Well, either the EU food police have got the Stilton producers to neuter their product (a la absinthe) or I got some duff stock, but I have to report complete failure in the vivid imaginings I was hoping to report after the last post.
However, I have been musing in the ensuing days, whilst listening to the cricket mostly, and have come up with two half formed ideas.
The first, inspired by those sort of updated Tamagochi type virtual pet apps is to develop low maintenance pets, in particular machine washable pets. Upon reflection this is perhaps a bit of a leap from where we currently stand and will have to be left to the Eugenicists of the Kennel Club, cat breeders and similar to sort out. After all having the idea is the hard bit and I’ve done that for them. If these prove the success I anticipate, they would provide valuable research data for the ultimate goal of machine washable babies.
The second is to produce an app like Farmville and strip out the virtual lego / playset stuff and get Oxfam to link you to a real farm in a developing area. This would, of course involve giving you less (if any) direct control and the spending of real rather than virtual funds but would possibly do some good and be less, how can I put it, pointless? The real problem here is that farming takes a deal of hard work, so the farmer has better things to do than keep his app users up to date, and takes a long time so the user wouldn’t get the sort of immediate feedback they are used to. That apart, as paid subscription becomes more common, people may become amenable to the idea of a subscription blog from a struggling farmer or community, and the aggregate payments from a quite modest readership by blogging standards could well make the sort of significant difference that the Microfinance organisations are achieving.
This has a serious point, as many charities seem to have become little more than front organisations which use donations to pay lobbyists to try to convince Governments to use their donors taxes to one end or another (I used Oxfam as the example above as I see them as exemplary in not doing this, other good charities abound I’m sure), and I tend to avoid those charities that do. If I am not alone in this, and this is affecting the overall level of giving, there is a real opportunity to re-connect donors with the purposes of the charities. It would also, maybe, feel less like charity and more like a commercial transaction in itself, bringing a bit more dignity to both donor and recipient.