Alternative Clocks

Seven unconventional clocks that tell more than time

Our pace and focus on the short-term these days seems to have surpassed the steady tick-tock of time passing. Groups like The Long Now Foundation aim to counteract this phenomenon by encouraging long-term thinking. To foster this world view—time as a series of years, one lined up after another and 10,000 more after that till infinity—computer scientist Danny Hillis proposed a monumental timepiece that “ticks …

Blest Machine

An at-home trash converter turning plastics into oil

While denaturing plastics is a relatively common practice, the compact Blest machine simplifies the process to a “safe to use at home” degree. Claiming to be the safest, cleanest and most user-friendly form yet, inventor Akinori Ito’s portable Blest machine converts plastic waste back into usable oil with just a temperature-controlling electric heater. A video of the machine in action shows how several features set …

The Looftlighter

Start your next fire with a 1000°F electric wand

Sick of grilled chicken tasting like lighter fluid, theater director Richard Looft made his first prototype by using a reversed vacuum to blow air onto a toaster filled with charcoal. When he saw that the coal was ready to use in just a few minutes, the concept for the Looftlighter was born. The resulting curling-iron-shaped device produces 1000°F electric heat to ignite anything from charcoal …