is a philosophy discussion group. We meet on the 3rd Tuesday of every month
from 7.30 to 9.30pm
in the The Bull
in Tanners Street. We cover a large range of topics
. There's no charge for membership and everyone is welcome to drop in. Just bring your brain and some beer money!
This is your chance to promote inventions, innovations and policies that you think would improve life in the UK today.
Bring along your ideas for consideration by the Stoa and we will vote to decide on the best idea. It can be a completely original idea that you have been dying to float or it can be someone else's idea that you would like to champion. It can be serious or it can be as wacky as you like. It can be a Big Idea or something small and quite trivial.
Here are some idea bank sites might stimulate your thinking or provide ideas to work on:
Here are some examples of bright ideas that show the kind of thing we will be discussing:
- Is it time to get rid of traffic lights?
- We rely on traffic lights to tell us when to go. And when to stop. We should replace that with common sense, argues traffic campaigner Martin Cassini. Listen to his podcast in the topic (16 mins).
- Audio-in jacks in Cars
- These days we all have so many handheld music devices such as portable CD and MP3 players, while no car comes without a sound system. Why not be able to plug the former into the latter directly?
- Better Brake Light
- I would propose that car companies should develop a center brake light which behaves similarly to a “level meter”. This level meter would probably have about 10 distinct squares of red light. These squares would be illuminated from left to right and more lights would be lit based on the strength of braking and/or deceleration levels.
- Retractible waterproof canopy
- Install a retractible waterproof canopy that can be engaged when a car door opens, keeping the driver dry while they open an umbrella.
- Bad breath detector
- Create an in car sensor that detects bad breath and body odor, then alerts the driver.
- Two roles, one journey: fuel saved
- I recommend that the vans and lorries, which are currently travelling around the country, should be adapted over a period of time to be capable of carrying a number of people.
- Aerial pictures in flight
- Airlines have installed cameras to show takeoff, approaching and landing. Why not make that camera show the area over which the plane is flying, continuously?
E-books and Publishing
- Kindle or iPhone audio option for reading books
- I think there should be an audio button that you can press so that if your eyes get too tired to continue reading, or your partner asks you to turn the bedside light off, your story turns into an audio book and the remainder is read to you.
- Sell individual poems in the same way iTunes sells individial music tracks
- When you think of searching the web you think of Google; when you think of encyclopedias you think of Wikipedia. Our aim is to create the premier poetry site on the web which becomes the first site you go to when you think of poetry. It will be possible to download masses of out-of-copyright free poems as well as paid-for content. Customers will be able to order books on-line, create their own anthologies or download individual poems for a few pence. Poetry will be available in a variety of formats as well as hard copy via Print-On-Demand technology.
- Sell cheap e-books subsidized by embedded advertising
- When paperbacks originally came out they had ads in the back and front. The idea is to make ebooks DRM-free and cover the cost of production using advertising revenue similar to the way free newspapers are marketed.
- Clip on music stand light from the bottom
- I need a music stand light that can clip on and actually light up both pages of the sheet music without overloading my music stand from the heavy weight at the top and hinder my scores that are sometimes a bit taller then the stand itself.
- Bring back the knob
- Cycle lights are carried in your bag and as cycling is an energetic activity the bag gets jostled and the contents bump up against each other. This inevitably results in the button on the light being pressed at some point, the light being powered on and the battery running down. There must be an opportunity in the market for someone to produce a sensible bike light with a knob instead of a button.
- Put the chip in the middle of a credit card
- Put the chip in the middle of a credit card so it doesnít matter which way round it is placed in the reader.
- Launch gapinthemarket.com, where users can send in details of products they canít find, or send in practical problems for which there seems no soloution yet.
- Bus rider discount for shop purchases
- How about encouraging people to use the bus to when they go shopping downtown by offering them a discount on purchases if they can show their bus ticket. This might work particularly well with more environmentally oriented companies e.g. organic grocers.
- Haggling accepted here
- Display a universally recognizable symbol for stores, businesses and restaurants that says 'haggling accepted here'.
Computers and the Internet
- Operating System on a card for computers
- Buy Windows or any other computer OS on a card or USB stick rather than have to load it from a CD.
- Require Porn sites to be .sex
- Porn sites come in so many versions that it is hard to know what to click on and what to avoid. I would like to see every porn website be required to have the .sex suffix. While this does not “censor” these sites, it does permit parents to easily block pornographic content using their Windows settings.
