City Life: The genius of this 'new' invention

November 19, 2010|By Steve Smith

Editor's note: The central concept of this installment of Steve Smith's column is based on an essay called "B.O.O.K.," which was first shown to him about 10 years ago. The author of the essay was unknown at the time. A decade later, and despite many attempts over the past few days, Smith is still raking his brain trying to find out who wrote "B.O.O.K."

On Nov. 9, the Newport Beach City Council discussed bans on gas and electric-powered leaf blowers and directed city administrators to draft a proposal to regulate them.

Twenty-three California cities have banned leaf blowers, including the entire city of Los Angeles. L.A. banned them not because of noise but because they "increase the presence of airborne particles, which may cause problems for persons suffering from asthma, hay fever, or other upper respiratory ailments."


Where blowers have been banned, the airborne particulate argument is the one that wins. These cities failed to acknowledge that there is a ubiquitous, very noisy device spewing a daily level of airborne particulates that makes the blowers look tame. But there were no calls to ban cars in any of the 23 cities.

Today, I am pleased to report the development of a leaf-gathering device so advanced it is not only silent, it's carbon footprint is almost invisible. This device should play a pivotal role in Newport's transition from leaf blowers.

The device is called a Regional Accumulator and Keeper of Exfoliation, or R.A.K.E.

The R.A.K.E. is a truly remarkable device with so many state-of-the art benefits that is sure to revolutionize the gardening industry.

The R.A.K.E. consists of a 48- to 60-inch wooden handle connected to a series of approximately two dozen plastic or metal tines. When passed over leaves, these have the ability to gather them into a central collection area where they can be assembled and thrown away instead of being blown into a neighbor's yard.

Benefits of the R.A.K.E. include:

1) Environmentally ultra-green. Once the energy and materials used to make the R.AK.E. are completed, the R.AK.E. leaves no further carbon footprint on the planet. As a human-powered, handheld device, it uses no gasoline and no electricity.

2) The R.A.K.E. has no moving parts and requires no maintenance whatsoever.

3) Because the R.A.K.E. is a human-powered device, it contributes to the reduction of the country's obesity epidemic, a particular plus when the R.A.K.E. is used by children or adolescents.

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