The lovers of invention

The name Antonio Ibáñez de Alba is one you may have read in the news over the last couple of weeks because he's the splendid inventor of what's become known as water that it's impossible to drown in. Just that phrase alone - “water that it's impossible to drown in” - sounds like it's from the wild imaginings of Roald Dahl but, no, it really does correspond to our reality in 2017. What a brilliant concept and an even better execution. Señor Ibáñez de Alba should be very proud of himself.

The beautifully counterintuitive form of thinking involved in this invention led me to ponder other seemingly contradictory concepts. What about fire that doesn't burn, for example? Boffins everywhere definitely need to put their minds to that one - it's a scientific advance which would have so many benefits including saving thousands of lives and greatly improving my cooking skills. Also, parents would be left asking their children “If Johnny stuck his finger in the fire would you do the same?” only to met with blank looks that said “Yeah. Obvs. Fire's soooooo cool (literally) innit?”

Another invention I'd love to see come to fruition is quiet noise. Heavy hammers and pneumatic drills that hit their target with a soft padding sound while still being one hundred per cent effective. We could also benefit from some kind of device for shouty people. Only they would hear their cacophony, sparing all within earshot the agony of having to listen to them.

Then there are smaller but no less significant examples of the genre: bed legs that you can't stub your toe on, chewing gum that doesn't stick (to furniture, clothing, pavements), red wine that doesn't stain, paint that doesn't smell, umbrellas, phones , glasses and keys you can't lose plus cyclists who show a modicum of common sense and/or intelligence in pedestrian areas. Ok, the last one is probably asking a bit too much but they say it's good to dream.

None of these quite competes with - or even sounds as good as - “water that it's impossible to drown in” but each has a certain merit of its own, I'm sure you'll agree. And, by the way, don't think I can't sense the myriad suggestions of many of the good people reading this - most notably, I suspect, “Newspaper articles that don't make you nod off on a weekly basis.” Just guessing.