The Worst Ideas. Updates every Monday!

Your weekly source for terrible ideas.

Tag: octopus

Leave a note even if you don’t have a pen! This tip will shock you when you realize that it does not even require HUMAN BLOOD!

The issue:

Sometimes you want to leave a very short note, but you don’t have a pen handy. Normally, you’d be out of luck, but with this amazing trick, you can leave a note with a page from any magazine or piece of paper you happen to have lying around!


First, learn morse code (Fig 1).

Next, find a piece of paper (Fig 2).

Tear the paper as described in figure 2.


Fig 1: Morse code lets you represent a letter (in this case, “X”) as a sequence of dashes and dots.


Fig 2: Get a piece of paper and tear it according to Morse code specifications (where a long tear is a DASH and a short tear is a DOT). So to leave the letter “X” (– · · –), you would tear the paper as follows: “long tear, short tear, short tear, long tear.”


Fig 3: Here, 7 letters have been torn into the piece of paper. Each torn section corresponds to one of the dot / dash annotations in black.


Fig 4: If we decode the Morse code at left, we will discover that the note says OCTOPUS. How extremely useful! Glad we wrote that down.


You should try this out! It’s slightly less inconvenient than it sounds like it would be.

PROS: Lets you easily leave a note even under adverse lack-of-writing-implements conditions.

CONS: Requires you to remember Morse code. Difficult to leave more than about 20 letters worth of information on a standard sheet of paper.


One weird tip to having every meeting end punctually! It involves sharks, though.

TITLE: One weird tip to having every meeting end punctually! It involves sharks, though.


People giving presentations are famous for going over their allotted time. However, presentations are frequently unmoderated or have a lax moderator, leading to time overages being the norm rather than the exception.


An automated system that made the presentation stage increasingly unpleasant as the presenter reached (and went past) their assigned time would greatly improve efficiency both at conferences and in college lecture halls.

Specifically, the proposal is as follows:

  • The lecture stand is in a small sunken area of the stage (or surrounded by small walls). This area is also connected up to a large tank of water by a pipe (see figure 1, tank is on right hand side).
  • As the lecturer goes over time, water is pumped into the lecture stand area, gradually increasing the water level until the presenter is knee-deep (or neck-deep) in water.
  • This will encourage the presenter to quickly wrap things up, instead of going over time with no consequences.


Fig 1: Orange / red: lecture stand with laptop. The lecture area is surrounded by a low transparent wall. Right: a tank of water is connected to the lecture stand area, allowing water to gradually be pumped in to encourage the presenter to wrap up their talk.


Fig 2: An alternative arrangement, where the lecture area (B, C) is slowly lowered into an ever-present aquarium (D) by a system of overhead cables on winches (A). The audience sits in the seats marked at E.


Fig 3: Some presenters may not be fazed by mere water; in these cases, we might want to introduce denizens of the deep to also encourage the presenter to finish their talk. Pictured: a rare purple octopus and extremely lethargic shark.

PROS: Saves many hours of time for college students and professionals in various fields. Encourages presentation discipline for both the talk and any subsequent Q&A sessions.

CONS: Would probably exacerbate any existing “stage fright” due to the presence of deadly animals. Presenters with rivals in the audience may find their talk extended by irrelevant questions as their foes attempt to cause them to descend into the aquarium with an over-long talk.