Friday, August 21, 2015

New doesn’t mean great

Opening and closing latched gates is a nuisance. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a gate that opened by itself as you drove up to it, and then closed behind you?

At Wikimedia Commons I found a description of the patented (U.S. 13,109) circular one from 160 years ago shown above on the front page of Scientific American magazine for August 25, 1855. When you drive onto the platform E the gate rolls to the left to let you enter. Why aren’t these everywhere? (Does a rolling gate gather no moss?) There is a fatal design flaw though. The groove for the gate soon would fill with windblown dust, which when wetted would form mud - and would keep it from rolling freely.

Decades ago I saw photos and brief stories about the little British Reliant Robin three-wheeled cars. They were light, inexpensive, fuel efficient, and actually licensed as motorcycles. What could go wrong? As shown above in a brief YouTube video, their cornering performance was rather abysmal. There is a hilarious 7-1/2 minute BBC Top Gear video about Rolling  a Reliant Robin

I’ve been using PowerPoint for a decade, and have thought perhaps there might be something new and better to replace it. There are recent lists with five alternatives here and here. But, I’d prefer not to get the equivalent of a Reliant Robin.    

The image of a latched gate also came from Wikimedia Commons.

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