Posts tagged ‘ball’

Japanese Theft Deterrent

By Chad Upton | Editor

They sit on the counter in many Japanese stores, but they are not for sale.

At the size of a baseball, these bright spheres are placed in public view to deter theft. They’re not magical, they’re highly practical.

If a store or bank is robbed, the employees throw the baseballs at robbers as they leave the shop. Bright paint covers the thief, making it easy to identify them as they flee the scene and potentially prove their guilt when caught.

Although orange is the most popular color, they’re actually available in a variety of colors. They’re known as bohan balls, and they cost about 1500 yen ($18 USD).

The paint is brightly colored, glows in the dark and carries a strong odor. The odor is embarrassing, but more importantly, police dogs are trained to track it.

Oh and you can get a semi-automatic gun to shoot the balls too.

It’s called the Chaser because you can follow the criminals and still paint them or their getaway car from a safe distance.

Sources: Stippy, Urlesque, Great Geek Manual, Ring-G, Rakuten, Toyokuni

September 3, 2010 at 5:00 am 3 comments

Ball Drops Did Not Start in Times Square

Times Square beware: you’re not the oldest ball drop around. In fact, the ball drop originated in Portsmouth England in 1829. That is where time synchronization really started to take shape, in the form of a ball.

In 1833, another time ball was installed in Greenwich and has dropped at 1pm everyday since then.

The time ball was invented by Robert Wauchope, a Royal Navy officer, as a way for ships to set their chronometer before heading out to sea. The daily ball drop occurred at 1pm because at noon, observers were busy taking exact readings of solar time. Accurate time was important for ships to calculate their longitude at sea.

All over the world, time balls were installed in shipping ports for years to follow.  In 1924, radio time signals rendered time balls obsolete and they slowly began to disappear. The ball drop tradition still continues today in a handful of places.  In the United States, it happens daily at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington DC and, of course, the annual Times Square ball drop.

Photos: WKA, Berk2804 | Sources: Times Square, WP, UOTS,

December 31, 2009 at 12:56 am Leave a comment

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