbledon, waiting eagerly to discover who the next Doctor Who would be.  Personally It's the first time I've willingly watched tennis for some time.

And it's going to be the first time the Doctor has been played by an actress, Jodie Whittaker.

By Photoblogger79 (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I can't say that I know a great deal about Jodie, although I understand that she's been in some fairly high profile stuff such as Broadchurch and a few films - I'm pretty limited in what TV and films I watch! But I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.  I'm going to say something which will bring me a great deal of hate.

I'm not a huge Peter Capaldi fan.

I don't dislike him, I hasten to add.  There's some bits of him being the Doctor that I really like. However, I've not been hooked to his shows the same way I was with David Tennant and Matt Smith. Maybe I haven't given him enough of a chance - the only reason I got into Dr Who at all was one Christmas when I didn't have anything else to do so I watched a day of Dr Who shows and became addicted, so maybe I need to give him a proper go.

How about you?  Let me know in the comments if you're looking forward to the new Doctor, or if you're disappointed it wasn't somebody else (Kris Marshall was hotly tipped, and I think he would have been ace, a bit like Matt Smith maybe).  And if you've watched Peter Capaldi, should I devote some hours to him?

Thursday, 13 July 2017

New Web Address


Hi!

I'm very pleased to announce that I have a new address for my blog - www.mikeraven.co.uk - I've been meaning to get an address for a while and felt it was about time to bite the bullet.  My blog is still hosted on Blogger and the old address will still work perfectly so no need to update existing shortcuts.

In other news...

Yep, Wednesday market was closed on Friday. That'll show any latecomers.






Thursday, 6 July 2017

Uncommonly Good Goods

I've been pleased on this sponsored post to work with uncommongoods.com, a great website that showcases products from some of the best makers around.

Even in the world of the Internet, where millions upon millions of people connect every day, when it comes to buying gifts it's still not so easy to find something unique, something that stands out.  It's all too often I find that when you search for something to buy you end up being shown the same 3 or 4 products that have come out of an algorithm-calculated listing because they've got the best ratings or the website thinks it's the thing that you want, and you don't ever get to stumble across something a bit different.

However, I've been fortunate enough to come across a website where there are a great selection of unique products available.  Personally I often struggle when it comes to events like weddings, anniversaries, and baby showers, you want to get people something unique and memorable, but it's hard to find the right thing.  Uncommongoods.com has some awesome categories for these, you can see their selection of gifts for weddings, anniversaries, and baby showers here.

I really love this personalised wedding wall :)

Would it be wrong for me to get a Mustachifier for my niece...

Anniversary gifts is a challenge I've got coming up in the near future actually, my parents were married on the same day as I was born - it's an interesting story actually, on their wedding day my parents got married in the morning, and in the afternoon my mum was feeling a bit unwell so my dad took her to see a doctor.  She was worried that the food at the wedding has bad and she had given everybody food poisoning, but it turned out she was going into labour (she had no idea that she was pregnant!) and I showed up in the evening! So this year I'm going to check out some of these awesome anniversary gifts from UncommonGoods for them.

I think my mum might like these recycled glass tree globes...

My dad, however, would probably prefer a personalized whiskey barrel :D

Uncommongoods.com isn't just a marketplace for awesome items, however.  They have a strong environmental and social mission that leads the organisation, with the organisation minimising their environmental impact, ensuring that their employees are treated fairly, and they've donated over $1m to non-profit organisations around the world.  So you can feel good about your shopping too :)

For me, it seems like a great place to find some new, often personalised, gifts that you probably can't get elsewhere, directly supporting makers and creators.  Well worth checking out!


In case anyone is looking for birthday presents for me, check out their mens range - I like the look of Beeropoly :D


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Guest Post - Admin

Today my dad guest blogs about one of his most favourite subjects, "Admin".  I should explain that Admin is a term that my dad uses not just for paperwork, but also for all of those little processes and procedures followed in every day life.

