Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Least Efficient Invention Competition

Simple one step mechanisms to solve a job with the least efficiency possible. Worst design wins.
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I've inadvertently won the first of these competitions.

I wanted to make a political statement cloaked in an idea to build a bird proof squirrel feeder. As I began writing I had no idea how this would be achieved but figured something would come to me by the time I completed my cynical, smart ass political screed. I came up with a blast of air cloaking the feeder that would blow the lighter birds away. It was then pointed out that there are already bird proof squirrel feeders that simply use a heavy door that birds can't lift.

That would be in last place for this competition, the expensive, relatively elaborate air deflection system would win. It's expensive, overly engineered and can be easily replaced by a little heavy door.

To be clear, no Rube Goldbergesque additional steps can be added. You can't have some sort of radar activated stun gun that differentiates a bird from a squirrel.

Some kind of zapper that's activated by the relatively un- grounded and static electricity full bird and not the grounded squirrel? (not that that's a thing) That would win over my air curtain.

Engineering is about doing something the most efficiently with the fewest steps. Rube Goldberg already explored adding multiple inefficient steps, this adds to the challenge.

Take a one step system, make another one step system that's absurdly more expensive, complicated, or down right stupid. Worst idea wins.

doctorremulac3, Jun 28 2020



       Sorry, can't do it - at least not for the squirrel feeder (which, easiest method is to take a bird feeder and wrap chicken wire around it, standing off of 6-8 inches - the birds can't flap their wings inside the perimeter while for the squirrels it's just business as usual).
FlyingToaster, Jun 28 2020

       Is there a difference in static electricity between birds and squirrels? Maybe have some kind of insulated perch so the birds don't ground out and retain their static electric charge when landing?   

       Probably not. Yea, I'm pretty stuck. Air curtain is the best I have at this point. Excuse, me, worst I have at this point.   

       What's the frequency response of a squirrel ear vs a bird ear? Wonder if there's something there you could use.   

       Do birds stay away from things that vibrate? Seems like they should be tuned into that so they don't land on branches moving too much in the breeze or something where as squirrels are all about moving around undulating branches with their little gripping paws.
doctorremulac3, Jun 28 2020

       Worst solution: I propose to invert the bird feeder and use a vacuum system to keep the bird seed up against the feeder. Squirrel can hang from wire mesh on sides to reach under for seeds.   

       Best solution: Fill garden variety bird feeder with acorns!
tumblewit, Jun 28 2020

       The vacuum is a new first place for me.   

       Last place, whatever.
doctorremulac3, Jun 28 2020

       Elastic band powered swat bat which is activated by a small mesh of pins triggered by bird claws but not squirrel paws through a complex mechanical linkage system
pocmloc, Jun 28 2020

       Or cameras and image recognition algorithms to swat birds away but not swat squirrels
pocmloc, Jun 28 2020

       //Do birds stay away from things that vibrate? //   

       Sadly no - consider wind turbines.
pertinax, Jun 29 2020

       Yes wind turbines tend to stay far away from sources of vibration - they don't come down to the motorways and factories, they prefer going up hills or out to sea in my experience.
pocmloc, Jun 29 2020

       Like it! I've been messing about with a piece of paper for an hour or so, trying to work out how to make the Newcomon engine less efficient without doing so deliberately. It's not easy.
bs0u0155, Jun 29 2020


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