MORE Brilliant Inventions
'Necessity is the mother of all invention.' ~ Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
Rogers Centre is a multi-purpose stadium in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Home to Major League Baseballs' Blue Jays, it is nestled between the CN Tower and the shores of Lake Ontario. Originally named the 'Skydome' (1989 - 2005), the Centre's crown jewel is its unique retractable roof inspired by nature itself.
I recall touring it some 15 years ago and being educated that the designer and architect derived their inspiration from looking at the way shells (on the backs of crustaceans) overlapped to form a protective barrier. Roof designer Michael Allen and Architect Rod Robbie created what was (at that time) the first stadium of its kind in the world. Most unique is its 31-story roof which consists of four panels. It works by one panel being fixed in place while the other three move along railway lines powered by electrically driven engines. The roof takes a full 20 minutes to open. Quite a spectacle to see it open and close during inclement weather. The stadium roof has a patent, preventing its design from being easily copied and was officially registered on December 1st, 1992 to dome architects Rod Robbie and Michael Allen.
Commentary from my first lens in this series, 'Brilliant Inventions you need NOW!' included: 'How do people come up with these things?' and 'Why didn't I think of that?' and 'Who thinks these things up?' So, I thought I'd put this Canadian architectural wonder right here to inspire you.
What works (for me) is usually derived from these three things: need, efficacy and nature.
Intro photo by w:User:Lee M (June 1996) see here / Licensed under Creative Commons. Attributions are shown when you scroll over photos and are linked to the original source wherever possible. Some photos are those of products I feature from Amazon.com.
This was created on May 14th, 2011. All rights reserved. Copyright 2011 - 2014 sousababy. Do not 'tag' the work of others.
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Addendum January 5th, 2012
Mr. Roderick "Rod" G. Robbie died yesterday morning in St. Michael's Hospital. He was admitted Christmas Day for treatment regarding blood flow to his small intestine. He was 83 years old.
Mr. Robbie was an Officer of the Order of Canada since 2003. Toronto city councillor, Adam Vaughan spoke of how his father (Colin) described him: "as one of the most extraordinary craftspeople", "the best person my dad ever practised architecture with, bar none", and "brilliant, as close to genius as anyone."
Crustacea Abludomelita Obtusata (amphipod)
Photo author: Hans Hillewaert (2005) / Attribution: Â© Hans Hillewaert / Creative Commons 3.0
Panoramic open roof view of Blue Jays game
Photo file user: Binche (June 19, 2006) / Licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0
Once standard in cars. The V-Coil lighter developed by Casco (1956).
Who smokes anymore? Check out this plug-in: - Dual 110V AC oulets and Dual USB ports (under $30 / ships FREE) . . .
Note: For DC12V and vehicle use ONLY - not for DC24V, nor airplane use. Backed by a 1-year warranty.
Every 6 months or so, I have to replace the crappy car chargers that come with my cell phone or my daughter's portable CD player. Instead, I now use a power inverter that transforms my vehicle's electricity so I can power my electronic devices while on the road using original AC power cords. Compact and lightweight, it simply plugs into the 12-volt DC outlet in your vehicle to power cell phones, camcorders, small portable stereos, laptop computers, blow dryers, portable children's CD/DVD players etc. It includes an automatic shutdown feature to protect against overload, over-heating, and high/low battery condition. Given a 4.5-Star rating. Measures: 1.9" x 2.9" x 4.8" and weighs 0.38 pounds. Covered by a 1-year warranty. I love this thing!
BESTEK Dual AC outlets & Dual USB power inverter
Diaper changes (nowadays) CAN be tearless
Photo source: Amazon.com
Best for baby, you and the environment . . . - (since cold wipes on a baby's bum = crying during diaper changes)
The Warmies warmer was designed with reusable wipes in mind, however it can be used for disposables. Please keep in mind that due to the three part heating system, disposable wipes may tend to dry out faster - so water may need to be added to keep them moist.
Twice awarded the iParenting Media Award. This brand is guaranteed to help keep your wipes the freshest they can be to soothe your baby's delicate skin. It's the ONLY wipes warmer that will not brown and dry out wipes. When I did the math, the $80 for this system with 18 wipes = less money spent on disposable ones for the first 2 years of my daughter's life. Better for her skin and eco-friendly. NOTE: The Ever-Fresh System Replacement Pillow should be replaced every three months.
