Ballpoint Pen: Extraordinary ordinary things

Has this ever happened to you? Someone says to you, “Make a note of this.” So you whip out your smartphone, open a file, and start your fingers whizzing over the virtual keyboard or start writing on the screen with a stylus to input the information. However, if you are not a millennial, you would more likely grab a piece of paper, whip out your ballpoint pen, and start making notes in dark, indelible blue or black ink.

Even if you are a millennial, chances are you nevertheless walk about with one or more ballpoint pens, simply because they are handy, apparently simple, and cheap.

Continue reading Ballpoint Pen: Extraordinary ordinary things

The Robot: Extraordinary ordinary things

It may seem odd to suggest that the robot should legitimately qualify as an extraordinary ordinary thing. For most people, the term “robot” most likely conjures up the image of a clumsily massive whirling humanoid-like machine, which is not something we commonly encounter every day. Moreover, the robot is often viewed as something malevolent and to be feared.

In recent years, the more modern term “bot,” short for robot, may have somewhat modified this disconcerting perception. Most people have certainly heard of robots used in industry, such as in assembling motorcars (robotic arms). They also certainly know that such robots in no way resemble humans and are incapable of deliberately doing human beings any harm.

While the term “robot” was coined only in the early 20th century, the concept of a robot, humanoid or otherwise, goes back centuries and even millennia.

Continue reading The Robot: Extraordinary ordinary things