Saturday, October 27, 2007

No. 0036 - Popsicle Rink

I went to a hockey game last month, it was pretty fun I must say. However, I really don't know much about hockey, in fact, I don't even know how to skate (I have this fear of falling and then have other skaters skate over my fingers and cut them off, I wonder if severing fingers has ever been a problem at most skating rinks). During the 3 periods of the game, I didn't really have a clue as to what was going on with the calls that the refs were making. But there is one thing I can relate; the fist fight. I don't what is so entertaining about seeing grown men beating the crap out of each other over a little circular disk. Considering how easy it was for them to just start fighting at the drop of a hat, I couldn't imagine how tempting it must have been for the players to keep from swinging their hockey stick in the heat of battle. I would so break out in a frenzy with my hockey stick if some other hockey player has be by my neck, driving his fist into my face. The great thing about this is the ref would actually let them fight a bit and then break them up, send them to their little "jail" box and then game goes on.

Besides the fights, another great thing about hockey is the speed. As the players would carve left and right careening down the rink, and then coming down to a dead stop, I couldn't help but to notice this fine mist of shaved ice that gets kicked up in the air. Then it hit me, what if the rink was flavored? Instant shave ice! All you need to do is to open your mouth and the ice would land on your tongue. How great is that? I've always wondered how a hockey rink is put together in the middle of a basketball stadium. In fact, the very stadium that we were watching the hockey is also the stadium for the Phoenix Suns. How do they do it? How is the ice maintained frozen? Well I can care less about that, but the tear down. . . how would they get rid of all that ice. Now if that was a flavored rink, then you can just open the place up, charge each kids 10 bucks and skate(or shave) away. Some of my friends raised some concern of sanitation of the Popsicle rink. Think about it, all that is touching the ice are the blades which has a small surface area. And how often do people take their skates and walk around town with them? People are usually all padded up to go skating anyway so you wouldn't have to worry about dirty hands or body parts touching the ice. So I figure this, it you are going to melt the ice and get some pump to suck out all the water from the rink when the basketball seasons begins anyway, why not make it flavored and let the people have at it and make a little side profit.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

No. 0035 - Chapstick Subscription

This is more or less a follow-up invention to No. 0009 - Alternately Shaped Chapstick ( in attempt to do away with my problem with prematurely losing chapstick. As some of you may know, my chapstick losing problem hasn't gone away by itself. I've tried new strategies where I pretty much treat my chapsticks like a high school sport; there is a varsity team, and then there is a junior varsity team. I keep one main chapstick that I carry with me where ever I go as the "varsity" and the other jacked up one which melted partially in my car as the "junior varsity" or the backup that I always leave at home. The season started out fine until the junior varsity decided to get lost and disappeared at my own home! So then all I had left with me was the traveling varsity that I always take with me on the "away games". It was doing pretty good until it also decided to make a run for it. With both teams gone, I was left with chapped lips once again.

I was actually quite fed up with the whole "loosing the chap stick" thing, in which that quickly jump started the invention side of my brain once again, only this time the ideas were quite irrational. I thought to making the chap stick casing with barbs or spikes on the outside so every time I put it in my pocket, it would prick my thigh so the moment I don't feel the prick (or blood running down my leg), I would know my chap stick ran away again. My irrationality went from bad to worst when I was contemplating giving up one of my fingers and have a chap stick surgically implant where the pinky used to be. As you can see, I don't like having chapped lips. I think my rationale finally came back to me after purchasing my latest and currently in service chap stick. It was then, a great epiphany came to me. I've come to the realization that I'll never get to use a chap stick all the way to the end; I'll always lose them after a few usage. If that is the case, then maybe chap stick ought to be 3 times shorter, so every time I loose it, I won't be loosing that much. How about have them come in tiny eye drop tubes, you can use them once or twice and then throw them away. Now since I anticipate loosing them all the time, that is where the subscription comes in handy. Maybe they can come in boxes every month so I'll always have an endless supply of it. All I need to do now is to convince ChapStick or Blistex to have such a service.

Friday, October 5, 2007

No. 0034 - Butt Elastic Modulus Material

One night, I saw one of those bicycle seat pad that is made of some gel, sitting on a dinning table. I picked it up to play with it and immediately the thought came to my head, "this material feels like a butt!?!?". I pressed it and poked it; yep, it feels exactly like a butt. Then the idea came to me, why can't everything else (bed, chairs, car seats, etc) be made of material properties (i.e. elastic modulus) that is similar to that of the butt. Let's put on our engineering hat and hear out my theory. For those readers that have an engineering background, correct me when you think I'm teaching blasphemy.

