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Small wonders

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-05-2014 Shekhar Bhatia

This is about two ideas that have gone viral over the past month: One is an innovative kitchen gadget, and the other a useful and interesting trick.

First, the gadget: a “goose” that lays golden scrambled eggs.

The “goose” I am talking about is a kitchen tool called the “Golden Goose” that you can use to scramble an egg inside its shell. You won’t need to break the egg and whisk it in a bowl. What comes out is a “Golden Egg” (the whole egg turns yellow from the yolk).

The inventor of the device describes it as “a hand-powered ‘kitchen gadget’ that magically scrambles a raw egg without breaking or penetrating the shell”.

I first read about it on the US-based media organization NPR’s blog Innovation, and now the kitchen tool is all over the Net. The creator of the device, Geraint Krumpe, went to the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter to raise $34,500 (around `20 lakh). And such is the level of interest in his invention that he has raised over $170,000.

In essence, the device is like the “button-spinner” toy some of you might have made when you were young. You take a large button, put a thin string through its holes and tie the ends of the string. Stretch the string with your hands with the button in the middle, swirl it around furiously and pull the string. The button will spin for a long time. Not much of a toy, but it was fun.

The Golden Goose is a round contraption the size of a tennis ball with strings attached to it on either side. You put an egg in the ball and spin it back and forth a few times by twirling and pulling the strings. This rotational movement blends the white and yolk of the egg inside the shell. The science behind it is “centrifugal force”.

But wait, the “Golden Egg” isn’t yet ready to eat; you still have to cook it. So you crack it into a pan, and have it any which way you like—fry it, make an omelette, or have it soft-boiled, hard-boiled or poached.

So why not just do it the way we have been doing it for as long as we can remember (an entry in Wikipedia says the word omelette dates back to the mid-16th century)? Break the egg into a bowl and scramble it with a whisk or a fork? Why would you want to scramble an egg inside its shell? The “Golden Egg”, explains the inventor, “is a much creamier, custardy taste”.

The Goose is designed to fit eggs of all sizes and shapes and will be in the market in October. You can place your order at www.kitchengoose.com.

Now, I love eggs, and I also enjoy gadgets, but the Golden Goose? I leave it to you to decide.

The other idea that has gone viral on YouTube (it’s been viewed some four million times since it was posted about a month ago) is what I call a very useful trick for those of us who wear glasses or contact lenses. There are times when you can’t find your glasses but need to see something or read some text urgently. What do you do?

Learn how to see without glasses on YouTube channel MinutePhysicsThere’s a simple solution: Make a fist, twirl your index finger and thumb to make a very tiny hole, and look through it. You have no idea how brilliantly it works. I wear spectacles and I have tried it several times. It works even with very small print.

The 3-minute video (go to YouTube and search for “MinutePhysics/How to See Without Glasses”) explains the science behind this trick. It’s been done by the YouTube channel MinutePhysics, which makes physics simple and fun through its 2-minute videos.

So how does this trick work? It’s the principle used in a camera: the smaller the aperture, the sharper the image. There is more to it, and it’s explained in the video in a layperson’s language.

I’ve tried it out with many friends who use spectacles or contact lenses, and the verdict is unanimous: It works.

Shekhar Bhatia is a science buff and a geek at heart.

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