Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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spillage people

Water-absorbing figurines on your desktop
  [vote for,

[This is, somewhat embarrassingly, a variation on [voice]'s Thirsty animated coasters idea, which I had read, voted for, forgotten about, and then "reinvented" myself. Oops. Still, it adds some aspects -- the one-sided coating preventing air absorption, and trading the functional coaster for the decorative figurine.]

Take a material like sodium polyacrylate that is to moisture what an airbag is to impact and what I am to pizza. Hungry, fast, and rapidly expanding in size.

Press this material into small figurines. Cover the surface that's exposed to the air with a thin layer to avoid having it suck moisture from the air. Leave the bottom open. The figurines have friendly protective shapes, small animals or maybe that cuddly robot from Big Hero 6, or a buddha, or my neighbor Totoro. Some sort of non-threatening happy little bear. Something that you like to keep strewn about your desk.

The next time that you topple over your coffee cup or that basin full of water that you keep on top of the speaker to occasionally dip the air plants into, the moisture hits the bottom of the little statue and *poof* a large gelatinous moisture-locking blob appears and locks your spill inside it before it can reach the keyboard, the laptop, or that irreplaceable pile of notes from the last three weeks of steering committee meetings.

I say, that's $5 well spent. Sold in packs of 4, because you know it'll happen again.

Warning: Like other choking hazards and the small packages that come in sheets of roasted seaweed, these things don't mix with small children and pets.

jutta, Sep 05 2020

Thirsty animated coaster Thirsty_20animated_20coaster
[Voice, Sep 06 2020]

Timespan: Grow a lizard https://www.youtube...watch?v=J2CvkoeOwJg
[pashute, Sep 06 2020]

The Blob! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TdUsyXQ8Wrs
[xenzag, Sep 06 2020]

Photopolymerization https://www.science...i/S0141813018317938
Hydrogel that activates w/i 15 seconds -- might even assume the shape of the spill [reensure, Sep 06 2020]


       // small animals or maybe that cuddly robot from Big Hero 6, or a buddha, or my neighbor Totoro. Some sort of non-threatening happy little bear. //   

       So, not a Native American, a construction worker, a cop, a cowboy, a soldier and ... a person of the male persuasion wearing black leather ... ?   

       Though if you just want a bunch of mindless puppets who will soak up any sort of rubbish without questioning what it is, they should be model journalists and come in a box labelled "WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS*".   

       *Pronounced "Core", though the idea of a spree killing resulting in a roomful of blood-spattered newshound corpses has much to commend it.
8th of 7, Sep 05 2020

       I recently splashed out on one of those full-desktop mouse- mat things, which I can thoroughly recommend on multiple counts - but turns out is also great when the inevitable desktop spillage situation occurs - they're absorbent enough to localise the spillage fairly effectively - albeit sacrificially - a good rinse and dry might work out ok. I'm thinking the olden days were well ahead of us with the whole blotting paper thing - we all thought it was to soak up stray ink blots, but it could well have been beverages all along!
zen_tom, Sep 05 2020

       Maybe just a gerbil feeder bottle at the desk?
RayfordSteele, Sep 06 2020

       [+] but how much draw over a large area would be the question [zen tom], and possibly [Ray], was anecdotally posing.   

       Adapting [zen]'s purchase, I suggest a, large surface area, thin base artfully embossed with the theme of the figurine. A Bonsai with escaping root system would be my preference. A c mouse might even work on it too.   

       Although, it does come down to work type and probability of spills and there will always be that person that takes it too far and has a village of desk gnomes.
wjt, Sep 06 2020

       She was only trying to make life better for everyone but the chemistry was simply beyond her humble kitchen and once 'it' got out, blind terror was the only way this story was ever going to go. The newspapers were first off the mark with the headline "The Return Of The Blob" as it ate through everything it its path, absorbing, absorbing absorbing, its insatiable appetite knowing no ends......
xenzag, Sep 06 2020

       Sounds like a Call for a Cthulhu idea ...
8th of 7, Sep 06 2020

       Yeah, it's got to go faster than the absorbent lizard in pashute's link... Is there anything that, I don't know, protects data centers from floods?
jutta, Sep 06 2020

       How about a light-activated version?
reensure, Sep 06 2020

       // protects data centers from floods? //   

       Put the servers on a repurposed supertanker. Moor it somewhere with a relatively mild climate; unlimited cooling water available. Intrinsically proof against flooding, though not hurricanes, typhoons or tsunami.   

