Archive for alan sugar

After Work Beers

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2012 by javedbabar

The amateur entrepreneur set up what looked like a record player. Younger members of the Devils’ Den audience had only ever seen these at their grandmas’ houses. They seemed cumbersome objects.

“Are you ready to go?” said the event’s host, Collette Vapinski. She had been selected by the New Ideas Show’s producers for her high public profile. She was famous for being famous.

“I’m almost there,” said the presenter. “Just two more minutes.”

“I bet you say that to all the girls!” said Collette. Her comment drew shrieks from the girls in the audience. The presenter continued fiddling for a full five minutes, and then indicated he was set.

Collette said, “Okay, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our sixth and final amateur entrepreneur waiting to impress our panel of expert investors. Please introduce yourself and tell us about your idea.”

He was confident for a guy barely in his twenties. He said, “Hello, I’m Matthew and I’d like to tell you about my Virtual Vibration technology.” This caused some girls to snigger, and the speaker stopped and said, “Calm down girls, I’m only just getting started.”

Maybe he wasn’t as innocent as he appeared. He indicated the apparatus and said, “This is my equipment. Impressive isn’t it, girls? It may look like an ordinary phonograph to you but…”

Collette looked at the panel and said, “Is that what it’s called?” Low tech pioneer Amisha Jordan, ex-banker Arthur Choo, and social media activist Juno Osh, all nodded.

Matthew continued, “In one sense it is, but with an important difference. Allow me to illustrate.” People craned their necks to see what he was doing, but his actions were hidden by a raised cover. It seemed that he had set a record spinning and then placed a needle upon it. There was a very rough crackling, and panel members put their hands to their ears. A recorded conversation was relayed; two male voices with Greek or Arabian accents.

The first voice said, “How’s it going over there?”

The second said, “Not bad, pal. I need to do another coat. I’m not sure this one will dry in time though.”

“Ah, just do it tomorrow morning.”

“The painters are coming in tomorrow. It needs to be done tonight.”

“Okay, pal. I’ll have a warm beer waiting for you when you’re done.”

The rough crackling returned and put an end to the conversation.

Arthur said, “Is it immigrants working in Britain?”

Juno said, “Music would have been much better. Something like that will never go viral.”

Amisha said, “Well done for portraying ordinary people doing honest work, not empty celebrities.” Without meaning to, she looked across the room at Collette.

Matthew removed the gramophone cover to reveal a pot spinning, being brushed by a slim blue laser beam. “These are voices recorded in wet clay, ten thousand years ago in Egypt, picked up by a laser needle and processed through a digital translator. The first guy was a potter. His words were encoded on the pot by his paintbrush wobbling as he talked. I must be honest though; the plasterer’s words were recorded separately from scratches in the plaster, and mixed in later. What do you think of my Virtual Vibration technology?”

Nothing recordable was said for a while, and then there was an eruption that would have produced very rough crackling.

Soul Capture

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2012 by javedbabar

Bobby’s mind was being expanded by the presentations at the Devils’ Den. It was definitely the best event at the New Ideas Show in Lucerne’s glassy community centre, commonly called the Transparent Temple.

He’d sat among the audience hoping to get some inspiration for starting his own business, but instead he was becoming a little scared. Floating cities, underwater container houses, head plug-ins, and programmable matter – the ideas seemed impossible, or at least unbelievable. Was that why it was called Devil’s Den? Had they made pacts with the devil?

A guy he recognized walked towards the stage; he managed the recycling facility on the edge of the village. Surely his idea would be reasonable. He was a down to earth guy.

The host Collette held her nose as he approached. She said, “Didn’t you bathe this week, my friend?”

He smiled to himself, and then at everyone. “Sorry about that. I just came from work at the transfer station. It’s an occupational hazard.”

Panel member and social media activist Juno Osh drew back in distaste. The audience laughed. Low-tech pioneer Amisha Jordan however was pleased, and said, “It’s good to see a real working man in here. Not just a load of pencil heads.”

“Enough flirting, trash junkies,” said Collette. “I know business sometimes gets dirty, but there’s no need for business people to be dirty.”

