Sunday, September 9, 2012

You do know the cape doesn't actually allow you to fly, right?

We've all heard about the weird warning labels on seemingly innocuous products, or the "well, duh!" warnings that a can of tuna contains tuna or a jar of peanuts contains peanuts. We've heard about the classic warning on a Batman costume: "PARENT: Please exercise caution--FOR PLAY ONLY: Mask and chest plate are not protective: cape does not enable user to fly." And you may have seen a warning not to allow the dog to drive or operate heavy machinery after taking his medicine.

Some of our toys display warnings or disclaimers. For example, one of the cool science toys we sell is the Top Secret Kinetic Mystery. You spin a little top on the platform, and the top will spin for days. Is the toy really top secret? Does it prove that perpetual motion is possible? Is magic involved?
Nope. It's all science, as the Top Secret folks explain in an enclosure inside the box.
The "Top Secret" consists of a spinning top with a radially oriented magnetic field and an associated base that houses a conductive coil. When the top spins past the center of the base, its changing magnetic field induces a current in the coil which momentarily opens the switch to the battery resulting in powering up the electromagnet. The electromagnet then delivers enough torque to the spinning top to allow it to speed up and spin away from the center. Since the electromagnet is only engaged when the top crosses near the center of the base, one 9 volt battery can last for over a week of continual use!
Unfortunately, one of our customers from Arizona was not impressed.
Enclosed, please find your Product advertized as a --"Top Secret Perpetual Motion"
--"A Kinetic Mystery"
--"Mystery in Motion"

But it is no more than a top powered by a battery. I feel disappointed and taken Advantage of. I expect a full Refund.
We sent him his full Refund with an explanation the top is not a perpetual motion machine. As for his feeling of being taken Advantage of, I suggested that he write to the company that produces the toy.