D3O Labs & RibCap
While I was in the Collinsville Library a few days ago, I thumbed through the latest issue of Popular Science (December 2006, Vol.269 #6). It had a short piece about something from the D3O Lab, a kind of material made with “intelligent molecules”. According to the manufacturer, “they flow with you as you move but on shock lock together to absorb the impact energy.” Think of this as a soft fabric that instantly hardens under impact. For a cyclist, the applications are obvious.
D3O doesn’t make any products, but their web page includes links to companies that do. This material would work well in gloves, hats, and outer garments. It probably isn’t as protective as a regular helmet (please – this is NOT meant to incite another pointless flame war over helmets!) but it would offer more protection than a simple baseball cap or a bandana. The applications for gloves, in particular, would save your hands from getting cut up in a fall.
I followed the link to the RibCap website. The Hendrix looks very good as a winter cycling alternative, and if you simply added a pair of goggles, you’d have that oh-so-hot WW1 flying ace look! Still, with a price of about 90 euros and a weak dollar just now, the Hendrix would be an expensive - but stylin! – alternative to a regular helmet.
Graphic Novels...aka Comic Books
My parents discouraged me from reading certain comic books when I was a kid. Archie was OK, as was Richie Rich and their ilk - all of them innocuous kid's fare. Batman and the Fantastic Four were on the edge because of their sometimes-violent content. Dr. Strange was verboten - too weird and witch-like. Mad Magazine was banned too. I never told them about Bijou Comix, Young Lust or anything by Bob Crumb or Gilbert Sheldon. They would have gone ballistic at all the sex and drugs! I suppose the intent was to protect my impressionable young mind and prevent me from becoming slightly warped.
It didn't work.
I collected comics for a while back in the 70s. I had a lot of early Conan the Barbarian, some odd Canadian stuff like Captain Canuck, and frankly a lot of junk. I toyed at drawing with both pencils and pens, and in fact, I still draw cartoons now and then. But the more lavish comic book art was beyond me. It still is. My stuff is very simple, kind of like South Park, but not as charming. Most of it is about work, and when the occasional cartoon shows up on a co-workers bench, I deny any knowledge of it, blaming everything on that pesky "Phantom Cartoonist".
Wednesday, I was in Collinsville while my son took his food handlers test. It's a requirement for working in restaurants in Oklahoma. I passed the time by wandering through some antique stores, looking for a Christmas gift for Mary or Lyndsay, but eventually ended up at the library.
I was astounded to discover that the Collinsville Library, part of the Tulsa City County Library system, has a collection of graphic novels! How cool is that! I'm going to spend some time looking through them, but it's sure to make a pencil appear in my fist and I'll start sketching again.