Archive
Impractical
Bathers Sail While Floating (Nov, 1937)

Bathers Sail While Floating
A NOVEL contrivance utilizing a slab of cork of a size capable of supporting an average man’s weight in water and a small sail to provide propulsion has been devised by Lieut.-Commander W. P. Hastie, of the British Royal Naval Reserve.

The sail is attached to a small metal mast inserted in the cork. Strapping the cork to his stomach, a non-swimmer can float, using his hands as rudders to guide his passage through the water. By twisting his body, the floater can take advantage of wind changes. The sail is movable, being controlled by a cord held by the bather.

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Flashlight, 5 Power Telescope, Drinking Cup—All in One (Oct, 1933)

Any fool could come up with a Flashlight/Telescope combo, but it takes a true creative genius to add the drinking cup.

Flashlight, 5 Power Telescope, Drinking Cup—All in One
IT’S a flashlight, but take out the batteries and it’s a telescope. The combination instrument, now on the market, has several uses for the camper. As a flashlight it has a focusing beam. The front lens can also be used as a sun glass to start fires, while the eyepiece is a good magnifying glass. Included in the tube with the batteries is a small drinking cup. By removing the batteries, bulb, and drinking cup, the camper has a fair five-power telescope. The instrument is built to provide for an adjustable telescope for varying distances.

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Blows Glass Globe Around Cats (Jan, 1932)

Blows Glass Globe Around Cats
TO WIN a bet, Dick Manley, California glass blower, performed an unprecedented glass blowing stunt. He placed three kittens in a glass tube and within three minutes fashioned it into a perfect 26-inch globe with the kittens inside and unharmed. A small hole admitted air.

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We CAN Control the Weather! (Jan, 1948)

Very interesting if somewhat optimistic article about weather prediction and control. Their secret weapon is a new computer with an very impressive (for the time) 20K of memory which will allow them to predict the weather and model the effects of any potential interventions.

To show just how off they were in terms of necessary processing power, check out the list of Weather Modeling machines on the the top 500 supercomputer list. The fastest has 1020 processors and 4TB of memory.

My favorite of their weather control techniques has to be creating giant oil slicks off the Florida coast and setting them on fire to deflect a hurricane.

We CAN Control the Weather!

The electronic computer makes it possible, says Dr. Zworykin, scientist.

BY WILLIAM WINTER, based on an interview with DR. VLADIMIR K. ZWORYKIN, Vice President and Technical Consultant, RCA Laboratories

WHEN Mark Twain made his famous quip that everyone talked about the weather but that no one ever did anything about it, he had no way of knowing that the science of electronics, even then in its infancy, not only would promise a revolution in forecasting but would show the way to actually control the elements.

Yes, thanks to electronics we soon will be able to predict in a few minutes the weather for several days ahead. Even more important, man may be able to prevent the development of hurricanes and other violent storms, or divert them, prevent killing frosts, eliminate local fogs, and even cause rain to fall in regions of drought. The benefits to aviation and agriculture alone would be tremendous, to say nothing of the direct savings in lives and property.

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An Electric Massage for Milady (Dec, 1932)

While this sounds like a vibrator, it actually just electrocutes “Milady” with a pair of spoons.

An Electric Massage for Milady
MILADY’S complexion will benefit immensely from an application of “juice” from this little massaging device. There’s no danger of shock, and the complexion will not suffer a charring from the current, so it’s all quite safe. The only parts needed are: Four or five dry cells, preferably new and fresh; a short length of bell wire, two silver spoons and some tape. The hook-up of all this equipment is shown in the accompanying drawing. Note that the handles of the spoons are insulated with windings of tape, so that all danger of a jolt is eliminated. Apply the spoons to the face as illustrated in the drawing, patting them gently so as to get full benefit from the sparking. If need be, the operator can wear rubber gloves.— Walter Menyhart.

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Walking the Dog Drives Poochmobile (Nov, 1939)

The caption is funny too: “Z. Wiggs out for a spin in his pooch-mobile. “
The guy’s name is Z. Wiggs, but when I read it I thought the dog’s name was Z and he was wigging out for a ride. I like my interpretation better.

