Original image

The Quick 10: 10 Questionable Patents

Original image

With the millions of patents out there, there are bound to be a few nutso ones, right? Or maybe a LOT of them. Here are 10 of the more curious patents out there. I'll let you decide if they're crazy-genius or crazy-crazy.

mask1. Anti-eating face mask. I guess people have spent money on stranger weight-loss techniques, but I feel like this one would earn you some pretty strange looks when you're out in public. But you would get bonus points if you wore it out and about and then ended your conversations with, "I'd love to chat more, but I'm having an old friend for dinner..."
2. Beerbrella. It's soooo annoying when a bug flies into your drink or the sun beams its rays right down into your icy cold beverage and renders it lukewarm. Well, the Beerbrella is supposed to help with both of those problems. Or you could drink your beer faster and not have either of those issues to begin with.

3. Speaking of umbrellas, isn't it a pain to carry one? No worries "“ the body mounted umbrella is here to save the day! Simply strap on an unsightly belt around your waist and then insert the umbrella into the back of it. Voila! Hands-free umbrella. And it's almost as cool looking as the umbrella hat.

bib4. Bib for use while operating a vehicle. I don't"¦ I just"¦ it's so"¦ What?! Is this even legal? Although if you couple this with SNL's Jiffy Pop airbag, you might just be on to something...

5. Skyscraper Curtains. In case of a fire, curtains attached to the top of a skyscraper automatically unfurl to cover all of the windows and suffocate the fire.
6. Wig flipping device. It's a spring-loaded device that allows the wearer to literally flip their wig at their whim. The problem with this is, you have to wear this stupid thing and wait around for someone to use the phrase in front of you until you can really use it for maximum effect. And I don't think people say that phrase much these days.

toe7. Toe puppets. Here's the official explanation: "A puppet is adapted to be mounted on a single human digit for providing animated motion of a figurine responsive to movement of the single human digit. The puppet comprises a hollow, elastic cap having an interior wall defining a cavity into which the single human digit is snugly received. The cap includes a resilient neck portion for supporting the figurine at a distance spaced from the single human digit such that movement of the single human digit causes the neck portion and the figurine to oscillate to and fro under the influence of the weight of the figurine." Which is great and all, but leads to the question"¦ why?! Maybe if your kid looooves puppets and you lost both arms in a tragic accident. That's the only reason I can come up with. It's either that or to creep someone out who really hates feet.

bee8. A self-containing enclosure for protection from killer bees. I think the name and the picture say it all.

bird9. Bird diaper. I know pet birds are messy, but the picture sent me into a fit of giggles when I saw it. I fail to imagine any bird, pet or not, that will let you wrangle it into this contraption.
10. Apparatus for simulating a high five. Is there anything sadder than when you're excited about something or have just accomplished something wonderful and you go to high five someone"¦ and there's no one there? OK, yeah, there are a lot of things sadder than that. But if that's on your top five list of disappointing things about life, this patent has got you covered. As long as you don't mind a disembodied arm sitting around your house, that is.

Ahhh"¦ I don't think I've been so amused when writing a Quick 10 in a long time. There are some more really great ones here, if you're in need of a laugh this afternoon too.

Original image
Live Smarter
Need to Calm Yourself Down? Try This Military-Approved Breathing Technique
Original image

Whether you’re dealing with co-worker chaos or pressure to perform on a project, it’s difficult to excel at work when you're extremely stressed. Can’t escape the office? Take a cue from real-life soldiers and try a technique called tactical breathing—also known as combat breathing, four-count breathing, and diaphragmatic breathing—to lower your heart rate and regain control of your breath.

“It’s one you can use when things are blowing up around you”—both literally and figuratively—“and you need to be able to stay calm,” explains clinical psychologist Belisa Vranich, who demonstrates a version of tactical breathing in Tech Insider’s video below.

Vranich is the author of 2016’s Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve your Mental and Physical Health. Watch, learn, and—of course—inhale and exhale along with her until you feel zen enough to salvage the remainder of your workday.

[h/t Business Insider]

Original image
10 Creepy Candles to Get You in the Halloween Mood
Original image

Candles are always a handy household accessory, but they're especially useful around Halloween, when they can be used to light jack-o'-lanterns, summon spirits, or simply brighten a long, dark night. These spooky lights are more suited for tabletops than pumpkins, or soirees than seances, but they'll still make your upcoming costume shindig extra festive (and fragrant, to boot).


