15 October 2022
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These Ain't Them

This Is Not A Shy Blog

Saving the planet is a big deal, I have saved it several times, and I'm not reluctant to tout my achievements. Lithium supply! Death by Yellowstone! Nuclear Waste Solutions! And more! But as far as additional planet-saving notions are concerned,

These Ain't Them

Rather, this is a collection of other ideas, notions, and products, which vary from goofy to merely worthless. But don't let that discourage you, entrepreneur that you may be, from adopting and adapting them to your future benefit. At the very least, none of them will destroy the planet.

The Trophy Trough

Think of the awards in a trophy shop! The glass blocks with "Salestron of the Year." The giant cups with "Million Dollar Club" engraved. Instead of an idealized, perfectly proportioned homunculus holding a cup symbolizing the achievement recognized, why not a pig head hovering over a truncated trough? Perfect symbol for many achievements!

The Imaginary Family

We took a bus tour long ago, and while rolling through the endless fields of oddly-shaped hay bales, we had far too much time to talk to our fellow tourists. Most of the older couples (which we weren't, at least not at that time), had too much to say about their families. Not yet even having a dog, we invented a daughter and two grandchildren. Without concern for their privacy, we told everyone about our imaginary daughter Clarissa and her two imaginary, semi-wayward teenagers*, Casimir and Abigail. If they asked about our imaginary son-in-law, we just looked dejected and changed the subject.

Is this not a wonderful opportunity? Artificial intelligence can easily create family pictures from your own visage(s) to add a degree of verisimilitude, and to make it even more entertaining, actually refer to them in conversation as your "imaginary children." If nothing else, you will have less blathering disturbance during your trip, and perhaps some extra room. Look! Is that a triangular hay bail?

The Fortune Geode

Who knew? My previous experience with geodes had been at museums and in store windows. They're usually beautiful, colorful, and expensive. My recent experience, however, in the old Arizona mining town of Bisbee, was of a bargain bin at the gift shop at a mine museum. For $5.99 a geode can be yours, although if you want one with a red, black or blue dot you can spend up to $19.99.

The geodes in the photo at the left are for sale. After you buy one, you crack it open and behold the wonders inside.

The geode in the photo below has just been opened. It will make a fine bibelot.

The lesser geodes are sort of like Pet Rocks, I think. Since these little ones aren't terrible useful or decorative, and are unlikely to contain diamonds or gold nuggets, perhaps their value can be enhanced in the same way that a Chinese restaurant "fortune cookie" has very little value or even cookieness, yet contains a tiny slip of paper with a stupid saying.

If one were to insert a tiny slip of paper in a geode, would it enhance its value? Perhaps! Can it be done? Sure! Drill a hole, wrap tightly a piece of paper on a mandrel, insert in geode, and re-seal.

One could sell the geode for double the blue-dot price, and even offer a hammer and chisel as part of the deluxe kit.

The Random Thumb Drive

Crypto is in the news! So is privacy! Not to mention quantum computers, which soon will be able to crack the most sophisticated encryption schemes and lay bare the secrets of past generations.

But not, necessarily, your privacy or your secrets! It is well known that there is a truly unbreakable, simple, easy to implement cipher system that will guarantee your privacy. It's been used for decades, and its provably secure. Why doesn't everyone use it? Because you have to, in effect, exchange a unique cipher key in person. I'm talking about the "one-time pad." I'll let Wikipedia do the explanation and save me the headache I get whenever I think about cryptography. The article makes clear that you need a potentially enormous key, which must be totally random. This means you cannot make your own without special equipment. As John von Neumann put it, Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin. And you need a lot of truly random numbers

To generate a proper random key, especially a long one, you need an automated device that uses an unpredictable natural process, such as radioactive decay or thermal noise. Not a big deal, but it can't be done with an ordinary computer. Lots of atoms decaying in a sample of depleted uranium, for example, will work. Could there even be a business selling memory cards with truly random numbers? A terabyte card is under $100, and will protect a lifetime of precious secrets. Selling these cards is a perfect stay-at-home, mail-order business. Fight quantum with quantum!

Mock Car Keys

Has this happened to you? No, not to me either, but just in case: Make up a key chain with old or non-functional keys. and hang it on the passenger side of the steering wheel stalk. (Or, find an old key fob from a car you're not driving and do the same.) When a carjacker accosts you to "give me your keys and get out" just hand him** the mock keys and run, By the time the carjacker becomes aware of your prank, you will hopefully be beyond bullet range and the cars being blocked will create enough honkage to discourage the alleged perpetrator from sticking around. (Recruit a mock criminal and practice this a few times. I understand carjacking can be quite distressing, and training will help.)

A Refrigerator Suitcase?

Do I really need to elaborate? Bring your own minibar!


*Of course they were wayward. Did we not invent them as teenagers?
** or her or them. Leave me alone,

Richard Factor


"Achilles Last Stand"

Led Zeppelin



Am I a big Yes fan? Yes! Some day I'll tell the story of when I asked Chris Squire if he had a "trade." Or, check the credits on the Yesshows album or Jon Anderson's first solo album Olias of Sunhillow.

Oh, OK, Listen to his song Olympia.

But what about the T-shirt? Despite all the above, I'm not sure that's the official shirt.

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