The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy


We all enjoy a good lazy day -- a day when even the thought of standing up to shower sounds as stressful as bench-pressing a truck. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that help us achieve new and exciting heights of laziness. Doing nothing for extended periods of time has been optimized and perfected after some of our most brilliant minds dedicated hundreds of hours of work and creativity to making the inverse of their efforts easier to accomplish for all.

Whenever you find yourself lounging around with nothing to do for so many consecutive hours that the fear of bed sores and atrophied legs starts to seep in, take a second to thank these four visionaries in the field of the lethargic arts.

Ingrid Kosar, Inventor of the Insulated Pizza Delivery Bag

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy

So you're feeling lazy when, suddenly, panic strikes: You're hungry! In this profound state of inactivity, even fixing a bowl of cereal might as well be quantum mechanics. What do you do? Starve and die? Cry and suckle nourishment from your own tears? Attempt to assemble a grilled cheese with your dormant mental powers? No, you order a pizza.

There was a time when that pizza would arrive at your home 20 to 30 minutes later as cold and unappealing as your very own life. But all that changed when one woman who had never worked in the food industry had had enough with this cold pizza bullshit and did something about it.

The Inventor:

In the early 1980s, Ingrid Kosar was working for a manufacturer of steel-based products when she found inspiration in an insulated lunch bag she spotted at a craft fair. She was really into pizza at the time -- which is to say she was a fully functioning human with no catastrophic mental damage -- so she tried making a bag that could keep a pizza hot until it was delivered.

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy
lisafx/iStock/Getty Images

Where do you put your penis to initiate sex with sexually frustrated housewives?

Back then, Domino's pizza had developed the standard for pizza boxes. Their pizzas were around 180 to 200 degrees out of the oven, and they aimed to maintain a post-baking temperature of 140 degrees for 45 minutes. Kosar needed to beat that. Domino's boxes were designed to vent steam and prevent a soggy crust, but at the cost of losing delicious heat. Ingrid's first bags retained heat by trapping it behind layers of polyester and nylon. This kept the pizza warm, and the vents on the pizza box kept it crispy. Even more impressive, pizzas in the bag would lose only around 5 degrees an hour. A delivery guy could leave the pizzeria, play Pac-Man, and flirt with some mallrats for 20 minutes and still deliver a piping-hot pizza.

After pestering Domino's to order from her, they finally caved and bought $10,000 worth of thermal bags. Then other pizza chains signed on. And then the U.S. government came knocking and ordered bags for restaurants on military bases. Then she got innovative again and created the HeatWave, a thermal bag with a built-in heater. Domino's ordered 90,000 HeatWaves, every one of them made by hand by her relatively small workforce.

Unfortunately, her patents expired in the early 2000s. At that point, everyone with access to sewing machines and a cheap workforce flooded the market with their knockoffs. She eventually had to file for bankruptcy. But don't feel too bad for her. She came up with another food-industry innovation: large tarps that maintain even temperatures for raising bread dough. She sells a ton of them to Panera Bread. So the next time you find yourself eating a blisteringly hot pizza that 30 minutes before was pale, flaccid, room-temperature dough, thank Ingrid. And while you're at it, also thank Carmela Vitale, the woman who invented that little plastic table thing that prevents the box top from smushing down on the pizza. Then go ahead -- pack another bowl and play some more Smash Bros.

Ed Lowe, the Man Who Brought Cats Indoors

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy

When TV bores you and the pile of unread books on your shelf has gotten so severe it would probably be best to burn the shelf and start from scratch, it's time to turn to the Internet for some mindless video of a cat doing something cold-blooded enough to warrant a stiff punting toward the furthest wall. The words "cat videos" have become shorthand for the frivolousness of the Internet.

Even after thousands of years, cats still haven't been fully domesticated, yet they act like they invented that shit. But we wouldn't have been able to fully appreciate the Internet-ready weirdness of cats without the work of one man -- a man who dreamed of a future in which cats could live and, most importantly, shit inside our homes.

The Inventor:

It was 1947, and Ed Lowe was having a shitty time trying to sell a kind of clay called Fuller's Earth to local farmers in southern Michigan as an alternative material for chicken nesting. He was calling the new product Chicken Litter. No one wanted it.

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy

Who can turn down such an exciting product?

Back then, cat owners filled boxes with stuff like ash, sawdust, and sand for their cats to poop and pee in. Since the smell was unbearable, the boxes were always kept outside of the house. Kay Draper, Ed's neighbor, had a cat box outside filled with sand that had been so saturated with piss that it turned into a terrible popsicle out in the freezing January air. When she went to Ed's to borrow some sand, he gave her Fuller's Earth instead.

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy
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"Go ahead and piss on my life's work! See if I give a shit!"

Kay noticed that the Fuller's Earth absorbed the smell of cat piss, so she asked for more. She liked it so much she started spreading the gospel of Ed Lowe's litter. Ed's Fuller's Earth had gained a reputation, so he bagged a bunch, wrote "Kitty Litter" on them, and gave them to a hardware store to be given out for free because the store owner didn't think they would sell. He even toured America's cat show circuit to give live demos. He probably had to force a lot of cats into taking frightened shits in front of large crowds of obsessive cat owners. Eventually, enough people trusted kitty litter that he was able to charge for it.

You've probably heard of the kitty litter brand Ed later created: Tidy Cat. Tidy Cat was sold to Purina after Ed's death in 1995. As kitty litter became ubiquitous across the world (and with the putrid smell of everything that falls out of a cat's back half mostly eliminated) cat owners started moving their cats indoors full-time.

