Alan Barber proved to be a big hit at the recent International Latex Conference, held in Charlotte, N.C.
And it's not simply because he did a nice job representing his company, Dow Reichhold Specialty Latex, at the firm's booth, which he did. No, it's because he plays a mean piano.
On a break or two during the conference, he headed down a virtually isolated hallway where two old pianos sat and began playing an assortment of tunes. Several people followed the music and before he realized it he had drawn a crowd.
They liked what they heard from the cross between Billy Joel and Jim Brickman and talked about it at length later.
Barber has no formal musical training, and plays by ear. He has been at it for six years.
Next year, he said, all he wants at the conference is a piano that's better tuned.
Better advice-let the audience show their appreciation in the time-honored way for ``street musicians,'' and pass the hat.
Eureka! Two New Zealand companies have come up with a shape-shifting rubber reef that can be fitted to the floor of a swimming pool and, with the help of a wave machine, generate surf they claim rivals anything found in California or Hawaii.
To most people, that's not much of a great leap forward for mankind. But if you're a young, budding surfer living in Iowa, Indiana or Switzerland, that invention may be the answer to your prayers.
ASR Ltd. and Surf Pools spent five years devising the rubber reef, called Versareef, by surveying the best reefs in the Pacific to find out which characteristics generate ideal surfs, according to British science weekly ``New Scientist.''
They adapted what they learned for the swimming pool. Computer-controlled jacks are placed beneath a rubber mat, subtly altering its shape so that a rush of water, sent by a wave machine, is molded into a powerful surf wave, the publication said.
Versareef will generate four types of waves: Californian, Australian, Hawaiian and Indonesian. Beginners can start off with the Californian, which creates a slower, easier wave, and work their way up to the Hawaiian, which features a wave that hits a sharply inclined seabed with ridges running at right angles to the wave's direction, the companies said.
A note to those who don't own pools: Don't try this one in your bathtub.
Trelleborg A.B. is going green in the United Kingdom.
All of the firm's 17 U.K. sites will be supplied with 100-percent ``green'' electricity from E-On Energy. Produced from renewable sources such as wind, water and landfill gas, the contract will eliminate the release of more than 27,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by burning coal or oil-based fossil fuels.
It's unknown if those areas will be called green light districts. But Trelleborg should be grateful that E-on Energy doesn't call it ``red'' electricity.
Multiple choice time.
If you think someone stole money and a valuable item from you, do you:
a) Thank them for relieving you of that cumbersome burden;
b) Call the police;
c) Hurry off to the bathroom; or
d) Beat them with a rubber mallet?
If you answered ``b,'' you did good.
A man in England learned the hard way that ``d'' is the incorrect answer.
Kevin Webley, a London disc jockey, apparently viciously attacked a couple he'd only met once at a wedding with his rubber mallet. The DJ thought the couple had stolen his music kit, which included $1,800 in audio equipment, $10,000 in CDs and $12,000 cash, the ``London Free Press'' reported.
Webley tracked down the couple and broke the mallet pummeling the victims. He got three years in prison for his efforts.
Perhaps he should have taken this test before he went on a mallet binge.
Compiled and edited by Mike McNulty. Send items to [email protected]