Friday, August 26, 2011

Hypospray is not so Star Trek after all

I recently came across this article, in the October 1947 Science Illustrated. Obviuosly, my first thought was, "Why'd we stop doing that?" My second thought was, "Did we ever start doing that?"

And now some of you probably know I never really watched Star Trek!

So, the short article explains that because needles hurt, this little number was invented to avoid pain by forcing medicine through the skin in a jet "so small it doesn't hit enough pain cells to register." Supposedly, we're talking a jet so small, it's "smaller than a mosquito's proboscis." The article goes on to say that clinical tests looked promising, making vaccinations easy, but "at present its use does not extend to intramuscular injections."

A turn to Google unearthed some interesting and rather surprising stuff. Wikipedia tells us that the hypospray is fictitious, used on Star Trek as developed by the producers to avoid having hypodermic needles around the studio. It then links to three scientific journal articles, two from the 1960s and one from the 1970s, that discuss hypospray--but apparently something different... I couldn't open the articles.

However, some additional digging turns up P.L.E.A.S.E., or "Painless Laser Epidermal System." This is a brand-new, circa 2008, invention for transdermal injections--painlessly. See more about it here: .
Further, going back a few years, there is the "jet injector," invented just four years before Star Trek went on the air in 1966. According to Wikipedia:

"The Jet Injector Gun and the Ped-O-Jet are air-powered medical injector devices designed to administer vaccinations in an extremely efficient manner. Invented by Aaron Ismach, these medical devices were bought in mass quantities by the US Government and provided to governments around the world to eradicate smallpox and other diseases. Servicemen in the Armed Forces were routinely injected with these medical devices to immunize them, and civilian usage included vaccinations during flu epidemics and the like. The Jet Injector is powered by electricity, while the Ped-O-Jet version is powered by a foot pump and does not require electricity to administer the vaccines. These devices have various specialized nozzles for different medication densities and also permitted the efficient inoculation of animal populations as well.
The Biojector 2000 is a make of gas-cartridge-powered jet injector. It is claimed that it can deliver intramuscular injections and subcutaneous injections up to 1 milliliter. The part which touches the patient's skin is single-use and can be replaced easily. It can be powered from a big compressed gas cylinder instead of gas cartridges. It is made by Bioject."

But that still doesn't get us to this marvel of 1947. Apparently, the U.S. Department of Defense stopped using the jet injector in 1997 due to concerns about infection. But this still isn't exactly the original Hypospray, which, according to Science Illustrated, was just right around the corner.

Even though I can't find any evidence of this 1947 version of the Hypospray (wow... there's a LOT of Star Trek stuff on the Internet!), I did find that Merriam-Webster dictionary has a definition for it: ": a device with a spring and plunger for administering a medicated solution by forcing it in extremely fine jets through the unbroken skin."

So, why'd we stop doing that...or why'd we never start? Is this really more than science fiction? What happened between this 1947 article and the 1966 TV show? Anyone?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Those were the days to travel!

Remember when it felt human, nay... superhuman... to travel?

I honestly don't, I'm afraid. I was a grown-up before I travelled by any other mode than car, so I completely missed the hey-day when travelling was a glamorous big deal. Folks would dress up in their finest, be treated like royalty, and arrive at their exciting destination fresh as daisies. If you've flown lately, you know that, sadly, none of this is true anymore.

Check out this vision:

I'm not even sure I can comprehend all of the wonderfulness here. The clothing, the easy chairs, the lounging around talking to sophisticated people, the interior design, the drinks... the BED!

We rarely travel by plane, but when we do, it's to go overseas to visit family. As much as I love the folks, it's my worst nightmare to fly to see them. When I came upon this ad recently, I fairly salivated. Just imagine such wonderfulness. Or don't... it will only depress you the next time you have to board a sardine can.

Here's hoping that the new show Pan Am will do for plane travel what Mad Men has done for skinny ties and wiggle dresses!

Why'd we stop traveling like humans? Glamourous, happy humans? Sigh...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I think I'll guffaw this week

Tucked away in a magazine I recently received (McCall's April 1955) was this torn and rather ragged page from Parade magazine. It's a very cute article on how to laugh during "National Laugh Week."
Wondering if this fun sounding week were still around, I hit Google. The nearest I could find is a vague reference or two to "National Laugh at Work Week." (Well... one has to have a JOB to do that one... I currently do not!) But I did find this:
According to the George Glazer web site, this photos is a:
"Framed photograph of comedians holding National Laugh Week banner. Among the comedians shown are Billy Gilbert, Henny Youngman, Ed Hastings "Senator" Ford, and Herb Shriner at the far right. Lew Parker holds the banner; he is perhaps best known for having played Ann Marie's father on the TV show "That Girl." The two men next to Billy Gilbert are probably connected with the organization who had the photo taken, perhaps a radio station. National Laugh Week is the first week in April every year, beginning, naturally, with April Fool's Day."

How fun! Why'd we stop laughing as a nation? Seems all we want to do these days is bicker like children.

The Parade article, by Dick Emmons, gives some tips on different ways to laugh during this week of April. I'll sum it up here; read the article for full instructions.

The snicker: Not well thought of; only permissible toward the end of a hard day of laughing...

The guffaw: It has the happy characteristics of lending itself to any situation.

The chortle: Suitable for afternoon use.

The cackle: Can be used as an early-evening excuse for a laugh.

The chuckle: A late-evening standby; especially effective for drowning out small talk at social events.

The giggle: A happy link between Outbursts and Peals.

Grins and Smiles: Only a person of small character and weak moral fiber will employ  grin or a smile during National Laugh Week, except in the event of calamities.

So why wait until next April to enjoy laughing? How about a good cackle right before dinner tonight?!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Seeing the right angle of things

From the September 1937 Popular Science Magazine:

I know we can buy such things on selected electronics now... such as
GE Wall Hugger Extension Cord
But the thing is, if this is a good idea, as evidenced in 1937 and again now, what about all those years in between? Why did we stop doing flat plugs that allow us to push furniture closer to the wall without bending the cords into unsafe positions and/or knocking the plug out completely? Why'd we stop doing nice tidy flat plugs in favor or plugs that stick out of the wall nearly three inches?