The Best Thing

“It’s the best thing since oleomargarine” just doesn’t capture the magic!  Behold: SLICED BREAD, a truly American convenience food.
You can thank Otto Frederick Rohwedder for perfecting the mechanism which not only sliced the loaf, but wrapped it in wax paper to preserve freshness.
The Chillicothe Baking Company sold the first industrially pre-sliced loaf on July 7, 1928, but the Continental Baking Company (AKA “Wonder Bread”) took it national in 1930. By 1933 sliced outsold unsliced loaves in the US.
The almost-invented-too-early pop-up toaster (c. 1926) saw a rapid co-evolution, with sales sky-rocketing once standardized bread slices were available.
On January 18, 1943 U.S. officials issued a ban on sliced bread as a wartime wax-paper conservation measure, but widespread public outcry followed, with “loaf-runners” smuggling in the precious “slice” across the Canadian border*. The order was rescinded on March 8, 1943, as “sufficient wax paper to wrap sliced bread for four months is in the hands of paper processor and the baking industry”.
This documentary footage from the 1940s illustrates the industrialization of bread production at that time.The rest, as they say, is Bakery.
We truly live in an Age of Pre-Sliced Progress!

Venus Envy has a great write-up on the most freaking awesome un-sung inventor in history, Hedy Lamarr, who was at least sliced bread raised to the power of Avagadro’s number times better than sliced bread. Cursed with both a brain and beauty, she felt powerless to help the war effort in any way but showing her legs to sell War Bonds. She teamed up with an inventive neighbor to invent an early form of spread-spectrum communications, aimed at making an un-jammable radio control link for torpedoes and the like. The military patted her on the head and waited 20 years (until the Cuban Missile Crisis) to actually implement her ideas. Next stop: WiFi. Hedy, we love you mind AND body, now!

Did you know that nuclear fuel enrichment has a mascot? Meet Richie Enrichment, Urenco’s kid-friendly nuclear enrichment pal! He’s got lots of fun and games and badges you can make! Urenco also has a free app for the iPhone (and Android, too) that can help you  keep your clandestine nuclear program peaceful civilian nuclear plants humming with just a tap! (There’s a great graphic in the app that I bet you won’t see anywhere else: Richie standing next to a spilled Erlenmeyer round-bottomed flask… “Richie says:  Run for your lives, kids!!!!”).

But watch out, Richie! China is horning in on your outsourced nuclear enrichment biz! What will Richie and his buddies ever do? Note in the graphics that a company in OKC certifies their cylinders to 400PSIG. Comforting thought, Okies certifying nuclear fuel cylinders for the Chinese. What could possibly go wrong? (A UF6 leak? News coverage at the time blamed the Sequoia Fuels UF6 “release” on a tank rupture-or-explosion  caused by workers using a blow-torch to heat an over-filled cylinder to empty some back out… maybe the supervisor was on lunch-break?  Some lessons were learned, to be fair. I’d have started with: “rural Okies should not handle nuclear materials for any reason!”).

An ad for Maltos-Cannabis, the most cannabis-o-riffic food supplement of the 1890s. It apparently repels Death. You’ll love the artwork.

Here’s a totally awesome comic book super-hero from India. He’s not nice like Batman, either.

Never cared for Roger Moore. He was serially pussy-whipped.

Here’s an Edo-period scroll of traditional monsters you should avoid.

Currently, it’s fairly low-res, but given time they’ll make you remember it, retail.

It’s going to take a lot of primer to cover that up. Maybe wallpaper would be best.

Melts in your mind, not in your hand: the evolutionary benefits of adding psilocybin to the human diet.

Was monotheism the result of temporal lobe epilepsy?

A guide to “dad-trolling”. It’s the best part of pwning owning having children!

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*Ha-ha! Made you look! Just kidding about that part.

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