Sure, you can pick up a USB drive for $20 or so at any office supply store. But are they this awesome? Etsy seller Derrick Culligan crafts “accurate reproductions of items that never existed” for sale in his Etsy shop, Steamworks. These fab USB drives made with brass, copper, glass, and watch parts, for instance. They run from $100-250 or so, but just think how much you’ll impress the folks at your next con when you whip one of these babies out. (Alas, while the gears look functional, the operation of the flash drive is purely electronic.)
The author of several hands-on activity books for kids, Kris Bordessa has a thing for transforming perfectly good garbage into craft projects. Her book, Team Challenges: Group Activities to Build Cooperation, Communication, and Creativity, features more than 200 team building activities that have been used with youth groups, in the classroom, and even at the occasional wine party. She lives in Hawaii with her family, where there's always some sort of gardening experiment in the works.