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21 of the Weirdest R2-D2 Products the Internet Has to Offer

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When Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, they went a little crazy with licensed Star Wars merchandise. The marketing bonanza was so great you could probably deck your whole home out in R2-D2-themed products exclusively. We’re not trying to pick a fight; we all love the helpful droid companion. But one has to ask: Do you really need an R2-D2-themed flashlight? Does tea really taste better coming from a Star Wars-themed teapot? You’ll have to find out yourself. 

1. MEASURING CUP; $18

Measuring cups aren't generally very exciting, but now they can be, when they’re shaped like R2-D2. You can even make a joke about how the Force helped you make the cookies taste better. The set comes with four measuring cups that take the form of the droid when you stack them together.

Find it: Amazon

2. SOY SAUCE DISPENSER; $24

Unless you're a Star Wars-inspired sushi joint, there’s probably no real reason to own this. But that doesn’t mean you can’t want it. The perfectly kitsch item comes straight from Japan and stands at 4 inches tall. It can be filled with soy sauce or any other liquid condiment you want. 

Find it: Amazon

3. GARBAGE CAN; $133

What better way to celebrate the beloved droid than by filling it with trash? R2-D2 admittedly does look like a trash can, so maybe this product was inevitable. The wastebasket is about 2 feet tall and opens when you step on a lever at the bottom.

Find it: Amazon

4. MICKEY HAT; $50

Did you know you can buy mouse ear hats outside of the Disney parks? Well you can, and they come in a lot of different varieties. This futuristic option is the perfect reflection of Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars. The plastic cap fits most heads and comes with a strap to keep it on your noggin. The listing says you can “wear it anytime anywhere!” so feel free to don it for your next job interview.

Find it: Amazon

5. SLIPPERS; $22 - $50

Kick back while R2-D2 keeps your feet snug and warm—what a helpful little droid! The polyester slippers come in plenty of different sizes to fit the feet of princesses, Jedi, and wookiees alike.

Find it: Amazon 

6. EARRINGS; $10

A pair of earrings is a nice gift, but R2-D2 earrings are an even nicer gift (at least if the recipient is a fan of the series). These silver studs are a subtle way to show some love for the movies. If you’re looking for something a little more intense, you could go all out and purchase an R2-D2 engagement ring.

Find it: Amazon

7. WALL CHARGER; $18

The product description, “powered by droid,” is enough to convince anyone that this product absolutely does need to exist, solely for that joke. It comes with two USB ports so two friends can charge their phones at once (no more prying questions about percentages). The cute little charger even lights up when you plug it in.

Find it: Amazon

8. HUMIDIFIER; $50

Even Jedis suffer from dryness in the cold season. That’s why R2-D2 is here to put some moisture back into the air. (This is the humidifier you're looking for.) These portable humidifiers can be filled with up to a gallon of water at a time and help keep those dry coughs away. After all, pulling off Jedi mind tricks is a lot harder when you can't speak. 

Find it: Amazon

9. EGG CUP; $17

This ceramic R2-D2 converts into an egg cup when you take the droid’s head off. Combined with these R2-D2 bowls, breakfast can be perfectly themed, albeit a little strange.

Find it: Amazon

10. TEAPOT; $40

This charming R2-D2 ceramic pot promises perfectly hot tea. There’s just one fatal flaw: This teapot screeches instead of beeps, which is way less cute. 

Find it: Amazon

11. FLASHLIGHT; $12

When you squeeze the handle of this plastic flashlight, R2-D2's dome head slides up, revealing a light source. The 5-inch-tall flashlight will surely help keep the dark side at bay. 

Find it: Amazon

12. BENTO BOX; $20

This hollow droid breaks into three separate containers to hold a well-balanced lunch. When lunch is over, they snap back into place with an airtight lid. As an added bonus, the top part doubles as a cutter and can cut bread into perfect circles. A separate piece works as a stamp to turn bread into a starchy Death Star.

Find it: Amazon

13. SCREWDRIVER; $11

With this R2-D2 screwdriver, you can be almost as handy as the astromech droid himself. The 4-inch-tall tool is compact and easy to use on the go. It comes with three different bits: one slotted and two Phillips-head. 

Find it: Amazon

14. SOUP; $17

Soup’s on! Buy a case (or a dozen cases) of this Star Wars-branded Campbell’s Soup and never have a meal without R2-D2’s robot face again. The limited edition cases come with 10 cans of chicken noodle soup. The noodles are shaped like Yoda, Darth Vader, R2-D2, and storm troopers. 

