4th Annual Lateral Thinking Department Christmas Gift Guide

I got sidetracked on the chinchillas yesterday and realized: “Holy Kadoda!  There are only seven more shopping days until Christmas!  I need to put out the Annual Lateral Thinking Department Christmas Gift Guide!”  So without further ado, here it is:

Whale Earwax Plug

I swear on Herman Melville’s beard that whale earwax is a real thing.  I’m quoting here from the site that I link out to down below: “a plug can grow up to 10 inches long, and looks like a cross between a goat’s horn and the world’s nastiest candle.” I don’t know where you can buy it but apparently museums all over the world have stashes of whale earwax cones.  Try the Smithsonian to start.  They apparently have pallets and pallets of whale earwax and they’re not going to hang on to it forever.  I know for sure that Amazon doesn’t carry it (yet).  Try again next year.

cone of whale earwax
Glistening plug of whale earwax looking a lot like a cross between a goat’s horn and the World’s nastiest candle.

What is it good for?  It’s a great gift to give to a Clinical Chemist, Medical Biochemist, Whale Researcher, Butcher, Baker or Candlestick Maker.  Seriously, researchers have measured the yearly variation in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in earwax samples from an assortment of whales.  They can correlate these levels to changes in the intensity of whaling over the last 120 years give or take a decade or two.  They can also tell when any given whale goes into puberty.  Maybe you could try that on your kids, if you have any.  Or you could just note when they (the kids) turn into horribly unrecognizeable humanoids.

B Vitamin and Enzyme Supplements For Your Dog

Is your dog gobbling rabbit poop voraciously?  Get him or her some B vitamins and an enzyme supplement instead.

rabbit poops

Rabbit poops are loaded with B vitamins and enzymes.  That might explain why my dog Mickey has gotten into the habit of voraciously gobbling the rabbit poop which is littered everywhere in our neighbourhood since fences were put up to keep out the coyotes, not that I’m bitter.  He must have had a deficiency of some sort.  He seems to be doing fine now, except that his ears grew two inches this past year.

 

Wine Glass That Holds 27 Ounces aka A Whole Bottle

Hic!  This is a great gift.  I forget where you buy them. Try Amazon.  Urp.  Or Liver Transplants R Us.

full bottle wine glass
Full-bottle wine glass.  Comes with free book of forearm-strengthening exercises.

Electric Nasal Irrigation Device

Three guesses where you can get this thing.  I’m not one for simply parroting the copy from other sources (exception Testicle Navigators) but I couldn’t resist:

“This is the world’s only nasal irrigation system that uses gentle powered suction to relieve sinus congestion without medication. During a typical 20-30 second treatment, the cordless irrigator’s battery-powered motor pulls saline rinse from its upper tank through one nostril, then out the other, after which it (the nostril?) collects in the bottom tank. In the process, the rinse flushes sinus-clogging pollen, chinchilla dust, mucous and small metal parts, instantly clearing nasal passages for easier breathing—it can even help reduce snoring.  Mostly because the person you give it to will immediately run screaming out of the house in a fit of sheer terror.”

sinus decongester
What exactly powers this thing?  Thought?  Americium? Cosmic rays?

Bio-Bricks

Have you ever wondered whether it’s possible to turn sand and urine into building bricks?  Turns out it’s possible.  Egyptologists have finally decoded an ancient recipe developed by the ancient Egyptians, who as we know, were surrounded by sand.  The recipe had nothing to do with bricks.  It was actually a recipe for  Shoebill Stork Fricassee.  The Egyptologists promptly threw up in their mouths and forgot about that recipe entirely.

Meanwhile students at the University of Cape Town figured out another recipe to make building materials from nothing more than urine, sand and bacteria.  Apparently the bacteria ferment the urine and make a sort of glue which sticks the sand together as it cures.

This is actually a terrible gift suggestion because these bricks aren’t currently available.

But speaking of current, some solid materials generate electricity when they are compressed.  This is called piezoelectricity.  If these bricks turn out to be able to make electricity, I guess it will be called peezoelectricity.  Just saying.

bricks made from urine
Peezoelectric bricks?

Dyson Air Multiplier Fan

I included the Dyson Air Multiplier as a grand finale because it was designed using complex airflow simulations which can be graphically displayed.  This one below sort of looks like a jellyfish.  But a really excellent jellyfish, as far as I’m concerned.

air-multiplier-cfd-base-streamlines

And here is a picture of  an actual Dyson Air Multiplier.  It’s so powerful that it is sucking the hands of its inventor, James Dyson, into the vortex ring.

james dyson's hands being sucked into air multiplier

Don’t show this column to anybody who is into fluid mechanics.  (Yes, air is a fluid.)  They will just snort and say: “The guy that wrote this is an idiot.  That is not a vortex ring.” And they would be right.

There is a vortex but it’s in the base.  The air gets sucked into the base and jetted out through a slot in the ring.  At 55 mph.  And the reason that the whole shebang is called an air multiplier is that it shoots out more air than is sucked in the bottom. About 15 times more. Did I mention that it comes out at 55 mph?

Airflow-Image-650x365

The Air Multiplier has two flaws though. Well three, really.  First of all there’s that 55-miles-per-hour wind blasting into your face.  Then there’s the cost: expensive.  And the noise.  Supposedly it sounds like a jet engine taking off.  If you get one for anybody, give them some hearing protection too.

I hear whale earwax works pretty well.

 

 

 

 

 

Author:

Dave Barry fan and Medical Director at Rocky Mountain Analytical

3 thoughts on “4th Annual Lateral Thinking Department Christmas Gift Guide

  1. Useful info as always George. I’ll be staying home on this three weeks off however, thanks to your amazing knowledge it will be with clean ears and nasal passages sipping on a 27oz petit Sirah while nibbling on some yummy B vitamin and enzyme shortbread under my Dyson wind tunnel.

    Hope you and the Family have a ‘Better than Great” Christmas this year ! I look forward to seeing you in January.

    All the best my friend. Regards

    Dave Gallacher Facility Specialist Lifelabs 3680 Gilmore Way Burnaby, BC V5G 4V8 T: 604-431-5005 Ext. 73300 C: 778-877-4978 E: David.Gallacher@Lifelabs.com

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