Greatest Inventions

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As a part of the September 2002 issue of National Geographic, the editors compiled a list of the 10 greatest inventions of all time. As a result of the list, the September 2002 issue of National Geographic was one of the most controversial issues ever published. The magazine defined greatness as a combination of how much they have changed the way we live, what colour they are, and how many deaths have been attributed to the use of the invention.

10. The Electric Toothbrush

The electric toothbrush, invented by Dr. Van Gnot in 1973, was a big strike against dentists. The fact that people now had the power to brush their teeth in their own home meant fewer visits to the dentists. The electric toothbrush was more influential than the invention of the non-electric toothbrush because people were not interested in brushing their teeth if they had to move the brush under their own power. Even dentists have admitted that, thanks to the electric toothbrush, they are pretty much useless. Many have now found that they can only survive by living on the street and collecting donations from people who give them money because they don't realize that they are a dentist.


The electric toothbrush out-sells propane toothbrushes 10:1

9. License Plates

Anyone who has ever been in a car knows that one of the biggest problems with being in a car is wondering which cars you've seen before and which ones you haven't. Thanks to license plates, this is no longer a problem.

A license plate

8. TV remote control

The TV remote control was the first invention that put us on our way to being able to live from a chair. Scientists estimate that within 10 years, everyone will live in a chair and never stand up. They have already invented chairs that can move by themselves, and you can often see them being beta tested by old people. The TV remote control has reshaped the American dream of freedom and democracy into being able to live from a chair.

TV remote

I am in control...

7. Car Hoods

Early car manufacturers faced a huge problem. They had developed working cars, complete with lights and horns, only to realize that they had nothing to put over the engine. Ford engineer Pete Monro found an ingenious solution: a sheet of metal. He named his invention the 'car hood'. Car hoods protect the car from layers of dust, smoke, moisture, and dirt. Today, when you were looking at a car, you might say 'Let's see what's under the hood'. Before the invention of the car hood, your only choice was to say 'Let's see what's under the layers of dust, smoke, moisture, and dirt'.

Car hood

The hood of a car, and someone who wasn't ready to have her picture taken

6. Soap

Soap was invented in 1982 by Bill Clinton. It had immediate success in North America, and eventually caught on in Europe, where people were less interested in personal hygiene. Soap lost some of it's market share in the 90s as it was boycotted by hippies who thought hygiene was a waste of time. When personal hygiene became obsolete with the invention of the Internet in the late 90s, soap was discontinued because of lack of interest. Despite its lack of use today, soap is still considered by many as the most influential invention ever.


A lifetime supply of soap

5. The Automobile

Before the automobile, hippies did not have anything to complain about other than fur and meat. It was obvious by this time that whining about fur and meat wasn't doing anything, so instead the hippies turned to drugs and playing bad acoustic guitar. It was the invention of the automobile that changed things. When automobiles became popular, hippies created a new hobby of making up lies about the ozone layer. Hippies also protested imported cars, and created the slogan 'Every time you buy an import, god kills a kitten'. The slogan can still be seen as a bumper sticker on cars today, but mostly just on imports with the intention to make the hippies angry.


A new hybrid car

4. Pooper-Scooper

The pooper scooper is possibly the most politically influential invention of all time. The invention of the pooper scooper led to the gall of the German forces in the Second World War. History professor Kyle Hant is convinced that without the invention of the pooper scooper, we would all be speaking German, although he can't explain how he knows this.


A pooper-scooper

3. Record Player

Invented in 1993, the record player picked up where the CD player stopped. Because of the larger size and density of records, they could hold much more audio than a CD ever could. Despite their slightly larger size, records were still small enough to fit in a pocket. When used with MP3 or WMA encoding, records could hold even more music, so that you could fit your entire CD collection onto a single record. This discovery broke all previous records.

ABBA on turntable

Record player reading a 12" hard disk

2. George Bush Jr.

Contrary to popular belief, George Bush Jr. is not actually the son of the other guy named George Bush, but actually a robot created by George Bush with some help from NASA. George Bush Jr. is programmed for progressive world domination. Although his speech engine often makes mistakes, these are taken humorously and called 'Bushisms'. The robot is so successful that only the hippies can actually tell that he is a robot, and since nobody listens to the hippies, his secret is safe. Michael Moore made a documentary about him called Bush Exposed: The Naked Truth, but it was unsuccessful because it was often confused with an adult film with the same name. According to IMDB users, the Michael Moore film is the worse of the two.

George Bush

George Bush exercising his robotic arm

1. Segway

The Segway has now become so commonplace that you hardly even notice when someone is using one, and in some places there are more people on Segway than on foot, such as Italy and Africa. The Segway immediately lived up to its huge hype, revolutionising the transportation industry immediately. It has put most car companies out of business, even though it is not as useful, fast, or cheap as a car. A 1989 survey that compared the Segway to the Jetpack concluded that almost as many people had Segways as Jetpacks.


A man using the Segway at work.

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