The audience booed and the transfer station manager dropped his smile. “Only joking,” she said. She couldn’t afford to lose public goodwill for she had no talents; she was only famous for being famous. “Please introduce yourself and tell us about your idea.”

“My name is Toby, and my business is recycling. These days we try to minimize waste. The best thing of course is to not make it in the first place – you can reduce your product packaging by wise buying choices, and even eliminate it by going to bulk stores. But there’s still plenty of trash. That’s the nature of a modern capitalist economy. I noticed a while ago that at our transfer station, we reuse every resource – card, paper, plastic, metal, wood, glass – except one.”

The audience was curious. Someone called out, “What’s that, pal?”

Toby said magisterially, “Ourselves. Our bodies are cremated, buried, thrown into the sea, and in some cultures chopped up and left as a final act of compassion and generosity for wild beasts to devour.”

Collette said, “Urrggh!”

“Valuable minerals are wasted. And more importantly, valuable experiences that are encoded in our cells. I have developed technology that can compare original and final DNA in terms of quality and quantity, and measure the relative effects of nature and nurture.”

“Can you actually do that?” said Juno, suddenly interested.

“Well not fully, only fifty percent of it.”

“Well I could get the other fifty percent from my social networks. I think we can do business.”

He wasn’t the first amateur entrepreneur led astray by Juno Osh. She’d captivated many with dreams of social media glory but her rewards were rarely tangible. Her promises were made but not kept. They were as vaporous as souls.

Programmable Matter

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2012 by javedbabar

There was chaos at the Devils’ Den event, with the host Collette Vapinski running around, shouting at her assistants. The previous presenter’s slideshow had malfunctioned. Instead of impressing the panel of expert investors with his technical prowess, the flashes of goofy pictures, drugs, pornography and End Time prophecies bemused and disgusted them. The amateur entrepreneur left in shame.

Collette said, “On behalf of the organizers of the New Ideas Show, I would like to apologize to all audience members for this unexpected occurrence. If people are really upset, we can curtail the event. Who would like us to cancel the rest of Devils’ Den?” A few hands went up. “Okay, not too many of you, so we’ll continue. Please give us five minutes to set up again.”

Bobby realized that he’d been thinking too conventionally. The first notion he was developing was that of a “spice cream” van, serving exotic flavoured ice creams. The second was that of an African Sandwich shop, which sounded exciting but he hadn’t yet thought about what his definition of “African sandwiches” should be.

Presenters today had shown their ideas for floating cities, underwater container houses, and head plug-ins to connect men and machines directly. He too should stretch his imagination.

After a while, Collette Vapinski said, “Okay, we’re back in business!” The audience cheered. “Who’s next?”

A tall blonde girl, wearing a loose white dress, walked up to the stage.

“Not her! Not her!” said low-tech pioneer Amisha Jordan. “She’s some kind of fraudster.”

Ex-banker Arthur Choo and social media activist Juno Osh both burst out laughing. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” said Amisha. “You won’t be laughing later.”

Collette said, “Excuse me panel, what’s so funny? Would you please explain to our audience?”

Juno said, “Cindy will explain.” Arthur nodded.

“Grrr!” said Amisha. “I’m tempted to take a break. I don’t want to share the stage with this crook.” Juno and Arthur gave welcoming smiles to the girl in the white dress, while Amisha sat in a grump.

“Hello everybody,” said the girl. “My name is Cindy. I’d like to present my idea for programmable matter. It’s a way of arranging electrons and atoms into different shapes. You can change the information and energy present in objects to transform them into other objects. Einstein said that all items are energy with differing vibrations. It we can change their frequency, we can change their form. It works with products and with people. My initial tests with repurposing, invisibility, and time travel have been very encouraging, leading to…”

Amisha said, “This is ridiculous. She somehow sneaked into my office last night and tried to trick me out of money.” She walked off the stage. “I’ll be back when she’s gone.”

Juno and Arthur however were both entranced, and said nothing.

Collette said to the girl, “So what’s your offer?”

One-quarter of my company for one million dollars.”

