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The Next Big Small Idea

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By John Pawlak

I love reading blogs on the human condition.  Why read standard news sites when you can enjoy the introspective analyses of the social issues that impact our daily lives, especially those written by “fair and balanced” minds?
 For instance, a blog might discuss the inventor of the chip-clip and his sociopolitical views on the frightening worldwide shortage of twist ties.  It makes me wonder if anyone ever considered combining the clip-on tie and twist tie.
 Ah, but we do take inventions for granted.  All around us, our world is inundated with the evidence of true innovative genius, from the lowly plastic tip of our shoelaces to the majestic faux Rolls Royce hood adorning thousands of Volkswagen beetles.  It was insights like these that got us out of the dark ages.
 OK, let’s work our way through human virtuosity from the bottom up.  Perhaps the most widespread story of early inventions is that of the toilet, purported to have been the brainstorm of Thomas Crapper.  Well, it’s a cute story, but not true.  In 1596, John Harington invented the toilet as we know it today.  His godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, had one of John’s commodes installed in the Richmond Palace.
 Is this where we got the phrase “a royal flush?”


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