Silly Putty

Silly Putty is everything you would want, in one.

  • Silly Putty is a pliable putty toy that has been particularly popular among children since its invention, and in 2001, it earned a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame.
  • Silly Putty is known for stretching when pulled, fragmenting when smashed, bouncing when dropped, and deforming when given time.
  • The Crayola company, ‘Crayola, LLC’ owns the Silly Putty brand, and the putty was originally known as ‘nutty putty’ or ‘bouncing putty’.
  • Silly Putty comes in a wide variety of colours, and some can be metallic looking, or others glow in the dark; and it is sold by Crayola in an egg-shaped casing.
  • Silly Putty is a type of silicone polymer, which was originally made of silicone oil and boric acid, a formula that has remained mostly the same to date.
Silly Putty, Toy, Novelty, Invention, Ink, Trivia, Random Facts, Brown, Modelling
Silly Putty
Image courtesy of Hanna/Flickr
  • The inventor of Silly Putty is controversial, and is often attributed to Scottish chemical engineer James Wright, or American chemist Earl Warrick, both of which are believed to have independently created the same compound around 1943.
  • Silly Putty was an accidental invention created during attempts to make a synthetic rubber for the United States military in World War II, as the Japanese had taken control of rubber supplies.
  • When Silly Putty was invented, it was distributed to a variety of scientists and industrialists in attempt to find a practical purpose, however none was found, and it was not until 1949 it was first sold commercially as an amusement for adults.
  • Silly Putty is an adhesive, in that it collects dirt, grit, lint and hair when pressed on a surface, as well as some inks, making it capable of copying prints of texts onto the putty.
  • Silly Putty is affected by substances containing alcohol, which cause the putty to dissolve; though some of these substances can be used to release the putty from clothing and hair, to which it tends to stick.
Bibliography:
Harris W, How Silly Putty Works, 2016, HowStuffWorks, http://people.howstuffworks.com/silly-putty1.htm
Hiskey D, Silly Putty Was Invented By Accident, 2011, Today I Found Out, http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/11/silly-putty-was-invented-by-accident/
The History of Silly Putty, 2001, Crayola, https://www2.crayola.com/mediacenter/download/news/press_release_164.doc
Silly Putty, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silly_Putty

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Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse is simple but effective.

  • Chocolate mousse is an edible foam, originating from France and most commonly eaten as a dessert.
  • Chocolate mousse usually consists of eggs, sugar and chocolate, and often also butter or cream, and perhaps other flavourings.
  • Chocolate mousse is most commonly used as a dessert itself, or as a filling, side or decoration in a dessert; however mousse purposed for savoury use can be made, though it usually excludes chocolate and sugar, and is flavoured differently.
  • Mousses, including those chocolate-flavoured, originated in the 1700s, with the first known recipe for chocolate mousse documented by Menon, a French writer, in 1750, in his book La science du maître d’hôtel confiseur (loosely translated as ‘The science of a master confectioner’).
  • Chocolate mousse is generally made by whipping egg whites or cream, until they become light and airy, which is then usually combined with a mixture of melted chocolate and sometimes butter, egg yolks, and sugar, and then set in a refrigerator.
Chocolate Mousse, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Cream, Food, Dessert, Glass, Cup, Delicious
Chocolate Mousse
Image courtesy of Jules/Flickr
  • ‘Mousse’ is a French word which has the literal translation ‘foam’; while chocolate mousse is known as ‘mousse au chocolat’ in French.
  • Recipes similar to that of chocolate mousse became more abundant in the 1890s and 1900s, including one from the French Post-Impressionist artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who named his a ‘mayonnaise’.
  • Chocolate mousse is typically a brown colour with a light fluffy texture, although its density may vary according to the ingredients and cooking method.
  • Chocolate mousse is a good source of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin B12, though it has significant quantities of fat and sugar.
  • Recipes for chocolate mousse range from simple to complex or exotic, however many agree that simplicity is key for a good mousse.
Bibliography:
The Culinary Institute of America, Heavenly and Historical, 2003, The Spokesman Review, https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=20031001&id=qdwnAAAAIBAJ&sjid=yPIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6605,264844&hl=en
Davidson A, The Oxford Companion to Food, 2014, p534, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, https://books.google.com.au/books?id=bIIeBQAAQBAJ&q=chocolate+mousse#v=snippet&q=chocolate%20mousse&f=false
Goldstein D, Mintz S, Krondl M & Mason L, The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, 2015, p464, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, https://books.google.com.au/books?id=R1bCBwAAQBAJ&lpg=PA464&dq=menon%20mousse&pg=PA464#v=onepage&q=menon%20mousse&f=false
The History of Chocolate Mousse, n.d, Extreme Chocolate, http://www.extremechocolate.com/the-history-of-chocolate-mousse.html
How to Make Chocolate Mousse, 2012, Z Chocolat, http://www.zchocolat.com/how-to-make-chocolate-mousse/
Mousse, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mousse
Savill J, Chocolate Mousse, 2007, The Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/news/good-living/chocolate-mousse/2007/07/16/1184438207223.html

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Snow Globe

Shake up a snow globe and be mesmerised by the sight.

