After 10 years a joke can become a reality

Sometimes I just don’t know. Comedy writers sit down and try to be ridiculous and then a few years later the thing they were trying to be funny about because it seems so unrealistic becomes a reality. The Simsons in the season 10 episode, Make room for Lisa, have the TV in the background with a stupid reality TV show called “When Animals Attack Magicians” :

Magician: Pick a card, any… (noise of animal attacking) Aaaaaagh!!!

Roll forward 5 years and in the wake of the attack on the Las Vegas magician, Roy Horn, of Siegfried & Roy, by a tiger they used in the act. NBC couldn’t believe their luck when they were able to secure the rights and produce a show where Roy discusses the attack and his recovery in Siegfried & Roy : The Miracle. The joke has become a reality.

The same thing happened again with Meet the Parents, there is a whole lot of humour behind the fact that Robert DeNiros character trains his cat to use the toilet instead of a kitty litter. Type “toilet trained cat” into google and see what you get (or this link) not only are people doing it, people are making money off it, there are YouTube videos as well. Again the joke is now a reality.

Finally there was the Father Ted episode, Flight into Terror, when they feature the Virgin Mary Tape dispenser, which tells you how much tape to you and “God Bless You!”. Stupid ridiculous, right? Is it much difference than this Virgin Mary USB flash drive, with beating LED heart. I especially like the :

“Oh Maria, Keep my data safe”

which is inscribed into the halo. All it needs now is a button that tells you how much space you have left and “God Bless you!”

Steorn the perpetual joke

As unsurprising as it turned out Steorn has failed to produce a successfully working example or orbo. At least they have had the good sense to come out and eat some humble pie. Here is the YouTube video of Sean McCarthy explaining away why their demo didn’t work :

Apparently it was something to do with the bearings. While he is all humble and taking all the blame, which as chief charlatan he probably should. Here is the crux, if it is a really is a working technology they must have operating examples else where. They would at least get some heat off them to bring the media there and show it to them. However that is really a proof by contradiction, they haven’t done this which is probably proof that this technology doesn’t exist.

To the people of Steorn please, please disappear, you are not only carrying the name of you company and shareholders you are dragging down the name of the newly empowered technical Ireland. Or at the very least it better be a topper of a hoax, we all like a good laugh provided it is done well. It should at least be as good as when Gay Byrne announced that a truck of dehydrated water had over turned on O’Connell St and caused huge traffic delays as people tried to avoid it.

The Infinite Irish Joke – Steorn?

In August of 2006 an Irish company called Steorn announced that they have developed a technology that produces “free, clean, and constant energy” and challenging the scientific community to review its claim.

This was (and still is) an audacious claim and one that should either revolutionise the world of physics and engineering then and there or be discounted for the tinfoil hat wearing nonsense it most likely is. However persist it did and for the next 11 months Steorn put out a call for scientists to come in and review the technology and once completed this technology would be presented to the world.

The grand unveiling, for what they are calling orbo (I’m guessing short for Oroborus, an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail, also a symbol of unity), was announced to take place in London on July 4th at the Kinetica Museum at Spitalfields Market in London.

As it turned out the demonstration was canceled due to “technical difficulties” and they will reattempt it on July the 5th. (Engadget provide an interesting run down of the events).

I can’t believe this has been kept alive for so long and a part of me actually wants it to be true, but for selfish personal reasons. As a Irish engineer that has worked around the world it is hard to get away from the paddywackery stereotype image of the Irish. It doesn’t matter how many microchips you have taped out, or C++ programmed applications you’ve debugged and shipped or been involved in the deployment of the carrier network for the next generation of mobile phone technology, it doesn’t matter. Endless times I have endured or witnessed fellow irish ex-pats field innate question like did you have electricity growing up? or is television in color in Ireland? or have we ever heard about a computer? In a lot of cases we just feed the stereotype, Irish people love winding people up and while you might think we’re dumb we don’t mind taking the hard technical jobs, doing the best job we can and the money that comes with it.

There has been many suggestions that it is a hoax, part of some viral campaign for a product (Halo 3 has been mentioned and I was interested to find the top of the engadget page this listed All the Halo 3 news that’s fit to print ) but the problem is that most hoaxes aren’t drawn out this long.

So while Irish people have endured the slights of a bit a slagging what is going to happen if Steorn turn out to be wrong. Man the ammunition that is going to give people world wide will be painful. It’ll be the punchline to so many Irishman jokes and it will have the unfortunate fact of actually been true.

“Did you hear the one about the Irish company that thought they had created free energy?”


Update :

Apparently orbo doesn’t work well under hot lights no demo today either. If they turn all the lights off we could then see it working, . . . wait that doesn’t work either!