---------

Thanks to stevepb for the image


So, to Admin.

Only they could do it. It is beyond the scope of most mere mortals to comprehend, but admin are 'different', like chalk and cheese, they see a different world to the rest of us.

For example, if you yourself lived in these parts, I dare say you would call North Ferriby Infant School (Church of England) -

North Ferriby Infant School (Church of England)

- or some close approximation thereof.

As the saying goes, it does what it says on the tin, the name would be descriptive in an entirely sensible manner and good folk who deserve to breathe air would know exactly what you were talking about!

Ah, but Admin, ah no, for them common sense is forbidden - unless it is specifically demanded and detailed in official guidelines because, presumably if normal people understand what you are saying despite official guidelines and admin jargon, well you have clearly failed miserably.

So, the above mentioned school has a sign outside which proudly states to one and all "Welcome to the KS1 Building"!

Excuse me? Only admin can have the slightest idea just what KS1 refers to.

I am bemused by the fact that despite guidelines, political correctness, admin jargon etc lingering traces of normality stubbornly persist amongst the office staff and the powers that be have decided that the rest of the world needs a sign welcoming them to the above abomination. (note: the school is excellent, it's the name that gets me - KS1 indeed!)

.. and someone was paid money for this decision!

NB Deliveries must not be made to the KS1 building, as another sign informs everyone, indeed no, deliverers of deliveries must find the KS2 building across the road!

Do normal people really talk like this?

Really?

PS I once enjoyed a friendly chat with an admin person, over a pint of alcoholic beverage or several. I somewhat outrageously enquired whether one was still permitted to scratch one's arse if the desire occurred, and he told me in all seriousness that this was still currently permitted. However, should I wish to scratch anyone else's arse, I would require a licence to do so. Either way, such activities must not be performed in public as the word 'arse' has erotic connotations and may cause uncontrollable urges in some individuals, and then only between consenting individuals.

Disclaimer: The word 'arse' mentioned above was only written down behind locked doors with both my feet in a bucket of cold water. This PC does not have an internet connection for fear of hackers, be they government or freelance, becoming over excited.


Why not pop over to my parents website, www.facebook.com/RavenMagical where they offer all kinds of magical and new age goodies!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A Call To Action

So, I'm working on a book at the moment.  It's all at very early stages, and comes with a hefty proviso of "may never see the light of day" but at this time it's all very exciting, particularly how it gives me another reason to avoid doing unimportant things like doing the washing up or getting a shave.

I need your help.

Except you, Dr Dawg.

Specifically with blog subscriptions!  I will be approaching writing agents in the not too far distant future and part of my sales pitch will be talking about my blog.  I'm aware that there are a committed number of people (thank you, each and every one of you) who do stop by regularly to check out my blog, most people don't currently subscribe, which is absolutely fine of course, nevertheless I'd like just to flag up that if you would like to subscribe you'd be very welcome :) I don't tend to post that frequently so hopefully it shouldn't result in a sea of notifications for you.

If you would like to subscribe then on the right hand side of the page (if you're viewing this on a proper desktop computer that is) there should be options to subscribe by email or to subscribe using an RSS reader, if you use one of these. If you're viewing this blog on a phone or tablet, as about half of people do, if you scroll right down to the bottom of the page there should be an option to "View Web Version" - if you could just do this this one time then the links will be available on the right hand side for you to subscribe.

If, by chance, you've stumbled across this blog and this is your first time, here's a post for you to check out, you'll get an idea of my typical nonsense.

Many thanks to all that do indeed subscribe :)

Now, back to thinking up insults relating to that Ohioan master of blogging, Tim Clark. He's a great man but his dog...

