22 February, 2006

De inventione

Three things which should exist.

1. Baby spray. I'm soon to be a nuncle; my older sister is expecting, in just a few weeks now, her little baby son, Philip. Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa! My wife is deepening in her maternal instincts; frankly I'm looking forward to a couple of years from now, when Philip's burgeoning consciousness will allow him to be moulded by my proposed educational reforms, including strict Latin sessions, and Fun with E. A. Poe. Meanwhile, I've thought of the perfect solution for the mother whose screaming infant is terrorising her friends and neighbours: the baby spray. The chemistry I leave to the boffins—some elaborated species of chloroform or morphine, perhaps—the baby spray would come in a small, handbag-sized aerosol can; a quick squirt to the bawling babe's face will send it lovingly to the land of Nod. Bliss for all concerned! (Maybe its use could even be extended to work on irritating adolescents.)

2. Freezer box. Here in the States, they love to make fun of British refrigerators. They're too small, you see. And we're sufficiently primitive in the technological department to lack automatic ice-trays on the commoner models, and then there is the age-old problem of defrosting the freezer, which has been solved in the US with snazzy frost-free models. But here in Tempe, we're stuck with a dinosauric fridge ourselves, small and frostive. And there must be many even in the States who have not updated their cooling equipment in the last decade or so, and who on a daily basis still tussle with that ever-vexing problem of frosty freezers (incidentally, I use an iron—easily the most efficient means of melting the ice). But someone needs to patent a box (or possibly soft polythene bag) that fits into the freezer, around the outside face, and can be detached. Thus when frost accumulates, the box/bag can be removed and cleaned very easily, and replaced.

3. Light sphere. This one I'm proud of. Candle technology has obviously become very sophisticated in recent years, what with Morris' invention of the wickless candle (1987), Scanlon's non-combusting candle (1996) and Chakravarty's ongoing work on the vacuum candle. But I propose a fundamentally different and better mode of candescence. We've all noticed how metal glows at high temperatures: the 'filament' on our electric kettles and stoves, for instance. Well, no doubt a fine strip of very dense, high-resistance ductile metal would produce an ever brighter light, when an electric current were passed through it. All one needs to do, I suspect, is find the right metal for this—tin, maybe, or tungsten?—and enclose the requisite strip in some kind of glass or plastic casing, blown into a sphere or bulb shape and filled with an inert gas, to prevent oxidation. I'm confident that this method would provide a far more efficient means of illuminating our homes during the winter nights. I can't think of a snappy name for this invention, though; all I could come up with was the lame 'light sphere' or 'light globe'. Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

Much as I am reluctant to contradict Mr Roth, some information should be nipped in the bud before it hits the Newpapers and becomes currency. Mr Roth's gentle readers should be informed that his soon-to-be-born nephew is definitely not to be named Philip, despite the wonderful literary allusions this might provide, not to mention illusions. Await further news.

Conrad H. Roth said...

Thank you Ann; yes, that is what I said, we are all looking forward to the miraculous parturition of little Philip

(and for the record, the only unfortunate side-effect of this nomenclature will be the lad's namesakeness with a particularly poor American novelist. Conrad's Complaint.)

Anonymous said...

Well, aside from our little problem regarding names, I think the invention would solve your financial position for years to come. Uses would be legion - babies, adolescents, yes, what about droning university lecturers? Jehovah's witnesses? Best of luck, Conrad...