Mobile phones and cameras
- An 'I'm driving' button on a mobile phone
- On my phone I'd like a button to press while I'm driving that would inform the caller that I'm driving and will call back when possible. Perhaps double-click this button to inform that than “I'm pulling over now/soon to call you”.
- Print capability on a mobile phone
- A mobile phone that can print notes or online website information.
- Digital camera with remote control
- What do we do when you want to take a photo of ourselves on a trip and there is nobody is around? We keep the camera in front of us and set the timer. Instead of that, we can use a remote with a small preview display, where you can see the preview of the photo, after you stand in front of the camera. Once, we get a good preview in the remote display, we can press the shoot button from the remote itself.
- Insect identification app
- Create an app that uses a phoneís camera to scan any insect to establish whether or not it is dangerous.
- Key Number
- My idea is that you could hit a code on your phone and then the other person would input a phone number from his own keypad. The number would be captured by the phone and saved,
- P2P cell network
- Create a cell network whereby each cell phone “forwards” the call to the recipient. Example: I am location A and want to speak to my friend in location B, X miles away, let's say 10 miles. I call him/her and the cell phone transmission hops and skips through other users' idle phones until it finds my friend.
- Panic button on mobile phone
- I would like to see mobile phones that have a panic button that could be activated if someone was being attacked. On activation, the phone would sound a loud siren, and 999 would be dialed automatically, with the phone going to loudspeaker mode so the attacker would know that 999 had been called. The GPS in the phone would permit the police to locate the attack.
- Phone projection
- A mini projector built into a mobile phone that can display whatever is on the mobile phone screen.
- Star gazing app
- Design an app which, when a device is held up to a starry sky shows the stars as they were billions of years ago or how they will look in the future.
- Use kinetic energy to charge your phone or Ipod
- I was thinking you could have something that charges your phone/ipod while you walk. Build a device that you could put in your shoe, or in your purse, or somewhere on you, that could use kinetic energy to charge your stuff.
- Install universal electrical sockets in all new buildings
- Three pins. Two pins. Slanting pins. Straight. Circular. In a world where there is no global standard for plug design, taking electrical items abroad can be fraught with difficulties. But now a solution may be at hand - and already in use in China.
Clothing and fashion
- Grow your own clothes
- Instead of using animal parts, or plant fibres, BioCouture aims, ultimately, to grow entire garments in a vat. They grow mats of bacteria and yeast in a bath of nutrients, which spin mats of cellulose fibres that can be shaped into garments, resulting in a material dubbed “vegetable leather”.
- Charity personality profile
- My idea is for a website for people wanting to either do charity work or donate to a charity, but aren't sure which charity is best for them. The person wishing to donate will fill out a questionnaire. This information is loaded into a database that matches the person to an appropriate charity. The website will generate income through advertising.
- Offer subsidized funerals to organ donors
- This woild hopefully encourage people to become doners.
- Remove copyright from government data so it can be freely circulated
- Right now a fight is happening in Whitehall, with two factions in government: one group thinks we should give this data away for free, as a matter of principle, because it will make good things happen; the other thinks we should restrict access, and sell it.
- Provide open-access to publically funded academic research
- Academics, funded mostly by the public purse, pay for the production and dissemination of papers; but for historical reasons, these are published by private organisations that charge around £18.50 per paper, keeping out any reader who doesn't have access through their institution.
- Adopt randomised trials of government policies
- Iíve spent a lot of time arguing that government should be more evidence based, and that wherever possible, we should do randomised trials to find out which policy intervention works best. We often have no idea whether the things we do in government actually work or not, and achieve their stated goals. This is a disaster.
- Establish a Court of Environmental Rights
- Open an International Court of Environmental Rights with a remit to prosecute countries or corporations that commit crimes against the environment.
- End the war on drugs
- The war on drugs has been a total failure at preventing drugs addiction with over 50 years of proof in its wake. By stopping all spending on the war, we would achieve a reduction in drugs related problems.
- Create a web site for tracking politicians
- I'd like to see a web site like www.imdb.com but instead of being about movies, it would be about all politicians. You'd be able to to get basic info about who represents you, upcoming elections etc. You could search for a politician and check how (s)he has voted on certain issues. There could also be links to any relevant articles about them.