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Dan confesses his explosive past

As a kid, I was into anything scientific or electronic. Pulling a radio or a TV out of the neighbor’s trash was fair game for experimenting. My 100-in-1 electronic project kits (from my newer Radio Shack kit to the older Knight-Kit) had plenty of miles on them. Once I discovered model rockets and chemicals, I was playing around with sulfur, charcoal and anything else that would “light up” or “produce smoke.” Somehow, I managed to keep my 10 fingers and both eyes! For this Off the Beaten path, we’ll look at some science, technology, chemicals, or just simple, fun experimenting. Our first stop starts with gallium (provided by Brett Moss, who edits this blog for me and catches my typos and duplicated links).

Gallium is a wonderful website, be sure to explore it to find all sorts of interesting things. This particular link contains a story about gallium, an elemental metal with a melting point of about 86 degrees, or, basically, it can melt in your hands. It also has some pretty interesting properties. Watch the video to see just what it does to aluminum.

Phone Fun
Another interesting site worth exploring is (not dot com, but dot co). With some colored tape, you can make your own mini “UV blacklight.” Here’s the video how-to.

Amazing Inventions
These are called amazing inventions, but some of the stuff here is just downright goofy! I love fun, cool or just interesting inventions. I go back to “Wite-Out” (the correction fluid) as one of my favorites … but check out the 30+ pages here for some pretty cool inspiring ideas (and goofy stuff).

Life Hacks
Life hacks are just finding a way to do something in possibly a quicker, cheaper or more convenient way. When I find cool “engineering hacks,” I send them over to John Bisset for Workbench here in Radio World. John digs this stuff and likes to spread the knowledge around. For instance, one of my favorite little radio engineering hacks is to take plastic wire-wrap (a coil of flat plastic material meant to wrap around wires) and wrap it around the spring on a mic boom. Doing this takes “the boing” of the spring out when you bump or move a mic boom. For this link, we look at some fun life hacks.

And to do a little “radio cross-promoting,” here’s a link directly to John’s Workbench columns. If you aren’t familiar with this column, you’re missing a goldmine of great info.

Here’s the link to a good website related to science and technology … and the future. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here to explore.

Clever Ideas
This website is called Cleverly. The main web link is and has a lot of great life hacks and useful ideas. This particular link details a really a clever way to cool things in places that lack electricity but have a little wind. Call it “do-it-yourself air conditioning.”

And Finally…
If you’re in need of a laugh, you might enjoy this last link. It features “creative” ways people have responded to others or things they’ve done. My favorite is the “Mystery” section at the library.

If you stumble across a good or unusual web site that might be of interest, please don’t hesitate to send me the link and any info you might have about it. My email address is [email protected].