THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MAY 20, 2023
Some of us reach a point in life when we think we've seen everything there is to see. Nothing surprises us anymore. But wait! Don't be too presumptuous. Things can sneak up on you when you least expect it.
Have you ever been doing some work and wished you had more than two hands? “A Japanese robotics company called Jizai Arms has engineered a system of spider-like robotic limbs consisting of six arms that can be controlled by the user wearing them. Jizai arms is a supernumerary robotic limb system consisting of a wearable base unit with six terminals and detachable robot arms controllable by the wearer.”
The gizmo makes you look like a human insect, but they actually could be useful. “Jizai Arms’ robotic prostheses are extremely flexible, allowing them to perform a wide range of tasks. Applications can range from use in a warehouse to a hospital surgery room. Jizai Arms are easily controlled, enabling wearers to operate the limbs with their own movements and creating the sensation that they are a natural extension of their body.” (https://interestingengineering.com/innovation/ai-arms-controlled-by-humans)
Extra mechanical arms are interesting, but a Michigan lad has a head start with plain human hands. “An eighth-grader at Akron-Fairgrove Junior/Senior High School set a new Kids World Record with the largest hands. Iasonas Vaiopoulos measured an impressive hand span of 10.25 inches, which makes the thirteen-year-old's hands about fifty percent larger than the average NBA player's hand span of 8.9 inches.”
In perhaps a bit of an understatement, the young man notes: “ "It's not a skill, but it's pretty cool having a large hand span. I can grab stuff a lot easier.” (https://www.abc12.com/news/local/tuscola-county-teen-sets-world-record-for-largest-hands/article_ae12c6fc-ed94-11ed-821d-bb2ae1778fac.html)
More hands or bigger hands could be useful you played an instrument in a band, like the one from the Netherlands that visited the recent Holland (MI) Tulip Time Festival. “The band members sported wooden shoes and their traditional Dutch Volendam costumes.” (https://www.mlive.com/news/2023/05/dutch-bicycling-marching-band-shows-off-unreal-talent-at-hollands-tulip-time.html)
What makes this particular band unique, however, is their mode of locomotion. “The Bicycle Showband Crescendo is a marching band that performs on bicycles. The cycling musicians play a variety of showband pieces including 'Sweet Caroline' and the 'Mission Impossible' theme song. Around forty band members show off their talents as they ride their bicycles in complex choreography.” See them perform at: https://youtu.be/yDjCca0r9P4.
If that band really wants to up its game, a Midwest guy may have just the option. “A Minnesota inventor has unveiled his latest creation: a beer-powered motorcycle. Ky Michaelson said the beer-powered motorcycle has a fourteen-gallon keg with a heating coil instead of a gas-powered engine. The coil heats the beer up to three hundred degrees, which then becomes super-heated steam in the nozzles that propel the bike forward.”
That said, riders will have to be cautious. “Michaelson estimated the bike could reach speeds of up to 150 mph.” I wonder if the motorcycle would go slower if he used light beer? (https://www.arcamax.com/entertainment/weirdnews/s-2822414?)
This time of year, many golfers are making their debuts on the links. Golf can be a frustrating game, even for the best players. Frustration was so rampant at a recent college event the whole shebang was scrapped.
“In a bizarre situation, the third round of the NCAA Division III women's golf championship was canceled because of an unplayable hole. The situation occurred on the 308-yard par-4 sixth hole at Mission Inn & Resort's El Campeon Golf Course in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. Numerous videos showed the pin placement on a severe slope with putts coming up just short of the hole rolling back ten to fifteen feet. The NCAA determined the hole location was too severe to play.” See the evidence at:
You may think there is not enough space in the football landscape for yet another professional league. Tully Banta-Cain, a former player for the New England Patriots, thinks you're wrong. He is heading up a new football experience. “The Beach Football League, where tackle football in an eight-on-eight format will be played on sandy beaches in the U.S. and internationally, will begin next year.”
The hope is that this enterprise will catch your fancy. “The first event, The Beach Classic on Feb. 20-25, 2024, will have former NFL players expected to participate as either players or coaches. If Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman or any of Banta-Cain’s other former Patriots teammates want to join, they have an open invitation.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2023/05/13/beach-football-league-tully-banta-cain/70211924007/)
Finally, have you ever heard this phrase: “Do you want ketchup with your fries?” As of this morning, that phrase is officially obsolete. “Kraft Heinz is launching a customizable sauce dispenser with more than two hundred possible combinations for restaurants. The company will unveil the Remix at the National Restaurant Association Show, which kicks off today in Chicago. It plans to pilot the dispenser in restaurants as soon as the end of this year.” (https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/17/kraft-heinz-remix-customizable-sauce-dispenser.html)
The Remix is high tech. “To make a customized sauce, consumers will use a touchscreen to select a base of either ketchup, ranch, 57 Sauce or BBQ sauce; add in enhancers that include jalapeno, smoky chipotle, buffalo, and mango; and set one of three intensity levels.” The combinations would seem to be only limited by your imagination.
There could be one tiny glitch the company will have to solve. “It's looking at how the dispenser could be used for speed-focused drive-thru lanes. The machine requires more time and effort than throwing a handful of ketchup packets in a takeout bag, which will likely pose a challenge.” I also wonder how all the options will sound coming from a scratchy drive-thru speaker.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.