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ballpoint pen

  • Ballpoint, Rollerball or Gel: Which Pen is Best for You?

    Ballpoint, rollerball and gel pens

    Trying to choose the right pen, but confused by all the different labels: ballpoint, liquid ink, gel, hybrid, rollerball? Yeah, we don’t blame you; it can get a little overwhelming.

    Having such a wide choice to choose from though isn’t a bad thing as it gives you plenty of options when looking for a pen to fit your needs.

    One of the questions that we are most often asked is what is the difference between these pens and how does this affect how they write?

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  • Saving Lives With Just A Knife And Pen

    File this one under 'awesome.'

    We've all seen the TV shows/movies where the intrepid hero saves the life of a choking character by nicking open the throat and making a breathing tube out of a pen or whatever else is handy. While it makes for great drama, it isn't the sort of thing you expect happens all that often in real life.

    Except that it does. And it actually works. And Irish researchers have shown that even the untrained are capable of performing the procedure more or less successfully.

    At Trinity College in Dublin, nine junior doctors and medical students with no experience in this type of procedure were given scalpels and Paper Mate FlexGrip Ultras and asked to perform emergency cricothyroidtomies on cadavers.

    (A cricothyroidtomy is what we all think of as a tracheotomy, making an opening in the throat just below the Adam's apple and inserting a tube to create an airway.)

    The procedure was performed 14 times.

    According to the study:

    Eight of 14 (57%) procedures were deemed successful. No major vascular injury occurred. Injuries to the thyroid and cricoid cartilages were common; four of 14 (29%) of these injuries were fractures.

    Researchers concluded that "surgical cricothyroidotomy with a ballpoint pen and blade is a feasible option in extremis."

    Interestingly, not all pens are suitable for this sort of thing. In fact, another study in the UK found that the diameter of most pens is too small to allow enough airflow to make effective emergency breathing tubes.

    Researchers took eight "commonly available ballpoint pens" and evaluated them based on their size, the ease and speed with which they could be taken apart and turned into tubes and the amount of airflow resistance through the pens.

    (Not sure how they decided the pens were "commonly available" because there were no Pilot, Paper Mate, Uniball, Pentel or other common pens on the list, although it did include Staedtler and the Parker Jotter).

    Only two pens passed the test for use in emergency cricothyroidtomies: The Baron Sprite and the Bic Softfeel Jumbo. The Sprite seems mainly to be one of those mass-ordered promotional pens that businesses hand out. The Softfeel Jumbo has been discontinued.

    What do you want to bet that certain Japanese pens could probably do the trick in a pinch? Pilot has some wide-barrel pens. Or something like the Zebra F-301, if there was nothing else.

    Even the US government's own Skilcraft pen has reportedly been used for that purpose by the military.

    Whichever ones work, it's pretty cool to think that the pens we walk around with every day could be turned into life-saving devices if the need ever arises.

    Remember: This is a procedure of absolute last resort, only to be used in the most extreme emergency situations. Don't take this as a suggestion to go about puncturing people in the throat.

  • The Pentel Breast Cancer Campaign

    A Good Cause: The Pentel/Breast Cancer Campaign Partnership

    Breast Cancer Campaign

    Pentel is up to something good involving breast cancer research, and we want to take a minute to tell you about it.

    Did you know that female breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the UK? As many as 44,000 women learn they have breast cancer each year, and more than 12,000 die from the disease, according to a report from the Office for National Statistics.

    While the mortality rate has fallen over the last 15 years, the rate at which women are being diagnosed continues to rise. That’s why researchers in the UK are trying to learn why certain treatments work, why others fail, and what they can do to increase the survivability.

    What’s this got to do with you? Well, dear pen wielder, you can satisfy your craving for stylish, useful writing instruments and contribute to the cause at the same time.

    Pentel offers a range of specially designed pink pens that benefit the Breast Cancer Campaign, an organization that funds breast cancer research across the UK. Every time you buy one of these pens, a little of that money goes to help scientists gain a better understanding of the cellular and genetic underpinnings of breast cancer and the possible cures.

    Pentel’s initial goal for Breast Cancer Campaign was £250,000 but so far the company has raised £312,000 – and Pentel isn’t done! The company is now aiming to hit £350,000 by the end of 2009.

    So, check out these pens and see if maybe there’s one you like.

    Pink Line Style ballpoint: Low viscosity ink for smooth writing with a .8mm tip. You can choose pink or the limited-edition violet model. Available with pink or black ink. For every one sold, 20p is donated to Breast Cancer Campaign.

    Line Stlye Pen

    StarGrip ballpoint: Comfortable rubber grip, .7mm tip, and a translucent pink barrel, so you can keep an eye on your pen ink level. Comes with black ink. Costs less than a pound, and 10p from each one goes to breast cancer research.

    Line Stlye Pen

    Mini RSVP ballpoint: Compact enough to slip easily into your purse, a pocket or a fold of your planner, and also has an eyelet so that you can clip it anywhere you want. Rubber grip makes it comfortable to use. For each one of these, 10p is donated.

    Line Stlye Pen

    Rollerball and Mini ballpoint set: The Rollerball lets you make a statement about your support for breast cancer research by writing it in pink ink. The Mini comes with black ink and is perfect for attaching to your keychain so you always have a pen handy. Buy the set and Breast Cancer Campaign gets 25p.

    Line Stlye Pen

    Mini Micro Correct: Everyone makes little errors. The Micro Correct helps you erase them neatly with its fine metal tip for precision correction. Of course, the limited-edition Breast Cancer Campaign models have pink barrels. Each one earns 25p for the campaign.

    Micro Correct

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