Gutter #8

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Kiwi are flightless birds native to New Zealand and are, in fact, their national symbol. They are by far the smallest living ratite at about the size of a domestic chicken. Kiwi are shy and nocturnal. Since they were shortchanged in the wing department, they are equipped with a lengthy beak and an extraordinary sense of smell. That’s because they are the only birds with nostrils at the end of that extra long beak. Insects and worms beware—kiwi can smell you coming long before you’re visible. Like the Crowned Crane (Gutter #7), kiwi tend to mate for life and can live up to thirty years. They lay the largest egg in relation to their body (about six times the size of a chicken egg.) Tired after delivering one giant egg (some lay two), the female is relieved from duty as the loyal husband takes over the incubation of the jumbo egg. Suppose their propensity for life-long marriage has anything to do with two partners with clipped wings?

According to the US Patent Office, the oil can and its mechanism were patented in 1917. The specific invention was the “lever-operated ejecting mechanism” mounted within their can cap to force oil out under pressure with the squeeze of the trigger. It is essentially a simple pump mechanism that allows the user to squirt oil into exact locations where friction between two surfaces impedes movement. As long as machines have moving parts, the oil can will remain a prime distributor of lubrication. The only machine that never requires oiling is the oil can—when’s the last time you heard a squeaky oil can?