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US engineers perfect butt-kicking machine

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A US engineering firm, Leavitt & Associates Engineers, has applied to patent a "Manually Self-Operated Butt-Kicking Machine". In simple terms, this is a chair with a hole in the seat combined with a kicking foot, all operated by the seat's occupant. It allows the operator to administer a "butt-kicking", should he or she feel it is appropriate.

The company says that it does not intend to bring the product to market, much to the relief, no doubt, of those working in the service industry. Instead, J. Reese Leavitt says, the chair will be rented out to groups for fundraising efforts. Tuning in perfectly to the mood of the time, office manager Sandy Burmeister told The Idaho Statesman: "Groups can use this to put someone dressed up like, say, Osama Bin Laden, and charge $1 to kick his butt."

Even leaving the wider political ramifications of the invention aside, it raises a few obvious questions. Such as "Why on earth would you build a butt kicking machine in the first place?" and "Aren't you supposed to be working?".

It all started as a bit of a joke. Original sketches were circulated at an apparently rather dull meeting. Somehow these were developed into more official schematics, with details including a size 15 steel toe-capped kicking boot. Fortunately for Osama impersonators everywhere, this was later replaced with a baseball boot.

Leavitt is keen to stress that this is not normal business for the firm. The whole thing has required an investment of $550. The team spent $250 on materials (including $40 on the shoe) and another $300 on filing for the patent. "My wife was concerned that by having this silly project, people might not realize we're a real engineering firm," he said.

You don't say. ®

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