David Jones, Professor of Engineering at Newcastle, used to write the Daedalus column in the New Scientist which every week described a bizarre invention or concept that you suspected must be flawed somehow.
My favourite, I think, was the turkey-cooking method that involved stuffing the bird with explosives. The heat of the explosion instantly cooked the turkey and the kinetic energy of the explosion was carried away harmlessly by the feathers, which shot out in all directions.
Daedalus, or Jones, wrote interestingly about creativity and in an attempt to prevent a slide into senility I’m trying to encourage my brain to have at least one idea per week. As a start I’ve come up with a new evolutionary explanation of kissing that isn’t to do with sex or passing food. It has to do with deceit.
When food is scarce perhaps some family or tribe member might be tempted to creep over to whatever small food stash there was and to sneak a surreptitious mouthful of the last kill.
When said ancestor returned to the others the easiest way to check whether he’d been stealing food would have been to smell his breath or, better still, taste his mouth.
Partners who checked up on their hairy spouse in this way could be pretty sure if he’d been at the woolly rhino carcass that was being saved for the kids.