Sideswipe: November 24: Some puns can’t be outdone

Problem solving hack

A toothpaste company accidentally sent out cases of their product that had a few empty boxes of toothpaste. The company wanted to fix the mistake and make sure it didn’t repeat it. They hired an engineering company, which designed a scale and alarm shutdown system. If an empty carton was passed down the production line, klaxons would be triggered, and a full stop would initiate until the offending box was recovered and an all-clear had been entered into the computer system before production could resume. The company paid through the nose but was pleased with their fail-safe, and the engineers patted each other on the back. A few months passed and the engineers returned for quality control. The toothpaste company reported zero margins of error for weeks. Turns out, one of the minimum-wage hairnet types on the assembly line didn’t appreciate the sound of klaxons, or working with computers. So, he or she had aimed a large fan at the production line, before the scale, that blew the lighter, empty cartons off the conveyor belt. Problem solved.

News of Bird of the Year reaches the Netherlands

Geerten Lengkeek of Ōhope writes: “Cartoon in Dutch Newspaper this week. Heading: Electoral fraud at New Zealand bird of the year competition. Conversation: The ducks are demanding a recount. Their spokesperson is a guy called Donald.”

Sit down to a nice plate of you

What do you taste like? You can find out by eating the Ouroboros Steak, a project by scientists and artists in the US. After you take a cheek swab to collect cells, lab technicians use expired human blood to grow cell structures from your sample, creating meat that is, genetically, you. It’s appropriately named after the ouroboros, a mythical snake that eats its own tail. Dezeen magazine talked with designer Grace Knight and researcher Orkan Telhan about the project: “Expired human blood is a waste material in the medical system and is cheaper and more sustainable than FBS, but culturally less accepted. People think that eating oneself is cannibalism, which technically this is not,” said Knight. “Our design is scientifically and economically feasible but also ironic in many ways,” Telhan added. “We are not promoting ‘eating ourselves’ as a realistic solution that will fix humans’ protein needs. We rather ask a question: what would be the sacrifices we need to make to be able to keep consuming meat at the pace that we are? In the future, who will be able to afford animal meat and who may have no other option than culturing meat from themselves?”

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