Posts Tagged ‘inventions’
“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.”*…
… is intended as an outlet for the force-four brainstorm which rages in the background of my mind, much of the time. It seems to result, most days, in some kind of invention. Many of these ideas are naive, impractical or just unoriginal. Occasionally, a good one appears (eg www.scenereader.com). In any case, disclosure here of anything clever or original will make patenting it impossible**; which is probably a healthy situation…
The obvious thing to do is to forget patents and move straight to manufacturing and selling your own products. With desktop manufacture and online marketing, this is becoming a real possibility in some cases. I recognise, however, that I won’t have enough time and money to develop and launch the majority of the ideas here in the marketplace.
Please therefore feel free to read, mock and/or exploit commercially any which take your fancy. If they make you rich, do let me know (Donating to Unicef is a good idea, even if you haven’t yet made a mint)…
Consider, for example, #2302- “the Collareel”:
Today’s invention is a dog lead with the added benefit that when your animal is off-lead, it carries the whole thing itself.
A small, spring-loaded reel of strong cord is clipped to the ordinary lead. It is shaped to fit closely to the collar and thus be impossible for the dog to remove or for it to tear off while crashing about the undergrowth.
When you want to reign in your canine, first catch it and then pull the lead out to normal length.
Browse the bounty of his brainstorms at “Invention of the Day.”
* Mary Shelly
** Sadly, as of March 16, no longer true in the U.S.
As we await the illumination of the bulbs above our heads, we might tip the plumed birthday bonnet to Rene Descartes, the French philosopher and mathematician who thought and therefore was. He was born on this date in 1596.
Many contemporaries (perhaps most notably, Pascal) rejected his famous conclusion, the dualist separation of mind and body; more (Voltaire, et al.), since. But Descartes’ emphasis on method and analysis, his disciplined integration of philosophy and physical science, his insistence on the importance of consciousness in epistemology, and perhaps most fundamentally, his the questioning of tradition and authority had a transformative– and lasting– effect on Western thought, and has earned him the “title” of Father of Modern Philosophy.
“In order to improve the mind, we ought less to learn than to contemplate.”
- Rene Descartes
Your correspondent is headed again behind The Great Firewall, where the undependability of connectivity (even, these days, via VPNs) means a hiatus in these missives. Regular service should resume by April 10 or so.
Laughing Squid reports:
For ECAL’s “Low-Tech Factory” exhibition, design students Laurent Beirnaert, Pierre Bouvier and Paul Tubiana created Oncle Sam, a popcorn machine that pops just one kernel at a time. At the final stages of the process, this contraption even butters and salts the single piece of popcorn that was produced. Watch this video to see the machine in action.
As we turn up the heat, we might pause to send amusing birthday greetings to Al Christie; he was born on this date in 1881. An early motion picture director, producer, screenwriter and studio head, Christie ran the first ever movie studio to be built in Hollywood
(Nestor Studios, opened in 1911) and is credited with having produced the first film comedies there. In all, he produced more than 700 films before retiring in 1942.
In 1588, the Italian Engineer Agostino Ramelli described a novel invention to facilitate the reading of multiple books at once:
A beautiful and ingenious machine, which is very useful and convenient to every person who takes pleasure in study, especially those who are suffering from indisposition or are subject to gout: for with this sort of machine a man can see and read a great quantity of books, without moving his place: besides, it has this fine convenience, which is, of occupying a little space in the place where it is set, as any person of understanding can appreciate from the drawing.
The precursor, no doubt, to internet surfing… Gout beget Carpal Tunnel Syndrome beget Muscle Atrophy beget Internet Addiction Disorder. Will mankind stop at nothing in the pursuit of pure information?!?
As we meditate on multi-tasking, we might wish an admiring and grateful Happy Birthday to one of the most accomplished multi-taskers of all time, the mathematician, biologist, historian of science, literary critic, poet and inventor Jacob Bronowski; he was born on this date in 1908. Bronowski is probably best remembered as the writer (and host) of the epochal 1973 BBC television documentary series (and accompanying book), The Ascent of Man (the title of which was a play on the title of Darwin’s second book on evolution, The Descent of Man)… the thirteen-part series (which is available at libraries, on DVD, or Netflix), a survey of the history of science– from rock tools to relativity– and its place in civilizations, is still an extraordinary treat.
Fred “The Flying Tailor” Reichelt, who died in 1912 when he attempted to use this self-styled garment as a parachute in a jump off of the Eiffel Tower (source)
One is, of course, supposed to practice what one preaches, to eat one’s own dog food. But even as it’s only right to suggest that a physician “heal thyself,” it’s only fair to reference that healer’s Hippocratic Oath, and caution him/her “first, do no harm”…
Consider this List of Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions.
As we head back to the drawing board, we might recall that it was on this date in 1950 that the daily comic strip Peanuts premiered in eight newspapers: The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Minneapolis Tribune, The Allentown Call-Chronicle, The Bethlehem Globe-Times, The Denver Post, The Seattle Times, and The Boston Globe. Its creator, Charles Schulz had developed the concept as a strip (L’il Folks) in his hometown paper, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, from 1947 to 1950. At its peak, Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages.