The hand-dryer ‘revolution’ – a roaring success or wheezy disaster?

Wash hands

How many ways are there to dry your hands? The more conventional of us would just use a hand towel or perhaps some form of tissue, but in recent years a new phenomenon has taken over… the hand-dryer. Now I am no stranger to technology. I like my iPhone and iPod (although feel the former has the battery life of one of the bike lights you buy in the euro/pound shops) and also enjoy my whizzy new ASUS notebook. But when it comes to technology that just seems to be there for the sake of it, or for companies to make more money isn’t it just pointless?

I know the argument for hand dryers is a valid one. It’s saves on paper waste and therefore saves our planet. I do however wonder why environmental campaigners latched onto this ‘waste’ as substantial, when there seems to be much more important things to concentrate on that ruin our planet like – the burning of fossil fuels at an alarming rate, effluent from radioactive power stations and ruining natural environments to drill for oil. Perhaps they thought it was an easy win. Perhaps they are just very concerned about paper towels and hand hygiene.

Dyson Airblade

Anyway we now live in a world that has them and they are everywhere. After Dyson launched it’s super-duper blow your hands off Airblade dryer, the world of hand hygiene just hasn’t been the same. Nor for that matter has the world of vacuuming. I freely admit to wanting a Dyson vacuum, but unfortunately don’t wish to mortgage the very house I need to clean to get it. But I digress. Now in the realm of hand dryers there is not only the Airblade but also the XLERATOR, the Speedflow, BLAST, Airforce, Extreme Air and my personal favourite the Dan Dryer. Where the hell have these all come from?

As Dyson is so expensive, they are obviously cheaper versions that are installed by spendthrifty pub and restaurant owners that have fallen into the environmental and hygiene trap that bounds around the media. The debate about which is better for the environment, which is more effective at getting rid of bacteria and which is cheaper seems to crop up when there is no news out there. Nada, zip not even a civil war somewhere in the world to report on. Harvard University has even decided to spend its time looking at energy efficiency and environmental impact in the comparison of hand dryer vs paper towels debacle. Seriously, the article is here.

All that is great but when it comes down to it, have a dryer or don’t have a dryer. As Cilla Black used to say “The choice is yours!”. The thing that drives me mad is how crap some of them are. Take the ‘dryers’ in McDonalds. They are not dynamic blowing machines, but jails for fairies that are forced to blow on your hands when you put them underneath. They are so rubbish they wouldn’t blow over a matchstick. They are not dryers.

Dan Dryer

Take also the Dan Dryer, which I used last week and prompted this article. It actually put more water on my hands than it took off. To the point where by the end of the timed 1 minute session drops actually fell from my fingers. They are also not dryers. The XLERATOR seems to believe it is a wind tunnel and blows at the centre of your hands with such speed it makes your skin blubber. This is a hand dryer that thinks it’s role is to lift skydivers.

I am fan of not using paper towels, but I am also a fan of dry hands. To all producers of hand dryers please either make them actually dry or stop bloody making them. To all establishments that install them, please try them out beforehand. There must be a showroom of hand dryers somewhere or a circus that goes to a town near you.


10 things to consider doing if you win the lottery

Lottery balls

I often dream about winning the lottery, in a kind of stuck on the bus dreamy way that makes commuting seem easier. Recently there have been a spate of insane winnings in Ireland of €94 million and €12 million, which makes anything less than €5 million seem paltry, and perhaps something to be sad about rather than joyous.

However the only issue with me winning the lottery is that I don’t actually play it. I’m not lucky, never have been, and somehow I don’t think that kind of thing changes with age. Either you are born with some strange lucky aura or you’re not. Although saying that actually playing it would go some way to being in it to actually win it! I just don’t fancy spending 4 quid twice a week to be told I’m not a winner. I already know this, I often think this.

Anyway, if I did win (let’s say €500 million) what would I do with it? Being a saver the sensible part of me would actually save most of it and blow a million, but let’s say the seas were rising (which they are) and saving was futile due to impending death. Then what would I actually do with it? Here are my top 10 preferences:

1) Buy a ridiculous boat.The type that have three floors with a huge deck and forest on board which is their topiary. There would chefs, a masseuse, men with large pecs that wave fans and a pet dolphin. Plus this would help in the world flooding scenario.

2) Hire an assassin. Now I’m not one for violence (apart from in Tarantino movies where there’s so much blood it drips through the TV), but there are a few people in the world that need to be taken out. Corrupt tyrants that do nothing for their people (Mugabe is just one example), serial killers that feel it’s okay to torture and kill people with no remorse or potential for it, certain celebrities that are just really irritating (although in their instance perhaps just threatening them with death is enough) and anyone who plays a harmonica. I hate harmonicas.

3) Make a movie based on your life story. Mine would star Natalie Portman, be written by Christopher Nolan and set against the backdrop of Angkor Wat. Really it would be my version of Lara Croft and feed my new found ‘I am rich’ narcissism.


4) Buy a trip to space. No explanation is needed for that one. It’s just you looking down at the earth amongst galaxies with the moon in sight. Just take the money.

5) Give bad buskers money to stop singing/playing. Just because you have a guitar does not mean you are The Edge. Just because you were in the school choir does not mean your screechy tones are good on their own. It was the masses that carried you. Please be quiet.

6) Buy all the lions bred for shooting. This would deny rich people with nothing better to spend their money on the ‘pleasure’ of killing these animals and allow you to release them elsewhere. Perhaps not in the wild as they would be mauled by their own kind, but a Jurassic Park type island somewhere. That goes for all other animals in the same situation, including places like Sea World.

7) Pedestrianize all cities. This would mean the city centre would only be for buses, people and wheelchair users. There is no debate, cars are just a pain in the arse. That is until you need to use one of course and then that car would be allowed in and perhaps Obama if he decided to visit. Under no circumstances would any SUV’s be allowed.

Star Trek teleportation

8) Pay someone to build a teleportation machine.  You know like the ones in Star Trek which are voice activated by saying “Beam me up Scotty”.

9) Build a luxury tree house. For me that would be overlooking Death Valley in Bolivia with a panoramic view from my bed, and electronic devices that do everything including brushing my teeth and writing my award winning novel. A gadget tree house of my dreams please. Yes that will do nicely.

10) Get Concorde to bring back their planes. Then they could transport you and your loved ones across the world. Destinations would be chosen by playing Boggle and everyone would disembark by sky diving into the sea.

Others did spring to mind that involved champagne and a bucking horse, but I thought it best to leave them out as they were unwieldy and unformed. All suggestions/additions are welcome!