Press-On Care

At last night’s game we got a free Edwin Encarnacion jersey.  It’s the traditional design, in a size large enough to comfortably fit most reasonably sized people, and looks pretty sharp.  The jersey features that “press-on” type lettering, however — which means I’ll be giving it kid glove treatment.

I first learned this important life lesson in 1973, when I used my Big Bear bag boy earnings to buy a cool orange Eric Clapton t-shirt with a press-on picture of the Guitar God on the front.  (I know . . . “cool” and “orange t-shirt” are rarely used in the same sent, but you must remember it was the ’70s.) I wore it, put it in the laundry basket for Mom to wash, and got back a fundamentally changed garment.  The shirt had shrunk about five sizes and the picture of Clapton had become a cracked, crumbling, unrecognizable mess.  Gah!  But, because I paid for it with my own money, I continued to use it as one of the t-shirts I wore under my jeans shirt — and avoided buying press-on t-shirts thereafter.

It may be that press-on technology has improved in the last 45 years, but I’m not taking any chances.  The EE jersey won’t be seeing the washer, ever.

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T-Shirt Power!

Scientists are always pushing us closer to the future envisioned by sci-fi movies.  Now we learn that, like the poor, deceived wretches trapped by the Matrix in the classic movie of the same name, humans soon may become walking batteries — at least, if they wear the right t-shirt.

A professor at the University of South Carolina has figured out how to convert a t-shirt into a power source.  He bought a cheap t-shirt from a discount store, soaked it in fluoride and dried it in a high-temperature oxygen-free environment.  As a result, the cellulose in the fibers turned into activated carbon.  The fibers were then thinly coated with manganese oxide and thereby became capacitors — i.e., a device capable of storing an electric charge.  Add an electrode and a plug and — voila! — your t-shirt could be used to power your cell phone or iPad.

I don’t like wearing artificial fibers that don’t “breathe,” so I doubt that I would want to wear a carbonized shirt coated with manganese oxide.  What’s more, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable in a garment that was supercharged with electricity.  I’d be afraid that a little static electricity could cause a massive short circuit — and I’d hate to think of the electrical firestorm that could be created if I also wore a pair of thigh-rubbing corduroy pants on a cold, dry winter’s day.