Juno said, “Hey, yesterday you said one-half of your company for one million dollars.”

“Well, I transported myself to all three of your offices, and received two expressions of interest. So I changed the terms. Of course, if you are no longer interested, I could go elsewhere.”

“No, no,” said Arthur. “I’m very interested.”

“Me too,” said Juno. “Let’s talk after.”

Plug-Ins

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2012 by javedbabar

Bobby had joined the Devils’ Den audience to escape the chattering salesmen at the New Ideas Show, but now he was really enjoying it. The ideas so far had been pretty wacky, but the amateur entrepreneurs presenting them had been passionate and unapologetic about their proposals. Maybe that’s what makes a good business person, thought Bobby.

The third person presenting wore a strange wig. At least it appeared to be a wig. It could be a really bad hairdo, or a case of double bluff where a baldy wears a hairpiece so bad that people say, “that could never be a wig!” Anyway, it was brown and spiky, like a seventies rock star.

It was amazing that host Collette Vapinski, who was famous for being famous, didn’t make fun of the wig. This was probably because of its unknown status. You could see that she was tempted, but resisted and instead said, “Please introduce yourself and explain your idea.”

“Hello panel! Hello audience! My name is Desmond. I’m here to talk about plugs. I know what you’re thinking – plugs, what’s there to talk about? How mundane.”

Low-tech pioneer Amisha Jordan rolled her eyes, expecting another electrical gadget. Digital activist Juno Osh leaned forward. Arch-capitalist Arthur Choo kept a straight face.

Desmond continued, “Plugs let you connect any object to any power source. Isn’t it amazing that a tiny power point lets you connect to infinite universal energy?” The audience didn’t think so. “And now we have SCARTs for audio-visual devices, USBs in computers, and Ethernet for networking, a different kind of power, plus all manner of alternative energies – solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal, just to name a few. You know…”

“So what?” said Amisha. “What’s your point?”

He wasn’t daunted, and continued. “Aren’t electric cars amazing? They’re better in every way. They run quietly, with no emissions, and recharge for pennies. They are the greenest transport available.”

“Don’t push your greenwash, pal. We’ve had bicycles since the…”

Juno Osh interrupted her. “I suppose you came here on a bike from the City, did you? All one hundred and sixty kilometres this morning?” Amisha was embarrassed and stopped talking.

These interruptions made Desmond forget his script. He stood there for a while, looking stupid, then removed his wig and turned around. There was a metal socket in the back of his head, into which he plugged a cable leading to a projector.

A slideshow began on screen, showing his ideas for the next stage of Artificial Intelligence – full hardware-software-meatware integration. It was pretty technical. The audience and panel watched open-mouthed. Bobby thought, now that’s a real innovation.

After a few slides, however, something went wrong. The screen flashed goofy pictures, images of depression drugs, interracial pornography, and End Time prophecies. People gasped and laughed. Desmond became upset and unplugged immediately.

“I think it needs a bit more work,” said Amisha, and sat back, smiling.

Container Houses

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2012 by javedbabar

After the nerd had presented his idea for a floating city – floating in air, not water – came a girl with a more sensible idea – container houses. Bobby was enjoying the Devils’ Den event at the New Ideas Show. He was looking for ideas to start his own business in job-poor Lucerne.

“The essential problem is not lack of housing,” said the presenter, who had neglected to mention her name. “It has to do with distribution. Just like with food – where some become obese, whilst others starve – people have too much or too little shelter. For example why does a childless couple have a ten thousand square foot house in Strattus that they use one month a year, while someone in Mumbai has a hundred square foot room housing three generations?”

“Isn’t that their reward, and their choice?” said Arthur Choo, ex-chief economist of the Bank of Canadia. “They are wealth creators, and every dollar they spend is multiplied within the economy.”

“That may be true,” said the presenter. “But I believe they should be encouraged to make better choices. Shipping containers provide an equitable, flexible solution. They are easy to load, unload, stack, transfer and transport. Everyone should get one. Isn’t that a basic right of democracy, fair housing? A house is the basis…”

She was interrupted by Amisha Jordan, promoter of traditional and low-tech solutions. “I like the idea, but it’s been done already. There are offices and hotels made of containers in port cities.”