Well to be quite frank, I think his dog is a little out of control.  It's awarded itself a doctorate, tried to become President, I think it's suffering from delusions of grandeur. I think Tim needs to take Dr Dawg to the vet for some sort of procedure, perhaps to be neutered. I don't know if it would make any difference but, for the sake of humanity, it's worth a try.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Doughnuts not donuts

I'm disappointed to see that Mr Clark of Life, Explained has disparaged this fine blog, suggesting that it is only fit for use as fish and chip wrapping, whilst the shortcomings of his American blog are obvious.  Allow me to illuminate you.

For example, in his latest blog he uses the word "airplane", which as we all know should be "aeroplane".  Worst of course is the use of "donut" as opposed to "doughnut" - the item is made out of dough, hence doughnut. Donut sounds like an instruction to be violent.

Nevertheless, I'm sure that Tim's blog would be good enough - just about - to wrap a hot dog in, with sauce and onions of course.

I can only summarise that Tim is sadly suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect.  Thoughts are with you, Tim.



Thursday, 22 June 2017

Reasons why the UK is better than Ohio


Well, I just felt like listing a few of the things that make the UK better than Ohio.


  • The UK is twice as big as Ohio (242,900 sq.km versus 116,096 sq.km)
  • The UK has far more population (65 million versus 11 million) making us far more productive
  • The UK's GDP is far more ($2.79T versus $0.53T)
  • We don't have dogs that pretend to be doctors
  • Our workforces don't run on doughnuts
  • We don't dip our fries in slushies
  • Home Depot, Target, Kroger, and Walmart sound like esoteric destinations to us
  • We don't wear buckeye necklaces
  • We have proper pies, gravy, and sausage rolls



Consider this an opening salvo Tim.  I look forward to your response, I imagine it will be freshly composed using your new iPad Pro.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Silence...

...for far too long.

Almost 2 weeks since I blogged!  The simple reason for this hideously long absence is that for at least half that time we haven't had a computer up and running.

We've been very home-improvement focused this last couple of weeks, my wife took on the challenge of redecorating our sons bedroom ahead of getting a new carpet installed in the room, meanwhile our living room ceiling, which had been looking a bit dodgy, finally got some TLC.

Doesn't look too bad, does it?

Yeah... how about now

Some time ago we had a leak from our bathroom which loosened the plaster in the ceiling, and we knew it needed looking at, it turns out that basically the plaster was being held together by a bit of paper, and when we got a plasterer to start taking it down, it came down in one massive go!  Despite this, the ceiling has been replastered and we're now getting round to repainting the living room, a task which hadn't been planned.              

A side effect of all this is that when I haven't been too busy to blog because of moving things in and out of my sons bedroom, we've not been able to use our computers because they've been unplugged and in my sons playroom instead of the living room where they rightfully belong.  But at last, one of the computers has been temporarily set up so I'm taking advantage of it being Fathers Day to have justification to blog a bit rather than tackle any of the many chores I ought to be doing right now!

The other week it was our wedding anniversary, being our second one and the traditional gift being cotton my wife creatively camp up with the below sock bouquet gift for me!

 
I managed to forget that I bought her a present, so panicked the day before and bought her another gift! Such is life.

It's an absolutely glorious Sunday here, hot and sunny, which means I'm going to sit still and complain about the weather all day, being terribly English.  I hope wherever you are you're having a good weekend, and hopefully it'll not be quite so many weeks until the next blog!


Monday, 5 June 2017

Shaving


For too long I've been managing without the correct equipment.

Before this devolves into innuendo, I'm referring to shaving.  I typically use an electric shaver with a built in beard trimmer, so I can chop away the long stuff with the beard trimmer, go on to have a proper shave with the normal shavey bit, and then if I'm going all out I'll use a Mach 3 manual razor to get any rogue hairs that have escaped the first two attacks.  After this there will be one single hair somewhere of about two inches in length that has managed to evade all attempts to cut it, and I'll pluck the thing.

However, the beard trimmer has failed on the razor, after several years of use.  I've tried to manage without, because I like my old Braun 370 razor.  It's got some interesting features, such as the charging point - it has the usual two pin charging for a razor, but the port is shaped in such a fashion that a general charging cable almost fits (but won't), forcing you to order a bespoke cable online.