       In case of a change in local taxation or data protection regulations, it can just move elsewhere.
8th of 7, Sep 06 2020

       These would be particularly good to gift to co-workers, WITHOUT telling them what they do.
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 06 2020

       Is that an opportunity for some sort of a coffee-mediated Mugwai/Gremlin transformation ?   

       Considering [wjt]'s deliciously apposite description of // a village of desk gnomes //, it would be possible to gift (over a period of time) a selection of cutesy little figurines to a cow-orker to keep on their desk ... and then one day, a spill of aqueous liquid sweeps around them like a tiny tsunami, and they* suddenly transform into hideous, evil little gargoyles with glowing red eyes, pointy fangs, reptilian skin, and sharp flesh-rending talons ...   

       *The desk gnomes, not the cow-orker. Although you never know ... keep some bright lights handy.
8th of 7, Sep 06 2020

       This idea sucks... (+)   

       Ooh you could make them little witch figures, you know... because they're wick'n.   


       <More silence/>   

       <Single slow handclaps/>   

       <Sound of scraping chairs and murmurings as audience shuffle out/>
8th of 7, Sep 06 2020

       I want a buddha to magically soak up all the energy drinks I spill. And then I can combine that activity with a quick 10 minutes silent mediation time to relax my frayed nerves that caused the spill to begin with.   

       (Bonus points if it can completely soak up the wet spots all over my shirt as well!)   

       A 2-for.   

       Seriously, this just might sell. I'd buy one for home and office. It's also very good to see [jutta] post an idea. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. (Sorry all.)
blissmiss, Sep 07 2020

       No need to be sorry, [blissmiss]. We could all do with some warm-fuzzy-ness occasionally. (Although the "fuzzy" could be from too many energy drinks...)
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 07 2020

       // We could all do with some warm-fuzzy-ness occasionally //   

       Not everyone; the desirability is definitely age related. Some manifestations of "warm-fuzzy-ness" are regrettably associated with increasing years, and are an unfortunate consequence of the sort of loss of muscle tone in critical areas that go along with that ...
8th of 7, Sep 07 2020

       //Not everyone; the desirability is definitely age related. Some manifestations of "warm-fuzzy-ness" are regrettably associated with increasing years, and are an unfortunate consequence of the sort of loss of muscle tone in critical areas that go along with that ...//   

       What you need 8ey, is underpants gnomes.
Loris, Sep 07 2020

       Or maybe they could be in the form of gremlins. Then it would be straightforward to recreate that scene in the film with the swimming pool.
Loris, Sep 07 2020

       [Loris]; I think you're on to something there. Lots of highly compressed gremlins, squished in to the shape of a mogwai.
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 08 2020

       Wow, a fractal object, A corn cob springing miniature corn cobs springing ...   

       All running on spillage.
wjt, Sep 08 2020







       ... and Spillage
pertinax, Sep 08 2020

       Desktops should have subtle changes in elevation such that your keyboard and mouse sit atop little millimeter-high micro-mesas, with understated depressions in the hand-rest and other areas. Just a small sump 7 inches fore-and-aft by 2 spans wide by 2 millimeters deep should provide containment for something over 60 drams of spilled fluid.   

       Your hydrophilic daruma can sit in the shallows and wait for all the little crumb humuhumunukunukuapua'a to come swimming by...
lurch, Sep 08 2020

       //humuhumunukunukuapua'a// Wait, what the hell, can we do that? Just filler words we make up??   

blissmiss, Sep 09 2020

       That's what the English have been doing this whole time, that and garbling French and German and then passing it off as something official endorsed by the Queen, some wrinkly old codger at an Oxford backroom library, and the pipe flange threaded fittings union.
RayfordSteele, Sep 09 2020

       It's also a good example of a side-effect of a limited alphabet: fewer letters mean you need to use them more often; so longer words.
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 09 2020

       ... which is still a lot compared to, for example, welsh, which has only one: "Ugh"*.   

