Fresh - July 11th
There are all manner of subscription services available these days that offer a regular package of goodies, often surprising, to fulfil the basic human desire to receive something in the post. Not Another Bill is a good one to buy as a gift, for example, as it provides unexpected presents over a course of months. And Graze, of course, can deliver tasty, healthy nibbles to your desk.
...and the next logical step is a toy subscription for kids. Little Pnuts offer eco-friendly, battery-free toys on a quarterly basis, sending 3-5 toys each time that are tailored to your child's developmental milestones based on how old they are. Forget your electronic computerised video gamery and your Angry Birds - get your nippers involved with some wooden trains and stuff. It'll also free up some time in your mornings, as they'll always be waiting by the letterbox for the postman to come.
Do you know what regular batteries are made of? I didn't. They basically consist of five layers (two current collectors, a cathode, an anode and a polymer separator) rolled up into a tube. Now, some clever-clogs researchers in Houston have developed liquid versions of these five elements, so that you can effectively get a big pot of battery and paint it onto a wall. (It's a bit more complex than that, obviously.) So with the right conditions and a few wires, you can have a painted surface that can be recharged by the sun, and can be discharged and recharged many times without a drop in efficiency. It's a fledgling concept at the moment, but think about the possibilities - the lights in your house could be powered by the walls. That's clever.
DC Shoes co-founder, unsuccessful rally entrant and hat-wearer Ken Block is a pretty good precision driver. His Gymkhana videos (basically just adverts for DC Shoes) get ridiculously high numbers of YouTube hits, exponentially raising the profile of his own company as well as that of his sponsors, who include Monster, Ford and Pirelli. The latest video, Gymkhana 5, broke on Monday of this week. By Tuesday morning it registered over 3,000,000 hits. This morning? Over 8,000,000. And for the first few million the video was unlisted, meaning that it couldn't be found on YouTube by searching: the initial burst was by social media alone. Impressive. (It's also thoroughly entertaining to watch, even if you don't give a monkeys about cars an' that.)