That's What I Call Spiced Ham: Volume One

The webcomic with the rotating taglines.

Archive for the ‘Raw Ideas’ Category

Not worth its weight in gold

Thursday, 20 November, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David McLeish

This started as a conversation about fitting Magic: The Gathering cards in a camera box, but then the phrase “worth its weight in gold” came up and it took a different turn.

In what forms is gold itself not actually worth its own weight in gold?

On the one hand, it seems pretty straightforward to make gold worth more than its weight in gold. If you took a gold bullion bar and had someone famous etch their signature on it (without scraping away any of the gold), then you could sell it for more than just the value of the metal. In fact, in theory, anyone could sign the gold bar, or indeed make a random doodle on it, and it would (slightly) increase its value. On the other hand, we couldn’t quite agree whether that would increase its value because it’s unique, or decrease it because it looks damaged.

On the third hand, it seems unlikely that anyone who’s serious about trading gold by weight would value it less than its actual actual weight in gold, regardless of what form it’s in. Of course, the difference between “unlikely” and “impossible” is just a matter of posing the right scenario, so this led us to ask whether it’s possible to make gold into such an inconvenient form that it’s worth significantly less than the market value of the gold itself.

One obvious way to do this is to combine it into some otherwise useless alloy or mixture such that it’s expensive to refine it back into pure gold. (Come to think of it, that’s more or less what gold ore is.) Another way is to make it inaccessible, say, by launching it into orbit, or pouring it into a S-bend in a pipe running through solid concrete of an underground bunker (sharks should also be involved somehow). Come to think of it, you could give the gold negative value by making it a liability; a gold pillar that’s structurally integral to, say, an orphanage, that will give way any day now but will cost more than the value of the gold to replace, is not something of which you would want to be a proud owner.

But all these ideas somehow go against the spirit of the challenge by introducing other factors (alloys, bunkers, orphanages) as obstacles. We’re interested in making a quantity of gold, standing on its own and fully accessible, as worthless, as a proportion of the market value of an equivalent weight in bullion, as possible.

Our best idea so far is to construct some kind of solid gold death trap. The idea is to build a structure that, although made of pure gold and in principle able to be melted down and sold by weight, is so lethally hazardous to even approach that you wouldn’t be able to pay people to take it away.

So far, we have only the sketchiest ideas of how to construct such a thing. If you have any suggestions, let us know in the forums.


Tuesday, 11 November, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

BananahengeLegohengeIt’s like Stonehenge, only made of something else!

Anyone can make one; anyone can photograph one!

Make a Thinghenge! Take a photo! Post it to this Flickr group! Get all your friends to make new Thinghenges and post them!


Lightning made of owls

Thursday, 30 October, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

From lunchtime discussion today: Lightning made of owls.

We have no idea either, but if anyone can implement it, imagine how cool it would be!

In-car drum kit

Wednesday, 22 October, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

Have you ever been sitting in your car, listening to some rockin’ music, waiting at the traffic light, and the beat is just so cool you start tapping your fingers on the steering wheel in time?

What if there were pressure sensitive drum pads on your steering wheel? Turning it into something like a Zendrum? You’d tap away to the beat and produce your own awesome drum rhythms, amplified throughout the car for your creative and listening pleasure! You could even do it while driving*!

* mezzacotta neither recommends nor condones unsafe driving. If you install a system like this in your car and get busted for it, you’re on your own. But think how cool and hip you’ll be.

And while on half-baked ideas, here’s one we spotted doing a web-trawl to see who was talking about us: A web/TV show called BadIdea, in which the host takes bad ideas from the audience and tests them out, Mythbusters style, to see if they really are bad ideas, or if they might actually be any good. Sounds like a winner to us!

Art by Children

Saturday, 11 October, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

So, I was walking up the street for dinner tonight and I saw a new shop, called “Children’s Art” or something, which I found intriguing enough to have a look as I got closer. I was actually disappointed when I saw that it was artwork for children – paintings and blocky wooden sculptures of trains and clowns and stuff in bright primary colours. The sort of thing you’d use to decorate a child’s room.

Wouldn’t it be good if there was a place that sold art by children? Obviously a lot of art made by children is simplistic and child-like, and not really the sort of thing you’d want to hang on your wall (unless you’re the proud parent). But I’m sure that given enough children and enough artistic output, there would actually be some pretty decent stuff in there. Stuff that some people would be willing to buy and display in their homes. Stuff that would brighten up a house, with relatively inexpensive original works of art.

I can imagine a sort of clearing house for kid’s art. Parents can bring in stuff their kids have made (or kids themselves can bring it in), and the gallery operators would go through it and pick out the stuff that has aesthetic appeal, and put it up for sale. It’d be fairly cheap – you could buy an original piece of art that you like for 10 bucks, the gallery would take a small cut, and the kid would get some extra pocket money. This would have the additional effect of teaching the children the practical values of work and of money, and of nurturing and developing any artistic talent from a young age.

This is not an idea that we here at mezzacotta can do anything with. But I thought it cool enough to share, as a raw idea. Heck, it’s almost not-even-crazy. If you have the knowledge, experience, or simply the determination to do anything with this idea, please do.