Swindle them blind.

There’s a nefarious evil pervading our culture that I was unaware of until today.  It’s worse than the dryer monster that steals one sock from a matched pair.  It’s worse than the Fuzzo Makers who stuff lint into the pockets of innocent passers-by.  It’s even worse than coins that feel like dimes in your pockets, but somehow turn themselves into virtually useless pennies on the way out.  The Evil?  The U.S. Treasury, a last stanchion against the rights of blind people everywhere U.S. currency is held.

While I personally have no problem with our current bills, even if they are in pastel tints, I can see the problems they might cause for someone who can’t see.  Checking the change you receive (and let’s face it, everyone makes mistakes, even cashiers) becomes a problem.  A simple comment of ‘You only gave me ten” could lead to self-doubt and possible self-esteem issues.  In addition, it makes people easier to cheat, leading those people perhaps into bitter, sheltered lives.  And nobody likes that, except for swindlers.

Honestly, it surprises me that the question hasn’t come up earlier.  Sure, the current suit started in 2002, but with all the access ramps for wheelchairs and other equalizing activities going on in the 1990s, you’d think someone would’ve spoken up.  What really irks is that the Treasury hasn’t actually just insituted something new that addresses this problem.  I mean, you’ve had 6 years.  You knew you were going to lose.  It could even be a way to save some of the loads of money you’re losing on minting new coins, if you planned it out right.  So get to it!

That makes me think – there should definitely be a movie (or spoof?) about a blind man who breaks a money laundering/counterfeiting ring.  Kinda like that blind swordsman Asian movie, with less blood and more spy.  I definitely see the blind guy doing the slide across the hood of his car at least once, possibly missing it or falling off the edge if he does it more than once.  Oh yeah.

White Hot (chocolate)

It is a legend of my office that at one time, we had a 12 cup coffee maker that rebrewed regular throughout the day.  There are various stories of people not making a fresh pot, people not cleaning and letting the coffee mold, and people generally being rude and somewhat inhuman to each other.   I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that.  However, the current solution of Keurig one-cup brews, or K-cups, is not an elegant one.  The coffee inside each package is pre-ground and generally stale, despite a ‘freshness’ seal.  Most of the flavors are either too strong or too weak (where’s my medium roast?!?).  Finally, the K-cups brew what seems to be 7 oz., an amount that is perfectly the wrong size for one or two brews in my 12 oz. mug.  I need like one and a half brews of K-cup.

But there is one thing I’ve discovered that not even K-cups can foul up – white hot chocolate.  Liquid warmth beyond the understanding of mortal man, it comes out a little foamy, reminiscent of marshmallows and downy pillows.  It’s like a hot cloud of wonderment.

McDonald’s may have its persuasive hooks in the world with copious amounts of salt, fat, sugar, and other horribly bad things, but Keurig will now always have a deeper hook in my heart.

New! Electrolyes!

Normally when people think of battery innards, they think of acids and chemicals so harsh that they could melt yoru eyeballs right out of their sockets.  My personal mind-image of battery acid is The Dip from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a colorful vat of inventive toxic ooze that reduces cartoons to swirls of classic Crayola color.  It’s nasty stuff, stuff you wouldn’t want to inhale, stuff you definitely want to bathe in.  Or drink.

Strangely enough, the material that separates battery parts (read: the electrodes, cathode and anode) is an electrolyte, the same type of substances in sports drinks like Gatorade that are supposed to help replenish and re-power your body.  I say ‘type’ because the materials are not exactly the same.  Gatorade electrolytes can be any kind of supplemental ions – sodium, potassium – while the electrolyte in a battery has to be a very definite barrier that can still pass electrons freely between the two electrodes.  What’s interesting is that both substances serve the same purpose – electric charge regulation.

Of course, there are always advances and changes being made to electrolyte substances to make them more efficient, or better, or better for us.  Gatorade has come out with the new G2 version of itself, with a lower sugar content, making it healthier but still with enough sugar to allow us to uptake the electorlytes our bodies need to run properly.  MIT and other schools are working on thinner, more advanced electrolyte barriers for use in fuel cells using a new layer-by-layer process (think The Dip again).  testing has concluded that this film, when used with other barriers, outputs 50% more power.  It remains to be seen what kind of advantages this layered approach will have when used as a standalone barrier between electrodes.

Someday perhaps we’ll be able to charge and run all of our appliances – cell phone, computer, dishwasher – from the power of our own bodies.  Until that time, we’ll just have to keep beefing up our electrolytes.