h a l f b a k e r y
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It is possible, though lamentable, that few people will
have heard of Linus Folkes except in his obituary.
However, this diminutive Liverpudlian engineer and
ornithologist was responsible for developing the first
practicable means of splinting broken bird wings
satisfactorily, and a great
many birds - both tame and
owe their lives (or at least their airworthiness) to him.
His interests, however, extended far beyond ornithology.
If you have ever used a retractable ball-point pen, you
can thank Linus Folkes for inventing that little saw-
toothed, spring-loaded widget that enables it to
retract and extend at the press of a button. This
mechanism, in turn, was based on his earlier (and less
successful) work on machine-gun mechanisms during the
later years of WWII.
You may also have wondered what genius developed the
flexible silicone anus that now appears on many bottles
of ketchup, mayonnaise and other sauces, allowing them
to be squeezed out their plastic bottles without
accumulating a rim of dried sauce around the nozzle.
That genius was none other than an ageing but still
sharp Linus Folkes, who hit upon the idea after his
studies into avian cloacae.
Folkes' modesty - and his desire to see his inventions
used rather than to make a personal fortune - may be
reason why you have never heard of this gentleman.
Another reason may be that he never actually existed.
Proposed, therefore, is a regular newspaper column to
obituarize people who, though never having actually
existed, have led remarkable and noteworthy lives.
drip-free valve [xaviergisz, Feb 07 2016]
||Didn't have time to read the whole post, but I was
very moved. He must have been a great man. I think
we could all learn a little bit from Linus Folkes.
||If you listen to the wind, maybe you can still hear
him calling to the birds whose anuses he was
||His widow would be moved by your kind thoughts,
||Is this for the purpose of alibi and plausible deniability? I
may have postulated an invention or two for which I would
like to postulate an inventor...
||The wife of the Time Traveler would have been an
interesting read, having lived, but not existed, or perhaps
||Is this the Linux guy? Crap, I didn't even know he died. RIP penguin dude, up to the big kernel in the sky.
||Nope, it's not Linus Torvalds. As of a couple of hours ago,
he's still posting about a new Intel NUC computer he just got
for his kids.
||Are you sure he's dead? Have you checked in a bird's anus?
||He passed away on 3rd Feb, after a short battle with
ossifying pancreatitis. The funeral is for family only,
but there will be a memorial service later in the
year. His widow has requested that, in lieu of
flowers, donations can be made to the RSPB.
||Thanks MB. I shall never look at a Ketchup bottle in the same
||PS There seem to be so many noteworthy people dying
recently. When I was a lad, people didn't die this often..
||I think [MB] is hoping that, if he writes enough obituaries of people who aren't dead, then, when *his* obituary comes out, he won't be dead either, and his place will somehow have been taken by Linus and friends.
||I'm picturing Pratchett's Death shaking his head, sharpening his scythe, and thinking "NICE TRY ...".
||[Ling] - that's called "More Biddity".
||// when *his* obituary comes out, he won't be dead
either// If I die, I shall be very, very annoyed.