A Solar Challenge

solarYou may not have realised it before now but the Solar Challenge happens around this time of year in Australia. Competitors from around the world try to get from Darwin to Adelaide (it is quite a long way) in the solar powered cars they have designed. It sounds like a great idea to me and I wonder what other things we should be looking to make solar powered as well.

Solar powered electric lawn mowers sound like a fairly sensible idea. After all, grass only grows when it is sunny and everyone waits for a sunny Sunday afternoon to go out and cut their lawns. When did you ever see anyone mow their grass in the dark? Actually, I did it once but it turned out really badly so I won’t be doing it again.

carWould solar powered commercial freezers make any sense at all. Well, you don’t really need your freezer to works its ice based magic when it is cold and dark, do you? Yet, when the sun is shining you want it to cool away and make ice. This could be a great idea for portable fridges in which you want to keep soft drinks or, gulp, beer when you have a picnic. If the sun doesn’t shine then you can get all depressed with some warm drinks and if our solar friend makes an appearance everyone’s a winner.

Didn’t the Mayans or the Egyptians have some sort of solar powered antique hand drills? I was watching one of those programmes about aliens the other day (I love that stuff, the more unbeleivable the better as far as I am concerned) and I am sure the guy with the wild hair said that.

If I could have a ride in a solar powered zeppelin my life would be complete. Can you imagine harnessing the power of the astral disc and soaring up in the sky justlike the ancient Incas and Persians once did?

What Else Can We Make Smart?

watvhI have just about got the hang of smart phones and now it appears that they are going to bring out a smart watch as well. The smartest watch I have ever had played 7 different Beatles melodies on it and was waterproof up to about 3 centimetres of depth. This was a few years ago and I can’t even imagine what a modern smart phone will be like. Will it have 10 Beatles melodies and be able to withstand a whole 10 centimetres of water? Perhaps more of a pressing issue is around what other objects we can make smarter than us now.

I like the sound of smart landscaping pictures which has a touchscreen. This would let you change the image or the colours on it with the swipe of a hand. These would be great for changing the mood of a room and I expect to see one soon, if they don’t already exist that is.

technoWhat about a smart leather sofa? This sounds like a great idea but I am not sure in what way it would use its intelligence. Would it learn your favourite sitting and lying positions and then mould itself around you? This sounds great but what if it wasn’t as clever as we thought and it ended up suffocating me? I think I will pass on the smart sofa for the time being.

Would a smart toilet paper holder make our lives a lot easier? I guess it might. I mean, without getting into gruesome details, it would know exactly how much paper to give you after each poop because it would be linked in to the toilet’s brain. This would really make our lives a lot easier, wouldn’t it?

I guess that smart copper gutters could monitor any blockages and send you an automatic message to your smart hat or smart socks telling you that it is time to get them cleaned. Hey, that could be really useful after all.


Is It Time for a Racy Facebook Photo?

mileyIt seems as though my nephew’s favourite TV star is still getting all controversial. With the amount of column inches dedicated to Miley Cyrus and her MTV Awards performance I thought that maybe it was time to produce a few racy photos of my own and put them on Facebook. Would this be a good idea? Might I end up a laughing stock?

First off, I could take some sleek shots of myself looking all chic in spas and salons. Hang on though, I have never been in a spa nor a salon in all my life. Would they leave me looking chic or would they result in me looking all red and flustered after a spell sweating in the suana and beating beaten up by a masseuse? Maybe I should wait a couple of days after the spa session before I take any racy photos.

photoSome snaps of me relaxing on various leather recliners while wearing some of Miss Cyrus’ old outfits should be enough to send my Facebook photos viral (whatever that means). I have always thought that reclining leather chairs are the best for taking saucy snaps in and this would certainly put it to the test. I also have an old floral sofa in the spare room but it probably isn’t ideal for these snaps if we are being completely honest.

Would I look good on Facebook in chefs uniforms? My current picture is a bit dull so this got to be an improvement at least.

Maybe I could go for the rugged pirate look and stick a patch over an eye and an African grey parrot on my shoulder. Is there just the tiniest possibility that this would make me look silly rather than sultry, though? I have rarely seen great images on Facebook of the pirate look and I am not sure that even Miley could pull it off far less me.


My Shiny New Apps

smartI finally entered the 21st century the other day. Actually, I am not quite in it yet but I have at least opened the door to it and I am having a look around. After years of resisting I finally went to have a look at some smartphones. My current phone is pretty dumb, in that it can only make phone calls and send messages.

I have heard that there are plenty of things called apps you can use on them, but are there ones which I want?

For a start, I would quite like an app on how to build a pergola. Does this even exist? If it doesn’t could I ask some technologically inclined DIY expert to make one for me, please? Thanks

mobileAnother great app would be one which turned your phone into a wood burning stove. I am sure that there must be current technology around which would let us do this, right? It would be great to see some virtual flames coming out the screen as I slipped a couple of tasty burgers on top of it. Would it do chicken as well or would I need a tablet for that?

I would be delighted if I could turn my smart new phone into a retro car stereo as well. The stereo in my car doesn’t work so I need to make do with singing along to the tunes in my head. Now, if I could make the phone look like an old car radio and listen to stuff like The Eagles and Billy Joel on it I would be able to drive while tapping my feet in a recklessly hip way.

It would be pretty cool if you could turn iPhones or Android phones into cowboy hats. Well, I guess you simply put one of them on your head as it is but it wouldn’t look very good, would it? No, what the world needs is an app which causes the app to turn into a ten gallon effort. If someone can give me that then I will defnitely buy one.

Could You Live Far from Civilisation?

peruEver since I moved from the UK to South America I have felt just a little bit isolated from things. Of course, with internet and cable TV these days it is pretty much impossible to be really cut off from the world now. Or is it? It appears that a group of Peruvians who live in a remote, isolated tribe have just established contact with villagers to ask for food. What would it be like to live so far from civilisation?

For a start, they don’t need any shoe repair shops; coz they ain’t got no blooming shoes. I have occassionally wondered what it would be like to live without basic items of clothing like shoes. In fact, one day I went to the shops to buy some eggs and the strap on one of my sandals broke. I really had no option but to walk back to my house barefoot over a difficult, cobbled street. It was good fun and really rather liberating but not quite the same as living without footwear. Maybe we could have a worldwide No Shoes Day.

educadorYou wouldn’t need landscaping pictures either because, hey, nature is all around you. I lived in the jungle for a few months and it was an amazing experience but I simply can’t imagine living there for a long time. I couldn’t even get the BBC World Service tuned in.

What would these isolated tribes think of modern technology? Even I am baffled by my wife’s new smartphone and I have been surrounded by civilisation and buildings and stuff all my life. If I lived in the jungle for more than a year I would probably fall over backwards when confronted by a camera and fall to my knees to worship a laptop battery.

Of course, remote tribes do some things better than us. Make an outdoor fire pit, for example. I ate some cracking chicken and bananas that the guides in the jungle made by digging a hole, lighting a fire and covering it with leaves. I’ll need to try that in my garden one day.