Canonical Uselesss



                  ***********************************
                  * Catalog of Quality Improvements *        
                  * (aka: Useless Inventions List)  *        
                  ***********************************

Version 1.2  [169 items]                       Last Updated: Mar. 5, 1994

Compiled by: asymes@nl.oracle.com (Andy Symes)
         and hhsieh@cory.eecs.berkeley.edu (Howard Hsieh)
===============================================================================
INTRODUCTION

This is a collection of inventions society would probably be better off
without, but because these inventions could exist, we would like to warn
you about them before you sink any money into them.

This list started out as a brainstorm in March 1992 by me and my sister
Char, and was later introduced to rec.humor in January 1994, when Andy 
posted an article titled "Useless Inventions" which called for some 
wonderful ideas.  

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the list, including 
the following people: 

   char@cardinal.stanford.edu (Charlotte Hsieh)
   manish@neceng.coe.neu.edu (Manish Tandon) 
   a person named DOOM
   s1719104@techst02.technion.ac.il 
   anello@adcs00.fnal.gov (Anthony Anello)
   mg@ulysses.att.com (Murthy Gandikota)
   the folks at rec.humor

===============================================================================
GUIDELINES

=1= The invention should be physically conceivable.

A tissue-paper chassis couldn't even hold itself up, let alone try to serve 
as a chassis.  Supernova-powered flashlights don't make any sense at all.

=2= The invention should attempt to improve on something or serve a purpose.

A mesh umbrella would allow people to see the sky, but a mesh raincoat 
would be as useless as a concrete parachute.  

=3= The invention is not an oxymoron.

Some items, such as Jumbo Shrimp, Military Intelligence, and Politicians that
tell the truth, fit more in the Canonical List of Oxymorons.

=4= Some inventions may seen useless at first but are actually quite useful. 
They are not part of the main list.  A few examples follow:

Blank CD-ROM                  - useful for testing
Braille Car Radio Dial        - Braille user can be a passenger.  
Buttonless mouse, for people with no arms - retina, oral activated
Clear sunglasses, for cloudy days - glasses that can change tint
Digital Computer              - I'm sure the folks at Digital agree.
Helicopter Ejector Seats      - Blades fire away from cockpit.
Non-Drowsy Sleeping Pills     - Just knocks you out without drowsy effects
Portable Cable TV             - If you can re-transmit, it can be portable
Trailer hitch for Compact Car - These things are *commonplace* in Europe.
Write Only RAM                - /dev/null

There may be exceptions, but we had to draw the line somewhere.
===============================================================================

The following inventions do meet our quality standards.  We hope to
bring you the latest in state-of-the-art antiques.  

