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Christmas Gift Guide

Volume III

Some of the most enduring characters in literature and media are mad scientists. Doc Brown, Merlin, Tim the Enchanter, Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, Rotwang, Victor Frankenstein, Dr Forrester, Dr. Who and the Ghostbusters are all memorable in a special way. So to is it with the MOB. King Banaian, Leo Pusateri, Douglass Bass and even Mitch Berg stand out as possible comically eccentric wonder workers. I’m not sure Mitch is there yet, but he could be. Buying gifts for your mad scientists or future mad scientists can be a little crazy, but there is plenty on the market (as last year’s gift guide showed).

How does a mad scientist get up in the morning? With a frightening piece of technology of course:

The “alarm” on this unique clock is the sight and sounds of static electricity dancing inside the hand-blown glass arch. Use the demo mode to impress your friends with an electrical light show every 15 minutes.

What kind of watch does he wear? One nobody else can grasp:

What is this? Well, it’s a watch with a small rotating Earth that makes a full rotation once every 24 hours. Designed in Japan and made by Seiko Instruments, this is an interesting and unique timepiece. There is a small time zone indicator for the hour and a small orange dot to indicate the minutes. The movement is Quartz with a custom set of 3 reducing gears in the drive train and is powered by a 10 year Lithium battery. The bezel is 45 mm in diameter and the entire case is made of light weight Titanium. The crystal is super tough Hardlex and is of optical quality to create the effect of the Earth floating inside the frame.

Mad scientist Coffee table has what on it? Plasma Globe

Desktop plasma ball is fascinating to watch and even more fun to play with — just place your fingers on the glass surface and watch when colored “bolts” of glowing light follow your every move as electricity seeks a ground. Includes AC power adapter and black base that complements any decor.

How does he tell the temperature? Goofy pieces of obsolete hardware

Galileo developed a thermometer based on the law of physics. When the temperature rises, the liquid in the glass tube becomes less dense, causing the floating glass spheres to sink one by one. Each sphere has a temperature indicating medallion; the temperature is read by the lowest floating sphere.


How does he predict the weather? Dave Dahl? I don’t think so:

This is the stormglass, a mysterious device used to predict weather since 1750, and employed by Admiral FitzRoy, captain of the H.M.S. Beagle, when he and his lieutenant, Charles Darwin, voyaged to the coast of South America and the Galapagos Islands in 1831 to conduct a hydrographic survey for commerce and naval expeditions by the British Royal Navy. Although how it functions remains a mystery, the stormglass’s ability to predict atmospheric change is well documented. One theory states that the stormglass responds to electromagnetic fluctuations caused by weather and solar storms. The contained liquida mixture of distilled water, potassium nitrate, ammonium chloride, alcohol, and camphorappears cloudy when precipitation is approaching; w hen crystals are visible in the liquid, humid or foggy weather can be expected; a cloudy glass with small stars indicates thunderstorms.

A mad scientist produces snow from a can:

This hi-tech powdered polymer absorbs water and expands nearly 100 times into a flaky white non-toxic substance closely resembling real snow. It’s science! Hooray, science!

Pour a few ounces into your favorite container, add water, and watch as snow erupts, spilling over the container lid. Leave your snow alone for a few days and let it dry out, turning back into a compact powder. It can be reused again and again so it’s also hippie friendly!

Each 8oz jar makes 2 full gallons of the fluffy stuff, while the ultra-portable test-tube size cranks out two cups! While Instant Snow is non-toxic, we don’t recommend eating any. Flush thoroughly with water if it is accidentally ingested. Be safe, and have fun!

And he lights his cigars with a laser

The Spyder Series™ 473nm Blue Portable Lasers are the most powerful blue lasers in the known universe. Utilizing nLight’s leading edge BrightLife™ technology all Spyder Series™ models. Experience blue like never before with the world’s coolest portable blue laser device.

There are plenty of toys for the mad scientist, the enchanter or wizard and even the wannabes out there. In fact, I could devote an entire book to “becoming a modern mad scientist.” What a capital idea! Now I just need someone to write it for me.

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3 Responses

  1. Mad scientist.. say–I like that!

    BTW–I miss you on Race to the Right, buddy–it’s downright unlistenable without you.

  2. Thanks Leo, I hope to get back into radio.

  3. If there ever was a laser that could light my cigars, I would be so into that.

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