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Posts Tagged ‘plastics

“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?”*…

 

Sitting in a Starbucks in Plano, Texas in 1997, “Winter” (who has legally changed his name from Rafael Lozano) decided to visit every one of the coffee chain’s outlets, everywhere they’d popped up around the world.  In 1997, that meant 1,400 stores.  Seventeen years and more than $100,000 later, he’s patronized 11,733 Starbucks across six continents– a majority , but by no means all of the 17,000 in operation today. He documents his visits and charts the ones he’s still missing on his web site.

A freelance programmer, Winter spends his off-time in independent coffee houses:

I respect Starbucks for its business sense, customer service and amenities including clean bathrooms and WiFi. But unless I am checking a new store off my list, I would not go there for the coffee.

More on this hopped-up hobbyist at “Ultimate coffee fan spends 17 years visiting every Starbucks in the world.”

* Albert Camus (or not: while the phrase is attributed to Camus, uncited, in Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice, there’s no documentary evidence…  still, it seems an apposite title for this post)

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As we try to remember which size “Venti” is, we might recall that it was on this date in 1865 that John Wesley Hyatt was awarded a patent on the first celluloid billiard ball.  hyatt had developed the ball in response to a competition sponsored by billiard ball maker Phelan & Collander, who were offering a $10,000 reward for a suitable substitute for ivory, the growing shortage of which was threatening their business.  Hyatt took the prize– and in the process, created and introduced to the world the first industrial plastic.

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Written by LW

October 10, 2014 at 1:01 am

Because he could: steam-powered Sex Pistols…

Simon Jansen, the creator of asciimation and the inventor of (among other things) the world’s first Jet-powered Beer Cooler, has built a lovely steam-powered turntable.  In the video above he demos his steam-punk player with “a punk LP. The Sex Pistols – God save the Queen (Victoria obviously).”

[TotH to Laughing Squid]

As we hear the words “come on baby, light my fire” in a fresh new way, we might recall that it was on this date in 1909 that Leo Baekeland received the first U.S. patents for a thermosetting artificial plastic which he called Bakelite (and which chemists called polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride)– the first pastic to hold its shape after heating– and gave birth to the modern plastics industry.  Because of its heat-resistance and insulating capability, Bakelite was used in all sorts of electrical devices:  insulators, telephones, radios…  and phonographs.

Leo Baekeland

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