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Stirred, Not Shaken
Why, you may rightly ask, do I need perfect,
glassy, 3-inch spheres of ice? Taisin, the
Japanese company that first marketed these
molds, would have you believe a spherical
ice cube is the only truly acceptable way to
chill fine whiskey. Because it has the lowest
possible surface-area-to-volume ratio, spherical ice melts more slowly than ice of some
other, lesser shape, and thus will minimize
watering down of your fine sippable during
the time it takes you to drink it.
However, the honest answer is: you don’t.
But I got a chance to play with one recently
at Maker Faire, and it was absolutely delightful to watch the heavy, turned-aluminum
molds slowly cut a rough chunk of ice into
a perfect sphere over the course of about
two minutes. People came from all over the
fairground to stop and watch. What’s more,
this version, manufactured by indie Makers
Market seller Lisa Lane of Carson City, Nev.,
will only set you back about one-quarter of
the price of the fancy Japanese version.
Sometimes throwing a paper airplane is just not
appropriate, but never fear: Erwin Franz’s elegant
and playful kinetic toys will let you satisfy the urge
without ticking off your office mates. He uses a miniature
CNC machine to make some of the parts, and others
are molded in his kitchen oven (to his wife’s chagrin).
The delicately balanced gliders and “paper” airplanes
are mesmerizing and just plain beautiful.
Get the Bends
Toys, and robots, and musical instruments,
oh my! Hannah Perner-Wilson (aka Plusea)
has put together bend- and pressure-sensor
kits for your inner high-tech artist.