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Dear Mitch,

 First, I want to say I like the idea of you revealing your original ideas for anyone to take and try to get rich with them, but I don't really get how it falls under the category of math?




Dear Ron,

Ideas, innovations, and inventions fall under the category of 'Problem-solving', which is usually considered one of the more creative areas of mathematical thinking.  After all, why would anybody try to come up with some new way of doing something if there wasn't at least some aspect of the old way or the standard method that was at least a tiny bit 'problematic'?

And, in some cases, such as the invention or improvement of medical devices or safety features on vehicles, these new additions are clearly helping to solve very important problems...

Lastly, before I get to today's idea, I should point out that one of the big issues for inventors or 'idea people' is doing a lot of research to find out if the thing that seems so original at the moment it pops into one's head is really new.  Just because you've never seen something with your own eyes or never even heard about something before does not mean that it doesn't already exist or has already been thought of.  In fact, it may be well on its way to becoming a product.  This happens ALL the time, which is why patent dates become so important when originality is the issue in a court of law.

HOWEVER, I will generally be skipping that stage, because such research can become a full-time job -- and one that would prevent me from being able to offer these thoughts at all.  So, to make up for any damage I might do by stepping on someone else's creative toes, this is what I propose:

If something I present as a new idea, because I've never seen or heard of it, yet it turns out to be someone else's idea prior to mine, then I beg of that person to immediately write in and alert me to this.  Then, I'll do a quick check to make sure  the facts are as stated and give full credit to the previous thinker-upper.


So, without further ado, here's something:

To those of you old enough to still have some black vinyl record albums lingering around (or even collect them, as some people do)... well, if you are not using them, either because you have no turn-table or for some other reason, then why not take your favorite album and turn it into a WALL CLOCK?

It's very easy:  You could either buy a kit in a craft store that turns things into clocks (they come with the two hands and some little battery-operated-or-electrically-powered gismo that goes inside your clock-to-be), or you can purchase an inexpensive clock (under five dollars) and saw away at it until you're left with the parts you need.  Then you just have to do a little maneuvering to get the mechanism through the album's center hole and tape or glue it into place.  You may have to enlarge the hole slightly, but if you simply photocopy the center label in color beforehand, any extra cuts and associated mess can easily be covered by gluing the copy of the original label over the true original label.

NOTE:  You might want to first check the Internet or some other source to make sure you are not doing this whole thing with one of the vinyl records that happens to be among the rare and valuable ones!

Hope this provides some fun,