For Innovator Week, I asked my fellow BTRmates what they would change about the world – small inventions to make life easier, policy changes in government, dumb rules in professional sports that needed fixing, radical changes to the way we live our daily lives, or science ficition-inspired gadgets and systems that might help bring us closer to Star Trek than to I Am Legend. We are quite the bunch of innovators here at the BTR Think Tank!
DJ Matt DeMello (Writer’s Block/Co-Director of Editorial)
I’m reminded of that old RFK quote about “seeing things that could be and asking why not?” Anyway, when I look out into the world, I most of the time feel pretty copacetic. If there’s one thing in the world I would change, it’s how apathetic everyone seems to be. I don’t have a bigger pet peeve in life than when times and circumstances that call for people to stand up are met with a collective shrug. Is there a material solution for this? Probably not. Living life by example is probably anyone’s best bet.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about how this may not be so much a problem with the world but more so in the way that I look at it. Maybe I should invent a pill or something that will make me more okay with how much I have to live with docile-faced peons! I think I’ll name it after my dear aunt Prozac…
DJ Patrick K (The Rock Show, Overnight Sensation, Downtown & Brooklyn)
This is not a product idea– it is an idea for a memetic website called Thomas Kink-ade. This project, if done properly, could generate as much as $1,000,000 through advertisements and even product placements, guaranteed. And it is 100% free for the taking, as long as you give a visible shout out to DJ Patrick K and Overnight Sensation at the bottom of the site. Difficulty Level: 3; Skills Required: Photoshop, Social Networking, Crowdsourcing. Here’s the scoop:
1) Download high-res .jpg’s of several of your favorite Thomas Kinkade paintings (but Pat, they’re ALL my favorite! –ed).
2) Use your Photoshop skills to integrate elements of particularly kinky fetish pornography (bondage, scat, furry, balloon, whatever. Just make sure you have a good variety) into the paintings. This part is tricky, because you will need to do it tastefully. You can’t just brutally copy/paste a porn scene into the painting, it has to look natural! This is essential! And be careful not to get too explicit with the photoshopping, or else this will never make it to the mainstream blogs.
3) Once you have about 12-15 pieces finished (it’s vital that you have a depth of material built up before starting the site), register and post a few of your stronger pieces to start (you’ll want to save the best few for when you’re “going viral”)
4) Over the next few days, post one piece per day, and follow as many tumblr accounts as you can. Repost stuff from other similar, but more popular tumblrs as frequently as possible. In the mean time, set up Google Adsense on the site (it is extremely important that you do this before you “go viral.”)
5) Do some heavy promotion: Reddit, Buzzfeed, Facebook, Twitter, even hit forums like 4chan and Something Awful, and send the link to some blogs… Memes live and die by their numbers on these sites, so this is really where you’ll have to flex your social networking muscles.
6) Once you start getting some action, get some of your friends to send in some Thomas Kink-ade-style pieces of their own. Repost them on the site. Pretty soon your followers will be submitting content to you unsolicited– and hopefully you’ll get enough submissions to perpetuate your blog through the rest of its fifteen seconds of fame!
There you have it– a surefire meme-concept that will undoubtedly have the entire Internet saying, “Huh that’s kind of funny,” and then linking to it on Twitter! You’re welcome!
DJ RePete (DJ RePete BTR, Backroom Blues Hour)
I see a world too caught up in itself to see a more correct prioritizing of our numerous problems. Solve the Maslow-esc problems first: health, safety, environment. Monetary be damned, for it is man-made and not worth anything if we’re all dead.
I’m not smart enough to invent, but we need our best minds to do so. I look to the creative minds of science fiction and see things like Mr. Fusion that would be a humanity game changer.
Carly Shields (Staff Writer/Social Media)
I’ve always had this idea that’s very Futurama, but also fairly realistic if our government and society could let go of gas. I think we need magnetic travel vehicles that drive themselves. So it’s like a car with a GPS, but no tires. You sit in your vehicle, or lay, strapped in, and the vehicle moves on magnetic tracks in our roads and driveways. Enter your destination in the GPS, and the vehicle will drive itself, like the new Google car. It can monitor its own speed according to the speed limits, which most GPS’ can tell, and according to the cars around it, which would be easy to determine via satellites.
The vehicle would also be negatively magnetic for the road, and that would ensure that other cars can’t get too close anyway. We could still have different styles and colors for vehicles, which is an important part of representation in our society, but it would eliminate the need for gas powered vehicles, and would lessen or maybe eliminate car injuries including the problem of drunk driving. Plus, it would look really cool.
