Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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RIP Linus Folkes

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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 wild - 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 alternately 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 razor- 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 one 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.

MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 04 2016

US4991745 https://www.google.com/patents/US4991745
drip-free valve [xaviergisz, Feb 08 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 studying.
doctorremulac3, Feb 04 2016

       His widow would be moved by your kind thoughts, [doc].
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 04 2016

xenzag, Feb 04 2016

       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...
lurch, Feb 04 2016

       My only question is why?   

blissmiss, Feb 05 2016

       Or even omituaries.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 05 2016

       The wife of the Time Traveler would have been an interesting read, having lived, but not existed, or perhaps vice-versa.
RayfordSteele, Feb 05 2016

       Is this the Linux guy? Crap, I didn't even know he died. RIP penguin dude, up to the big kernel in the sky.
the porpoise, Feb 05 2016

       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.
lurch, Feb 06 2016

       Are you sure he's dead? Have you checked in a bird's anus?
4and20, Feb 06 2016

       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.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 06 2016

       Thanks MB. I shall never look at a Ketchup bottle in the same way again.   

       PS There seem to be so many noteworthy people dying recently. When I was a lad, people didn't die this often..
Ling, Feb 06 2016

       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 ...".
pertinax, Feb 07 2016

       [Ling] - that's called "More Biddity".
lurch, Feb 07 2016

       // when *his* obituary comes out, he won't be dead either// If I die, I shall be very, very annoyed.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 12 2016


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