       *That's how it's pronounced; since welsh has no vowels, only consonants, it's actually spelt "Ffllyddrgh"
8th of 7, Sep 09 2020

       [Blissy], it was an allusion to a once-popular Hawaiian tune called "Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii". As I looked it up, though, I found that it topped the charts in 1934 - so maybe I was off in thinking anybody would catch the reference.   

       Anyway, the last line of the song is "Where the humuhumunukunukuapua'a goes swimming by" - they're these little tiny bits of color drifting past in the tidal pools, and I was thinking of spilling a drink, washing out little bits of stuff from the keyboard, and as the figurine sucks up the water, everything will flow toward it... I'm broadcasting the image as hard as I can, but my co- workers are declaiming politics and I wanna be on a beach.   

       (warning - if you decide to search for the song, I have discovered it's still popular for beginning hula dancers. So be forewarned - you may be exposed to some really bad tourist-videos of really bad hula dancing by tourist wanna-be hula dancers while the music is being played by somebody that sounds like they would like to give some dance instruction with the blunt end of a ukulele)
lurch, Sep 10 2020

       I've probably seen this video. I taught the residents at the memory care center I worked at how to Hula Dance one day.   

       It was cold and rainy out. We pretended we were on the Big Island instead of where we were.
blissmiss, Sep 10 2020

       I'm safe but stuck in the middle of nowhere. Springfield, Ill. Land of Lincoln and cornfields everywhere you look. Not complaining, could be hurricanes and fire. May be boring but safe is looking better and better each day.   

       I did have a dream a couple of weeks ago that it snowed so much we couldn't leave our houses. Too much snow was piled up against our houses. And it was apparent that was how we were meant to die.   

       Thank you for inquiring.
blissmiss, Sep 14 2020

       // hurricanes //   

       Tornadoes; hurricanes are typically a coastal phenomenon, losing force rapidly as they move inland.   

       Illinois ? No major interplate or intraplate faults nearby; no volcanism; little risk of landslips; few significant carnivorous predators; not overly supplied with venomous reptiles or insects. Probably locusts from time to time, but they're vegetarian.   

       Risks ? Fire or blizzards as stated; flooding; asteroid impact; having thermonuclear weapons accidentally dropped by the USAF.   

       Those last two can happen pretty much anywhere, though.
8th of 7, Sep 14 2020

       These 'Spillage People' - would they by any chance be modelled in the form of a police officer, a Native American chief, a cowboy, a construction worker and a soldier?
hippo, Sep 14 2020

       <Polite cough/>   

       <Points at first annotation/>   

       <Tucks tartan travel rug around [hippo]'s knees/>   

       Come on dear, drink up your nice cup of tea while it's still warm. No, that's not your son. No, it's not dinner time yet, but you can have a biscuit if you want. No, that's just a car alarm, not the air-raid warning, you don't have to go down to the shelter ...
8th of 7, Sep 14 2020

       <still waiting for my biscuit...>
hippo, Sep 14 2020

       It's the rationing, dear ...
8th of 7, Sep 14 2020

       My last west coast home was San Francisco. I have a Niece and Nephew and 2 sibs in Oregon and Washington. My daughter was born in Olympia, Washington, actually.
blissmiss, Sep 14 2020

       Olympia ... ah yes, Cascadia. Earthquakes, tsunami, volcanism - check box as required.
8th of 7, Sep 14 2020

       Back to the idea, that I find quite doable, I'm gonna sit here quietly and await the arrival of my village spillage buddha.
blissmiss, Sep 14 2020

If you build some air channels inside it, you could get it to go "Ohhmmm" as it expands.
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 14 2020

       << slams lid on desk, siphoning water away >>
reensure, Sep 14 2020


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