Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snow Where?

The past 48 hours have been exciting ones for Long Live Geeks. Lifehacker was nice enough to link to my Best Buy post, and since then we've gotten far more hits in the past two days than in the history of Long Live Geeks so far! :) Sallying on...

I grew up in the southern part of the US. When I was a kid and it snowed, it was a cause for celebration. Schools closed. We had snowball fights. Once we even managed to build a 3 foot tall snowman! Fast forward several years and I now live in south west PA. I was dismayed to learn that here the proper response to snow is something other than having snow ball fights and waiting inside (with hot cocoa!) for the snow to melt. In fact, they not only clear the streets as fast as possible, but expect us to do the same with our sidewalks! They want us to remove the snow?!? It's most peculiar. I got with the program though and became acquainted with tools such as rock salt and snow shovels. I'm far from being an expert on the subject, but I get by.

As I was utilizing the aforementioned snow shovel this afternoon, I was thinking that there must be a better way to do this... or at least a geekier way! :) My first thought was of Star Trek's phasers. They used them to heat rocks in a number of episodes. Melting snow should be nothing. Unfortunately I do not have a phaser handy. The closest thing I think I could get my hands on would be a heat gun, but they're not much more than exuberant hair dryers. Melting snow with that would take forever. (Not to mention needing an a long extension cord!) So I did a bit of searching for other geeky snow removal tools which are actually available in this star date.

The first thing I came across is the Wovel. A Wovel is a shovel, attached to a large wheel. The center of the wheel acts as the pivot point for the shovel. This makes it easy to flip the snow out of the shovel. Or so they say. The wheel also means that lifting is not required, the wheel holds the Wovel up. The Wovel is allegedly the world's safest shovel. This is where they lose me. If person A were to hit person B over the head with a shovel, then person A hit person C over the head with a Wovel, do we really think person C would come out ahead? It looks a bit heavier than the average snow shovel. If person A got a good amount of strength into it, I'd hazard to guess that person C would actually take more damage! So clearly the Wovel cannot possibly be any safer than an ordinary shovel.

Moving on, I found the SnowPusherLite. The SnowPusherLite has a round blade on the end of a long stick. Rather than lifting the snow, this one just pushes it out of the way. This one claims to be designed in response to recent climate changes, which result in lighter snow. So now that we have lighter snow, which would make it easier to lift, we should forgo lifting and push the snow out of the way. Hmm, something about their logic isn't grabbing me. I also have to wonder if the CamelCase naming system really works outside of programming languages.

It does not look like we will be adding the Wovel or the SnowPusherLite to our snow removal arsenal. Now the Icenator might have promise. This one's an alternative to throwing down rock salt. It's a liquid ice melter which is sprayed onto ice and snow. It's also said to melt ice at low temperatures, as low as -85f. The only problem is, I'd be afraid the Icenator is really a cyborg ice melter come back from the future to melt the special ice which will one day save the world! I couldn't have something like that in my house!

While I didn't find any snow removal tools that I can't live without, I did have a lot of fun debating the efficacy of several. Isn't it fun being a geek? :)

1 Comment:

geeky! said...

I think you need one of these instead.
http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/robots/japanese-snowplow-robot-is-awesome-235394.php