Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Naked Airlines

Security checkpoints suck. We all know this. Why not start Naked Airlines, where all the passengers must board completely nude (ok, maybe they can have on sparing amounts of underwear).

I was thinking about it, and the reason security checkpoints take so long is because we're worried that someone might be hiding something. We check the bags with x-ray machines, and we empty our pockets, and for more suspicious-looking characters, we even inspect them with "magic wands." Well, in an effort to speed up that security checkpoint line, why don't we all just get naked? If I'm naked, I can't hide anything (comfortably). You would just have to scan my bag and off I go. No more problems with metal plates in my head or that titanium alloy implant of mine. No shoe-bombs, or concealed weapons. I think this solution is a rather elegant one.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Dryer Sheets

Consumer product companies are coming out with smaller and smaller forms of concentrated detergents these days. I cite Method's 3x laundry detergent as an example, and I think Procter and Gamble is developing one as I type. As I understand them though, they are all just concentrated, and don't really go beyond the liquid, powder, or tablet forms that we all know and adore.

I have an idea that would get rid of the adding-laundry-detergent step altogether. What if we utilized the fact that you would only need a small amount of detergent to wash your clothes? What if you could embed detergent particles into your clothes during the drying cycle? Let's say a dryer sheet has all the detergent you need for an entire load of wash.

Take your wet clothes after a wash cycle, and throw them into the dryer, and then throw in one of these special dryer sheets with detergent. Out will come fresh, dry clothes, with detergent particles inside the clothes. You wear the clothes as normal, and then when it's ready to wash, you throw your clothes into the washing machine and start the washing cycle. It gets rid of the whole adding detergent step. Jono used to tell me, "The best ____ is no ____." And this is no exception.

I can think of a couple of synergies with this one. First, I'm utilizing the fact that my clothes are tumbling around in the dryer. Second, if I get a stain on my clothes, I can easily find water to add in order to wash it out. Third, since I dry my delicates separately from my regulars, I'd be able to use a gentle detergent sheet on my delicates and a regular detergent on my regulars, and throw them all into the same wash.

Drawbacks: Of course, I'm assuming that the detergent won't irritate my skin, which many detergents do. I'm also aware that if it rains, you'll have washed clothes.

Friday, August 26, 2005

PayPal for Banks

I know Berkeley Innovation has had this idea or some similar incarnation of it before, but young people these days need a good method for sharing/transferring money. If we're splitting a bill at a restaurant, or if we're sharing an apartment and need to pay bills, traditional methods of handling these transactions are cumbersome. At a restaurant, the waiter might have to handle multiple credit cards. At home, the sometimes awkward, "Can you write me a check now?" And how about those times when someone just doesn't pay you back? I personally hate playing the money collector.

A better way to do this: Since lots of us young folk utilize online banking, and since many of us are familiar with social netowrking on the web, why don't we connect the two? Say Blaurb and I both bank at Bank of America, and we both have our online handles for online banking.

1) The first feature is that there should be an easy way for me to send Blaurb money for paying for dinner last night or lending me that $20.

2) The second feature uses the fact that most online banking programs have the option to pay bills. How about allowing us to link certain bills to certain accounts so that I can pay a bill while automatically deducting half the bill from the other party?

3) In addition to letting me send money to Blaurb for the $20 she lent me, the system should also allow Blaurb to remind me that I owe her money. She initiates a request to my handle the night that she lends me money. I accept that the debt is real, and then, depending on my settings for how to handle debt, I can either have a reminder hang on my account until I pay off the debt, or I can have it automatically deducted from my account once I accept the debt. The option is there so that young folks who are struggling to pay rent have the flexibility to make sure they don't break the bank. No more awkward, "You owe me money." No more forgetting about that $50 you lent someone last year.

The best part about this is that it would be a win-win for the bank that implements this the best. If I bank with Bank of America, I'd become an advocate and tell all my friends to bank with them too. Because young people are so mobile and have such few assets, the barriers for switching are relatively low. I'm personally changing banks right now because I am moving to San Diego from Berkeley. On a large scale, this could be like MCI's Friends and Family phone plan back in the 80s-90s, where MCI turned customers into spokespeople and sales reps.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


"Ideas are like assholes...everybody's got one."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Better Test Tube Holders

I'm dissatisfied with the state of current test tube holders. TTHs are currently designed as plastic blocks with holes in them corresponding to the size of different test tube sizes. In the designs I have seen/used, each side of the block is a matrix of holes accommodating only one size test tube. This generally means you'll need two different holders if you are using two differently-sized tubes. In addition to this, I find it slightly inconvenient in having to line up small test tubes into each hole, especially after repeating the step countless times.

I propose that a new test tube holder be constructed that accomodates a multitude of test tube sizes and be generally easier to use. My first thought was to shape a test tube holder like grass, because many flexible grass stalks seem to provide adequate support for keeping a test tube upright, while accommodating various sizes.