PyroPet’s cat-shaped Kisa candle looks like an ordinary wax feline. But as it melts, a hidden surprise reveals itself: a macabre metallic skeleton with charred bones and bared fangs.

The Kisa candle costs $34 and comes in three colors: pink, gray, and an ultra-spooky black. Not into cats? Additional PyroPet offerings include birds, bunnies, reindeer, owls, and dragons, all with the same silver framework.


Brain candle by Creepy Candles
Creepy Candles

This specimen-inspired candle by Etsy seller Creepy Candles would look equally at place in a mad scientist’s laboratory as it would at a Halloween soiree. A wax brain is suspended in green-tinted gel that resembles formaldehyde, but the candle itself thankfully smells like grapefruit. The Brain Candle costs $25 and is handmade to order.


Beeswax human spine candles, set of three, by Grave Digger Candles
Grave Digger Candles

Grow a spine this Halloween—or at least buy one. These notched beeswax pillar candles are inspired by the Victorian Era, a period in which physicians created detailed wax models of flayed corpses to teach medical students the literal ins and outs of anatomy. Etsy seller Grave Digger Candles sells them in sets of three for $76.


LED battery-operated Ouija board candle by Twisted Nightmares
Twisted Nightmares

This Ouija board-inspired, LED battery-operated candle probably won’t summon spirits, but it’s still spine-tinglingly spooky. Sold by Etsy user Twisted Nightmares, it costs $20 and requires three AAA batteries, which aren’t included with purchase.


Bleeding Heart Candle by Cozy Custom Candles
Cozy Custom Candles

Love guts, blood, and Gothic romance? Your heart might bleed for this candle, which turns into a gushing heart when lit. Sold by Etsy seller Cozy Custom Candles, the heart-shaped light source has a white outer shell made from a high-melt point paraffin wax, while its core is made of a red-colored wax blend with a low melting point. The candle hemorrhages vital fluids as it burns, making it the perfect accessory for a bloody good time.

The Bleeding Heart Candle costs $17 and comes in multiple autumnal scents, including caramel apple, pumpkin pie, and sweet cinnamon-pumpkin.


Pick Your Poison candle by Mr. Toad's House of Wax
Mr. Toad's House of Wax

The “Pick Your Poison” candles by Etsy seller Mr. Toad’s House of Wax appear to have been snatched from the shelf of a Victorian apothecarist. But while labeled “Poison Hemlock Oil” and “Tincture of Wolfsbane Poison,” they smell like fresh fallen leaves, pumpkin spice, and other autumnal scents when lit. Both candles cost $21, and are embellished with a sparkly jewel and black velvet ribbon.


Woods & Earth candle by Geeky Girl Scents
Geeky Girl Scents

There’s nothing quite like the aroma of trees and fresh graveyard dirt on a fall night. With hints of wood and earth, this candle by Etsy seller Geek Girl Scents will make your living room smell like a haunted cemetery. An eight-ounce jar costs $15, and a 16-ounce version is also available.


Witch Farts Scented Soy Wax Candle by The Candle Crate
The Candle Crate

If you’ve ever wondered what witch gas smells like (who hasn’t?), you can find out by purchasing The Candle Crate’s flaming ode to supernatural flatulence. The Etsy seller’s “Witch Farts” candle is more Glinda the Good Witch than Elphaba, with top notes of peach, apricot, and blackberries and middle notes of mandarin, cinnamon, and rose.

The soy wax candle costs $12, and is sold alongside other witchy, Harry Potter-inspired products like “Number 12 Grimmauld Place” and “The Leaky Cauldron.”


Ghost Repellent candle by Nola And Neighbors
Nola And Neighbors

Even if you ain’t afraid of no ghosts, you can still keep them at bay with this “Ghost Repellent” candle by Etsy sellers Nola And Neighbors. It smells like lavender and sage, and comes with an instruction label informing owners to light it “at dusk or dawn” for best results—although the ghost’s removal is “not guaranteed.” At $17, it’s still way cheaper than hiring the Ghostbusters.


Zombie Golden Girls prayer candle set by The Eternal Flame
The Eternal Flame

Golden Girls devotees who’d follow the Fab Four to the grave and beyond can light up their lanais with these zombie prayer candles by Etsy shop The Eternal Flame. They come in sets of four (one for each Girl, naturally) and cost $40. Color choices include white, orange, and purple.


More from mental floss studios