The Evil Look

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“I read the news today, oh boy” – John Lennon.

I read the news today also. Actually, yesterday, and on the web, of course. Interesting news for the Muggle world, indeed! (Harry Potter fans will understand that reference). Anyway, it’s almost here, that highly desirous fashion supplement known as The Invisibility Cloak. <-- Just click to read the article.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, actually. Anyone remembering Captain Kirk talking into what we would now call a cellphone to beam him up would know that science-fiction, amongst the better writers, has always had at least one foot in the door of current scientific research. Couple the “wow” factor of an invisibility cloak with the economic power of our military industries, and here we are.

The question is, where are we? Long before Harry Potter came around, it was a fairly regular childhood daydream to think about “what could be done if only I were invisible.” This varied from a surprising poke in a buddy's waist as a joke, to hiding from mom when yard work was impending, to… well, what did you think of? Practical jokes? How easy it would be to steal? A safe way to beat up a bully? A little excursion to the girls dorm? (if you’re a guy, anyway…).

If you’re honest at introspection, you may find that all of your thoughts involve some violation of a moral rightness. I know, sorry to spoil the party! An invisibility cloak necessarily invites getting away with “something,” though I’m certain the military would consider it a competitive advantage.

It’s much harder finding uses that would be considered beneficial to us, avoiding the large pallette of “somethings" that would be wrong to do. Assuming that we someday come to the point where we can manufacture things we don’t want to see, what would you make?

Billboards come to mind as they’re a blight upon the earth, but it’s not a likely application. Not much for a revenue stream. Invisible chairs? We’d have to put caution labels on them so we could see where to sit. Power lines? Another blight, but difficult to repair when storms knock them down, not to mention dangerous. Invisible lamp cords? Perhaps, until your kitty trips over it. Beverage containers? Maybe for novelty purposes, but you better keep up with them when they're empty. How about a cloak to put over the kitchen counter when unexpected guests arrive? Now we're talking!

Finding a "good" use of invisibility seems a challenge, and it seems the best I can come up with is marginal. Invisible straps on women’s dresses. Exciting, eh? I would suggest invisible designer footwear, but it would be difficult to spot a cheap imitation.

Also, as they are not allowed at my kids’ high school, perhaps invisible backpacks would be permitted so that our youth don’t get hernias while toting their books, yet making their bazookas and illegal drugs conspicuous should they abuse the privilege.

Anyway, think about what legitimate invisible products of which you can conceive that don’t fall into (captivating but) sinful or teasing categories, and post your thoughts! It’s not so easy, I think.

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