Grate your parmesan and plane your door - ha - Easy to use, just tap the excess food out and clean towards the handle:
Photo source: Amazon.com
Rasp for grating hard cheeses and ginger
Given a 5-Star rating (387 reviewers). Based on a real microplane, this tool is extremely easy to use because you can grate right into the pot or onto food. When cleaning, be sure to tap excess food lodged into the holes and wipe towards the handle (as the grating surface is very sharp). KEEP the manufacturers 'slipcover' it comes with to protect your fingers when searching for it and to preserve the cutting edges.
Luxury? Take your time drying off now . . .
Photo source: Amazon.com
Honeywell - a trusted brand with high quality - for professionals or DIYers, with a 10 year warranty and made in the US:
I never realized how nice this can be until I stayed in a hotel and had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Wow, no more cold feet - I fell back asleep immediately. Once you have kids, it's nice for them to stay warm after a bath so you can dry them off without rushing.
Complete 120 V integrated heating system for your floor (12 watts per square foot), 18 inch wide heating mat roll with pre-attached armored power lead, includes a floor sensor with 15 foot lead, and GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt). There is a pre programmed quick setup or you can personalized a weekly schedule of use 4 time periods per day (with two temperature settings). BONUS: Customers can use an online system to enter a floor plan and Warmstone will send you a detailed installation diagram. Given a 5-Star rating. I looked at 5 brands, this one is the best I found. ON SALE NOW => You save $132.00 (as of 10/13/2011).
Below are some schematics of floor plans to keep in mind:
Some floor plans that are possible with this 40 Sq Ft Radiant Floor Heating Kit
Sniff, sniff . . hey, I think the cat took a dump - or was that YOU dear? Don't know about you - but think I'll pass on this one. Now all the guys are leaving t
Photo source: Amazon.com
Sick of automatic litter boxes that jam? - 10 types I have looked at and this one won for overall value:
Why? It has a 4.4 Star-rating (1,073 reviewers). Plus this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. ON SALE NOW:
The hugest advantage to this system is the urine is separated from the 'litter' and odor is greatly reduced. The litter consist of pellets similar in shape and size to the wood-based natural litters (but made of a hard clay, which doesn't break down and keeps it's shape). Thus, the urine drains straight down to the pad (in its own slide-out drawer) and the poo stays on top to be scooped away. Need these for a clinic? Save with Subscribe & Save: sign up to have this item delivered at a regular interval of your choice. Shipping is always FREE.
Can't we just train cats to go to the toilet? - Actually, we CAN! This setup is as easy as attaching a garden hose:
The Worlds Only Self-Flushing, Self-Washing - Litter Box (90 day money-back guarantee and a 2-year warranty):
I hesitated to showcase this one based on the first model. However, a friend of mine (who works in a veterinary clinic) told me this design is much better. It requires hookup to cold water and an electrical outlet. I HIGHLY recommend you view the video within this Amazon link prior to purchase. It has come way down in price. One friend of mine (who travels for a days at-a-time) said, 'This is great, I don't need to ask someone to come in and clean the litter box while I'm away at a conference.' Eco-friendly product and less work for you - got my vote.
The new 120 SaniSolution Cartridge is biodegradable and recyclable (unlike cat litter which is neither). Holds 120 washes and when set on Cat Activation provides 240 washes (one cartridge is smaller and uses less plastic than the lid of one plastic litter jug). NOTE: The 120 Cartridge only works in the CatGenie 120 Model. Here's the pro's and con's: it uses permanent granules which are sanitized (no need to buy litter and keeps things 'less germy' for multiple cat households), no scooping, no plastic bags (waste is flushed into sewer system). Cats seem to like it - they dig in the granules (just like with regular litter), and it is easy to set up. The price upfront seems high, however you save on the cost of litter. You DO have to purchase refills of the sani-solution which are fairly economical (each cartridge lasts for 2-3 months). It INCLUDES the biodegradable, recyclable SaniSolution cartridge.
Exactly what you'll need if you want this . . . - (these will get you through the first 6 - 9 months with this system):
Given a 4.5-Star rating. This is compatible with the CatGenie 120 Self-Cleaning litter box. It eliminates germs and odors, thoroughly cleans and sanitizes CatGenie Washable Granules up to 240 times and alerts you when solution runs low. The cartridge is made with a biodegradable and recyclable translucent material. I HIGHLY recommend UNscented - better for your cat, the environment and the air you breathe.
CatGenie Washable Granules . . .
For use with CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box. Specs: dust-free, made of non-toxic natural and synthetic biodegradable materials which degrades in septic systems within 9 months. One box lasts 4 to 6 months.
