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50 Worst Pageviews Ever
May 30, 2010 11:30 AM   Subscribe

What do you do when you're supposed to come up with 50 separate webpages on a poorly defined topic? You come up with a mix of dangerous products (most of which were successful before their dangers were known), second-best technologies, just plain silly ideas, cool things that never caught on, uncool things that DID catch on and modern annoyances (including one that your website uses) to make "Time Magazine's 50 Worst Inventions" (link points to FULL LIST, or just refer to all the tags).
(I know, not the BEST of the web; just the MOST of the web)

posted by oneswellfoop (43 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Once I got to "crinoline", which has next-to-no explanation, I was fully annoyed at how weak this list is... then I remembered it's at "Time Magazine". What was I really expecting out them?
posted by _paegan_ at 11:35 AM on May 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


uhhh...how exactly is Asbestos an invention?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:37 AM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


My brother, Microsoft Bob, takes offense at this.

But, i have to admit, this post took care of all the bad inventions with one fell swoop.
posted by HuronBob at 11:42 AM on May 30, 2010


I'd like to propose item 51, "The trend for web based media organizations to put everything in list format". Cracked makes it work, because their lists usually don't take up more than 2 pages, are generally funny and often quite interesting in a factoidy kind of way. I've yet to see another site where the list fetish actually works out.
posted by Grimgrin at 11:44 AM on May 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


Carbonated milk? I think I'm going to be sick.
posted by spiderskull at 11:44 AM on May 30, 2010


#25 is pop-up-ads....and that Time article had one
posted by GavinR at 11:46 AM on May 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


The Bumpit! Now you too can have hair that looks like you're wearing a wig over a bun!

(But is it really a worse invention than the banana clip?)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:46 AM on May 30, 2010


Yeah, the pop-up ad is kinda ironic. Several of these are not really "inventions," or were actually quite successful, but just not to the liking of whatever arbiter of - whatever wrote the article. I wouldn't say Farmville "just didn't work out" - it's made a fortune for whoever came up with it.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:48 AM on May 30, 2010


I rather liked the Pontiac Aztec; I wish I had bought one before they stopped making them.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:51 AM on May 30, 2010


Once I got to "crinoline", which has next-to-no explanation

Yeah, the crinoline thing seemed pretty random to me too until I remembered seeing this monstrosity in SATC2.
posted by fuse theorem at 11:54 AM on May 30, 2010


I don't own crocs, but if I did more gardening or working in muddy areas I definitely would. Functionality trumps attractiveness, especially in a shoe.
posted by DU at 11:56 AM on May 30, 2010


glad to see autotune in there with agent orange and hydrogentated oil. evil is evil.
posted by philip-random at 11:57 AM on May 30, 2010


zeppelin != blimp
posted by Sys Rq at 12:03 PM on May 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Betamax? Really? I mean, I read the list descriptor, and they do mention that it "wasn't so much a bad product as a lesson in marketing gone awry", but Beta tapes in the 80's gave me a full six hours of recording/viewing opportunities, as opposed to the ± 2 hours offered by VCR tapes, coupled with piss-poor tracking and slow rewind/fast-forward capabilities. Beta was a vastly superior media format on many levels. I miss Betamax. I do not miss VCR.

Hey, TIME Magazine!
[heat vision] BURN [*/heat vision]

posted by Minus215Cee at 12:10 PM on May 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


Somebody didn't do fact-checking.

"When the Hindenburg was designed in 1931, its makers made the fateful choice to use hydrogen instead of helium ...."

But see: http://www.ciderpresspottery.com/ZLA/greatzeps/german/Hindenburg.html

"... she was not initially meant to be filled with hydrogen at all. ...The United States, having the only* natural deposits of helium in the world, was getting more and more suspicious of Hitler and his new Third Reich. Government officials wondered if the Zeppelin could be used for military purposes such as they were in World War One and favor in giving Dr. Eckner the helium was waning. This was supremely frustrating to Dr. Eckner who was openly critical of the Nazi government. He had been forced to seek help from a government that he did not like at all (his own) and because of this, a government who he got along with well was denying him what he needed for his new zeppelin. Even after a meeting with President Roosevelt, the decision was made in the U.S. Congress. The Helium Control Act would make it impossible for the Zeppelin Company to obtain helium for their new ship....."
______
* known at the time.
See http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12844&page=81
posted by hank at 12:10 PM on May 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Short for chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs are nasty chemical compounds that wreak havoc on the environment. Used in refrigeration units and aerosol cans, CFCs combine with atmospheric ozone, neutralizing the molecular compound and weakening the ozone layer, an important environmental barrier that protects the earth's surface from ultraviolet radiation from the sun. While increased regulation since the 1970s has diminished their use, CFCs can endure in the atmosphere for nearly a century, making this a very long-lived mistake.

