12. 03. 2010

The Landfill Prize

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I was sent this the other day by John Naish, author of Enough: breaking free from the world of more, and thought I might just pass it on. It’s really very entertaining! But also an indication of just how idiotically wasteful our world still is.

My favourites are the ‘Dryear Ear Dryer’ and the ‘organic cotton toilet tissue’! And quite controversial to see the ‘Kindle’ in there!

Reproduced from www.enoughness.co.uk, here are the most pointless, wasteful and needlessly complex gadgets for 2010…

1. Digital fridge magnet

Is scribbling notes with a pen on a whiteboard too complex, too onerous… too 20th century? Here’s the Digital Video Memo, a fridge magnet on which you can record a 30-second video message. Look into the camera, press the record button and start talking. You’ve only added a digital screen, a rechargeable battery system, a computer and a camera to the planet’s landfill potential. According to users’ reports, the screen is tiny and the volume’s too low, so you have to stick your mouth right near the camera… so all people get to see is a quietly talking ear.
Nominated by Karen Varga, who says, ‘You can just picture the workers in overseas factories going "What the **** are these for and why do these mad westerners need them?’


2. The Bra Dyer
The makers say the “Bra Dryer is a simple device which is based on the presumption that the best way to dry bras without ruining their fabric, wiring and padding is to dry them on a shape which resembles female breasts. That's why Bra Dryer is shaped like a female torso”.
Rea Cris, who nominated it, remarks: “What women is seriously thinking: ‘YES! Fantastic, this is what I have been waiting for: metalic dismembered hot breasts, they'll match the wallpaper perfectly!’”
Nominated by Rea Cris, Edinburgh.


3. The Dryear Ear Dryer
Wave goodbye to towels (almost). Here’s how you can spend a lot of cash, use electricity and create lots of energy waste – with a battery-operated hot-air ear dryer. 'Drying your ears has never been simpler or more effective'. Or, at £69, could it be more expensive? The device slots into the ear canal and blows hot air. Oh, and the instructions advise you to dry your ears with a towel first.
Nominated by Anna, London


4. The Uroclub
Here’s one for the incontinent golfer in your life: it’s the Uroclub – a hollow plastic club in which you can urinate mid-round, instead of an eco-friendly bush or tree to pee behind in the time-honoured way. And that’s not all: there’s also a tie-on ‘modesty blanket’ which you can hide your putter behind while micturating. Imagine picking out a full Uroclub instead of a driver at the 11th hole. How your dampened playmates would laugh.

Nominated by Robert Chamberlain

5. 100% organic cotton toilet tissue‘We can wipe our arses cheaply with something that is recycled from a renewable resource,’ says Julian Baggini. ‘So why set aside valuable agricultural land to grow cotton for us to do so? This is surely pseudo-green nonsense and not from some greenwashing multinational but an apparently lovely fluffy planet-friendly company called Spirit of Nature.’
Nominated by Julian Baggini


6. Cuisinart Soup Maker‘When I saw it in a friend’s catalogue my jaw dropped,’ says Stephen Watson, who nominated this. ‘It’s clear that there's a growing trend to these products, namely the “this does one thing well” item. Instead of using a saucepan which can be used for soup, stews, custard, sauces and much more, you buy a £149 soup machine to make soup. Then you have to find a place to store it. Presumably in the same cupboard as the waffle maker, sandwich maker, ice cream maker, yoghourt maker and so on ad nauseam.’
Nominated by Stephen Watson


7. Reel Putter
A golf putting club with an attached fishing reel, so you can reel in your putts. ‘I think They copied this idea from a Bugs Bunny cartoon,’ says Blacknose.
Nominated by Blacknose


8. Operatic pasta timer
So, you want to cook pasta, you have no sense of time – or even a kitchen timer – and you’ve never learnt how to tell if your pasta’s al dente (i.e. throw it at a wall and see if it sticks). You may be the one person on earth who needs the Al Dente Operatic Pasta Timer. It's a pasta timer in the shape of a little man, which has an inbuilt water-activated timer. When the water has been boiling long enough, the timer sings with an electronic computer voice. It sings opera. After seven minutes, it sings The Triumphal March from Aida; after nine minutes, The Chorus of Hebrew Slaves, from Nabucco, and after 11 minutes La Donna e Movile from Rigoletto. Here at Landfill Towers, we like fresh pasta that cooks in three minutes. Guess it would be soggy.
Nominated by Philip Evans, France


9. ‘The Stig' merchandise‘Putting aside the environmentally cavalier antics of Top Gear, it just ends up a million miles from anything to do with a racing driver, with bubble bath and duvet sets,’ says Jeremy Wilson, who nominated this: ‘It’s the worst kind of lazy tick-box merchandising, for equally lazy present buyers whose imagination doesn’t stretch beyond the ‘gift ideas for men’ shelf of the department store. If you received a Stig item for Christmas, you’ve probably already thrown it away. The least we could do is put it all in the bin in China and save ourselves the shipping emissions.’
Nominated by Jeremy Wilson


10. The Kindle‘Not only is it a completely unnecessary piece of electronic rubbish, it seeks to replace a design classic: the far-from obsolete, cheap and entirely reusable (ask any library!) book,’ says Ben Duncan, who nominated it. ‘It creates a whole new market in copyrighted material as it does so, meaning literature is reduced from being a pastime and an art form to being a piece of tradable intellectual property.’
Nominated by Ben Duncan, Brighton


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