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Food, Media, Science

Best Inventions 2006: crustacean killers, solid espresso

Posted by Hannah / November 7, 2006

espesso.jpgEvery November Time magazine draws up its list of the year's best technology. This year, no surprises here, the award goes to YouTube. (It was up against robots that ride bicycles and wand waving video game controllers.) There's no point in going over the details of what YouTube allows you to do, but what is particularly curious is that it was the collective's creativity - not its creators - that made it what it was.

At a Silicon Valley dinner party one night in 2004 they started talking about how easy it was to share photos with your friends online but what a pain it was to do the same thing with video.

So they did something about it. They hacked together a simple routine for taking videos in any format and making them play in pretty much any Web browser on any computer. Then they built a kind of virtual video village, a website where people could post their own videos and watch and rate and comment on and search for and tag other people's videos. Voilà: YouTube.

But even though they built it, they didn't really understand it. They thought they'd built a useful tool for people to share their travel videos. They thought people might use it to pitch auction items on eBay.

Time has sniffed out a whole lot of other bests, including the electronic glove finder and the CustaSun - an electric chair for your shrimps and lobsters because, well, an electric jolt is a whole lot nicer way to cook 'em up than dropping them in a pot of boiling waters. Right.

The solid espresso is another curious concoction that I'm not convinced we really needed. Following in the footsteps of molecular gastronomist Hervé This, Spanish culinary chemist Ferran Adrià has created the coffee you eat with a spoon. But is it hot? And why is it yellow? Lavazza in Chicago is serving it. Anyone tried it?

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