Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


WHAT FOLLWS are scientific counterexamples of the cautionary “Use Only as Directed” label on everything these days from prescription drugs to coat hangers. Science, the weekly magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, February 9, 2018, cites whimsical uses being made of one thing or another.

Here are several examples of brilliant make-dos from the AAAS Science list.

“Luxury” condoms. An entomologist reports that high-quality condoms are a “useful membrane through which to feed hematophagous [blood-feeding] insects.”

An Anopheles stephensi mosquito savors a blood feast from a human host.

So much for a condom’s impermeability, at least for mosquitos and the like.

48-oz. can of ground coffee. Volcano scientists collect flowing lava at super-high temperatures. One says, “The can is sturdy & perfect for hyper-quenching flowing lava. It holds enough water to take your sample from 1800ºF to ambient temperature in no time flat.”

“No idea what the coffee tastes like,” the volcano scientist reports.

Garbage bags. An ecologist reports, “The best thing about these trash bags is how well a 5’6” frog scientist can fit inside to stay warm and dry during a tropical storm.”

Ecologists taller than 5’6” apparently seek protection elsewhere. And I’m confident scientists in general are smart enough not to seal the bag.

Play-Doh. A biologist found that Play-Doh is “perfect for orienting & securing small skulls, teeth, or other museum specimens for photography without staining the specimen. Downside is that your kids may steal it when you’re not looking.”

This idea will prove useful the next time I want to photograph a small object for SimanaitisSays. Hitherto, I’ve used the cork bottom of a Bentley coaster.

Electric coffee grinder. A wildlife ecologist says an electric coffee grinder “works overall quite well for grinding zebra, springbok, and elephant fecal samples for hormone extraction. Not as great for very goopy samples….”

Beware eBay or items that offer “Coffee Grinder, used only occasionally by world-traveling scientist.”

Ain’t science a hoot? ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2018


  1. Michael Rubin
    February 26, 2018

    The “trash bag as emergency rainwear” is a favorite of sports fans when changeable weather hits. It isn’t perfect, though, as I sadly learned during a Ram playoff loss to the Vikings at the Colseum many moons ago.

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