Given a 4.2 Star-rating (85 reviewers). This is eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.
Save an extra 15% with Subscribe & Save: sign up to have this item delivered at a regular interval of your choice, and the current price drops to $20.39 and shipping is always FREE.
Do you have a drawer full of these too? - You know, some buttons would 'stick' or stop working altogether?
Photo author: Grkauls at de.wikipedia | Gregor Kauls (2007) released into the public domain.
Courtesy of website: Free Photos.Biz (photos are published under free licenses) see here.
Let's just see what the majority says . . . - (and I always changed the batteries and cleaned them too):
In the last 10 years, how many remote controls have YOU owned?
Only 4 I liked (out of 17) that I checked out - (as always, in order from lower to higher in price):
The WR7 uses one-button "Macros" to allow you turn on your TV, cable box, DVD player and surround sound system all at the same time with the press of one button. The WR7 supports up to 13 separate macros. The URC-WR7 also comes equipped with four customizable "My Favorites" buttons. You can program up to five favorite channels per button. The URC-WR7 can control most IR (Infrared) operated lights, too, so you can adjust room light without leaving the comfort of your easy chair.
Here's why I liked this one: you can drag and drop to design the remote you want (keep some/delete some), quick and easy setup of activities and macros. Intuitive app for iPhone and iPod touch. No batteries, no Wi-Fi, no wall plug needed and 100,000 button/1000 remote capacity. System Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch (all models) OS 3.0 or later.
This one has the largest built-in code library. Specs: designed to operate up to 10 different AV components and is pre-programmed to operate virtually all brands of TV, VCR, DVD and CD Players, cable set top boxes, satellite receivers, TiVo and other DVRs, audio components, tape decks, multimedia PCs, satellite radio, Ipod, X- Box, lighting controls and other customized products.
Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote with Color Touchscreen - Good price, Amazon Frustration-Free packaging / Ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping / 1 or 2
A problem we have not improved on much
Nah, I wouldn't sell the one shown (below, right) since it wouldn't last a week before the little plastic arms would be broken by my cat or my family.
Almost every friend of mine now either has a pet or two or a young child that has this natural curiosity to attack the toilet paper rolls. Why not? It is fascinating to watch (and very funny). But, after a while, you start to think 'Gee, how do I solve this problem?'
Some folks have some very clever designs which range in price from $24.99 - $110.00. So, I thought I'd check them out. (At the end of this devoted section to toilet paper - are my top picks).
Hope you find this both humorous and educational.
Young children and cats do get curious . . . - music and choreography is great in this one and look at that sweet face:
To store your extra rolls, what do you think? - I thought, 'Nah, toilet tanks can sweat and the rolls might get damp or wet.'
Photo source: Amazon.com
This one employs an extra bar to roll it over . . - reviewers found it troublesome to use and not effective for some:
Photo source: Amazon.com
A brilliant idea from a Professor with a cat . . . - works equally well for those with curious toddlers (cost? $1):
A toilet paper roll dispenser worth a peek . . .
This is a new way to solve the problem, stand the roll vertically - why didn't I think of that! Founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin, Kohler Co. is one of America's oldest and largest privately held companies. (This can be mounted horizontally too). I have always found Kohler bathroom and kitchen products to be of the highest quality.
Something I read 5 years ago:
While flipping through a magazine (I think it was Today's Parent), I read a solution to this toilet paper problem: squish the roll somewhat to make it oblong or oval-shaped. This stops the toilet paper from unraveling. NOTE: may not work all of the time but it's worth a try.
Mailboxes, do we need locks on them now? - All of the identity theft and IT security folks I know advise, 'It's a good idea.'
Photo source: Amazon.com
Something sleek and new on the market . . .
This metallic stainless steel mailbox with matching stand sells for $607.99 + free shipping (as of May 18th, 2011). It is available from an external website called Teak Wicker And More. The dimensions are: 8.3" L x 16" W x 65" H. Yes, for the price of rent, you can own this very modern-looking sleek mailbox which will keep your mail safe from thieves and inclement weather.
Sure I love it. Thing is, I don't know anyone (right now) who can afford this.
Honestly, locking mechanisms only go so far - (recommended if your mailbox will be protected from rain/snow):
Ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. One-day shipping and gift wrapping available.
After viewing about 22 other locking mailboxes, I liked this one the most. For a few reasons: it lights up your house number (in an eco-friendly way), has a lock and isn't crazy ass expensive. Specs: made of 304 grade stainless steel, comes with a double set of adhesive numbers and a solar cell which charges during the day. When sensing low light conditions it will illuminate for easy visibility at night. (Always a good deterrent for would-be thieves).