Find it: Amazon

15. GUITAR; $247

Rock out with your favorite droid with this guitar. It comes with 22 jumbo frets, and a 15-degree headstock pitch. If nothing else, you can use it to play the Star Wars theme on repeat (singing is optional). 

Find it: Amazon

16. SHOWER HEAD; $35

Let R2-D2 wash your troubles away with this truly inspired shower head. It comes with three different spray settings, an anti-clog nozzle, and a life-time warranty. 

Find it: Amazon

17. VIRTUAL KEYBOARD; $276

R2-D2 projects some helpful maps and holograms, so it's probably not asking him too much to project a futuristic keyboard so you can finish that C-3PO fan fiction you were working on. 

Find it: Amazon

18. TRAPPER KEEPER; $18

Children of the ‘80s will remember their beloved Trapper Keepers. Now you can relive your childhood with this R2-D2-themed binder, which has 1.5 inch rings that hold plenty of loose leaf and up to four folders and notebooks. It's perfect for holding all your ongoing fan theories. 

Find it: Amazon

19. DOG COSTUME; $18

No one can hide from R2-D2—not even pets. Dress up your small dog in this shirt and hat combo to impress your friends and embarrass your pup. 

Find it: Amazon

20. SPICE SHAKER; $20

The next time you go to powder some sugar on your Death Star waffles, or sprinkle some seasoning on the steak on your Star Wars plate, reach for your special R2-D2 spice shaker. Anything less would be a disgrace to the meal (and the galaxy).

Find it: ThinkGeek

21. SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS; $18

These ceramic salt and pepper shaker droids are perfect for any dining room table. Grab R2-D2 for salt and R2-Q5 for pepper.

Find it: Amazon

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#TBT
Before Bitcoin: The Rise and Fall of Flooz E-Currency
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In the late 1990s, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Spencer Waxman was in Morocco on holiday when he heard an Arabic slang term for money—flooz—that stuck with him. In the dot-com boom taking place back in the United States, URLs with obscure etymology were popular. When Waxman and partner Robert Levitan decided to co-found a novel way of disrupting the online commerce industry, calling it Flooz.com was almost a foregone conclusion.

What Levitan and Waxman envisioned was a virtual gift certificate that would drive business to participating online retailers, give consumers some sense of security over their private information, and make shopping for stubbornly gift-resistant recipients easy. Rather than merely offering cyber currency, this was a service with purpose.

Unfortunately, it was also one that was doomed to fail.

A screen capture of Flooz.com
Flooz.com

Non-cash currency has been with us since the Chinese used cowry shells to sort out debt for goods and services more than 3000 years ago. In the 1960s, credit cards became an alluring alternative to saving and carrying paper bills. When online retailing exploded in the 1990s, it was only natural that startups would begin to explore virtual payment methods.

At the time, digital transactions were perceived by many consumers to be a near-guarantee of identity theft. Handing a card to a vendor in a closed-loop retail environment was one thing, but the thought of hackers seizing their information once it was entered into the borderless environment of the internet kept many away from online shopping.

As it turns out, that paranoia would turn out to be justified in our current climate of constant data breaches. It was also good for businesses hoping to turn their apprehension over credit card security into a monetized solution. Flooz.com debuted in 1999, just one year after another currency-based URL, Beanz.com, had garnered press. Beanz were a kind of earned points system, with approved transactions gifting customers with redeemable gift vouchers. Flooz took a different approach: Customers would sign up to Flooz.com and purchase gift certificates for specific retailers, which they could then use themselves or pass along to a gift recipient via email.

For businesses, it was a way of driving traffic to sites; for consumers, it was a way to keep credit card transactions limited to one vendor; for Flooz.com, being the intermediary meant taking a 15 to 20 percent cut of completed transactions on the selected retail sites, which ranged from Godiva Chocolates to Barnes & Noble and Tower Records.

To help Flooz.com cut through online marketing noise, Levitan enlisted actress Whoopi Goldberg to be their spokesperson. In exchange for company shares and Flooz.com money, Goldberg led an $8 million ad campaign for radio, television, and print that extolled the benefits of using Flooz.com.

Whether it was Goldberg’s pitch or the concept itself, Flooz.com met with a receptive audience. The company debuted in the fall of 1999, and had opened 125,000 accounts by January 2000. That year, roughly $25 million in Flooz.com money was purchased and used. (In a nod to the impenetrable vocabulary of the internet at the time, the media loved to point out that Beanz could be used to purchase Flooz.)

