Wednesday, June 13, 2012

1001 Levers To Move The World, Number Eighty and Eighty-one..

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81:  Robot Bank.

80:  Two words: Snack-sized cereal.

It's a twofer!  I remember back when I was going to do this everyday.  Turns out I still have ideas every day, it's just that some days I don't feel like improving the world.

No, just kidding.  Some days I'm too distracted by the fact that they're now adding cheese to cheese to go and improve the world, which, when you think about it, is a losing battle because as I give you now 81 different ways to make the world better, the world has gone and decided that the most important thing it could do is make cheese a little cheesier.

That's a real story: Kraft has started adding cream cheese to other cheeses, to make them creamier, they say, but really it's just because (A) the federal government is heavily invested in getting people to buy cheese because we literally have caves full of cheese bought for government price supports, which is how the whole idea for adding cheese to things started, and that's not some crazy tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theory-- I was one of the experts interviewed for this article about deceptive milk marketing done by the State of Wisconsin (a/k/a "America's Dairyland.")  and (B) we, as a society have apparently decided that if it doesn't include cheese it's not worth eating.

I like to imagine the conversation that led to the breakthrough of adding cheese to cheese:

MAN:  Mmmm.  Some cheese.

OTHER MAN:  I know, cheese, right?


MAN:  Life is good.

OTHER MAN:  Could be gooder, though... what if

MAN:  I'm not sure that...

OTHER MAN: Don't interrupt.

MAN:  It's just that I don't think you ...

OTHER MAN:  Hear me out.

MAN:  "Gooder," really?

OTHER MAN:  Just thinking aloud here, what if we put CHEESE ON THIS CHEESE?

MAN:  I would like to marry you.

And that, friends, is how you write a best seller that some people will say should star Scarlett Johannsen. I left out the good parts so you'll have to buy the book.

None of those are today's ideas, which are twofold and which I will have to discuss quickly.  I'm doubling up because, as I said, I have to fight against a world where 2,000,000 years of evolution has led us to the point where we are just injecting cheese into things instead of exploring the stars (Answer to Enrico Fermi: those other cultures are composed entirely of rolling blobs of cheese.)

So Idea 80: Snack-sized cereal: This is at least an improvement.  If you, like me, have been urged by people/cardiologists to reduce your intake from certain "food" "groups" such as the "-ito" group (Doritos, Fritos) and the "-yuns" group (Funyuns, a naturally occurring substance), then you like me may have switched your snack foods to a primarily Frosted Mini Wheat-based system.

Which is to say: mostly, when I would otherwise be eating potato chips, you'll find me with a bowl of dry Frosted Mini-Wheats, which I choose as a snack because cereal is pretty healthy, but most cereal is tiny-sized: Have you ever tried to pick up a Cheerio? Or a Wheatie?

So my solution? Make Wheaties Snack Sizes: A bag (or box, if you must) of Wheaties with the flakes the size of a Dorito, so I can buy a bag of Wheaties to eat.  Do that with Cheerios, and Raisin Bran, and more, and I will buy them, and so will other people, and BLAMMO! (a marketing term) you've got yourself a new product.

 Idea 81: Robot Bank is my solution for fixing much of what was wrong with banking.  At ROBOT BANK, there is no building, no tellers, no people, period.  There is just an online site, like, say Paypal or "JPMorganChaseGlaxoKleinGloboSkynet" or whatever they're calling the company that co-owns America with the Chinese now, and a series of algorithms.

When you open a bank account, you do so online by depositing money.  The algorithms track and apply your money, which, lets face it, that's what banks do now: Tellers aren't hand-crediting your passbook the way they did when I was a kid with a little actual book they'd stamp stuff in.

Here's the real genius, though:  Loans, which is what banks exist to do although they've forgotten that, would be entirely automatic, too: when you want to borrow, you apply online and give access to your credit report and to your electronically-filed tax returns (if you paper file, Robot Bank will gladly invite you in a robotic voice to take your business to a bank in the 1920s, when you live.)  Robot Bank then simply calculates how much it has in the reserves, what its lending limit is, what your interest rate should be, and issues the loan or denies it.

You then authorize automatic payments from your Robot Bank account and any other accounts your credit report shows.  If your balances fall below a certain percentage of the loan you took out, Robot Bank contacts a collection agent and shuts down the account (as well as all the regular defaults.)

The beauty of this, aside from the fact that we would never ever see another One Percenter like Jamie Dimon explain why a fat guy in London could lose $2,000,000 but that's not a big deal?  No overhead, so the bank can make small loans at a lower rate -- bringing microlending to the masses.  Plus, Robot Bank can't be racist or sexist and removes all the "judgment calls" that got banks into trouble the first time around. (I'm pretending banks use "judgment." They don't, but let's pretend. It's fun! And we don't have to realize how much trust we place in the people that control all the money!)

Prior entries:Link

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.
9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Is this working? You bet --

1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


1001 Ways also helped change the world here!

1001 Ways helped change the world here, too!

here, I not only changed the world but proved that everyone in the world is either dumb, or mean.


PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

Don't they already have snack-sized boxes of cereal? I remember they used to make variety packs of Froot Loops and Apple Jacks and Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes and such where there were a half-dozen or dozen little boxes of cereal, which is what I think they have at motels for the "continental breakfast."

And I'm pretty sure they already have online banks. I've gotten loans online before, though probably some human somewhere still had to approve it.

Andrew Leon said...

Cheese on Scarlett? Hm...

Did you see the stuff about how the stock market is controlled by robots? It's actually pretty scary. I don't think I want robot banks. At least, not yet.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I try to stay away from cream cheese. This week I've been unsuccessful as I had out-of-town guests that love the stuff. I'm trying to get through it all to avoid throwing it away. Once the last of the cream cheese is gone (I eat a spoonful or so everyday) I plan on never buying it again (until the next visit I guess).

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

They make fat free cream cheese, don't they? Or they did at some point. Though to me it looks like Spackle, which isn't all that appetizing.

Liz said...

I know I've seen cereal bars--where they kind of Rice Crispy treat them into snack food. But only the sugary cereal, so that defeats the purpose, doesn't it?