Keep your existing mailbox, this is under $60 - (works on every type of mailbox, see polaroid photos that follow):
Given a 4-Star rating (66 reviews), hey I thought this is great as both a deterrent AND for those at home. When the mailbox door is opened, a sensor sends a signal to your home. A bright red LED light and four audible beeps lets you know that your mail has been delivered. Works up to 300 ft, a long lasting 12-volt battery is included. FCC approved.
Mail Chime - Wireless Mail Alert System on a rural mailbox
Mail Chime - Wireless Mail Alert System on a wall mounted mailbox
Mosquitoes cause almost a dozen illnesses: - Malaria, West Nile virus & Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) a mosquito-borne virus in Western Australia can kil
Photo author: JJ Harrison (email@example.com) 2009 / Creative Commons
Remember these? Do you feel they work?
DEET and something that works just as well
DEET = N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide. The EPA reported 14 to 46 cases of potential DEET associated seizures, including 4 deaths. (I won't use it).
Things that ARE known: mosquitoes are attracked to darker colors, especially reds and blues. Indeed, some people have a chemistry that attracks them more than others (I know some folks who get eaten while others barely do). DEET is something that shouldn't be used by pregnant women and children. I will go out on a limb here and say 'nobody should use anything containing DEET.' Since, I feel cumulative toxicity can and likely occurs (however I cannot cite proof of this). Women and children (naturally having a higher percentage of body fat and surface skin), are less likely to detoxify this chemical as efficiently as men.
One published report on Wikipedia:
In the DEET Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported 14 to 46 cases of potential DEET associated seizures, including 4 deaths. The EPA states: "... it does appear that some cases are likely related to DEET toxicity," but observed that with 30% of the US population using DEET, the likely seizure rate is only about one per 100 million users.
IF you do choose to use anything containing DEET (of any concentration) please heed these recommendations: do not apply repellents to the hands of young children because this may result in accidental eye contact or ingestion. Try to reduce the use of repellents by dressing children in long sleeves and long pants tucked into boots or socks whenever possible. Use netting over strollers, playpens, etc. As with chemical exposures in general, pregnant women should take care to avoid exposures to repellents when practical, as the fetus may be vulnerable. [Sources included: Wikipedia and my own study notes].
Other CDC recommended repellents are Picaridin, Oil of Eucalyptus (PMD) and IR3535 (3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester). Synthetic repellents tend to be more effective and/or longer lasting than "natural" repellents. In comparative studies, IR3535 was as effective or better than DEET in protection against mosquitoes. [Source: Wikipedia]
Up next is my top pick for IR3535 (ethyl 3-[acetyl(butyl)amino]propanoate), used in Europe 20 years prior to its registration with the EPA as an active ingredient in February 1999.
IR3535 - Merck KGaA is the registered trademark owner of IR3535 in the United States - found in Avon Products Skin So Soft line of topical insect repellent:
I like that each member of your family can carry his/her own bottle. Keep one at the cottage and one in the car. Each 4 fl oz pump spray also provides SPF 30 (sun protection factor).
Repels mosquitoes that may transmit West Nile Virus for 8 hours. Provides effective protection against gnats, no-see-ums (biting midges) and sand flies. DEET-free, dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic. 2-in-1 protection.
Given a 5-Star rating, this spacious canopy mosquito net suspends from the ceiling. Key things I liked: no side openings (which always come apart), extra long reach, long study frame and is a durable, well-made product. The tropical mesh netting allows for maximum air circulation. Costs more than some but truly keeps out mosquitoes, flies and other annoying insects. One size fits all. Made in the USA. Dimensions: 108 x 100 x 96 inches.
Each dunk works for 30 days under typical environmental conditions and covers 100 square feet (10 ft. x 10 ft.) of water surface (depth doesn't matter). They work by releasing a long-term, biological mosquito larvicide at the water's surface where it is eaten by mosquito larvae. Alternate wetting and drying will not reduce their effectiveness. Warning: Hazards to Humans: Avoid contact with eyes or open wounds. Environmental Hazards: Do not apply directly to treated, finished drinking water reservoirs or drinking water receptacles when the water is intended for human consumption. Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Given a 4.5-Star rating (32 customer reviewers).
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If you wouldn't say it . . don't send it. mousepad
When adults gossip or bully poster
A bully-free world tote bag
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