Why Didn’t I Think of That?

By Beacon Staff

I should have been done with this blog hours ago but I have been completely immersed in the Dec. 9, The New York Times Magazine.

Tomorrow’s magazine (as I’m writing this Saturday) looks back through 2007 and for the seventh time in seven years reports on a number of “ideas” that surfaced in the past 12 months.

The magazine is titled, “The 7th Annual Year in Ideas” and is also available on the Times’ Web site where, along with 70 ideas that helped shape ’07, a couple short multimedia presentations are worth watching.

I can’t wait to get a hard copy of this one. I like to think of myself as somewhat creative. I have never invented anything but I would like to think I have the capacity. And yet, as I clicked my way through page after page of strange, innovative and outright crazy “ideas,” I was awe-struck by weird ideas that surfaced over the last year.

Here are just a few of this year’s patents: Scrambled egg snack food, a slot-machine-shaped toaster, cremation urn convertible into a birdhouse, golf ball lubricant, thong diaper (pause and think about this one for a second), communication device having a scent-release feature and method thereof, assist tool for chopsticks, pet helmet, wearable urine-receiving-and-storage device for use at recreational events, hula hoop with weights and (get ready for it) a method of facial-coding monitoring for the purpose of gauging the impact and appeal of commercially related stimuli. Just to name a few.

Some “ideas” can advance economical and environmental technologies or ways to save and generate energy. Researchers at MIT succeeded in sending energy from one copper coil to another, wirelessly over 7 feet. According to the magazine, a room that can charge your cell phone, a road that can charge you electric car while driving and a pacemaker that never needs batteries are only a few possibilities from that one energetic leap.

The United Parcel Service (UPS), has come up with the idea that by limiting the number of left-hand turns made by drivers, they can save gallons of gas normally spent idling while waiting to turn. Overall, the “package flow” software program helped save millions of miles of gas and reduce CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons.

Scientists are finally answering the one question that’s been driving me crazy of the past year. “What’s the point of my appendix?”
And for Armageddon fans or those who are terrified of a global-killing meteorite smashing into the earth and destroying civilization as we know it you will be happy to know that Massimiliano Vasile, a lecturer in aerospace engineering at the University of Glasgow, has finished comparing nine asteroid-deflection methods. One in particular seems to be a good “idea.”

For the environmentally conscious, there is a 100 percent biodegradable coffin made of recycled paper, and as always, 2007 marked great advancements in the Biofuel race.

To cat owners out there, scientists have narrowed in on a parasite that that can only undergo “sexual reproduction” in a cat’s digestive tract. The parasite can infest human owners causing “crazy cat lady” syndrome – no seriously, it’s terrifying, check it out.
And don’t forget the Braille tattoo, because nothing says I love you like surgically implanting stainless-steel beads under your skin that spell out your loved ones name.

The list goes on, but let me leave you with this last “idea,” I think it’s my favorite.

Chef Dave Arnold of the French Culinary Institute has developed a way to vacuum infuse a martini inside a cucumber. It’s the new Edible Cocktail. Click to watch the video.

There are good ideas that can help to advance the human race and work to preserve our well being. Then there are those great ideas that are too ingenious for categories – I would like to think the Edible Cocktail is one of those ideas.