Folding Money

By cjohnson | August 10, 2005 12:19 am

bicycle folded up You might recall me mentioning that bike I commute with. The one I folded up in 10 seconds and popped into a suitcase and brought on the plane with me to Aspen, and that I think is so wonderful? The Brompton? Well, there was a nice article in the Observer about its inventor, Andrew Ritchie, this Sunday. It’s a very well known type of story: The obsessive and eccentric British inventor, unable to sell his wonderful design and idea. Gets his friends and family to fund his tinkerings with the prototype in the bedroom….We’ve all been there!

bicycle opened upExcept that, for a change, it paid off. Several people fall in love with the thing and buy it. It works wonderfully and makes sense. Reading what he says in the interview (coupled with the fact that the interview is in the newspaper’s business section) it seems that he’s looking to sell the company. So much for the “mom and pop” TLC treatment of every customer….

What’s the betting it won’t be a British company shortly? Sigh.


  • Aaron Bergman

    On a somewhat physicy note, I found this in the NYT (BugMeNot is your friend) about people trying to sell the old physics department trick (and other departments, apparently) of making ice cream out of liquid nitrogen.

    (On another note, links in the insta-preview thing don’t seem to work.)

  • Clifford

    Oh, never be shy to find a physics link in the dross that I post up on this site!

    Yes, they used to make ice-cream that way in Santa Barbara when I was there. Despite my physics training, I’ve always been a bit suspicious of the liquid nitrogen assisted ice-cream. Always been a bit concerned about what’s left over after the stuff has boiled off leaving the tasty ice-cream.

    Might be the same problem that stops me from believing that a Boeing 747 will take off when I’m watching it taxiing along the runway immediately prior to take off – never looks like it’s going fast enough!


  • Gordon Chalmers

    Here’s a question:

    When do you think the powers that be will come up with ‘warp drive’?

  • Clifford

    Oh…. Somewhere between extraordinarily unlikely soon, and never. (But maybe there’s a British inventor going around trying to get a company to build his/her design for something similar!) Now please Gordon, don’t start posting a long series of equations telling us about your warp drive theories. If you’ve got such an idea, write a paper and publish it through the normal channels. :-) Cheers,


  • Gordon Chalmers


    But I figured out how to count integer solutions to polynomials today, and it is very explicit, via the contour integral.

  • Clifford

    That’s great Gordon. I didn’t intend to seem mean, but do try to keep contributions to a thread of discussion at least vaguely on-topic, or one endangers the coherence of the discussion. Thanks for understanding.



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