Enough is enough, and it's time to go and get a new razor.  Going onto the Argos website, I went into the Men's Shavers section.



Interestingly, by default the list is sorted by "Relevance" - surely everything in the "Men's Shavers" section is relevant?

Anyway, after a bit of a trawl, I decided to go for one that roughly looks equivalent to my existing one, and it is the Braun 3040s Wet & Dry Men's Electric Shaver, which is complete with MicroComb and SensoFoil. Sadly, this stuff does actually work on me, I'd be even more impressed if the packaging told me that the shaver came with a PowerCharger and an ergonomic Han-Dle.

And look at all that blue colouring. Couldn't we say something like the shaver has been designed to absorb six-sevenths of the visible light spectrum, minimising light pollution?

No purchase would be complete without a glance through the manual for interesting statements, and the Braun 3040s is no exception. Apparently:

"In order to maintain the optimum capacity of the rechargeable batteries, the shaver has to be fully discharged by shaving every 6 months"

No wonder my shavers fail, hardly a week goes by without me recklessly using them to shave my face.

Anyway, the moment of truth has come...

Before


During, taking advantage of temporary ability to offer my services as a Mario look-a-like

Gone!

I'm pleased to report that the new shaver works, and it still manages to miss one rogue hair that somehow survives everything I throw at it.  Life is back to normal.



Monday, 29 May 2017

Nine Steps to Using a Paddling Pool


Sometimes, you just gotta cool down.

These last few days it's been really quite warm, so we've had the paddling pool out for my son to play in.  It's fascinating how he doesn't appear to have any reaction to the coolness of the pool water versus the general temperature, whilst both myself and my wife, when tempted to the water, find it unacceptably cold.  I've theorised that the body acclimatises to the water in a number of steps, as follows:

Step 1: Touching the water with your toe, you say something along the lines of "OH MY GOD THAT'S TOO COLD!!!" and, resistant to your childs' commands, you decide to next to the paddling pool and read a book.

Step 2: Sat next to the pool, you think about just how hot it is, and summarise that it might actually be quite nice to have a paddle.

Step 3: You stand in the pool.  After a few seconds you become used to the water and find that paddling is relatively pleasant, but when you get accidentally splashed up to the knee you flee the pool squealing "It's SO COLD!!!""

Step 4: You reluctantly return to the pool, cautious of splashes.

Step 5: After persistent requests from your child, you kneel down in the pool.  That's cold.

Step 6: Then you sit in the pool. Now THAT'S cold.

Step 7: Your child finds a jug from somewhere, and chucks an entire jug of icy water at you. Blinded and shaking from the freezing water working its way down your torso, you sit in the pool clutching your face, hoping to be able to open your eyes sometime the next day.

Step 8: Your child takes advantage of your inability to see by pouring what seems to be the contents of the Arctic Sea on the back of your head.

Step 9: Congratulations, you are now acclimatised to the water!



Today the weather is far worse, and I look forward to a day determinedly inside :)

Monday, 22 May 2017

Register to Vote


Time's against us, so I'll be brief.  If you want to vote in the UK general election, but haven't registered to vote, you've got today to do it.  Don't leave it till the last minute - remember last time when the website went down because everyone tried to register?  Go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and register.

I do believe that voting is important, regardless of whether you vote for someone or if you turn up and deliberately spoil your ballot paper as a protest, because we are very fortunate to live in a place and time where citizens have the ability to vote.  There are still countries in the world where voting isn't possible, voting is restricted to certain people, or where the voting process is rigged.

Plus as one of the people will be sat in a polling station all day on election day helping voters, it makes my day go a lot quicker if people show up!

Don't forget also if you've moved house that you need to sort out your vote with the local council, otherwise you might be eligible to vote somewhere across the country.

