So long and Thanks!
December 26, 2007 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Some of the inventors and creators that died in 2007 who leave behind something for us to remember them by: David H. Shepard (Optical Readers, Farrington B numeric font), J. Robert Cade (Gatorade), Herbert Saffir (The Hurricane Scale), George Rieveschl (beta-dimethylaminoethylbenzhydryl ether hydrochloride --- a.k.a. Benadryl), Arthur Jones (Nautilus machines), Jack Odell (Matchbox Cars), Raymond Douglas (Color in the NY Times), George Kovacs (The ubiquitous halogen torchiere lamp), Martin J. Weber (The Posterization technique), Edwin Traisman (Cheez Whiz and McD's French Fries), Ed Yost (Modern Hot-Air Ballooning), Theodore Maiman (The Laser), John Billings (The Rhythm Method), Paul C. Lauterbur (The M.R.I.), John W. Backus (Fortran), Florence Z. Melton (Slippers), James Hillier (The Electron Microscope), Iwao Takamoto ("Scooby-Doo"), and Momofuku Ando (Instant Ramen). So it goes.
posted by about_time (13 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Mr. Takamoto, who learned his trade in a Japanese-American internment camp, was hired by the Walt Disney Studios on the basis of two dime-store notebooks full of sketches.

I was going to argue that this is an example of some good coming out of evil, but then I remembered Scrappy Doo, and how much I hate Scrappy Doo, and I started to feel like Scrappy Doo was somehow a punishment for the internment camps, and, therefore, Scooby Doo is actually an argument against injustice.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:50 AM on December 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't want to hear one god damned Idiocracy reference. NOT ONE.
posted by itchylick at 11:01 AM on December 26, 2007

(starting now)
posted by itchylick at 11:02 AM on December 26, 2007

A really excellent list. Thanks for the post.
posted by blucevalo at 11:06 AM on December 26, 2007

An illustration of the great evils of food science and modern corporate behavior, via the juxtaposition of two sentences:

"Mr. Kroc had a problem. All of McDonald’s French fries were being made from fresh potatoes shipped from 175 farms and sliced and cooked at each restaurant."
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:13 AM on December 26, 2007

John Billings (The Rhythm Method)
Q. What do you call a couple that uses the Rhythm Method?

A. Parents

This joke brought to you by my friend who owed his life to the Rhythm Method. His Catholic parents used it religiously (see what I did there?) and he had seven brothers and sisters.
posted by mullingitover at 11:26 AM on December 26, 2007

Edwin Traisman (Cheez Whiz and McD's French Fries),

So, what you are really saying is; Edwin Traisman: history's worst villain.

I kid. I love the fries. But Cheez Whiz is the food of damned souls.
posted by quin at 11:34 AM on December 26, 2007

Q. What do you call a couple that uses the Rhythm Method?

When I was eight or so, I got a book of dirty/offensive jokes from my mischevious older sister, and I read it cover to cover. I didn't really get most of them, including at least a couple about the Rhythm Method that I think were in the chapter* of jokes about black people; I think it was that section because I think it was also adjascent to some jokes about black people dancing, and I guess I got the impression that whatever The Rhythm Method was, it was some sort of sex type thing** that involved very complicated choreography and a good sense of rhythm. Like, a disco was in theory involved, or something.

RIP, Mr. Billings. Thanks for confusing the shit out of childhood me, however indirectly.

*It was a pretty full-service book in that respect, awful jokes about the full spectrum of humanity, or at least the spectrum as partitioned into convenient stereotypes for joke-making purposes. The blond jokes I got, on account of blond-joke humor being pretty accessible to an elementary school kid, but all the stuff about Pollocks was beyond me. I wasn't really clear on what the hell a Pollock was supposed to be, for one thing.

This whole being a source of a mixture of wide-eyed secret-learnin' and nearly perpetual confusion is something that the dirty joke book had in common with Readers Digest, copies of which I would skim for the joke sections that would mostly fail to make me laugh but which I skimmed at every opportunity anyway. I've got a lot of half-remembered, half-understood jokes from my early childhood knocking around in my brain still.

**Sex being pretty much completely a mystery still at that point.
posted by cortex at 12:12 PM on December 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Please note the wording of the Original Post:
something for us to remember them by
NOT "something for us to be thankful for". Therefore the creators of Scrappy Doo, Cheez Wiz, the Rhythm Method and (IMO) Gatorade (yuck) all belong on this list as much as anyone else.
posted by wendell at 12:18 PM on December 26, 2007

I like that the inventor of the electron microscope and the inventor of instant ramen are listed as peers. So should it be.
posted by three blind mice at 1:37 PM on December 26, 2007

I have a Pollock joke.

What do you call a fish with no eyes?


Thank you, unlike the subjects of this FPP, I'll be here all week (I hope)
posted by afflatus at 4:48 PM on December 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

FORTRAN (I refuse to use the new spelling) was so influential in my life.
It was the first programming language that I learned in 1965 and set me on the road to programming for money.
Today, I still code for money.
Thank you John Backus.
posted by davebarnes at 7:39 PM on December 26, 2007

Actually the Billings Method and the Rhythm method are different, Rhythm is a menstrual cycle/timing thing. Billings predicts ovulation via mucuous density (as the obit pointed out). We used Billings to find the right time to have children. It worked. Thanks, Doc. (And our children would be grateful, too, if we had ever mentioned this to them)
posted by CCBC at 9:55 PM on December 26, 2007

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