Walking the Dog Drives Poochmobile
DOG power drives an odd vehicle constructed by Z. Wiggs, eighty-year-old dog trainer and former railroad worker of Denton, Tex. Operating on the squirrel-cage principle, the dogmobile has a giant central wheel which is revolved as a dog walks or
runs on its inside surface. The four-legged canine engine is anchored to a central shaft by a special collar. Power is transmitted to rear drive wheels by means of a belt-and-pulley mechanism which the driver controls by a “gearshift” lever.

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Grapefruit Conquered at Last (Aug, 1933)

Finally, after countless lives lost and ruined, the Grapefruit wars are over.

Grapefruit Conquered at Last
AT LAST the grapefruit has heen conquered. The weapon employed in the conquest is an “umbrella spoon” shown at left, which automatically opens into a large shield when you gouge down into the meat of the fruit. When you raise the spoon to your mouth the shield closes.

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Flying Tanks that Shed Their Wings (Jul, 1932)

I guess this miiight work, if your tank didn’t have any armor. But then it wouldn’t exactly be a tank would it?

Flying Tanks that Shed Their Wings

by Lew Hold

Imagine those two formidable weapons of modern warfare, the airplane and the armored tank, combined into one terrible machine of destruction! Fantastic as the idea sounds, it is fast taking physical shape as a reality for Uncle Sam’s army. The whole amazing story is presented to you in this important article.

IS WAR, already made terrible to contemplate by the invention of too-efficient methods of destruction, on the verge of being banished forever by an amazing new weapon so horrible in its possibilities that nations of the world will not dare to risk its fury?

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A Subway Through the Sahara (Sep, 1929)

I think they might be missing a few issues here…

A Subway Through the Sahara

A tunnel railway beneath the shifting Sahara desert sands of northern Africa, covering the thousand miles between Morocco and Timbuktu, is proposed by a French engineer as a solution of desert travel.

COINCIDENT with the project of a tunnel under the English channel to connect France and England, a French engineer, Paul Remy, has conceived the idea of a 125-mile subway through the Sahara desert in northern Africa. The route of the railway would cover the 1000 miles between Morocco and Timbuktu, but all except 125 miles of this distance can be built on stretches of rocky and barren land which offer no obstacles to a surface railway. The 125-mile stretch of country known as the Shifting Sands in the heart of the Sahara, is filled with sand dunes which blow up overnight to tremendous heights, only to disappear on their endless march where the hot winds bore through them and urge them onward. Surface rails, of course, would be impossible in this land where mountains of wind-blown sand would cover them overnight.

For this reason Remy’s tunnel project seems the only practicable idea yet advanced for speeding up desert travel. As proposed, the tunnel would be a huge metal tube supported on a skeleton viaduct of cross-ties and piles sunk into the sand.

It would be a simple task to construct pipe lines through the shell of the tube so that water, gas, electric cables and telephone lines could be run through them. Power for the trains would naturally be electric, since it would be impossible to use coal or oil-burning locomotives because of the ventilation problems involved.

In time the desert sands would submerge the tunnel entirely, insulating it from the intense heat so that travel would be far more comfortable inside the tunnel than upon the surface. Were it not for the fact that there is no water available, it would be possible to plant grasses in the sands and anchor them with plant growth so that they could not shift overnight. As it is, however, the tunnel seems to be the only possible means of bridging the heart of the desert.

Fantastic as such a scheme sounds at first, and high as would be the initial cost, no other entirely satisfactory method of rapidly crossing the shifting sand area has been offered. For both economic and military reasons France is determined to build a railway across the Sahara. Some means of rapid transport of troops in case of a national emergency, is very desirable.

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Human Sunshine Tester Compares Two Brands (Jun, 1940)

Quick! Someone call Batman!

Human Sunshine Tester Compares Two Brands
Which has the better quality of sunshine, Florida or California? To settle this longstanding dispute, the gentleman at the left is exposing half of his epidermis to Florida’s sun, reserving the clothed half for a comparison test in California.

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