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Sunday, Jan 29, 2023
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Stuff



Product:

Pentech Ultra Sharp


Manufacturer:

Jakks Pacific Inc., Malibu


Description:

Wood No. 2 pencil with eraser that uses erasable liquid graphite through a ball point


Price:

$3.19 for a package of three at Rite-Aid


Jakks wanted to give students a pencil that would never need sharpening, so they could be used for those standardized tests that often stretch on for hours.


While the Ultra Sharp looks exactly like a wooden pencil, it doesn’t quite perform as well and costs nearly 10 times as much.


At first glance, the only thing distinguishing the Ultra Sharp from a regular wood and graphite pencil is its metallic ball-point tip; it’s basically a tube filled with liquid graphite in a sheath of wood.


Unlike a pencil, which can write upside down, the Ultra Sharp only leaves consistent lines if held in the standard pen position.


It erases very cleanly, but not quite as well as a regular pencil. It’s extremely sturdy, much harder to break than even a plastic ballpoint pen. And even when snapped in two, the liquid graphite was nearly impossible to coax out of the tube, so even in the worst-case scenario, your shirt’s safe. Still, the old-fashioned No. 2 does much the same job as the Ultra Sharp, at about $1.69 for a pack of 20.


Matt Myerhoff



Product:

SunFlower 250


Manufacturer:

Energy Innovations Inc., Pasadena


Description:

New type of solar panels


Price:

$900 to $1,125


The SunFlower 250 uses 1/25 the amount of silicon solar cells needed to capture the sun’s power and turn it into electricity as standard panels. Typical solar systems are significantly more expensive, based on cost per watt.


Typically, solar power systems use two motors for each mirror. But Energy Innovations engineers have created a parabolic shape that requires only two motors for an entire system sitting a foot above the roof.


The SunFlower is designed for low-rise commercial buildings, rather than skyscrapers or private homes. Energy Innovations has scheduled the release of the product by the end of the year.


Katherine Gray

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