Saturday, September 20, 2008

The big rubber band ball

It's approaching 4lb in weight, and contains more than 4000 ordinary post office rubber bands.

We've been collecting for a few weeks, including some donated by a postman (yes, even above the ones they drop, they gather some up and re-use them) and some from Freecycle (thanks Krissy, Sara Jane, Barbara and anyone else).

This is an obviously pointless exercise. It's not even heroically pointless, as there are bigger and more destructive rubber band balls out there. '

But I believe that bending down to pick them up is good exercise, and twanging them on the ball keeps the fingers supple. I'm moderately interested to see how many bands can be got on one ball, before it's too large to stretch them on. It's already taken more bands than I would have expected, and we've reached a stage where it takes a lot of thinly stretched bands to increase the dimensions of the ball even slightly.

Some people are outraged at the number of these bands dropped on the streets - particularly since the Post Office changed to red ones, supposedly to help the posties see them and pick them up, but actually making the number more obvious.

I can't muster outrage. In my sad little way, I'm enjoying picking them, and the feeling of weight and energy in the ball. I'm toying with the idea of getting more creative: why not make rubber people, or rubber octopi, or rubber dogs to befriend the postmen?

The Post Office won't discuss how much it spends on them, but two years ago owned up to buying 342 million a year, and "re-using the vast majority".

The Post Office has also suggested that the bands might be bio-degradable, which is a pointless thought. The bands are organic, so I guess they must eventually decompose, but I can't see it happening very quickly. And would it help? Dog droppings and chewing gum are also biodegradable, but we don't like to have them biodegrading on the pavement.

There are also a couple of older pictures here (though none of these are as old as my faulty camera date suggests). And a cat for scale...

(the date on the camera has gone wrong BTW)

Summer Holiday

It was a bit blowy in Mullion this August, but we enjoyed it.

For anyone still looking at this blog, I'm not putting much here. I get paid to blog on open source at ZDNet, and on wireless at Techworld.

I'm also putting stuff on the London Pride blog.