Bolstered by the attention and early success, Flooz.com was eventually able to raise $35 million in venture capital. Consumers could meet their gifting obligations by emailing a code to their gift recipient without having to waste time shopping. For a time, it appeared Flooz.com would become a leading method of payment for online transactions.

Actress and Flooz.com spokesperson Whoopi Goldberg is photographed during a public appearance
Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

But it didn’t take long for the seams in the Flooz.com model to show. While gifting vouchers to family and friends was convenient for the gifter, the giftee was stuck with a very limited number of vendors that took Flooz.com as payment. If Amazon, for example, had a deal on a DVD or book that Barnes & Noble didn’t, Flooz users were out of luck. Shopping for a bargain wasn’t possible.

The second and most crippling detail was one Flooz.com was forced to make in order to strike deals with vendors. The company guaranteed its transactions, meaning that it would make good on orders even if Flooz dollars had been purchased via fraudulent means. By the summer of 2001, that commitment became a tipping point. Agents from the FBI informed Levitan that they suspected a ring of Russian hackers had purchased $300,000 worth of Flooz in order to launder funds from stolen credit cards.

This created a paralyzing cash flow problem: As their credit card processor withheld funds until Flooz.com could secure the transaction, people were still busy redeeming Flooz dollars they had already spent. Retailers then looked for Flooz.com to reimburse them. Suddenly, customers trying to pay with Flooz were greeted with error messages that the site was down.

Those issues, coupled with the fact that corporate clients had already started to move away from gifting employees with Flooz dollars, forced Flooz.com to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in August 2001. Court papers cited almost $14 million in liability. (Beanz.com was also a casualty of the dot-com bust, when participating retailers processing the points steadily went out of business.)

Levitan rebounded, founding the Pando file sharing network and selling it to Microsoft in 2011 for $11 million. Meanwhile, Flooz.com remains a barely-remembered footnote in e-currency, though it would be hard to chart the rise of digital funds like Bitcoin without it. Like with so many other good ideas, timing is everything.

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Big Questions
What Could the Repeal of Net Neutrality Mean for Internet Users?
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What could the repeal of net neutrality mean for the average American internet user?

Zouhair Belkoura:

The imminent repeal of net neutrality could have implications for Americans beyond the Internet’s stratification, increased costs to consumers, and hindered access to content for all. Net neutrality’s repeal is a threat to the Internet’s democracy—the greatest information equalizer of our time.

With net neutrality’s repeal, ISPs could be selective about the content and pricing packages they make available. Portugal is a good example of what a country looks like without net neutrality

What people may not realize is that a repeal of net neutrality would also give ISPs the ability to throttle people’s Internet traffic. Customers won’t likely have visibility into what traffic is being throttled, and it could substantially slow down people’s Internet connections.

What happens when this type of friction is introduced to the system? The Internet—the greatest collective trove of information in the world—could gradually be starved. People who experience slower Internet speeds may get frustrated and stop seeking out their favorite sites. People may also lose the ability to make choices about the content they want to see and the knowledge they seek.

Inflated pricing, less access to knowledge, and slower connections aren’t the only impact a net neutrality repeal might have. People’s personal privacy and corporations’ security may suffer, too. Many people use virtual private networks to protect their privacy. VPNs keep people’s Internet browsing activities invisible to their ISPs and others who may track them. They also help them obscure their location and encrypt online transactions to keep personal data secure. When people have the privacy that VPNs afford, they can access information freely without worrying about being watched, judged, or having their browsing activity bought and sold by third-party advertisers.

Virtual private networks are also a vital tool for businesses that want to keep their company data private and secure. Employees are often required by their employers to connect to a VPN whenever they are offsite and working remotely.

Even the best VPNs can slow down individuals' Internet connections, because they create an encrypted tunnel to protect and secure personal data. If people want to protect their personal privacy or company’s security with a VPN [they] also must contend with ISP throttling; it’s conceivable that net neutrality’s repeal could undermine people’s freedom to protect their online safety. It could also render the protection a VPN offers to individuals and companies obsolete.

Speed has always been a defining characteristic of the Internet’s accessibility and its power. Net neutrality’s repeal promises to subvert this trait. It would compromise both people's and companies’ ability to secure their personal data and keep their browsing and purchasing activities private. When people don’t have privacy, they can’t feel safe. When they don’t feel safe, they can’t live freely. That’s not a world anyone, let alone Americans, want to live in.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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