Saturday, November 22, 2014

College for Young Teens

For the start of the ideas series, go here.  (I'll admit up front that I'm coming at this one from a place of ignorance.  I tried searching to see if this was being done and I couldn't find anything.  If I'm wrong, please let me know in the comments.)

Sometimes there are special children who don't fit well in our school system.  I'm talking about the geniuses that skip through school and wind up in college as young teens.  In fiction, this is well represented by Sheldon Cooper but they exist in real life as well.
It's my understanding that we don't really have a good set up for these prodigies.  I'm thinking of people like Ted Kaczynski and James Dallas Egbert III here.  Each of them started college very early and their lives became very messed up.  One of the obvious issues here is that college is set up for people aged 18-22.  That's a tough place for a 14 year old, especially if they have some socialization issues (again, think of Sheldon Cooper). 
I don't know what number of geniuses qualify for what I'm speaking of, but we should make an effort with them.  What I'm proposing is a set of colleges specifically for them.  Even if we just spoke of the top 10,000 teenagers in the US, that would be large enough to work with.  There could be a set of campuses in various spots around the country.  These would either specialize in various areas (engineering, math, psychology) or they could piggy-back upon existing colleges.  For instance, a campus in Boston could work with both Harvard and MIT.
Each campus would be staffed with people that would be specially trained to work with special children.  There would be extra support for the very young being away from their families.  Perhaps extra counselors would be provided.  The goal would be to have a top level education available, while protecting kids that have more needs than the average college student. 
This would require special focus, but it would be completely worth it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy 41st

And now my birthday!  Another good year!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Happy Birthday FP Gal

A big happy 40th birthday to my dear wife, the FP Gal.  I hope that this next year is simply wonderful!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Printed Classic Cars

For the start of the ideas series, go here.

This idea was inspired by this story, about a company that uses a 3D printer to make cars.  If I understand it correctly (and I might not), they make a basic framework of machinery and then a shell is created to be on top of it.  And if I don't have that right, well, that's the way I'd do it.
The idea is to make about half a dozen different basic car 'frames'.  These would differ a bit in size, with some being longer than others or perhaps a bit wider.  This would allow for smaller cars and recreations of some of the longer cars of the past.  Yep, the past.  Because the inspiration for the shell on top would be the classic cars of yesteryear.
Just take a look at these cars from the 30's.  Gorgeous.  Simply gorgeous.  Some of them would have to be updated for safety reasons, no doubt, but the clean outside lines could be kept.  A recreation based on one of these would turn heads and bring wolf whistles as you drove through the neighborhoods.
Or maybe you prefer cars from the 50's.  If some smart car maker put tail-fins on a modern car, it would cause a sensation.  With modern technology, it would be easy enough to do.  All it takes is some smart and savvy person to make it happen.

The modern car is very blah.  All sedans look alike.  That's even true for car makers that are known for their style.  SUV's and trucks all look like they came from the same cast.  Oh sure, the grills and the headlights differ here and there but otherwise they could all be the same.
And then someone makes the Mini Cooper or the VW Bug and they find that they can hardly produce enough of them.  It's not hard to figure out why.  The big auto-makers may be locked into their cookie cutters.  (I strongly suspect that they are.)  But it wouldn't be hard to break that mold.
And I suspect it won't take long before others figure that out too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


While driving in the car with the boys...

DF: Dad, do bugs poop?
Me: Yes.
DF: Where?
Me: Oh, wherever they happen to be.
LL: In their diapers?
Me: No. Bugs don't wear diapers.
LL: No diapers?
Me: No. No one puts diapers on bugs.
LL: (outraged) They . . . just have BOTTOMS?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Commercial Idol

For the beginning of the ideas series, go here.

This idea is something of a take on 'American Idol', a show that I've never watched.  It's also inspired by various other shows that a) have people compete on creative output and b) kick one person out each week.  This would include shows that have focused on interior design, clothes making and dog grooming.  Much of the gamut of creative possibilities have been covered but AFAIK there is one big gaping gap.
We need a show where commercials compete against each other.  This could go in one of two directions, or possibly both.  In one direction, you'd have aspiring folks that would make commercials for a product.  A panel of judges would talk about what they like and what they don't.  Then the audience would call in and vote for a winner (or a loser, depending on how you look at it).  Each week, one person (or team?) would be ousted.  Eventually a winner is crowned and given a gold ticket of entry into commercial design.
The other direction might be more interesting.  This would feature existing commercials made by big time firms.  These are commercials that the viewing public has already seen and is very familiar with.  The same voting dynamic would happen and one firm would be kicked off each week.  In a more perfect world, they'd also pull the losing commercial from TV rotation but that probably wouldn't happen automatically.
Either way, you'd get big audiences.  The first route would have advertisers clamoring to be a part of it.  I bet someone like Coca-Cola would be thrilled to have a dozen creative commercials air, showcasing their product.  The second route wouldn't have quite the 'starter' buzz, but it would be for higher stakes.  Imagine being in each week to see the makers of those awful commercials being shamed before their peers and the entire nation.  That would be appointment television.
Perhaps, both ideas could be joined together.  Either alternate weeks or have the show focus new in the first half hour and established in the second.  This would be a definite hit.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Winter has arrived and I'm having trouble adjusting.