  • A snow globe is a decorative novelty item consisting of a scene inside a transparent globular or ellipsoid-like shape.
  • ‘Snow globes’ are also known as ‘snow domes’, ‘snow shakers’, ‘snowstorms’, ‘snow scenes’, and ‘water globes’.
  • Snow globes generally consist of tiny white flakes in a liquid, which is mainly water, which when shaken up, simulates snow falling.
  • It is thought that snow globes originated in France in Europe, with the first known record being a globe of water and white powder, with a man holding an umbrella, which was on display at the Paris Universal Expo in 1878.
  • To prevent the liquid inside a snow globe from freezing during cold temperatures, an antifreeze such as glycol, is often added to the water, while glycerine or another ingredient is sometimes added to slow the movement of the flakes in the liquid.
Snow Globe, House, Novelty, Invention, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Cottage, Glass
Snow Globe
Image courtesy of Nick Harris/Flickr
  • Snow globes were first patented in the year 1900, in Austria, by Erwin Perzy, a mechanic of surgery instruments, who is believed to have thought of the idea whilst attempting to increase light bulb luminescence.
  • The production and demand of snow globes increased between the 1920s and the 1940s, with the rise of cheaper production methods and materials, while popularity grew as a direct result of the globes being dramatically smashed in a scene of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle.
  • Although snow globes are commonly used for ornamental purposes, in some cases, they were initially purposed for and used as paperweights.
  • Snow globes are commonly sold as collectible items or souvenirs, and they have sometimes been distributed for free for advertising purposes.
  • Traditionally, snow globes consisted of a glass globe with bone, ceramic or rice particles, though in modern times, both the globe and flakes are often plastic, and occasionally glitter is used.
Bibliography:
Ames L, The View From/Harrison; Collector of 6,000 Snow Domes Knows Kitsch From Priceless, 1997, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1997/12/07/nyregion/the-view-from-harrison-collector-of-6000-snow-domes-knows-kitsch-from-priceless.html
Hilker A, A BIOGRAPHY OF THE AMERICAN SNOW GLOBE: FROM MEMORY TO MASS PRODUCTION, FROM SOUVENIR TO SIGN, 2014, Smithsonian Libraries, https://repository.si.edu/bitstream/handle/10088/27478/HILKERTHESIS5.23.pdf
McRobbie L, A Brief History of Snow Globes, 2015, Mental Floss, http://mentalfloss.com/article/71983/brief-history-snow-globes
Pichler B, Into the Wintry World of the Snow Globe, 2010, Los Angeles Times, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/19/travel/la-tr-snowglobes-20101219
Snow Globe, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_globe
Soteriou H, The Family Company That Invented the Snow Globe, 2013, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-25298507

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Candy Apple

Although candy apples are evolving into a tradition, they are well suited anytime!

  • A candy apple is a confectionery item consisting of an apple, that has been dipped in a hard sugar or toffee mixture to coat it; and includes a wooden or plastic stick pushed into the apple, which is used to hold it.
  • ‘Candy apples’ are also known as ‘candied apples’, ‘toffee apples’, ‘lollipop apples’, and ‘taffy apples’.
  • Candy apples are most popularly eaten as a snack during autumn months when apples are at their peak season, especially during times of celebration, or at carnivals and fairs.
  • Typically, the hard coating of a candy apple is a red colour, likely due to tradition, as well as the appealing and striking nature of the colour.
  • The sugary coating of candy apples is typically made from sugar, corn syrup, food colouring, and water, although the ingredients may vary, and they are sometimes flavoured with cinnamon.
Candy Apples, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Red, Assortment, Toffee, Confectionery, Food, CulinaryCandy Apples
Image courtesy of Emilian Vicol/Flickr
  • The candy apple invention is often attributed to candy maker William Kolb of New Jersey, in the United States, who is said to have placed toffee-covered apples in a display window in 1908, and he promptly sold them for five cents per apple.
  • Candy apples are commonly confused with caramel apples, which are notably different in that the latter’s coating is generally made of soft caramel rather than hard toffee.
  • The oldest known written recipe for a candy apple originated in 1919, found in the cookbook “Rigby’s Reliable Candy Teacher” and it was referred to as an ‘apple on a stick’.
  • Apple cultivars of particular tartness, like Granny Smiths, are optimal for candy apples, as the flavour compliments the sweetness, and these apples usually have a firm texture.
  • Climates with high humidity render candy apples as somewhat impractical, as excessive levels of humidity cause the hard sugar coating to become soft and runny.
Bibliography:
Candy Apple, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candy_apple
Nudi E, Food History: Candied Apples, 2014, Erinnudi.com, http://www.erinnudi.com/2014/09/25/food-history-candied-apples/
Olver L, Food Timeline FAQs: Candy, 2015, Food Timeline, http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcandy.html#candiedapples

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Lava Lamp

Are you mesmerised by the dynamic lava lamp?

