Friday, May 08, 2015

And then I fell down a science nerd internet rabbit hole.

Forget flying cars and hoverboards, what I want from my life here in the future is a better option than umbrellas. Specifically, I respectfully submit that it's bullshit to struggle with an umbrella through the rain only to get totally soaked in the process of getting into the car with it. You have to fold it up before you can get in, so you get rained on, then there's no good way to get the wet umbrella over to the passenger floorboard without it dripping all over your lap. I want a device I can wear on a wristband or necklace that, when activated, produces a water-repellent forcefield. One that keeps water completely away and allows you to get into the car and then de-activate it, safely dry with no umbrella shedding water all over your clothes. Can we kickstarter this?

Maybe we could also modify it to work as an insect repellent field, since actual spray-on insect repellent seems to do fuck-all to actually repel mosquitoes. That's really a sloppy statement from a scientific standpoint, I suppose, since insect repellent isn't designed to repel insects - it's designed to block or disrupt the insects' ability to locate and identify you as food. The whole thing fascinates me in a grudging way, admittedly. For instance, I've heard (or maybe read somewhere) that women and children seem to attract more mosquitoes than men. This makes sense, since mosquitoes detect us via the carbon dioxide that we exhale and smaller people breathe faster than larger ones. (Incidentally, this line of thinking always reminds me of a click-baity type article I saw once discussing the fact that more men than women are struck by lightning each year. I wanted to cross-examine the author. Did you take into account the percentage of men that golf compared to women? Or the percentage of men versus women working outdoors in jobs that would put one at a higher risk for lightning strikes? CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION, CLICK-BAITY ARTICLE WRITER.)

Anyway, the topic came up at work the other day because we are plagued with mosquitoes right now - and because we're a bunch of science nerds without dissertations to focus on - and we pondered, if mosquito repellent blocks their CO2 receptors, how can they still find us when we have applied repellent? Turns out they are also somewhat attracted to skin odors, and that our deliciousness does vary person to person. BUT ANYWAY, this could all be fixed when we invent the force-field bubble of insect and rain repelling. Get on that, humanity.

Playing:   Led Zeppelin mostly. And sometimes this song on repeat.

Reading:   Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

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