DJ Thampons (Geek Out, Anatomy of a Blogger)
I think conscious people of every era see a world that “needs changing.” Every generation is confronted by a crisis of epic proportions – it wasn’t until 1991 that the Cold War officially ended – a military industrial complex/conflict that threatened human existence as we know it. In its vacuum we are battling the unchecked proliferation of corporations and their direct influence on global policy. Complacency is encouraged by ruling classes and requires true courage to challenge. Regardless of ideology, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Capitalism is a beautiful thing, but it’s getting a bit twisted.
DJ Madalyn (DJ Madalyn BTR, God Bless Weirdmerica)
This is probably a little small scale and probably not feasible (English/history major here), but I’m always in the gym thinking about how big of a waste it is that people exert so much energy that isn’t being harnessed. I’d love to find a way to use the energy that humans put into the treadmill, bicycle, stairmaster, even free weights and sit-ups, and turn that into usable energy. It probably wouldn’t power much more than the treadmill itself, but how cool would it be to have a gym that ran its electricity based solely on its members’ output?
Mary Kate Polanin (Staff Writer/Social Media)
I would create something like the “Cone of Silence” they show in the movie Get Smart. But instead of a force field I can step into so nobody can hear me, I would want something I could put around other people/things I don’t want to listen to. Forget noise cancelling headphones, it’s not the whole world I want to shut out – just your voice. You know who you are.
DJ Emily (Revolver, Alt-Country, DJ Emily BTR, Ladies Skate Only, Co-Director of Editorial)
If I were to change something about the world it would be the current state of the National Football League and their penalty obsessed nature. Heaven forbid you go after the prized quarterback with any intensity. Apparently these guys are made of glass or something. I’m shocked that they actually get through their games with so many rules and regulations. Big plays and some of the most exciting moments of the game are overturned because of STUPID penalties. So, I say we revert to about 40 years ago before all the BS and allow football to be played the way it was designed.
DJ Audrey II (The Night Show)
If I were to invent a product, it would be a machine that got me ready in the morning, a la The Jetsons. It would get me showered, brush my teeth, put my make-up on, and do my hair for me – allowing me to basically snooze the whole time. It would have a plug-in for my iPod, obviously, playing a list of songs that would go from mellow and slow to loud and fast, as to gradually wake me up.
Amanda Decker (Staff Writer)
I would like to make news sources/the media more truthful. Somehow. There’s no real democracy without an informed citizenry, and an informed citizenry needs an honest press. As for major league sports teams…. you should have to live in the state you play for. Otherwise where’s the connection between fans and players? As it is your just rooting for a brand name!
Uhhmmm, let’s see what else… oh yeah everyone should have the same education opportunities (in reality, not the so-called equality of opportunity we have now). It’s the only way to make our whole freedom/capitalism thing really fair. Equalize our ideals of equality and freedom. Also, abolish the practice of lobbying – it makes corruption absolutely inherent in the process of politics.
Next, dismantle LiveNation! It is a monopoly in every sense of the word. Kids shouldn’t have to spend so damn much just to see their favorite bands! I don’t need a ramped up “convenience” charge forced on me. Finally, did you ever want to dip your entire head in a bucket of ice-cold water the day after drinking too much? Well I have. So I would like to invent an ice-hat to use for hangover headaches. There’s a lot of other stuff I think needs fixin’ but let me stop here for your sake.
DJ Drew (DJ Drew BTR, BTR Reggae Hour)
It might be the nerd in me, but when I daydream about a better world, a world that needs “repairing” I do so as a superhero. I’m not much of a practical thinker where I design the next big innovation that will change the world. More selfishly, I daydream of superpowers that will make me the person responsible for changing the world for the better, thus making me the hero in the eyes of the world. I know it’s the most ego driven and fantastical response to an all too real question of how to make a better place, but if you indulge my fantasy for a moment you can realize that these hypothetical powers would (if they could) solve all those damn problems. If I were Superman then the answers to world questions would be easily answered; I could quiet easily manifest a world without hunger, with complete world peace, and with no fear of drought, famine, or natural disaster. Even if I were Batman, lacking actual superhuman powers, I would still have the ability and resources to stop crime before it starts, thus “inventing” a crime deterrent.
One day, when I’m bitten by a radioactive “anything,” I will become that superhero “innovator” ready to fix the huge problems of the world. Until then, I’ll let people who actually daydream in this reality to be the inventors of the world’s practical innovations…plus, whoever made the “Forever Lazy” is a superhero to me, it’s too freaking comfortable!
Chris Hatzis (Program Director, BTR Top 10)
I want a SIM card in my brain, on a pay-as-you-go plan. While we’re at it, where’s my urban moving walkway and jet pack? (Still waiting…)
Keep those dreams alive, BTR!