Forget street lights, use glowing trees instead

Trees could be the street lights of the future, helping to cut energy bills and reduce CO2

What's got sixteen legs, four eyes and three rows of teeth? We don't know either, but it's right behind you.

Only kidding! It's time for this week's Weird Tech, featuring things that don't exist, things you can't buy, things that are too expensive and dangerous to implement and things that might get you groped.

Trees are rubbish. They just sit there, doing nothing, occasionally dropping things on your head. Wouldn't it be great if we could get them to do something useful, such as lighting our streets?

That's what an accidental discovery by Taiwanese scientists promises. It turns out that embedding gold nanoparticles in leaves makes them glow.

For now, the necessary powder is ridiculously toxic and incredibly pricey, but in the long term "bio-LED could be used to make roadside trees luminescent at night. This will save energy and absorb CO2", Dr Yen-Hsun Su told Chemistry World.

Money for nothing

You'll recall that the entire global economy collapsed because people were spending money they couldn't afford on property they didn't need. Now, you can be even more irresponsible and spend money you can't afford on property that doesn't even exist. That's right! Virtual real estate is the next big thing!

Just ask Yan Panasjuk, who paid $335,000 for a chunk of the entirely imaginary nightclub Neverdie, which only exists in the online game Entropia.

IMAGINE: It's easy to take the mickey out of Entropia. That's what we like. It's easy

Speaking to Forbes, the 34-year-old Bostonian explained that it was a smart move because, um, "Avatar has grossed 2.7 billion dollars worldwide." He might be right, though: the club's previous owner was bringing in two hundred grand a year from selling virtual goods and services to idiots. Er, gamers.

Wear your pants with pride

Finally, if you're thinking of travelling in the US, you've probably heard of the increase in airport security, where you've got a choice between the pornoscanner – a scanner that sees through clothes – and invasive groping.


THAT'S MAGIC: Wear magic pants. Use magic pants to give security a message. O noes! Rubber gloves!

Technology comes to the rescue once again, though: 4th Amendment Wear uses metallic inks to display that particular bit of the US Constitution (it's the part about unreasonable searches) to the pornoscanner operator. And it's not limited to T-shirts: you can get the amendment printed on your underpants.

Lights! Apple! Action!

What do you buy the Apple fan who has everything? That's right – you buy them a Steve Jobs action figure, or at least you would if those killjoys at Apple hadn't sent a cease and desist letter to Micgadget.

Steve jobs figure

ONE MORE THING:This magical and revolutionary product had an unbelievable price of $79.90 before Apple's lawyers intervened

Apparently a model of Jobs with stick-on speech balloons that you can scribble "Boom", "Magical" and "Amazing" on breaches Californian copyright law. That's our plans for Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Steve Ballmers buggered, then.

Oi! Three eyes!

If a man's got a camera glued to his head, it's probably art – and it certainly is in Wafaa Bilal's case. The New York University arts professor has had a small video camera implanted into the back of his head "as an allegorical statement about the things we don't see and leave behind".


ARTY FARTY: This is Wafaa Bilal's website. We don't understand it, so it must be art

Previously Bilal has encouraged people to fire paintballs at him 24/7 and created a video game featuring himself as a suicide bomber.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.