Recently at work, I've been doing this analysis that involves creating a 2-D non-linear FEA (finite element analysis) model in order to study some stress distribution of this mechanical connection; in another word, it generates really cool pictures. For the confidential nature of my work, I can't describe in great detail what exactly that I studied on but I can tell you what I've learned from the project that I've never really realized before. Here is what I've learned. I've noticed a trend that when you put two similar materials and press them together and compare that with two dissimilar materials (i.e. one being softer), the one set that has similar material properties tends to experience lesser stress. Whereas in the dissimilar material case, the softer part would deform faster and therefore causing stress risers to show up, especially when the interface is not flat.

I think now is a good time to explain the title of my invention. In one or two sentence, elastic modulus is a good measurement/description of a material's properties. Mathematically speaking, see it as a slope; it is a measurement of the stress that a material feels over the distance that it has deformed from its original shape (strain). Together, they effectively describe how "hard" or "soft" a material really is. Now that you guys are all experts in mechanics of material, you will be able to appreciate the beauty of this invention. I ask again, why don't we make more things out of material that has the elastic modulus value closer to that of our butts?! Let me use an example. Have you ever sat through a high school sporting event at the metal bleachers? Can you remember the pain after the 2 hour long football game? Now you know why it hurts; it is because of the "dissimilar of elastic modulus" between the aluminum bleacher and your butt. The pain came from the stress riser in your butt (the softer material in this case) developed by the hard bleacher seat. Solution: make the seat out of material properties similar to that of your bum.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

No. 0033 - Get Well Card For My Car

It is ironic how my last invention was about how I've cherished the memories with my comrade, my friend, my partner in crime . . . my beloved car. Just a matter of a week or two after my last invention post, I was at the stake center playing some pick up indoor soccer. I was parked in the middle row with the trunk facing the church, and sure enough there is a row of cars parked right up in the first row, including a gigantic F350 (lifted maybe?). In any case, towards the end right as everybody is leaving, my relatively low profile car hidden in the darkness of the 2nd row didn't stand a chance against a piece of solid steel with 125 horses pushing it. The driver didn't see my parked car and careened into my defenseless Honda (he was very sorry and I quickly forgave him). Evidently, my trunk was crushed, bumper warped, and side fender bent; F350, broken tail light. I know the impact must have been pretty crazy because as some of you might have remembered from riding in my car that I have this little dragon statuette dangling from from rear view mirror, well, that dragon was found wrapped one revolution around the mirror from the jolt. If my Honda and the Ford had arms and legs, the equivalent scenario will be like having Frodo getting whooped by Evander Holyfield (without the ethereal and the orc sword of course).

So the damages has been done and the next day I was more worried about if they are fixable or not. The catch here is that once I've turned it over to my insurance, it is up to them to determine if the car is fixable or not; in essence, they are really like doctors because they will determine if my car has to be "put down" or not. Luckily, they called me later on the same day that they can fix him up and no permanent damages has been done. Even though he will be "hospitalized" for 3 weeks, they promise he will be as good as new. I was relieved. As for my invention, this particular blog has now become an official "Get Well Soon" site for my Honda. You may leave kind messages or words of encouragement for my car. You can say things like "hey, you'll get a new bumper!" or "hey, look at it this way, now you'll have bragging rights in front of other chick cars from withstanding such a blow!" All will be appreciated. Just to illustrate some of the mental and physical pain that my Honda had to go through. The day following the "beat down", I drove him down to the shop (in which I shouldn't have). I don't think people have ever given me this much space on the road before. People were driving and stopping a full car length behind me; they treated my car like as if it was diseased or mad or something?! It's not like the crushed metal will miraculously come off and jump onto theirs like a rash?! It's not like I'll drive recklessly now because I got this crazy crunch in my trunk?! If you see your friend with a black eye or a broken arm, you are not going to suddenly avoid them like a plague and think that he or she will randomly hit you?! Gosh people, cars have feelings too, especially my car! So there, say something nice. My girlfriend is going to buy balloons when he gets out of the shop, so what are you going to do?