Please submit your updates to: hhsieh@cory.eecs.berkeley.edu
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PRODUCTS                                CREDITS AND/OR COMMENTS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7-day or 10-day Federal Express Service
7-day waiting period (Brady Bill) for nuclear weapons  
100% Goose Down T-Shirts
100% recyclable environmentally safe CHAINSAW
ABS for Bicycle
AC adapter for electric cars
AC adapter for solar calculators 
Air Bag for Aircrafts
All-terrain roller blades
Anemometer waterproof to 200 Ft         nstevens@starbase.demon.co.uk
Armpit-Scent Deodorant
Asprin Flavoured Non-asprin painkillers
Asprin Flavored Gum                  
Battery powered battery charger.        umennis0@cc.umanitoba.ca
Battery powered nail clipper.
Battery powered nose hair clipper   
Battery powered straw              
Bifocal binoculars                      nstevens@starbase.demon.co.uk
Black Highlighter                       OK for censoring
Braille Drive-thru ATM's                venkat@tinton.ccur.com 
Braille Driver's Manual                 quaker@netcom.com
Braille Encoded Cam-corder              mike@vishnu.eco.twg.com 
Brake oil                               asymes@nl.oracle.com
Broom with bent handle                  For sweeping round corners
Bubble-less Champagne     
Cabin pressure system for Cessna 150    mike@vishnu.eco.twg.com 
Camouflage Billboards
Cast iron toilet paper (durable)  
Cast iron wire                          derry@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu
Cat flap for the fridge.
Centre-zero speedometer (useful for reverse)  totake@furball.eng.ua.edu
Cereal enriched with optical-fiber      Helps you see better? :)
Checkered paint.                        schwarzm@cs.ucdavis.edu
Clapper-Operated Door Locks
Clapper-Operated Stage lights
Clear Correction Fluid
Clear High-lighter
Coin-Operated ATM's                     might exist some day (ick).
Compact Disc Rewinder                   kywwp@igc.apc.org
Compact Limo
Computer Mouse Trap
Cord-less Extension Cords               transmit by radio, Steven Wright
Cord-less Pay Phone              
Cord-less Plumb Line                    avk@hafnium.cchem.berkeley.edu
Cord-less Wire
Decaffeinated Vivarin
Dehydrated Water                        just add water
De-ionized Plasma
Deuterium (D2O) filter for kitchen faucet
Diet Celery                             (more negative calories)
Dim/Tinted High-Beams
Dolphin-Free Whaler Harpoons
Downhill Stair-Master                 
Dry Towelettes
Edible condoms                  
Ejector Basket for Hot Air Balloons     cs9h3bbt@swan.pyr (b.tabrah)
Elastic accessories for "No Nonsense" (TM) Bra 
Electric banana straightener            red1@waikato.ac.nz
Electric kazoo                          felch@wam.umd.edu
Electricity Powered Generator
Fake Faux Pearl Necklace 
Fake Rhinestones                        from Steven Wright list
Fireproof Matches
Fizzy milk                              bh@granby.demon.co.uk (Bruce Horrocks)
Flashbulb tester                        derry@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu
Foam rubber toothpicks for sensitive teeth derry@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu
Frictionless Sandpaper                  lecates@chopin.udel.edu
Frowning Smileys                        :( :)
Furry Toiletpaper                       for furry toilet seats   - DOOM
Gasoline Powered Air Freshener 
Gasoline Powered Calculator 
Gasoline Powered Exercise Bike
Gasoline Powered Hearing Aid  
Glow-in-the-dark India Ink
Glow-in-the-dark Soap        
Glow-in-the-dark Sundial                SSEXTON@delphi.com
Glow-in-the-dark Sunglasses 
Glow-in-the-dark Suntan Lotion
Hair Dryer, Underwater                  cs93soh@brunel.ac.uk
Hair Dryer, Weatherproof                dm11@akc.ac.uk
Hand Powered Chainsaw                   het3@crash.cts.com
Heated Refrigerator
Heavy Duty Bath Soap with Bleach        oouch
Helium Paperweights                     would take a lot of helium though
Humane Ant Traps and Roach Motels
Humane fish hooks                       from the NY Times
Humane Torture Racks                    not the adult S/M type
Ice skate sandals                       for use in hot climates.
Imitation Cubic Zirconia
Imitation Puppets                       Hey, those aren't real!
Impact-Triggered Parachute              dan.bastecki@filebank.cts.com 
Inflatable Anchor                       imo@sonny (Immanuel O'Levy)
