Saturday, January 13, 2007

Got Silly String?? 
Sometimes products find niches in uses wholly unintended by their developers - for instance, believe it or not, Arm and Hammer baking soda was made for baking, not for sitting in your refrigerator soaking up odors.

Well, there's a new unexpected product use out there - this time saving lives in Iraq.

Silly String was introduced in the late 1960's, and there are a variety of similar products out. Essentially, it's a polymer-based chemical dissolved in a CFC-based solvent and packed into an aerosol can. When squirted, the chemicals react with air to form a foamy strand as much as 10 or 12 feet long. Militarily, Silly String is useful for troops doing room-to-room searches, who have to contend with booby traps (IEDs, or Improvised Explosive Devices). Before entering a room, they can squirt the stuff inside. If it lands on the floor, the room is likely to be clear of trip wires. But if the stuff hangs in the air, it may have snagged on a nearly invisible wire (sure, the troops might be able to spot the wire if they peer carefully into the room, but this might not be possible in the presence of armed folks with hostile intent).

But there's a catch:

It isn't in the Department of Defense (DoD) standard supply basket (which is perhaps just as well, or a can might run several hundred bucks, because of all the special rules applying to military acquisition, and the tendency to customize things for "military use.") Some unit commanders have reportedly been using their discretionary funds to secure supplies. But for the most part, the troops have been relying on Mom to supply them, writing home to send some. This isn't easy, as Silly String comes in aerosol cans, which cannot legally be shipped by the Postal Service or commercial mailing services.

The "queenpin" of Silly String Supply To The Troops is Marcelle Shriver, who has a son in Iraq. She arranges shipments of Silly String to her son's unit and other units. Donations can be sent to her, c/o St. Luke Church, 55 N. Warwick Rd., Stratford, NJ 08084.

For great justice.


Update: If they outlaw silly string, only outlaws will have silly string.

I'd heard about this a long time ago - before I moved back to Texas, at least, and that was 2 years ago. I saw a photo posted online somewhere of a room that had been sprayed with it by some troops, and it was hanging off trip wires...
I have to second that. Silly string is making the rounds again as a totally new innovation, yet there were news stories about it in 03/04, for exactly the same purposes.

I certainly hope troops were informing their replacement units of its use all this time...
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!