I can't believe they didn't even mention that the same guy invented CFCs and tetra-ethyl lead additives, talk about bad luck!
The same guy constructed a system of pulleys to help himself after contracting polio late in life. Tragically he accidentally strangled himself with it.

Good job, print media!
posted by atrazine at 12:35 PM on May 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


uhhh...how exactly is Asbestos an invention?
It's use as a processed flame retardant building material.
hours offered by VCR tapes, coupled with piss-poor tracking and slow rewind/fast-forward capabilities. Beta was a vastly superior media format on many levels. I miss Betamax. I do not miss VCR.
You mean VHS? Also, VHS had extended time modes too.
posted by delmoi at 12:46 PM on May 30, 2010


New Coke
Agent Orange
Subprime Mortgages
Crocs


Having these all on the same list is kind of like saying, "You know what my pet peeves are? People who crack their knuckles, genocide, extreme poverty, and shopping cart wheels that get stuck." I mean, OK, but the juxtaposition is a little insensitive.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:56 PM on May 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


Virtual Boy was and is truly awesome, and you could get one for like $20 at KayBee toys after they crashed and burned.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:10 PM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thomas Midgley, inventor of CFC's and Leaded Gasoline. If there's an afterlife, I'm pretty sure he's bunking with Fritz Haber, in the "Good intentions gone horribly wrong" wing.
posted by Grimgrin at 1:23 PM on May 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was all ready to be pretubed when I saw Foursquare on the list, but it wasn't the most awesome-est game ever, so I didn't. And those that put Crinoline on here need to get a fantasy life.

BTW, Alice Hamilton, someone much to close to being forgotten, campaigned (along with others) against lead gasoline in the '30s but, of course, no one listened. (She had a pretty interesting sister too.)
posted by Some1 at 1:51 PM on May 30, 2010


Grimgrin I'd like to propose item 51, "The trend for web based media organizations to put everything in list format".

You aren't kidding. Time has 6 pages of top ten lists for 2010 alone. It's like they're randomly pulling these lists out of some magic hat with every possible topic in the universe, with no thought or propriety at all.

Top Ten Religious Relics.
Top Ten Taserings
Top Ten Drunken Holidays
Top Ten Deadliest Earthquakes

When did a David Letterman bit replace journalism?
posted by chrisulonic at 2:35 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does it make me a bad person if that carbonated milk drink sounds delicious to me? Dang, I wish they were selling outside of NYC.
posted by threeants at 2:41 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Boy, talk about muddy thinking. Can't they at least have sub-lists like "least successful" or "most unfortunately successful"? Or "not successful in the USA but actually all over the place in Europe"?

Also instead of hydrogen blimps (or zeppelins) they should have had incendiary paint.
posted by ropeladder at 2:45 PM on May 30, 2010


The Sony Betamax was a tremendous invention which was poorly marketed by Sony.

Proof that the best technology does not always prevail in the market.
posted by three blind mice at 2:58 PM on May 30, 2010


This list does not have TIME Magazine on it, so it's crap.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:05 PM on May 30, 2010


The Sony Betamax was a tremendous invention which was poorly marketed by Sony.

Proof that the best technology does not always prevail in the market.


The same is arguably* true of New Coke, which beat Coke and Pepsi in blind taste tests (as Time magazine points out). People were irritated at the idea.

* I say "arguably" because we shouldn't assume that a controlled experiment necessarily tells us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. People might prefer a particularly sweet cola when they're taking just a sip of several beverages, but they might get sick of it when drinking a whole 12+ oz.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:26 PM on May 30, 2010


By Time's logic, Time Magazine could easily be an entry on that list. Sure, it was popular and relevant at one point, but it's a laughingstock now, so...
posted by speedgraphic at 3:32 PM on May 30, 2010


How is it that a list of worst inventions doesn't include the atomic bomb? Or 24 hour news networks? Or Focus on the Family? Or high fructose corn syrup?
posted by wabbittwax at 4:33 PM on May 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


comfort wipe: Apparently, the ad's "don't be embarrassed" tag applied more to TeleBrands than to consumers, as the company discontinued the product in June 2009 before it was ever brought to the market.