“Not underwater,” said the presenter. People gasped.

“What? You are hoping to build underwater housing?”

“Yes, in international waters. They belong to everyone so people can live where they like. There’s no need to be oppressed by the outmoded paradigms of nation states. We can…”

Arthur Choo said, “I’m afraid it’s not that simple. International waters have regulations too. You can’t just live where you like; in the same way you can’t just fish where you like. There are guidelines.”

“I will look into the legal framework later. Right now I’m concerned with mastering physical, chemical and biological environments; looking at things like pressure, temperature, humidity and light; water, food, waste and toxins; sea creatures, microorganisms and fungi. Once those are managed, everything is possible.”

“Okay,” said Arthur Choo. “I’m willing to look at this at a conceptual level. Go on.”

“I’ve also located undersea methane vents, and begun work on dolphin communications and plankton farms…”

Uh-oh, thought Bobby. This girl is all out to sea. Why are young entrepreneurs obsessed by the sea? He’d heard ideas for boats made of recycled bottles, floating cities and marine farms. He didn’t realize they were in tune with the soul of the planet, the global unconscious, and being drawn towards the creative source.

Floating City

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by javedbabar

Bobby was at the New Ideas Show in Lucerne. It was a great opportunity to do some research for his new business. He’d grown tired of salesmen chattering though and slipped into the audience for Devils’ Den. The first amateur entrepreneur brave enough to face the panel of expert investors was a tall nerdish looking boy.

“Come on up!” said the host, Collette Vapinski, a lady famous for being famous. The boy began walking swiftly but slowed down as he approached the stage. “Come on! Let’s speed it up! We’re in the age of global business. There’s no time to hang about!” The audience laughed. “Woo! There goes an Indian company spicing up your code! Choo! There goes a Chinese company copying your product and shipping it before you do!” Arthur Choo, ex-chief economist of the Bank of Canadia, looked up at her, annoyed. She mouthed, “Sorry.”

The boy had reached the stage. “Please introduce yourself and tell us about your idea.”

“Hello everybody,” said the boy. “My name is Cedric and I’d like to tell you about my idea for a floating city. It is one kilometre wide and houses up to a million citizens in high-density housing. There is large-scale vertical gardening, and a one hundred percent recycling facility that…”

“Wait a minute!” called Amisha Jordan, a promoter of traditional and low-tech technologies. “A floating city? You mean in the sea? No? In the air! How will you do that? It sounds ridiculous!”

The boy was scared by her interruption, but recovered and continued. “It will be built of a mixture of carbon alloys and holograms. All heating will be solar, cooling will be by winds, and it will levitate by means of electromagnetism. It will be useful for inhospitable regions of earth. One kilometre above the earth’s surface there are fewer noxious gases, and cleaner air to breathe…”

“Excuse me,” said Arthur Choo. “Are we speaking of the near future or several centuries yet? What’s your timeline?” It was not a hostile question.

“I’m thinking two hundred years in the future, the same time frame as Sony’s futurists.”

Someone in the audience called out “Two hundred years!” and Cedric hesitated, but Arthur Choo nodded and said, “Go on.”

Cedric was encouraged by this and spoke rapidly. “It will be an entirely independent entity, and can move with the seasons to optimise energy production and resident comfort. It will have fully secure access and good immigration controls. Of course tourism will be a major…”

Social media pioneer June Osh interrupted. “What about using these cities on other planets. Have you thought of that?”

“Yes, it is certainly a possibility for…”

“How much do you need?” she said.

Cedric answered immediately, “I’m looking for five hundred billion dollars for half of the company.”

“I’m in!” said June Osh. There was a gasp from the crowd. “But I don’t have the funds available yet so will only act as an advisor. My website Farmbook is not yet profitable, but it does have one billion members. We could try crowd funding…”

Good luck to you both, thought Bobby. Maybe he didn’t have the right frame of mind to be an entrepreneur.