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Time's 2001 inventions of the year awards.
November 21, 2001 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Time's 2001 inventions of the year awards. Why do all of these have that cheesy "Sharper Image" feel to them? Aren't there inventions out there slightly more important than a potato masher or a remote control smoke alarm? Naww, everything else would go over the heads of the readers. Keep that gravy comin' ma!
posted by skallas (24 comments total)

 
Well, I'd say the robotic heart was fairly innovative, and the Nuva Ring, seems like a step forward.

I'd love to take a ride in the rocket or the flying boat.

But these shoes seem pointless and what's so special about these pants? Extra pockets? Wheeeee!!!
posted by Benway at 9:23 AM on November 21, 2001


The optically guided bus seems pretty pointless - the driver can't leave the lane s/he is in? they can only brake and accelerate? what if there's a pothole? a piece of metal on the road?
posted by panopticon at 9:38 AM on November 21, 2001


How can they list Ginger? Even they don't know what it exactly is.
posted by riffola at 9:44 AM on November 21, 2001


So, let me get this straight, an unsubstantiated rumour is up for the prize of greatest invention of 2001?
posted by davehat at 9:45 AM on November 21, 2001


gah! riffola beat me to it!
posted by davehat at 9:46 AM on November 21, 2001


The bus is really ripe for pranks and vandalism. It follows a paint line on the road. All one would have to do is paint a new line . . .

My favorite invention was the food cooling device, invented by a poor Nigerian potter. I would be easy and handy to have one in each of our homes, just for produce. And for when power goes out (you CA residents, take note!).

And I agree with the other posters - how can an award go to an invention that hasn't been seen, isn't available, and has no known features?
posted by yesster at 9:59 AM on November 21, 2001


The stupidest one (apart from the non-existent one of course) has to be the disposable mobile phone. $30 for 30 minutes talk time and no key pad. Is that a joke?
posted by Summer at 9:59 AM on November 21, 2001


My favorite invention was the food cooling device, invented by a poor Nigerian potter. I would be easy and handy to have one in each of our homes, just for produce. And for when power goes out (you CA residents, take note!).

Cool invention, but he's a teacher, not a potter. And nowhere was it stated that he was poor, either.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:02 AM on November 21, 2001


"The optically guided bus seems pretty pointless - the driver can't leave the lane s/he is in? they can only brake and accelerate? what if there's a pothole? a piece of metal on the road?"

Sounds like someone's never seen a trolley...same idea, but instead of following a line in the road, they follow wires suspended above it. The wires provide electricity for the motor, so they really can't stray.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:04 AM on November 21, 2001


My bet is that it'll go to the artificial heart.
posted by geoff. at 10:17 AM on November 21, 2001


how comes the heart is is roughly the size and shape of a regualr heart - yet the liver is the size of a cot. Wouldn't want that inside me
posted by monkeyJuice at 10:30 AM on November 21, 2001


well, the nigerian was a teacher from a family with a history of making pots, to be spesific.

But my vote for stupedist invention would have to be the mobile pants. It's not like there havn't been pants with extra pockets around for a long time or anything, geez.
posted by delmoi at 11:29 AM on November 21, 2001


Hmmm, product placement? Hey, skallas, you weren't paid to post this link here, were you? He, he.
posted by mmarcos at 11:39 AM on November 21, 2001


That water filter pen seems pretty cool too. I can see hoards of gadget geek backpackers showing up in the wilderness with it this spring.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2001


But my vote for stupedist invention would have to be the mobile pants. It's not like there havn't been pants with extra pockets around for a long time or anything, geez.

In related news, I just spent a half an hour sewing some giant pockets onto an old shirt. Get ready to see my "mobile shirt" invention in next year's article.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:47 AM on November 21, 2001


Did anybody else get a weird feeling when reading about this one?
posted by Hildago at 1:17 PM on November 21, 2001


Pants?

I mean, come on: pants. Pff.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 1:38 PM on November 21, 2001


"Sounds like someone's never seen a trolley...same idea, but instead of following a line in the road, they follow wires suspended above it. The wires provide electricity for the motor, so they really can't stray."

Um, there are buses in san fran and all over europe that use electric wires overhead, and they don't need to be on a track.
posted by panopticon at 2:17 PM on November 21, 2001


"Um, there are buses in san fran and all over europe that use electric wires overhead, and they don't need to be on a track"

Neither do the ones I was talking about. Where did I mention anything about a track?

They do need to follow the wires, though -- assuming they want to keep moving -- which is functionally the same thing.

I've also seen trolleys with tracks embedded in the road, though.
posted by CrayDrygu at 3:49 PM on November 21, 2001


This whole mobile pants thing is leading us down a nightmarish spiral that ends up in one place my friends: Parachute Pants!

Now if they'd just bring back Kangaroos shoes, where you had a little teeny pocket that was just small enough that you couldn't fit anything useful in there like your house key.

I am hopeful that soon there will come a day when you will be able to purchase pants that will hold your laptop as well as your PDA, along with maybe the yellow pages and medium sized rocks. I envision a future in which pants rule the earth! People carry around so much weight in their voluminous pants pockets that they lose all ambulatory power, in a cruel twist on the "mobile" pants theme.

Then, after experiments to free ourselves from the shackles of our mobile pants, the pants become saturated with Gamma Rays (much like Bill Bixby except that he's a dead actor who turned into the Hulk and hosted a TV show whose title I can't remember but which I think had something to do with Roald Dahl, and the pants are not) and become sentient pants, roaming the land in gargantuan herds, dragging their sobbing owners behind them as they do terrible things that pants have always secretly fantasized about.
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:12 PM on November 21, 2001


Everything my pants secretly fantasize about they can get right at home, thank you very much.
posted by ODiV at 6:35 PM on November 21, 2001


By the way "keep that gravy comin' ma!" is:

a. a great tagline

and

2. something you probably shouldn't yell during sex.
posted by Kafkaesque at 6:41 PM on November 21, 2001


I want to know how, exactly, Dockers Mobile Pants are robotic.
posted by zztzed at 7:22 PM on November 21, 2001


1. When we are old and grey, there will be a discussion at the dining room table about over-hyped vaporware during which we will make a "Ginger" comment and our kids will look at us with blank stares and say, "Ginger? What's that?"

2. Those crappy pants are a completely bogus addition. Anyone who wore pleated Dockers in 2001 is a git. Hell, even cargo pants were MARGINALLY acceptable. Also, I was unaware that my pre-2001 pants were not mobile. I took them almost everywhere I went and they still worked fine.

3. What about the Bow-lingual dog translator?
posted by UrbanFigaro at 8:45 PM on November 21, 2001


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