Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Expensive, difficult, slightly dangerous, not particularly effective... I'm on a roll.

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Elastic telescope.

  [vote for,

I have just been speaking to my brother, Sturton, concerning some rather alarming revelations. That, however, is not the topic for discussion here.

It transpires that Sturton had lunch with our intercalary twin shortly before the latter departed for Indonesia in search of the Javan Nocturnal Large-eyed Water Bat. He (that is, our intercalary, not Sturton, nor even the Javan Nocturnal Large-eyed Water Bat) is accustomed to travelling light in difficult terrains, and has over the years taken with him many ingenious devices of his own contrivance.

Those of you who know our twin will recall that he wears a monocle (since he is slightly hard of seeing in his left eye), and the instrument which he showed Sturton at first gave the appearance of being merely a monocle held in place with a stout headband. It looked rather ridiculous, although less so in the context of the wearer.

As is usually the case with him, however, all was not as it first appeared to seem.

As you will of course know, a Galilean telescope consists of two lenses, set at either end of a tube. The far lens is gently convex, while the nearer lens is somewhat stronger and concave.

You will probably also know that, when two lenses are placed very close together, their combined refractive power approximates to the sum of their individual powers. Thus, a weak convex lens placed on top of a strongly concave one behaves very much like a single weakly concave lens.

It was this arrangement of superposed lenses which constituted our twin's strange monocle, and which corrected his near sightedness sufficiently for him to choose the wine at the dimly-lit table.

Over dessert, however, the true brilliance of this creation was revealed. With a flourish, our twin reached up to his eye and gripped the forwardmost edge of his compound monocle. Extending his arm, he not only ignited his shirt-sleeve on the candle, but also revealed that the front lens of his monocle could be extended on two stout cords which had hitherto been concealed in the headband.

The resulting pair of lenses, now held precisely 50cm apart by the cords, acted as a near-perfect Gallilean telescope, of sufficient power for him to determine that the same wine was a full nine pounds cheaper in the Ethnic Australian Bistro several hundred yards down the road.

As we speak, our intercalary twin is probably scrambling along some Javan riverbank, wielding his machete with one hand whilst using this uniquely portable and monomanual telescope to scan the skyline for his quarry.

In case he does not return, I am posting this idea here lest its secret be lost with him.

MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 08 2011


       Is this a case of polyfocal amblysiblia, or bradygestatory chronoinversion?
lurch, Nov 09 2011

       A 'baker called [MaxwellBuchannan]
Shot out of the womb like a cannon
While Sturton, his twin,
Though trying to win,
Stayed in 'till their mum had a man on.
spidermother, Nov 09 2011

       // wielding his machete //   

       He took his machete, instead of buying a parang when he got to Indonesia? I'm sure there's a story there.
baconbrain, Nov 09 2011

       He never travels without his machete, which was a present from a late aunt. He is completely inept with it, but his machete-flailing (coupled with his visual problems) ensures that the guides do their utmost to keep well ahead of him, beating a path as fast as they can go.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 09 2011

       You're not pulling the cords tight.   

       Ooops. Sorry. Should have mentioned they were elasticated - bet that stings.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 09 2011

       They may be reactionless, but at least they're not generating momentum.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 09 2011

       What drive
pocmloc, Nov 09 2011

       // Those of you who know our twin //   

       To our discomfiture, yes. Have you settled the argument about whos turn it is to be the Evil Twin yet ?   

       What happens if the user inadvertantly releases the objective lens ?
8th of 7, Nov 09 2011

       The evil twin is Sturton, without a doubt. Heart of a lion, body of an ox, ethics of a great white shark. Not really immoral - he just sees the bigger picture.   

       I'm relatively benign (relative, that is, to Sturton), and our intercalary is far too engrossed in his biomimetic engineering to spend time on world domination.   

       As for inadvertent releasing of the objective lens, you'd best ask [bigs].
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 09 2011


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