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June 28, 2006

Cause These Don't Work

I'm not exactly sure how, but it really seems to me that our civilization should have produced some better umbrella technologies by now.

June 28, 2006 | Permalink


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The wife and I have an insurance umbrella, does that count?

Posted by: Stephen | Jun 28, 2006 9:19:34 AM

There is better umbrella technology, and it is accessible largely by purchasing expensive umbrellas. Though it is tempting to buy the disposable umbrella from your local supermarket / pharmacy, you will be ill-served.

One also notes that a good raincoat or duster and wide-brimmed hat, though they appear archaic, serve well.

Posted by: paperwight | Jun 28, 2006 10:39:06 AM

And,golly, I was just thinking about this the other day. The lady when walking the dogs complains of the hot Texas summer sun. But with a purse and 2 65 lb dogs on a leash she lacks a free hand.

So, you know being brilliant and all, I riffed on the idea of propellor beanies. If you were to attach a 2 or 3 foot umbrella vertically to the top of a gimme cap, with a string opener you could operate with your mouth voila! Hands-free shade!

I need investors. We could be billionaires.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jun 28, 2006 10:59:19 AM

Hint - don't go to Wal-Mart - go to a golf pro shop.

Posted by: Dr. Squid | Jun 28, 2006 11:13:10 AM

Right on Ezra. And you shouldn't have to buy an expensive one to get one that actually works. Umbrella's have to be one of the most "lost" items around.

Posted by: joe | Jun 28, 2006 11:26:15 AM

So, you know being brilliant and all, I riffed on the idea of propellor beanies. If you were to attach a 2 or 3 foot umbrella vertically to the top of a gimme cap, with a string opener you could operate with your mouth voila! Hands-free shade!

I need investors. We could be billionaires.

Posted by: bob mcmanus

Hate to disappoint you, but I've had one of those in my closet for years now. It's not that fancy — it's just always up when it's on your head, it's more of a hat shaped like an umbrella than a cranial-mounted umbrella. And if you think about it, you wouldn't want one a two or three-foot umbrella anyway. It would get caught on every tree and pole, and up that high, it would have to be enormous to provide any shelter.

I guess I might bring it with me on vacation or something, but people at work would look at me funny if that was what I used these days...

Posted by: Cyrus | Jun 28, 2006 11:40:26 AM

I have an excellent Totes umbrella that I picked up at a factory outlet store here in Lancaster, PA (about 10" of rain since the start of the weekend). It's large, dry, and is built like a tank. The only problem is that you have to keep a firm grip on the handle -- because of its size, the Mary Poppins effect can be quite pronounced in a strong breeze. But it's never once been in danger of turning inside out. I don't think it cost me more than $20.

Posted by: Dave Straub | Jun 28, 2006 11:40:29 AM

Some things reach the apex of their utility and stop evolving, although inventors keep trying and failing to succeed. The safety pin. Mouse traps. Umbrellas. Socks. Books. Spoons and Forks. Beer. Rightwing pundits.

Once we have perfected the cloak of invisibility (H. Potter-style), an extension of that technology might well be a new class of rainwear. Maybe nanotech offers some possibilities too.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jun 28, 2006 11:43:00 AM

After making it through a coastal Oregon winter I can verify the value of a wide brimmed hat and some kind of rainproof jacket...never once used an umbrella cause the wind in these parts will tear it right out of your hands.....yeh, git yerself a hat Ezra, maybe it will help with the nickname.

Posted by: Steve Mudge | Jun 28, 2006 11:44:53 AM

Our civilization produced advanced nuclear umbrella technology during the Cold War.

It still won't stop you from getting wet though.

Posted by: A. Alzabo | Jun 28, 2006 12:12:09 PM

Surely the Texan solution is a sombrero? Shady and locally invented!

Much better off with a hat and coat, anyway, especially in wind - plus it leaves your hands free.

Posted by: ajay | Jun 28, 2006 12:31:46 PM

have you heard of a substance called aerogel?
it is a beautiful, blue, cloudlike substance.. 99.8 percent of its volume is empty space.it is silicon-based and a thousand times less dense than glass..
it has so many unusual properties, as to be almost magical. the jpl has an interesting site on it, with a remarkable gallery of aerogel photographs, definitely worth looking at.
you can find out about it on the web...
it is being used by the jpl to capture cometary and interstellar dust in grids on operation stardust.
...because of its properties of insulation, perhaps this will be the harry potter-like cloak you are thinking about for operation raindrops!
...everyone would like to see the jpl gallery of photographs...it is well worth a moment of time.

Posted by: jacqueline | Jun 28, 2006 12:47:09 PM

After also surviving an Pac NW winter I can attest, umbrelas are useless compared to a good, or even reasonable hat, jacket and Wellington boots.

Posted by: DuWayne | Jun 28, 2006 1:16:36 PM

And whilst aerogel does offer some very interesting uses while nanotech is still developing I have to say, nano-coats adn hats would be way to cool.

Posted by: DuWayne | Jun 28, 2006 1:21:43 PM

I'm against umbrellas--in crowded urban areas, anyway. They take up more personal space than is properly allocated to any individual. Especially those enormous f***ing golf umbrellas. Just wear a raincoat, ferchrissakes.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Jun 28, 2006 1:24:45 PM

i agree, tom....
i was in fear of being blinded on many a rainy day in manhattan subway stations, until everyone finally untangled their umbrellas..not to mention, finding a dry spot for all two hundred of them on crowded subway cars.
....almost better to submit to the rain after many years of trying to subdue umbrella nature in the wind.
they yearn to fly anyway, that is the problem with umbrellas.

Posted by: jacqueline | Jun 28, 2006 1:56:35 PM

I have noticed that if you use an umbrella here in Portland people give you looks - I have also heard they will make fun of you for it. I just live with it.

Posted by: DuWayne | Jun 28, 2006 5:38:41 PM

Hey Chaps, Talking of Umbrellas I was looking at a website last month and have been thinking what a great idea. It’s a company that makes plastic disposable umbrellas in Florida of all places, I think the name of the company is Wet Media, anyway they have produced a totally disposable umbrella, well it’s not sliced bread but it comes pretty close…. They need to ge them into the walmart's of the world.

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