Hey, you know those super-powerful kids’ magnets? Here’s a picture:
They’re sold under various names, usually including the word “Mag” or “Stix.”
The tiny magnets are made out of neodymium (yes, that’s a real element), and they’re unbelievably strong.
The first thing you should know is that they are super-dangerous, especially if the tiny magnets get separated from the plastic part. Kids have been known to swallow them. Swallowing one magnet isn’t great, but swallowing two or more can be deadly, because they can stick together through an intestinal wall.
But the second thing you should know is that they can be a lifesaver! (Well, not literally, I suppose…)
The other day, I was fixing my dishwasher, and I dropped a Torx screw down a hole that led into the chopper motor housing.
I tried getting the thing out with a pair of chopsticks (gaak! — I hope no one was watching), but that was hopeless.
I briefly considered:
- Trying to run the dishwasher to see if the Torx screw was really going to mess up the chopper motor.
- Taking apart the entire bottom section of the dishwasher to get into the chopper motor housing.
- Buying a new dishwasher.
Each option had its drawbacks…
But then I remembered my daughter’s magnets! She has the kind where each magnetic stick has an arc shape, with four sticks forming a ring.
I took one of the rings, rearranged the sections to form a “snake,” and lowered it down the hole.
Presto! Seconds later, the wayward Torx screw was dangling at the end of the snake.
Hey, maybe some of those cheapo toys coming out of China aren’t total crap, after all!