Which leads us to today. Because of the work Ed Lowe put into convincing the world that his pile of piss-dust was better than other piles of piss-dust, cat owners can now point a phone at their cat and the cat can become more famous than the owner.

And the rest of us will watch it, because of course we have something better to do, but we'll be damned if we're going to do it.


Jerry Lawson and His Team of Engineers, Inventors of the Video Game Cartridge

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy

How many hours do you think you wasted playing Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter and the original Final Fantasy games? How about Sonic the Hedgehog or GoldenEye or Ocarina of Time? Probably enough to explain why your report cards were filled with so many Fs they looked like they were stuttering while trying to call you a failure.

All of those games and every other console game in the pre-CD era can be traced back to the complicated work of a man and the team of brilliant engineers he led as they invented the concept of sandwiching the circuitry of a video game between hunks of plastic while the rest of us never gave them a second of thought.

The Inventor:

Know what this is?

CHANNEL F System IL The Fairchild Video Entertainment Computer CHANG The Best Television Entertainment

Well, now you do. It says it in the picture.

It's the Fairchild Channel F. It's one of the most important video game consoles ever made -- and you've probably never heard of it. A year after it was released, the Atari 2600 came out and shoveled dirt onto its corpse. The Fairchild Channel F still matters because of one distinct feature no other console before it had and no console for the next 30 years was without: It was the first to release games on cartridges. Before the Channel F, games came preloaded on consoles. The guy responsible for making cartridges work was Jerry Lawson.

Lawson made an arcade cabinet game by himself in his garage that caught the attention of a company called Fairchild Semiconductor. Fairchild wanted to get into the home-gaming business and had cobbled together crude prototypes of video game cartridges with parts purchased from Radio Shack. They were massive, barely functional, and ugly. Lawson's job was to make them small, convenient, and affordable, which in the tech world is like asking someone to walk on water and then cure leprosy.

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy

And make a game where there's isn't a cinematic, then you walk 20 feet,
and there's another cinematic.

Lawson's biggest fear was that the constant plugging and unplugging of cartridges would cause the semiconductors on the chips to explode. Imagine how stunted the progress of video games would have been if cartridges were singeing off kids' eyebrows all across America on Christmas morning. So, for the first and maybe only time in world history, someone turned to eight-track tape technology for inspiration.

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy

Sorry, eight-track tapes. Just because you inspired a revolution in video games
doesn't mean you're not a joke technology.

If they sandwiched the high-tech gizmos and doodads within a hard plastic shell, anyone could handle it without worry of dealing with exposed chips.

The system was a commercial failure, but Lawson and his team's innovation made a lasting impression that could be felt as early as one year later when the now-legendary Atari 2600 was released. What was the big, impressive new feature Atari promoted at launch?


Momofuku Ando, Creator of Instant Ramen Noodles

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy
Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

The slacker lifestyle is incomplete without instant ramen noodles. In three minutes, you can feast on a bowl of delicious, savory noodles that were once an unappetizing dry brick of wiggly lines. Instant ramen has a reputation as being the most prized foodstuff among broke college kids and the generally lazy, but it's actually an impressive innovation. Japanese citizens once hailed instant ramen as the best Japanese invention of the 20th century. Good thing, too. Because that's the exact kind of response the inventor of instant ramen was hoping for.

The Inventor:

In 1948, a Taiwanese man living in Japan named Momofuku Ando was jailed for two years for tax evasion. The Japan he saw when he got out was still pulling itself together in the aftermath of World War II. So the enterprising Momofuku started a company called Nissin that produced salt.

Japan was receiving aid from the United States, but the aid didn't make sense. Why were Japanese citizens eating U.S.-supplied bread when they could be eating noodles? The aid was supposed to be for starving Japanese people, not 8-year-old American kids who love a good PB&J in their brown-bag lunch. That and a long line of people waiting to order ramen at an illegal noodle shop in 1945 sparked an idea: He was going to beat the shit out of world hunger with a ramen noodle..

The 4 Hardest Things Done By Great Minds So You Can Be Lazy
banprik/iStock/Getty Images

*"Bad to the Bone" plays*

That's where and how he spent most of 1957: in that shed, failing again and again to find a way to preserve cooked noodles so they could have a long shelf life and be prepared anywhere by anyone. Eventually, he discovered that if you fry cooked ramen noodles in hot oil, the noodles dry out and can be reconstituted with hot water in three minutes. In 1958, 10 years after he was sent to jail, Momofuku presented a brand-new, never-before-seen food product to the world: instant ramen. He did it! He created an affordable meal for the world!

Well, not really. His flash-fried ramen cost 60 percent more than freshly prepared noodles. He made up for it years later by creating Cup Noodles, which came in a foam cup to warn people that they weren't about to indulge in a classy fine-dining affair. And with that, he had accomplished his life's goal: to feed the world's starving, impoverished stoners and drunks.

A Fyeo Tut
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

"And we thank yo- zzzzzzz ..."

Momofuku died of heart failure in 2007. Probably because he was 96, or, most likely, because ...

DIETING AND WEIGHT Instant Noodles Tied to Heart Risk By NICHOLAS BAKALAR AUGUST 20 2014 11-56 AM 53 Comments

Yeah, it was probably that.

Luis is in his garage, hard at work on a refrigerator that can catapult food from the kitchen into his hungry mouth in the living room. In the meantime, you can find him on Twitter and Tumblr.

For more from Luis, check out 8 Stupid Kitchen Hacks (Tested for Usefulness) and 4 Great Educational Videos for Never Sleeping Ever Again.

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