Friday, March 9, 2012

Wish I'd Thought Of That...

...oh, no. Wait. I did.

I've been down this road before, here. I just wish I'd had the sense to patent some of the weird-arse shit I've dreamed up over the years. I also wish my daft mate Doug was still alive; some of my finest moments of weird-arse shit creation came when he and I were getting stoned in one another's company.

Doug was a fuck-up, mind you. Great guy, but a fuck-up. If you've read Birmo's infamous book, you'll know Doug. He's the guy who moved in, and shoved a house worth of furnishings and possessions into his bedroom. He had to actually climb over a wardrobe just to go through the door, and get into bed.

We kept expecting him to put the room in order. Six months after he moved in, he decided he would do that. He moved everything from the bedroom (except his bed) into the lounge room so as to have space to work. Then he got tired.

A couple months later, we shoved it all back into his bedroom again.

Doug is also the guy who was on the wrong end of the open-gas-pipe-closed-windows-and-lit-candle incentive device I created. He kept telling me he needed to get up in the morning and find a job. So every morning on my way to university, I'd wake the fucker up. And every afternoon when I got back, about two or three o'clock, he'd be pulling himself into wakefulness, scratching his sorry arse, and telling me I shoulda woke him up. So, yeah. One morning I did it. Put a lit candle on the floor in his room. Woke him up. Shut the windows. Showed him the candle. Explained that the gas stove was running, and I had everything I wanted to keep in my university bag, and he could fucking well get up, or he could explode in fiery death.

(To this day, I insist I didn't turn on the gas. It was a bluff, goddammit. But it was a long time ago, and there are those who insist that when they turned up later that morning, Doug was running around the place stark naked, opening the windows and fanning the doors to get rid of the smell of gas. Whatever. I should point out that when I came home that afternoon, he actually had a job.)

That's not the point of this entry, though. The point of this entry is this article:

It's in Wikipedia. Wikipedia, for fuck's sake! How fucking mainstream is that?

The original (fuck you, Bill Gates!) mosquito laser was dreamed up late one drowsy, stoned Brisbane summer afternoon in 1985, in a shitty flat in Fairfield. I remember lying on my back on the fucking industrial carpet (no shit; if you can imagine corduroy hessian --that's burlap to you Yanqui types -- then you can imagine the carpet in this place. It was... remarkable. But then, so was the colour scheme.)  staring up at the pale blue ceiling, smacking idly at the hordes of goddam mosquitoes.

Hordes. Motherhumping gigantic, bloodthirsty, whining, screaming fucking hordes of the bastards.

And I remember saying to Doug, in my chemically enhanced state: You know what we need?

He seemed to think it was a big order of pizza, but I told him he was wrong. I told him that what we really, really needed was a little wall-mounted laser unit, with some kind of radarish rangefinder. And in my vision, this device would track mosquitoes in 3d, and it would shoot motherfucking LASERS at them.

I even figured out how to make it safe, which Billy Gates has not, I should point out. I wasn't gonna use blue lasers. Oh, no. I was gonna use three units at once. No single laser would have enough energy to cause harm, but at the focal point -- where the goddam mosquito was -- the three lasers would cross, and the energy would enough to snuff Miss Bloodsucker.

That was my plan. Not Bill Gates. Mine. See?

Fast forward a few years, and I'm trying to explain the Internet to Natalie. She simply didn't have the faintest idea why it was going to be big... so I tried to explain the concept of a networked house. And at that point, I described in detail the "Internet refrigerator" later built by Phillips, or some other minor goddam company.

I won't bother citing the other incidents. There are too many. But the pattern is clear. And so I want to know this: how the fuck do I slap a patent on the idea of reactive camouflage?

Y'see, what you do is this: you put e-paper all over the outside of your armoured vehicle, your ship, or your aeroplane. And then you mount a few cameras to take photos of the ambient surrounds. Next, you hook all those simple, cheap e-paper displays to a cheap-ass Raspberry Pi computer. And voila: whichever side of the thing you're looking at, it projects an image of what's on the other side of it.

No, it won't be invisible... quite. But it's relatively inexpensive, and pretty fucking easy, and I guarantee you that from, say, missile or artillery range away from the thing in question, it's going to be very tricky to spot it...

...Ah well. Doug would have liked it. He loved crazy shit ideas like that.