Sometimes if you look at the things around us in our daily lives you can see how simply they are, yet how they serve a functional purpose. Life without them would have been very difficult. For example, imagine a small thin section of metal, perhaps an inch long, with a flat head and threaded sides. You have a metal screw. And who invented it? If you look around us now, at all the things we have in our daily lives that require a screw, can you imagine how life must have been like before its invention?
The ubiquitous things around us often reveal to us how simple designs can serve great functions and go on to great popularity. For example, the simple brick that is the basic building block of construction is now so widely used, that without it we might be living in an era of tin huts or mud huts!
One of the inventions we have in our lives that displays similar simplicity is barbed wire. Made in the 1800s, it was used to enclose land and still is in the present day. It merely consists of wire intertwined with each other. At its outset, the fragile wire was not perceived to be strong, but its inventor, one John Gates, put it to great use by showing how it could enclose wild animals! It made him a great fortune!
But inventions may not need to be physical things. They can be things such as music. Dizzy Gillespie pioneered a style of music called bebop – you can learn more about it from this post here – and revolutionised the music world!
The human spirit is intertwined with creativity. Keep inventing and keep trying to find new ways to do old things, or find solutions to improve efficiency. And remember you may not necessarily come up with a new physical thing, even a new process can actually become a new invention as well!
Imagine this scenario. You are driving up in your car, doing your daily jobs, and then realise you are running low on fuel. So you take the nearest opportunity to fill up as you drive up to a petrol station – it may even be part of your local supermarket. Would you expect to pay for your fuel first and then be refunded?
There may be some that question the practicality of this. How is it possible to pay for fuel first before you have even filled up the car? This method would require you to estimate the amount of fuel you need, and then pre-pay it in advance. But what if you simply wanted to fill the car up to its maximum before embarking on a long drive? Would you be forced to buy fuel in large increments, perhaps by ten pounds’ worth at a time, before inching your way in five, and then one-pound increments, so as to avoid paying more than you actually bought? And don’t forget, each purchase would have to be pre-paid.
This system seems rather impractical at first glance. The above scenario would require you to make numerous purchases on your card, and multiple attempts at topping up the fuel. In the past, it would have meant a simple trip to the fuel pump, one attempt, and one payment. Making multiple attempts at both would simply mean spending longer time at the pump, resulting in delays and lost revenues for service stations. Service stations would simply have to raise their prices to make up for the lost custom.
But why is this scheme of pre-paid filling up being considered in the first place? It is because drivers have been filling up, then driving off. This theft of fuel costs the UK millions of pounds each year.
This new social practice is in response to how society has developed.
Ideas usually start out on the periphery before they graduate to the mainstream. This is no further more evident than in the alternative group Nirvana, who – as the Stroud Green piano teacher website tells us – were alternative way beyond the time before “alternative” became a mainstream genre in the music industry! Perhaps, in a similar vein, there will be changing social practices starting from daily areas such as fuel pumps.
Put it this way – ten years ago you wouldn’t trust supermarket staff to pick your fruit and veg for you, yet online shopping has grown and it has become commonplace in daily life. Why not other practices too?