This entry was posted by Friday, 15 July, 2011
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In the modern age, innovation has been one thing we could count on. The flow of new ideas has been torrential. In fact, new systems and devices made innovation easier. We made stuff that made stuff that made stuff. Innovation fed on itself until a trickle turned into a stream turned into an avalanche.

Until recently.

At the beginning of this century ( in FACT, wasn’t it  RIGHT after all the worry about the Y2K clock thing that never happened?) the impulse to innovate faded. The faucet got “plugged up”, says Edgar Biteme, writing for Annals In Global Progress. “It’s hard to understand. After the invention of  Cell-O-Heater,” (cellulite zapping  pad sold on As Seen On TV) ” it’s like the sail collapsed. We’ve been drifting ever since.”

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad doesn’t know if Biteme’s right or not, but it’s a fact that the US Patent And Trademarks Office is empty these days. I was there Monday and  it took 10 minutes to find anyone. Most of the staff were “dialing for dollars”. Pathetic. They were calling up FORMER inventors to see if they might, possibly, have anything new they could send over. The occasional application they do get these days is usually a stupid little change to  an old idea.  One of the examiners, Sam Strichtrich said “Hey. Don’t quote me, okay? But, if a trivial piece of crap application does cross my desk, I’m gonna grant it. We all are.We don’t want to admit how bad things really are.”

I guess I quoted him.

When’s the last time you saw a new technology on store shelves? Same, same, same. Right? The hot industries are the ones that specialize in repainting and repackaging stale products . It’s sad.

There are plenty of theories as to what’s going on.  Biteme, himself, thinks the problem can be traced right back to the educational system which emphasizes the classics – Greek, Latin, and ancient Hebrew. “Nobody,” according to Biteme, “studies engineering, science or, even, business, these days. It’s a big turn off to students who don’t want to be seen as money grubbers.”

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad knows you’re worried. But you shouldn’t be. The age of science and technology was totally exhausting. I could barely keep up with it all. Now I get to kick back and relax.

You too.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – ADDED LATER – – – – – – – – – – –

Mister ScienceAintSoBad has been getting messages from people who liked this article a little bit TOO much.

Let me ask you something. Have you ever told a silly joke and had someone take you seriously and then felt terrible? Hey. Yer car’s on fire! No, no, no. I was just KIDDING! I didn’t mean to scare you?

The article is (or was intended to be) a parody. It’s all made up. I thought (hoped) it would be obvious since we’re drowning in innovation and it’s more or less impossible to keep up with the escalating rate of change.

It’s the responsibility of the writer – MY responsibility – to figure out how to be kinda funny without making the reader feel like a chump. I didn’t quite get there today. Sorry. I accept full responsibility and do not feel you “fell for” anything. I’m not a professional writer. Just an engineer who writes for fun. No intent to deceive. Believe me.

Innovation’s fine. Don’t worry.

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  1. With the end of the Shuttle, another source of innovation has been lost. What’s the Tang?

  2. Sheila Lev-Tov

    Jeez! I thought you were serious. I was about to go back to school and enroll in engineering, just to help keep the Patent Office afloat. Must have been a slow news day….

    Seriously, though, it seems to me–based on nothing but my impressions (not even anecdotal evidence)–that fewer people are doing, or at least having published, creative writing. And one quick look through the TV listings will tell you that almost no new shows are scripted but, rather, that “reality” shows have taken over the majority of air time.

    But–hey! Were you really in DC at the Patent Office and didn’t drop in to visit your sister? (me)

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