Townhouse Books

Monday, May 16, 2005

Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things

I'm a big fan of blogs like Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools that are about things that enable you to do interesting things, rather than about the interesting things themselves. I figure that I'd rather make my own fun.

So Kevin recommended Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things (the official website) a while back and I immediately ordered it, after all how could I resist a book that proffered an easy way to turn into the neighborhood MacGyver? Well, I probably should have saved my money. This book is pretty disappointing. There are exactly two interesting things that you can make, one of which I'll tell you about.

The next time you have 8oz of spoiled milk on your hands dump it in a pot and heat it short of boiling. Add in a tablespoon of vinegar and stir until it gets lumpy. Strain out the lumps, press, and allow to dry overnight. What you have is casein, the primary phosphoprotein in milk.

By precipitating it out and allowing it to dry you've formed a "plastic" that can be further dried and supposedly used for a variety of household tasks.

So aside from the casein trick, which I've now given you, there's no real reason to read this book.

If you're still trying to hone your MacGyver skills I'd recommend that you read the American Boy's Handy Book, which I'll review at some point in the future.


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  • What exactly can you use this lump of milk plastic to do?

    By Anna, at 7:12 AM  

  • Have you tried to perform the milk-->plastic trick?

    I thought Macgyver sort of ideas would produce miracles in minutes.

    By Jason, at 8:48 AM  

  • According to the book you could use it as a handle for a file, as a temporary repair patch for a piece of broken plastic, or to mold into a toy.

    Nope, I haven't tried the milk->plastic thing yet. I was so underwhelmed by the whole experience that I'm avoiding the whole thing.

    By bshort, at 5:57 PM  

  • I'm sorry, but I don't think I'll be making milk/vinegar toys for Daisy any time soon. However, if my grandfather had known this trick it would have greatly expanded his ability to patch up household items. He was a duct tape solves everything guy before there was duct tape -- so more of a "a piece of wood and some screws" solves everything type.

    By Anna, at 6:36 AM  

  • Hmm, I thought that was how you made Devonshire clotted cream. Scone, anyone?

    By evt1618, at 10:33 AM  

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