For more about the rare breed that sits in polling stations, check out my 5 things you might not know about working in a polling station post :)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Product Testing


As a guy, I find that the bathroom products I own do not relate to what I use.

You see, a safe gift for a man, for birthdays or Christmas (or indeed any other festival which involves giving presents) is "The Shower Gel Box Set".

The Shower Gel Box Set, which for me is often from Lynx, will include shower gel, a can of deodorant, but then often one other item, like shaving gel or after shave balm (never both - I presume they think that I'm either happy to use shaving gel and not both with after shave, or shave my bare dry rough face and use after shave balm to reduce the resulting redness).

Now my shaving regime, which is haphazard at best, generally involves a dry face, an electric razor, and then finishing up with a manual razor to pick off any stray hairs that the electric razor missed.  This is complemented by the occasional use of tweezers, because whilst the two razors do keep on top of 29,999 of the 30,000 hairs on my face, there will be one that somehow evades both trimmers, and in a matter of hours grows to about four inches long.  I sometimes wonder if my chin, becoming bored with the traditional beard, puts all of its effort into just one hair.

So as a result I tend to use up shower gel a lot quicker than I use shaving gels.  I decided to do some research, by been undertaking a number of tests of various bathroom products.

I decided to try showering and using the various products below instead of shower gel.  Mainly I chose to do this because I had run out of shower gel, but I felt that the research would be worthwhile regardless.


Test one - shampoo.  Well, of course shampoo was fine.  Anyone who uses the little shampoo/conditioners and shower gels in hotels know that they can quite happily swap one for the other and see no difference whatsoever.


Test two - Johnson's Top to Toe Baby Bath.  Basically bubble bath, but can be rubbed on children also.  Again, absolutely fine, you wouldn't notice any difference from normal shower gel except it doesn't contain lavender or volcanic rocks.


Test three - Facial Wash.  Again, absolutely fine.  We're essentially talking about shower gel for your face after all, which the last time I checked was made out of skin, just like the rest of the stuff covering your body.

Now it gets slightly more interesting...


Test four - shaving gel.  Absolutely fine!  Yes, shaving gel, perfectly fine for showering with.  Slightly thicker than shower gel, but nothing shocking.



Test five - after shave balm.  Again, absolutely fine, very similar to the shaving gel, slightly thicker than shower gel but no problem.


Test six - hair gel.  I was expecting this one to be dreadful - it was okay!  And the traces left in my hair helped to make it look slightly more exciting than usual.


Test seven - hand cream (not the Norwegian one in the photo, I should say) - this was the only one that wasn't ideal.  It stuck to my skin, moisturising it by creating a barrier between my skin and the shower (which to be quite honest I always thought could perhaps help with moisture deprivation) and took a bit of effort to get rid of.

So in summary, almost anything in your bathroom cabinet you can shower with.

Although perhaps not mouthwash.

New video is out - if you want to watch my forehead while I cook a meal, go and watch :)

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Tomorrow


The life of a writer carries with it a heady mixture of stress and guilt.  Are you creating right now? Why not? Why are you wasting time not creating? Will you ever create again? Will you ever reach that place (fame, money, satisfaction, whatever it is that you want one day to be yours) that you tell yourself one day you'll get to?

If you are writing, what are you writing? Are you enjoying it? Are you writing something from your soul, or writing something to keep the wolves at bay?

If you have written, is it actually any good or are you just churning out some meaningless drivel that doesn't deserve the time it'll take someone to read it?

Tomorrow.  There's always tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the day that you write it. The piece of work that will elevate you, set you on your path to greatness. Everyone will say how you were discovered because of it. You got that writing job because of it. You're at one of those terribly middle-class evenings, chatting with your other writing acquaintances, supping on vintage wine (as though you'd know the difference) and commenting on the vol-au-vents, blissfully unaware of the other people lurking around the room that would desperately love to talk to you, just for a moment of your time, but your reputation precedes you and they can't even begin to build up the nerve.

