Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Fatal Bean

I finished reading Agatha Christie's "Curtain", in which Hercule Poirot fights his final battle. Agatha Christie was always a great fan of poison, having worked in a dispensary as a young woman, and in this book the posion in question is physostigmine. As the book explains, this comes from the calabar bean, which comes from tropical Africa.Some of the native tribes used this bean to determine the guilt or innocence of persons accused of heinous crimes, such as murder, or witchcraft. The accused ate some of the beans, and if he or she died from the poison, then they were guilty. If instead they managed to throw up before it took effect, then they were acquitted.

There are obvious advantages to this form of justice - they must have saved a fortune on lawyers and jails, even if it wasn't very just.

In the book, the fatal poison is, appropriately enough, administered using the product of another deadly bean - coffee. I know that some of you have been advised to give it up on medical grounds (as opposed to coffee grounds), and you may be wondering what to do with any of the stuff that might be lying around your house. Well, wonder no more, because here is the latest in eco-tecnology... the printer that uses coffee instead of ink.
This printer won some kind of green award, and will be especially useful to those of you who have been forced to give up the evil deadly drink, replacing it with decaff, or vodka, or some such thing. Though having to prepare brew ups for your printer might be a little irksome.

Presumably the eco-deskjet doesn't take milk or sugar, and it doesn't say whether you can have colours. Other than brown. I'm also willing to bet that it's not very good and gets clogged up with dried coffee. After all, it's only a first attempt, and it will probably need development and productization. Which it won't get, since the printer companies presumably make most of their money selling ink cartridges. It would be cheaper for me to buy a new printer than buy replacement cartridges for my budget deskjet.

Another problem is that the cost of coffee will rise even higher, if people start pouring it into their printers as well as drinking it. Perhaps there might be better things to use. Blood springs to mind, as there are readily renewable sources close to hand, though you'd really have to be a serious eco warrior to buy a bloodjet.

Personally, I'm going to stick with ink. At least for the time being.


Chris Wood said...

First! And gloating with it!

Chris Wood said...

Writing in blood is a bit 80's. I seem to recall Jon Bon Jovi wrote his lyrics like that. Or is it just me?

Jean Knee said...

you'd have a big problem of people licking their documents when they need a jolt a java.

everything would smear

I'm against it too.

Brian o vretanos said...


Someone else's blood would be best - I'm sure that there are plenty of impecunious students who would fill your printer up with theirs for a tenner, so you'd be helping the environment and contributing to the next generation's education all at once.

Jean Knee:

I hadn't thought of that. Maybe they should use edible paper, and you could just eat the whole thing when you were done with it.

No Cool Story said...

I, for one, welcome our new green printer overlords!

Bee said...

I could not be trusted with anything printed with ink. I would be licking paper all over the place which could become embarrassing... for Andy.