Tyler Cowen expresses boyish wonder at some of the ideas found in Patently Absurd: The Most Ridiculous Devices Ever Invented:

The sociologist will be interested in "Interpersonal-Introduction Signaling System." Using a small hand-held device, you broadcast a signal indicating that you are interested in meeting someone. You can be rejected without (major) embarrassment on either side.

Of course, such a system already exists, and is currently used in Britain, albeit for less puritan pursuits than simply "meeting" someone:

And now comes "toothing," where strangers on trains and buses and at bars and concerts hook up for clandestine sex by text messaging each other with their Bluetooth-enabled cell phones or PDAs.

"I've always loved the idea of random sexual encounters, but have never felt brave enough to go to (sex) parties," says Steve, a toother from Hitchin, England. "The beauty of toothing is that there's no pressure. I was reluctant to send messages at first, but the standard greeting, which I found out from (an online toothing forum) is so innocuous there is no chance of offending anyone by sending a random message."

Ah, the wonders of technology.

Share this