Daily Giz Wiz 536: Spoon Sisters Battery Eater

Episode 536 of the podcast

Spoon Sisters Battery Eater
Subject: Review of Spoon Sisters Battery Eater
Released:Monday 31 March 2008
Length:about 11 minutes
Download file:dgw0536.mp3 (5.2 MB)

Listen to the episode

Short info

Take advantage of that last bit of juice with the Spoon Sisters Battery Eater.

Detailed information

Even when your AA batteries no longer have enough juice to power up your other devices, there may still be quite a bit of power left in them.  Stick one of them into the mouth of this battery-eating monster, and its LED eyes will start blinking until the last bit of juice from the battery has been sucked out.  The Battery Eater can stand on its own, but is also a fridge magnet.  Available from Spoon Sisters (see Episode 283).

Dick puts the Battery Eater over the face of a little stuffed wolf using it as a scarecrow against a roaming mouse.

The Miracle Grill?  Or the Miracle Thaw: Space-Age Metal from Mother Nature

Adam Lawton writes in about a dream he had about the Miracle Grill, an aluminium tray which cooks food without an energy source (or at least defrosts it).  He's not sure about the name and wonders if Dick has one in his Gadget Warehouse™.  Dick remembers seeing it on TV but can't figure out what it's called.

The "grill" which appeared in Adam's vision may well be the Miracle Thaw.  It doesn't actually cook, but defrosts frozen foods.  In its TV commercials and advertising materials, it boasts about its "space-age metal from Mother Nature", a "superconductive metal tray" which "absorbs the natural heat energy in the air and then releases it directly into the frozen food."

The space-age metal is simply aluminium (or aluminum).  Being a metal, it is a good heat conductor and the bulk of the aluminium tray helps speed up the natural heat transfer from the air to the frozen foods.  It works reasonably well on foods with flat shapes (such as steaks), but doesn't on foods such as a whole chicken or turkey, due to limited contact surface area.  In short, nothing that a good old heavy frying pan couldn't do, and a heavy copper pan would do even better.

Robert L Wolke, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and food columnist for the Washington Post, has written an article on this type of defrosting tray.  See this link, or his book "What Einstein Told His Cook".

The US Federal Trade Commission apparently took proceedings against the company producing the Miracle Thaw for misleading statements in its advertising materials.  Not sure what happened to those proceedings, but you can read the complaint, which contains transcripts of the promotional materials.

The Miracle Thaw has been discontinued, though many specimens are still available on eBay.  But wait!  The product has been succeeded by the "new and improved" (!!!) D-Frost Wonder Deluxe, made by the same company.

News on Dick and Leo

Apparently Dick has been hooked on the recent backlog of emails and can't get enough of it.  He is trialling a message board, where you can post a message to Dick directly: http://shmyl.com/nlrpson.  Unfortunately it's already been hit by spammers, and may not continue for long.

While Dick is slaving away in Manhattan, Leo is off to Tasmania on a photography trip led by Mikkel Aaland, as the "special media guest" and chief blogging officer.  He flew off on Sunday night, but with a 7-hour stopover in Sydney and the enormous time difference, he won't arrive in Hobart in Tasmania until Tuesday morning Tasmanian time.  Read his blog.

Dick and Leo have pre-recorded enough shows to keep us entertained while Leo is away.

Links to Dick's Write-Ups

I have been giving links to Dick's monthly page for his gadget write-ups (which sometimes contain information not mentioned in the netcasts themselves), at the end of each blog entry, to make it easier for readers and listeners to find the appropriate page.  From time to time, Dick would change the urls; sometimes certain pages have disappeared (and recently reappeared); and I have tried to make corresponding changes to my blog entries.

The recent facelift of the Giz Wiz website means more changes, but I've just discovered that Dick has changed some of the urls yet again (and this is after the website facelift).  With the sheer number of DGW episodes, it has become impossible to update those urls, especially when I know Dick will be bound to change them again sometime in the future (given the system he has adopted for those urls - categorising them as "current" and "old" netcasts).

From now on, I will only give the link to Dick's home page, which everyone is familiar with.  This shouldn't pose any problem for anyone, as the new-look Giz Wiz site has made it more convenient than before to find Dick's commentaries on older netcasts.

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