EitherOr

I wonder if any internet entrepreneur has come up with a web service to help with choices in present buying… I’m envisaging a website called EitherOr which enables people to outline a number of gift options, and possibly a ‘none of the above’ option, for the individuals they want to buy for. The recipients would be notified and be able to use links to review the items and to choose the option they want. The service would then purchase the item for them and have it sent to them. The ‘none of the above’ option, if provided, might enable the recipients to specify any item on the net up to the specified amount, for the service to purchase for them.

NBod1.0

I got to thinking in the shower the other day (probably prompted by the BBC’s Years and Years series) that we’ll be needing the concept of the NaturalBody sooner rather than later. NaturalBody people – NBod1.0 – have no piercings or permanent embellishments on the skin; have had no parts of the body deliberately removed, filled or cut (and that includes teeth and the sexual organs); and have not had surgery to alter their natural appearance. They have no permanently attached artificial physical appendages; and they don’t contain any embedded physical engineering equipment. NatBod1.0 people don’t have any embedded chips or other computer equipment, or software that connects them to any digital networks. NatBod1.0s have not had their DNA adjusted to enhance their or their offspring’s capabilities or appearance (the offspring will not be NBod1.0 as they will inherit their changed DNA status). NBod1.0s are simply people who are as they were born and who have developed naturally. They may have been born with disabilities, or have had accidents or illnesses – the notion of NBod includes no value judgements. In the western world there may be relatively few NBod1.0s (mainly babies and young people) as many people have had dental fillings and/or tattoos; but large numbers must still be up at the 0.8 or 0.9 levels. Going forward, however, we may need the concept of NBod to remind us of what humans are as we gain a growing capability to augment our bodies with technology. Even today, such a concept might help us make choices in the face of cultural and religious motivations to deface, cut, mutilate and remould our bodies.

FM – or MF – Representation

Observing politics over the last few years, it does seem that women sometimes have a different perspective on some issues and how they are approached. It’s got me thinking that perhaps women and men ought to be equally represented in political systems. The easy way to achieve that would simply be to have two election contests for each constituency – one for the female representative and one for the male representative.

Dress fit

I’ve been pondering on my last entry about easy-pull-on socks, and realised that, actually, balancing on one leg to put a sock on is really quite athletic. Perhaps it would be possible to put together a coherent fitness programme based around dressing and undressing. Specific designs of particular items of clothing would require the use of particular muscles and skills to put them on and take them-off; and different designs would facilitate the exercise of different sets of muscles and different levels of difficulty.

Easy to Pull on Socks – EPS

If you want to get going you want to be able to put your socks on quickly. You want to be able to stand on one leg and just have the sock glide over your toes and instep and slip around your heel like water going round a u-bend. Some socks have that soft pliable texture – and retain it through the washing machine; but an awful lot don’t. It would be great if sock suppliers could make socks with such a capability and sold them as ‘easy to pull on socks’. They may already be out there but I haven’t seen them. On the other hand, there are socks out there which have such characteristics but are not advertised as such. I’ve got an odd sock that does fit the bill and I’m going searching round the stores with it; but it would be so much easier if such socks were sold with an EPS label.

Keep a Physical Edge over the Machines

I played golf the other week against someone with an electric trolley for his golf clubs which he controlled with a small, unobtrusive, handset. It appeared to have a mind of its own, moving ahead quickly, passing me occasionally, avoiding obstacles and stopping right next to his golf ball. It made me think that it would seem a natural development to have it extend a seat and put up a brolly when it comes to a halt; and, upon being requested for a specific club, for it to reach in, pull out the relevant club, and pass it to its golfing owner. However, as this image flashed through my mind, I thought that this is definitely NOT what we want. In the face of the impending future increasingly populated by machines with the potential to learn frighteningly fast we need to keep doing physical things as much as we possibly can.

From brick and grease to Bambi’s legs

The children of two close friends used to use the expression ‘foul been’. I was reminded of this today when my 2, nearly 3, year old grandaughter used the term ‘Bambi’s legs’ for the same thing. This got me thinking that it would be interesting to compile a dictionary of words and phrases used by young children; and that it would be an appropriate adjunct to a dictionary of schoolboy slang (such as brick, grease and cracks). Of course, the book would need to be illustrated for full effect. Such things probably already exist and, no doubt, can be discovered with a quick google. But, hell, I’d prefer to think I occassionally have a novel idea, so I’m not looking.

Keeping on the rails at Christmas

If you have picture rails in your house, they can be used to hang Christmas cards on a line. However, picture hooks are designed to be pulled directly downwards, and a sideways force just pulls them along. What’s needed are some weighty Christmas-themed framed pictures which could be brought out each year with the other Christmas decorations and hung on the Xmas card line picture hooks to keep them in place. The pictures could be permanent or the frames could have slots for different things each year such as photos of last year’s Christmas party, or the best of last year’s cards.

