04 December 2006

Fast Food Tech, and...

xkcd webcomic
This one is called "Matrix Transform":

Fast Food Technology
On Sunday night, I ended up at merrily entered a new Burger King in Burlington, Mass. and found a new and awful item on their menu: the Quadruple Stacker. Yes, four buger patties, eight pieces of bacon, and a lot of cheese. (No, I didn't get it. But I was also surprised to be offered "onion ring sauce" with my onion rings, a weird creamy horseradish polymer.)

The onion ring box was impressive for two reasons, though. First, they eschewed the McDonald's-ish "I'm lovin' it" slang for some actually thoughtful text on the box, with little arrows to the steam holes and a reminder that the box fits in your car's cup holder. (Perhaps Godin would be proud.)

Second, the box referenced two patents. What could these be? Well, dear reader, they're U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,053,403 and 6,561,414.

These patents read quite differently than the optics- and graphics-related ones I'm usually seeing. For instance, here is how Liming Cai's attorney motivated the advantages of this particular french fry holder to the hapless patent examiner:

Initially, the scoop of the invention is capable of being formed utilizing conventional equipment with the formed configuration of the scoop specifically allowing for nesting of the scoops so as to minimize packing space, resulting in both shipping and storage economies. The formed configuration of the scoop provides a base which is not only readily accommodated within a conventional cup holder, whether in a carrying tray or a vehicle mounted cup holder, but is also particularly formed to provide a stable base for a self-standing scoop.

A significant object of the invention is the incorporation in the scoop of a sealed bottom, eliminating the gaps normally associated with folded paperboard cartons of this type. Thus, the scoop of the invention is particularly capable of accommodating various condiments and flavorings as might be applied to the finger foods supplied within the scoop, for example melt butter on popcorn, salt and pepper on fries of various types, and the like, all without leakage.

You have nothing to fear, of course, unless you are so brazen as to be idly making, selling, or using contraptions that perform exactly this:

1. A food scoop comprising a vertically elongate peripheral wall defining an upwardly opening container, said wall having an upper peripheral edge, and a lower peripheral edge with a bottom panel joined thereto, said upper edge having a first extent of a downwardly concave configuration and a second opposed extent of an upwardly convex configuration positioned higher relative to said first extent, said wall being of a substantially rectangular cross-section adjacent said lower edge and along a predetermined lower height of said scoop upward from said bottom panel, and of a substantially circular cross-section upward from said lower predetermined height along an upper predetermined height to said upper edge, said scoop being of a progressively increasing cross-section upward from said lower edge to said upper edge, said bottom panel having a first pair of laterally spaced coextensive edges integral with said wall along opposed lengths of said lower peripheral edge of said wall, and a second pair of spaced parallel linear edges extending between said first pair of edges and defining therewith a generally rectangular configuration for said bottom panel, said lower edge of said wall between said lengths thereof integral with said first pair of bottom edges being coextensive with said second pair of bottom panel edges and in engagement therewith along the full length of the second pair of edges, and a pair of side sealing panels, each having a base edge integral and coextensive with a linear edge of said second pair of parallel edges of said bottom panel, said side sealing panels overlying and being bonded to said peripheral wall of said scoop for a fixed height upward from said bottom panel.

Bazaar Bizarre
The wacky handmade holiday-time gift fair is back! Dec. 16 in Boston, and elsewhere. It's a fun experience even for a stick-in-the-mud like me.

Never Mind John Galt...
...who is this Caitlin Roran of gmail splash screen fame?


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