Wagner James Au sez, "There's probably easier ways to illustrate our disconnect from the consumer products around us, but none this crazy:"
Thomas Thwaites is trying to make an electric toaster, from scratch. Beginning with mining the raw materials. And yes, that means extracting oil to make plastic and even processing his own copper (to make the pins of the electric plug, the cord, and internal wires), iron (for the steel grilling apparatus, and the spring to pop up the toast), mica (around which the heating element is wound) and nickel (for the heating elements!)...
The Toaster Project
The only known deposit of Nickel in the UK has long since been exhausted. In Finland however exploitation of a huge deposit has begun. I'd very much like to go and bring back a lump of nickel ore from this remote industrial area, and make it in to an element for my toaster. I'm also trying to negotiate a helicopter ride to an oil rig in the North Sea to collect some oil from which I would try (and certainly fail) to make plastic.
Yasukuni Notomi ("a writer who has covered the world of stationery for many years") provides an introduction to the creative explosion in Japanese scissor-design, beginning with the "Pencut," a scissor that fits in a normal pencil-case, with retractable elastic loops for your fingers and full-length blades so you don't sacrifice power for portability.
The Outdoor Element Kodiak Survival Bracelet resembles the basic paracord bracelet, but when unwound, it reveals a strand that contains firelighting tinder (similar to jute) and a fishing line and hook; the buckle doubles as a fire-striker and reflector. (via Red Ferret)
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