Because of it.

So you place all your hopes on tomorrow.  But hope is dangerous, because without a plan, without action, hope is nothing more than a wish.  Hope is buying a lottery ticket. Hope is closing your eyes and running across a busy road as fast as you can.

Meanwhile you're watching repeats of an old TV show you used to like, telling yourself that it's because you need to watch and read to give yourself something to write about, but really it's just because the remote control is at the far end of the sofa.

You tell yourself, you're not going to write today, because you wrote yesterday, or earlier this week, or you are absolutely definitely going to write, but not right now, because you need to do that email, or buy those shoes on Amazon, or just finish just one more level on Candy Crush.


Yet day by day, those tomorrows are running out.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Friendly Advice


So, the other day we went to the mail sorting office in Hull.

This wasn't a day trip, allow me to elucidate, rather it was a journey in order to obtain one of the many parcels that my wife orders, probably of materials needed as part of her burgeoning Etsy shop (www.denkaidesigns.com).  All of the parcels seem to have one thing in common, that being that none of them fit through a letter box, and as the postman carefully times his deliveries to coincide with when no one is in the house, they end up back at the sorting office for me to collect.

Opposite the sorting office is some metal railings, from which you can look down into a muddy bit of the River Hull - back in the day it was probably some form of boat dock, but now it's just a load of mud.  My son decided to have a look through the railings at the muddy water for a minute, and not being in a particular rush, I joined him.

After a couple of seconds of looking at trolleys stuck in the mud (the nearest supermarket must be at least half a mile away - someone must have gone to a lot of effort to dump a trolley here) a helpful voice from behind us broke the silence.

"Excuse me - it's not very clean over there!"

I turned to see a chap addressing us.  I thanked him for his advice, and turned back to my son to tell him that it was about time to go to the sorting office.

The helpful voice sounded again.

"Yeah, I'm talking Weil's disease."

I turned around, surprised that he hadn't walked on, and once again I thanked him for his advice, although it did cross my mind that from the first piece of advice it hadn't been a massive leap of imagination to conjure up the possibility that he had been talking about some sort of infection, so the second piece was, to my mind, superfluous.  Again, I turned back to my son to ask him to come to the sorting office.

And yet, there was more to come.

"I would get his hands washed sharpish if I were you!"

Of course, I'm certain that the fellow was only giving advice in order to protect my son.  A nice gesture.  A helpful human being, by any account.

As a result I didn't even get my son to rub his hands on him, obviously with the man being so concerned with his well being I can only assume he'd be more than happy to have any germs removed by liberally scrubbing my sons hands on his face.  Always think twice before acting, that's what I say.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

My activities


Hello!

I've been somewhat quiet recently, mainly due to my wife being halfway across the world and as a result me having a sudden need to do things like household chores and cooking.  Generally things have gone okay, although I have noticed that I've had a tendency to carry out some rather silly actions.  I've summarised them as follows:

Wednesday 26th April - left hob on for several hours, only realising when I went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and feeling heat from the hob/oven area.

Thursday 27th April - left my keys in the outside of the door for about six hours, only discovering their location when I was locking up for the night.

Friday 28th - stabbed myself in the hand.

Saturday 29th - stabbed myself in the hand again (different knife though).

Sunday 30th - kneed my son in the face (accidentally)

Monday 1st - got hit in the face by my son, cutting my lip.

Tuesday 2nd - managed to open my car door on the back of my foot, knocking my shoe off.

Wednesday 3rd - burnt my hand on a hot pan, and later that day broke the door frame to the attic door, shoulder barging it open while forgetting that it was bolted shut.


So far since Wednesday I've managed not to do anything stupid, but watch this space...

