Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Who Could Live Without the Super-Soaker? Or Potato Chips?

Writing is about creativity, and creativity is about... invention.

On this wacky day, February 29, it seems appropriate to give a bow to those who invented some seriously wacky stuff.

Lonnie Johnson, inventor of the Super-Soaker. Yeah, yeah, his day job was various thermodynamic systems for NASA, he may have totally upgraded electricity worldwide, but he invented the Super-Soaker, man!


News articles are announcing that Lonnie “Super Soaker” Johnson has invented a fundamentally new and very important way of generating electricity that would raise the world’s carrying capacity by as much Jethro Tull’s seed drill or Norman Borlaug’s green revolution:  The Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Conversion System:
“It’s like a conventional heat engine,” explains Paul Werbos, program director at the National Science Foundation, which has provided funding for JTEC. “It still uses temperature differences to create pressure gradients. Only instead of using those pressure gradients to move an axle or wheel, he’s using them to force ions through a membrane. It’s a totally new way of generating electricity from heat.”
Sure, it sounds impressive, but I don't know what it means.  Will it mean a better life for me and my hamster?

Maybe I should just go with Kevin Woolfolk, who invented the Hamster Workout Wheel, a device that records your pet's mileage or wheel revolutions.  Because if you can tell your hamster, "Hey, little buddy, do you know that you traveled 4.5 miles today?" you know he will feel so much more satisfied.

Life is but a dream, and television is but an illusion - crap, am I infringing copyright?  Because Valerie Thomas holds the patent on an illusion transmitter.

And let us not forget (here the clouds open and the heavenly choirs sings, aaah-aah) George Crum.

photo via notwithoutsalt,
where there's a great recipe for these
with fennel spice rub
Inventor of the potato chip.

Don't you feel better knowing, today, where the potato chip and the super-soaker came from?  Maybe you didn't run any laps, but your hamster put in a good 5k.

Of course, chances are, if you just sit around, watching your hamster run on his little wheel, eating potato chips and having neighborhood wars with your Super-Soaker, nothing real will get done.

Like pages on your manuscript.  Well, maybe you can hire somebody brilliant like Valerie Thomas to transmit the illusion of success for you, today, and every Leap Day.

What's on your mind, this Wacky Wednesday that also happens to be Leap Day?

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