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Disappearing Mugs from the Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild

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The Unemployed Philosphers Guild is famous for its high-brow office decorations and thought-provoking shirts and magnets. Among the best are its mugs, taking what could be simple coffee-holders to a higher level with a hilarious and thought-provoking statement wither in text or image. When making this statement, why not make two on one cup? With one of the clever Disappearing Mugs, simply adding hot liquid takes an already attractive cup and turns it into something almost magical.

Color-change technology has been around since the days of mood rings detecting hand-temperature, but the finesse of the disappearing mugs gives an attractive second look at an image. They can also be used for thought-provoking statements, reminding us that our world is fickle and things will indeed change. Among the best from their hilariously smart line are the Disappearing Dinosaurs and the Global Warming Mug.


In Disappearing Dinosaurs, we see the regular mug with a prehistoric scene of enormous thunder-lizards in a jungle landscape. The background is filled with trees and hills in light colors worthy of Endor or Dagobah, while a sauropod walks gingerly through the mire. In the foreground, a T-rex approaches a smaller dinosaur, both giving each other serious eyes. Add hot water, and “eons pass in seconds” as the box says. The colors fade to a soft white. Trees become pillars, and little signs for the dinos become clear. The beasts themselves are turned to skeletons, still in their original poses. This cup is perfect for dinosaur-lovers, with or without their skin.



While the dinosaurs look to the past, the Global Warming Mug gives a look at a possible future for the planet earth. At room temperature, we see the globe as we are used to it. The major currents of the ocean are outlined with colorful lines depicting chemical formulas for greenhouse gasses such as SO2, SO2, and SF6 as a reminder of what is in our atmosphere today. Just as on Earth, rising temperatures promote rising sea levels, and a hot beverage causes the landmasses to shrink. North America notably loses Florida and huge swaths of the South. South America’s low-lying rainforests are drowned out. Britain becomes a small chain of surviving mountains, China and India gain huge bays that were once heavily populated areas, and western Russia becomes a thin land-bridge between central Asia and what is left of Europe. Africa, interestingly, does not change too much. Watching the land fade out is intimidating and makes for a good conversation-starter.

The mugs are microwave safe and compliant with safety standards, which should set at ease anyone with fears of what chemicals had to be used to make such a changeable work of art. The one drawback to the changing mugs is that they are not dishwasher safe, nor should they be allowed to soak for long periods of time or have their faces scrubbed too hard. Other mugs often require such care, and they do not give the joy of watching dinosaurs become museum pieces or the world as we know it come to an end.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.