SPARDS

It was the combination of my mother saying that she was finding it increasingly difficult to write legibly in over a hundred Christmas cards, and the presence of Alexa in our house, that made me think that we need SPARDS – spoken Christmas cards. They would have recording and playback capabilities so that you could just take one out of the pack you’ve just bought and start talking to the person that’s next on your Christmas Spard list. How nice for the person receiving it, to just make a cup of tea, put it on the mantelpiece, and sit back and relax to listen to your recorded missive and greetings for Christmas and the New Year.

Throwbacks

The inspiration for this thread for Ideas came from a paper-based Ideas Book which I set up in 1972. It didn’t really get many entries and some of them were more reflection than specific ideas; and it’s lain dormant for many years. So, I’ve just scanned and destroyed the physical Ideas Book; however, for completeness, I’ve recorded below some of the items from it (suitably summarised where necessary).

Throwback 1 – 08Jan1972 – The idea of an ideas book

I guess the first idea to go into this Ideas Book must be the idea of having an Ideas Book. Basically, I think that, although thought is of paramount importance, thought without action is a great waste, both of time and – yes – ideas! So, in future, if, sorry – when, I get some crazy idea – something completely original and far out (like establishing a World Tune Library with a cataloguing system based on every possible combination of notes over, say, a two minute period; when a new tune is sent in to the library it is played into an analogue/digital computer, and this would then produce a ‘catalogue number’ – it would be most interesting to see just how many more tunes were available at any one time), then I will write it down and it will be on record to act upon, elaborate, or even just to read over and laugh! Something quite amusing about this Ideas Book is that maybe the only idea I ever put into it that ever gets acted on will be this first idea to have an Ideas Book….

Throwback 2 – 11Jan1972 – A light design

A light-come-ceiling decoration system could be constructed out of hollow cylinders made of stiff white paper of varying lengths – width 32cm with 2cm of that used for overlap and the varying height resulting in holes of about 10cm width at various different levels. A reflector could be made by covering a sheet of stiff card with bacon foil (to which the vertical cylinders could be secured) which could be fixed to the ceiling using aerofix)

Throwback 3 – 20May1972 – The soundproofing stubber

The vast quantities of cigarette stubs that are wasted could be used as sound proofing material by manufacturing attractive boxes which have a stubber through which the tip would be released into an inner, cheap and recyclable, container which could be removed and sent to a sound proofing company. Profits could be made from the sale of decorative external boxes and from the sale of sound proofing material made from used tips. Stubbing would be cleaner and more efficient; and there would be a reduction in cigarette tip pollution.

Throwback 4 – 21May1972 – Investigating the warping point

Our experience of the world tells us that there is a causal factor for everything. When I look at the stars I think about who or what put them there, because logic informs me that there must be an answer. As I think about this question I assimilate all the relevant information I have until there is maximum capacity thought but an inability to provide an answer. The result is a split second of total confusion. It would be interesting to see what electroencephalograph readings appear when this point – the warping point – is reached. I wonder if other people have the same experience, and, if so, would the measures vary depending on the level of comprehension that different  people have of the question? Would the measures change over time as people increase their comprehension of the question?

Throwback 5 – 01Jan1984 – Simultaneous phoning and computing

It would be useful to have a unit that would interface between a Type 96A jack plug and a home’s telephones/computers. The unit would enable, at the very least, the simultaneous use of the telephone and the use of the computer over the networks.

Throwback 6 – 01Jan1984 – Game designer CBT – and the potential for progs

A computer-based training program could help children design the logic of a computer game i.e. the design specification prior to programming. A program like that could sell for £1 a time. With the right kit at home and a link to the networks, you could design, build and test such a CBT program in the space of 24 hours at home and be selling it immediately over the networks. If it was a novel and good enough idea the mass network market would soon provide 25,000 purchasers; so you could have made £25,000 within 48 hours of first having had the idea.

Throwback 7 – 28Dec1996 – Crucial pursuits

There are five crucial pursuits for members of the human race:

  • Making other individual humans feel good through love, tenderness, intimacy, caring, understanding, and good deeds.
  • Creating the conditions for other humans to have better lives.
  • Learning and understanding about the world and universe about us and about our fellow humans and the way we live.
  • Learning and understanding the origins of humankind and the important findings, discoveries, secrets and developments that humankind has made and encountered.
  • Learning and understanding the origins, secrets, and meaning of the universe and its relevance to ourselves and humankind.