The innovations issue of *The New York Times*

You will find it here, and clicking through the side show of previous innovations, and their history, is fascinating.  I enjoyed this part of the accompanying write-up from Hugo Lindgren:

On his blog, Marginal Revolution, Cowen furthers his point by declaring sarcastically that “there is no great stagnation” and providing links to silly products or applications of technology, like a machine that tosses popcorn into your mouth from up to 15 feet away.  It’s called The Popinator.  Someone thought this up — first as a marketing stunt, but now they’re trying to make an actual product.  Someone also thought up the Ostrich Pillow, a big, comfy thing that you can stick your head into and nap in public places.  My favorite of Cowen’s collection is a gun for shooting salt pellets at insects — the Bug-A-Salt!  I also like the remote-controlled cockroach, a technology which has not yet been commercialized.  But maybe one day.

Cowen’s point is that under the hood of our hallowed free market is a bazaar of nutty, half-cocked ideas which do not advance the greater cause of humanity one tiny bit.  But there’s another interpretation, too, which is: The sheer volume and range of these inventions demonstrate a rapidly growing range of problem solvers with the tools to turn their ideas into tangible things.

You can read about the history of the ant farm here.


Comments for this post are closed