Let’s not kid ourselves: the grass flip-flops (see left) represent the greatest evolution in footwear since Crocs. But they are just one of many inventions making the world a better – or at least more amusing – place to live.
Thriller: A nanny supervises a baby suspended in a wire cage attached to the outside of a high tenement block window. Is there something wrong with this picture? If you didn’t spot it, it’s that you’ve basically turned into Michael Jackson and are dangling your child out of a freakin’ window. Pretty soon you’ll be getting plastic surgery and inviting young boys to sleep in your bed. The cages were distributed in the 1940s to members of the Chelsea Baby Club in London who had no gardens, or apparently any qualms about putting a child in a box dangling over a busy street. Needless to say, they didn’t hang around too long.
Fighting flatulence: The flatulence deodoriser is “a pad to be worn by a user for absorbing gas due to flatulence”. If you can get past the I’m-basically-wearing-a-weird-diaper-for-farts factor, this invention is actually a pretty good idea. Or it would be, we guess, if you’re the guy giving the testimonial who said: “When I feel the urge I usually quickly install it through the back of my pants. Then I do not have to worry. It also does a nice job muffling the noise.”
Cleaning up: Sick of the newborn just moping around the house for free, doing nothing but eating, drinking, sleeping and defecating without doing any work? Well then, get that little lazy bludger out there working for you with the baby mop. It’s a utilitarian’s dream.
People plough: The days of smashing your car into things and not knowing whether or not it was a living person are finally over. Using sensors in the car’s bumper and engine hood, this invention claims to be able to decide “with a high reliability” if that thing you hit was a pedestrian. Of course, maybe it’d be better if it actually prevented the collision in the first place, but as it stands all this really does is keep a tally of how many vehicular homicides you’ve committed.
Dog eared creation: Do you have a dog with long, floppy ears? And if you give it food, is it always getting its long, floppy ears covered in the food you give it? If so, you should get your hands on some ‘animal ear protectors’, essentially plastic tubing that makes sure your dog’s ears stick out horizontally like some sort of novelty Halloween prank. Then again, if this is a legitimate concern for you, you might also ask yourself, ‘What’s wrong with my dog? Why can’t it clean the excess food off its ears?’ And finally ‘Will my dog look any less stupid walking around with these tubes around its ears than it would with crusted-up dog food all over itself?’
Solid liquid: “Ha! Powdered water! What do you add to it?” Yes, this hilarious hypothetical invention has been included in classic joke email forwards since before emails. Except it’s totally a real thing. Powdered water is tiny droplets of water encapsulated in what’s basically a grain of sand. It looks and feels dry, but it’s actually 95 per cent liquid. But before you go shoving handfuls of sand into your mouth, this is used to soak up gases rather than for drinking, making it an ideal combination for the flatulence deoderiser.
Inflatable anchor: Yes, another classic from Grandma’s corny joke emails. But not only do they work, but under certain conditions, inflatable anchors can be more effective than regular ones. The anchor is first buried deep in the soil and then inflated, lodging it so hard into the ground that its pullout resistance will be superior to that of a regular anchor. The anchor is also able to come out as easily as it went in, probably promising to call and making some excuse about needing to leave early.