One of the 50 worst inventions, ever? Sounds like this item belongs in a different list entirely, perhaps "50 stupid inventions that were never sold."

Honegar, on the other hand, is more of a recipe than an invention and reading the description it appears that 1) some people like it and 2) hey, it has a lot of antioxidants so it is probably good for you.

This list sure does cast a wide net with the word "worst" and the word "invention" applied in all sorts of "flexible" ways.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:00 PM on May 30, 2010


Oh sweet Jesus no.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:30 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


which beat Coke and Pepsi in blind taste tests

It's also not obvious that the results of blind taste tests -- a couple of sips at a table in a mall -- reliably indicates what someone is going to want to drink substantial amounts of on a regular basis. (I'm not biased here. Personally I think they're both revolting.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:44 PM on May 30, 2010


Carbonated milk? I think I'm going to be sick.

A few years ago, here in Japan, they sold carbonated canned coffee. I love carbonated drinks, I love coffee, so I thought, how can I lose? It was absolutely disgusting, and I still can't figure out exactly why. I mean, one small sip, and I didn't have to think about throwing the rest in the trash, I just did it as pure animal reflex.
posted by zardoz at 5:44 PM on May 30, 2010


Microsoft Bob

The story goes that Microsoft Bob only saw the light of day because it was being project-managed by one Melinda French, who is now...Melinda Gates.

And know you know...the rest of the story. Good day!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:08 PM on May 30, 2010


What a shitty list...and people wonder why journalists are being let go.

I think its high time that quick, web-based journalism, that is used to lure someone to your website is considered the worst invention ever.

It makes words and letters do bad things.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:17 PM on May 30, 2010


wabbittwax: "29How is it that a list of worst inventions doesn't include the atomic bomb? Or 24 hour news networks? Or Focus on the Family? Or high fructose corn syrup?"

Or Crack?
posted by Bonzai at 6:18 PM on May 30, 2010


> Does it make me a bad person if that carbonated milk drink sounds delicious to me? Dang, I wish they were selling outside of NYC.

In Michigan, half the Asian groceries I visit regularly keep cans of Milkis available. It's nice, has a gentle flavor, and a very soft carbonation. I like it.

I also like Abali mint yogurt drink, but for entirely different reasons. When I'm on a long bike ride, it's like ultra turbo-Gatorade deluxe supreme, in terms of postponing my usual long bike ride leg cramps. After half a bottle it starts to taste pretty good. For that matter, from the first swallow it already tastes better than a power bar. But if the phrase "salty yogurt soda (with mint)" isn't doing anything for you, you might want to give that one a pass.
posted by ardgedee at 6:34 PM on May 30, 2010


She had a pretty interesting sister too

Got her mythology book right here beside me. (But, I gotta say, I thought you were going for Margaret (and your little dog too) Hamilton.
posted by Trochanter at 6:43 PM on May 30, 2010


I am suffering from some heartburn induced upset stomach, and the phrase "salty yogurt soda (with mint)" just caused me to go throw up. Literally, the half-digested remains of my dinner and the lemon bar I ate afterward now reside whereever things go when you flush them.

I have a strong reaction to sour milk, I =hate= mint, and the combination of those + salty drink... yeah, no.
posted by FritoKAL at 9:13 PM on May 30, 2010


The Committee to End Pay Toilets in America? Committee implies that there were more than one people passionate enough about this to take action. Wonder what they all have in common...

More than one people doesn't really make sense.
posted by doublehappy at 9:46 PM on May 30, 2010


Crinolines are a lot less uncomfortable than corsets. I've worn both, and I know. It's no more a 'bad invention' than stiletto heels or silicone implants or any other once extreme things invented in the name of fashion that went on to become commonplace.
posted by mippy at 1:21 PM on May 31, 2010


Crinolines ... no more a 'bad invention' than stiletto heels or silicone implants or any other once extreme things invented in the name of fashion that went on to become commonplace.

As the farthingale it sounded more fashionable. Shoulda stuck with that name.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:37 PM on May 31, 2010


farthingale
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:39 PM on May 31, 2010


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