Inflatable Dart board for Camping 
Insoluble Suppositories
Instant Dry Dry-Skin lotion
Left-handed Bacon Stretcher.            cs9h3bbt@swan.pyr (b.tabrah)
Lighter powered Car Battery Charger     russbre@wpi.edu (Brett Michael Russ) 
Liver flavored Lollipops                felch@wam.umd.edu
Low Salt Brine                          marcus@guitar.demon.co.uk 
Low-calorie Power Bar                   avk@hafnium.cchem.berkeley.edu
Matte finish floor wax                  het3@crash.cts.com
Mesh Condom                             PBSAMPSO@CHEMISTRY.watstar.uwaterloo.ca
Mesh Umbrella                           Wind won't catch it
Monitor-wristrest computer combo        hct@lems1d.cs.brown.edu
Motorcycle Air Bag                      mwp@cure.att.com (Michael Phillips)
Motorcycle Air Conditioner              for the rider?
Motorcycle Ashtrays                     Sean Clark (smc@muppet.bt.co.uk)
Motorcycle Cup Holders
Motorcycle Windshield Wipers            Helmets with wipers might work
Motorcycle Seat Belts                
Nintendo Monitors, Printers     
No-fault earthquake insurance           reid@ucs.indiana.edu (Frank Reid)
No grit sandpaper                       het3@crash.cts.com
Non-Alcoholic Everclear
Non-drip cooking oil                    Steve L
Non-toxic Chemical Weapons              safe for the launcher not target
Nuclear Powered Radiation Detector
One way round trip tickets              (Steven Wright)
Open-tipped condoms                     (for greater sensitivity)
Polite Car Alarm (that reads Miranda rights in English)
Pollution-free detergent 
Portable Dishwasher
Precision zero volt reference           kurts@sad.hp.com (Kurt Strain)
Press-On Nail Top computer (Intel(TM) Inside!)
Radar Detector for Runners/Joggers
Remote Controlled Exercise Bike
Remote Controlled Remote Control        (Steven Wright)
Re-usable tampon (yuck!)                asymes@nl.oracle.com
Screen Doors for Airplanes              (feel the breeze)
Screen Doors for Space Shuttle          (feel the vacuum)
Screen Doors for Submarines
Second-hand fireworks.                  schwarzm@cs.ucdavis.edu
See-through Blinds                      ian@acclaim.visix.com (Ian Falicov)
See-through yashmaks.
Serial bus hard drive                   v20011@dax.cc.uakron.edu
Shopping Carts for Homeless             from Rush
Silly Putty!                            'NUFF SAID!
Snow Tires for Bicycle
Solar Powered Flashlight                good if stores power
Solar Powered Pacemaker 
Solar Powered Tanning Bed               ok if UV safe
Solar Powered Torch (no batteries)      B.R.Bourner-SE1@cs.bham.ac.uk
Soundproof Speakers
Steel-Belted Radial rubber bands        (don't you hate it when they break?)
Strap-on portable chairs       
Sugar Coated Toothpaste     
Superconducting insulator               v9d192@ugrad.cs.ubc.ca  (Who?)
Super-glue Post-it Notes
Toasted Popsicles
Toupee/Wig with a chinstrap             so it doesn't blow away - DOOM
Training Wheels for Sports Cars
Unbreakable Pinata                      save them for next year
Umbrellas with Sun Roofs           
Unscented Perfume
Velvet Raincoats
Virtual reality bathing/showering 
Virtual reality fishing           
Water: freeze-dried, instant, diet
Waterproof Powder
Waterproof Sponge
Waterproof Tampons
Waterproof Tea Bags                     red1@waikato.ac.nz
Waterproof Toilet Paper
Waterproof Towel
Wax Flowers for Outdoor use
Windscreen-wiper warning light          imo@medphys.ucl.ac.uk
Wind-up radio or tv              
World's Largest Microchip               marka@amber.ssd.csd.harris.com
XL bicycle clips, for cycling in shorts Frank Muir
_______________________________________________________________________________
Andy Symes
Developer, Oracle Europe Technology Division  | Phone: +31-3406-94211
Rijnzathe 6,                                  |
3454PV De Meern, The Netherlands              | Email: asymes@nl.oracle.com
_______________________________________________________________________________
 /_/      /_/                               :)  :)     =y(:   Smiley Party
/ /oward / /sieh                          :)   :)   :)            
hhsieh@cory.eecs.berkeley.edu           :)  (:  :) :) (:  =Y(:
                                          :) :)   (:  (:         
                                          :)  (:  (:      oO(:
                                            :)            Oo\      
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