  • A lava lamp is an ornamental accessory, that consists of two liquids of different densities, that is illuminated to create a glow and an interesting ambience in a room.
  • ‘Lava lamps’ are also known as ‘liquid motion lamps’, ‘bubble lamps’, ‘Astro lamps’ and ‘Lava Lite lamps’.
  • The main elements of a lava lamp are typically a wax or oil solution, suspended in water in a glass container, that is heated by an electric bulb concealed underneath.
  • The appeal of lava lamps comes from the colourful blobs (wax solution) in the lamp, rising and falling, and the lamps come in a wide variety of colours and stereotypically have a futuristic shape.
  • Lava lamps function by the wax mixture expanding as it heats up, resulting in it having a reduced density that causes rising, and when the mixture rises it moves into a cooler zone, causing the blobs or bubbles to contract and sink.
Lava Lamp, Invention, Assorted, Trivia, Random, Facts, Glow, Invention, Novelty, Furnishing, Yellow, Red
Lava Lamps
Image courtesy of Dean Hochman/Flickr
  • The original inventor of lava lamps was British motor engineer, Donald Dunnet, who was inspired by his own earlier creation of an egg timer, and he made an application for its patent in 1950, which was granted in 1954.
  • The invention of the lava lamp is commonly attributed to British naturist and film producer, Edward Craven Walker, who improved on and commercialised Donald Dunnet’s invention in 1963, after seeing one in a pub.
  • Care should be take while handling or transporting lava lamps when they are warm, as the liquids in the lamp can combine together if disturbed, causing it to become cloudy.
  • Lava lamps were originally sold by Edward Walker’s company, Crestworth Ltd, as ‘Astro Lamps’, and the company’s name later changed to ‘Mathmos’, while in the United States they have been made and sold since 1965 by Lava Lite, and the original model was called ‘Century’.
  • The first appearance of a lava lamp on television was in the Doctor Who series in the 1960s, which helped the invention grow in popularity into the 1970s, and the lamps made a significant comeback in the 1990s, while new variations have since become available.
Bibliography:
Bibliographic data: GB703924 (A) ― 1954-02-10, 2016, Espace Net, https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=19540210&CC=GB&NR=703924A&KC=A
Kleinman Z, Lava Lamp Creators Mark 50 Years of 1960s Icon, 2013, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-23754303
Lava Lamp, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lava_lamp
Leverett L, Donald Dunnet – Original Lava Lamp Inventor – Prototypes, Construction Details & History, 2015, Oozinggoo.com, http://oozinggoo.ning.com/forum/topics/donald-dunnet-original-lava-lamp-inventor-prototypes-construction
Tucker A, The History of the Lava Lamp, 2013, Smithsonian.com, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-the-lava-lamp-21201966/?no-ist

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Slacklining

Slacking off while slacklining is not the way to go.

  • Slacklining is the sport of moving from one end of a slightly loose textile band situated above the ground, to the other, usually by walking, and it requires significant balancing skills, typically with arm movements to help keep balance.
  • The band or webbing used for slacklining is typically long, thin and narrow, usually with a width of 2.5 to 3.5 centimetres (1 to 1.4 inches), though sometimes it is wider.
  • The material used to make slackline webbing, or ‘belts’ as they are also called, is generally polyester, nylon, polypropylene or polyamide.
  • While slacklining has its history in tightrope walking, which it is very much alike, the modern sport evokes an entirely new set of skills and balance techniques.
  • In slacklining, the less tension in the slackline, the more difficult it is to keep balance on, due to sway and greater sagging under the weight of a person.
Slacklining, Sport, Beach, Balance, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Activity, Recreational,
Slacklining
Image courtesy of Stanton Cady/Flickr
  • Modern slacklining was invented in 1979 by Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington, in the Yosemite Valley of the United States.
  • Trees are commonly used to tie a slackline between, especially for casual slacklining, and the webbing sits off the ground, while the height from the ground can vary, as long as it does not touch it when a person’s weight is applied.
  • There are four main types of slacklining variations: waterlining – over water, highlining – over a significant height off the ground, longlining –  over a long distance, and tricklining – doing tricks on the slackline, though other variations also exist.
  • As of 2016, the longest slackline walk was 1020 metres (3346 feet), the record set on 19 April 2016 in Aiglun, France by Nathan Paulin from France, and Danny Menšík from the Czech Republic.
  • Slacklining has grown to be a relatively popular sport, especially in Europe, and it has garnered enough interest now, that professional competitions are held annually.
Bibliography:
Bryant A, Above the Lawn, Walking the Line, 2006, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/08/travel/escapes/08slack.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all&
First Steps, 2014, Landcruising, http://www.landcruising-slacklines.com/en/knowledge/first-steps
The History of Slacklining, 2014, Landcruising, http://www.landcruising-slacklines.com/en/knowledge/history
Know How – History, 2015, Slackline Tools, http://www.slackline-tools.com/know-how/history/
Slacklining, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slacklining

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