People are constantly inventing amazing new technologies, but random unimpressive items can be turned into something even more unbelievable – and some of them are saving lives.
It’s a staple of many action movies: the hero finds himself in a tough position, discovers a way to weaponize whatever he has on hand – be it a paper clip, rolled up newspaper, or a steering wheel that he’s handcuffed to – and makes a miraculous escape with his impromptu gadget.
Soldiers practice similar innovation in real life, and even seemingly harmless objects can be MacGyvered into something that saves lives.
Once upon a time, some military genius decided to try using them to plug bullet wounds. It worked – because for some reason they’re incredibly good at absorbing blood – and they’ve been commonly used on the battlefield for decades.
Meanwhile cigarette butts fit perfectly into gun barrels, not only preventing them from getting clogged, but also opening up the field for an incredible number of “smoking gun” jokes. Best of all, they expel when fired so you don’t have to go digging around when bullets start flying.
Surprisingly, one of the most unexpected items that’s seen recent use is Silly String.
You know that canned string that you spray around on special occasions and can’t get out of your carpet? The neon stuff that you can’t resist shooting into people’s faces because they always seem to deserve it?
Yep, that’s the stuff. And it’s a crucial part of a defensive military tactic.
On the battlefield, particularly in Iraq where booby traps and improvised explosives are a major issue, Silly String is a literal lifesaver.
Ok, it’s also really fun, but in all seriousness this stuff is incredibly useful. The canned string has an impressive range; long enough, in fact, that soldiers can stand 10 feet away and spray it into suspicious rooms. It’s so lightweight that it catches tripwires without triggering them and makes them visible even in dark areas.
The extent of Silly String’s potential was further explored after Army Spc. Todd Shriver, a soldier in Iraq, learned the trick from Marines and asked his mother Marcelle to send as much of the stuff as she could. She obliged, and before too long tens of thousands of cans were on the way.
One innovative idea was all it took to see the potential in a child’s toy and save a lot of lives. That’s just one more reason to always keep your eyes and your mind open.
Unless someone is shooting Silly String at your face.