What I have also been doing however is making a video for my wife's flosstube channel, including my first bit of cross stitch!  Feel free to check it out :)





Monday, 1 May 2017

TableTop Day 2017

TableTop Day 2017 was marked here by a good evening of games, food, and drink, playing some Exploding Kittens followed by 221B Baker Street, the Sherlock Holmes detective game!  Just wanted to post a few pictures:

Me interrogating a manual

Fuelled by beer, the detective sleuths down clues...

Obligatory board shot

Exploding Kittens!

Hopefully I'm trying out some D&D in the not too far distant future, which is something I've always fancied but never actually tried.

While I'm blogging, I'll just mention my wife's Etsy shop, www.denkaidesigns.com - although she's currently away in Australia, I'm keeping things going wrapping and posting orders for her, including these awesome cow freebies with every order :)


Friday, 28 April 2017

5 NASA Inventions That Are Now Everyday Household Items

Today on the blog we're featuring a guest post kindly provided by James Hall.  James is a cracking UK writer who is a home appliance enthusiast - take it away James!


5 NASA Inventions That Are Now Everyday Household Items

Ever since I first watched Star Trek as a child, I’ve always been interested in space-age technology. Ideas such as faster-than-light travel or realistic virtual realities still fascinate me – even though I understand little of the science behind them!

In comparison to sci-fi technology, it’s sometimes easy to forget how astonishing “everyday” items actually are. Society has developed so rapidly over the last 100-150 years that we quickly become indifferent to technological breakthroughs – even when they come as a direct result of space research.
With that in mind, here are five everyday items that were first developed by NASA.




 1. Scratch-Proof Glasses

As you can imagine, it’s important for an astronaut’s visor not to get scratched. That’s why NASA scientists in the 1970s put a lot of time into developing strong plastics coated with a thin film to prevent scratching. The result was visors that were up to ten times less likely to scratch than previous versions.

Fast forward a decade, and sunglass manufacturer Foster-Grant realised the same technology could be used on their products. The company was the first to licence it from NASA, although today most plastic lenses have a similar coating.




2. Memory Foam Mattresses

Walk into any mattress shop and you’ll almost certainly be greeted be a sales person extolling the virtues of memory foam. This type of foam, which contours to your body to provide extra support while sleeping, has become popular in recent years.

What many people don’t know is that memory foam was first developed by NASA as a way to protect passengers during a crash. It’s still used for that today, but is also found in pillows, mattresses and even roller coasters due to its ability to absorb energy.



3. Water Filters

One of the challenges of long-term space missions, such as establishing a base on the Moon, is producing clean water. That’s why NASA has been collaborating with a number of companies to develop water filtration systems. The first filters were designed in the 1970s and could handle basic cleaning. In recent years, new filters are being created to convert water with greater contamination – including human urine – into a drinkable form.

While this technology might not be found in the average western home, it has the potential to make a big difference in poorer countries where clean water is scarce.





4. Handheld Cordless Vacuums

An example of a more mundane NASA technology is the humble handheld vacuum. Before the Apollo mission, NASA commissioned Black & Decker to produce a drill to collect samples from the moon. This needed a highly optimised motor and tiny power consumption, as energy would be at a premium during the mission.

Later on, the same technology would be used to create the Dustbuster range of vacuums. Black & Decker still produce Dustbusters today, although handheld vacuums are now built by a wide range of companies.




5. Cochlear Implants

In the 1970s, analog hearing aids simply magnified sound. This meant any noise or imperfections would also be amplified.

At the time, NASA was putting a lot of research time into sound and electronic sensing. An engineer named Adam Kissiah, who also had hearing difficulties, realised this technology could be used to produce an implant that would transmit sound digitally.

He founded a private company to develop a working prototype of the cochlear implant. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have had their hearing restored – including people who have been deaf since birth.


James Hall is a home technology writer from the UK. Aside from writing, he enjoys hiking, cycling and spending time with his family. He's always had an interest in space-age technology and has high hopes for the next-generation of virtual reality devices. He's currently writing for Spotless Vacuum and you can also find him on Twitter.
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