Move aside, Technoking: All hail the Sweat Master and his many inspirational job titles

I hope he doesn't call me Pedoking

Something for the Weekend, Sir? You know my name. Look on my works and despair. "Does he get paid for that?" Yup, I can hear you despairing right now.

My name is not enough. What I need now is a stupidity-engorged job title. Oh yes, the fashion is back for overegged descriptions of what you want other people to think you do for a living.

Thought you'd seen the end of "Director of Inspiration", "Thrill Executive" and "VP for Fun"? Not if you're active on LinkedIn, of course, where a risible catchline and desperate posts that have been cut-and-pasted from tech manuals of SEO airheadery is mandatory. But for the rest of us, the idiotic job title was a fading fad that is rapidly returning to 100 per cent opacity.

For this we can thank the world's most famous parent of numerically monikered infants, Elon Musk. Not content with having an auto-correct-irking first name, he has decided it would be a wheeze to change the bit underneath it on his business card to read "Technoking".

I agree, it needs a space or a hyphen. As with "miniseries", my brain keeps urging me to mispronounce it. It's supposed to be "Techo King", like "Burger King", "Nosmo King" or "Majorbollo King".

Elon Musk smoking a spliff on Joe Rogan's podcast

Elon Musk shows world that he is truly awful at something


Even so, the title doesn't make sense. King of Techno? I might be out of touch but Elon isn't exactly renowned for his deck-spinning skills or banging tunes. Surely he's much more famous for buying some Bitcoins. He's the Bitcoking. The Craptoking. The Richfuckerwastingtheearthsenergyresourcesforalaughking.

Useless as a means of exchange as nobody but a moron would spend any, cryptocurrency can only be valued in terms of (boo hiss!) fiat currency – which sort of defeats the whole ethos. Still, I hate to come across as a sourpuss. Just because 3,500 more useless and speculative cryptocurrencies were cynically launched last year alone, who am I to judge? And to be fair to the fellow, Technoking balances his investment in the frivolous planet-murdering ponzi scheme with equally massive tech investments in sustainable power generation and better energy storage.

COVID lockdowns have also seen a rise in silly-season style news coverage of small-scale, personal energy generation. Photo stories showing people recharging their laptops by riding adapted indoor exercise bikes are all the rage in local magazines down my way. I'd like to link to one of these for you but unfortunately the best examples seem to have been rendered to ash in the OVH fire.

The Reg itself reported last week on academic research into energy-converting sportswear. Finding novel ways of channelling movement and friction when you're out for a run into electrical current is all just grist for the treadmill when you're a bio-tech researcher. What I appreciate most about this latest report is how University of California San Diego nanoengineers – I'd call them "Nanokings" except that makes them sound like minor royalty from the planet Ork – have found ways of harvesting sweat.

Now you're talking. I sweat buckets. Me, I could build up a sweat merely by blinking an eye while standing naked at the North Pole. What's that? Photos or it didn't happen? Ah well I'd love to show you proof but unfortunately this too is lying in carbonated form amid the ashes in Strasbourg. Phew! (he says, wiping his forehead of yet more sweat.)

No less intriguing is the research being conducted (heh) by electronic engineers at Glasgow University to produce "energy-generating e-skin" covered in miniature solar cells. The e-skin not only converts constant solar energy to the usual trickle of electric current, it uses its own light sensing to determine how close it is to other objects.

Supposedly this could make it useful for proximity detection in autonomous robots. I was thinking it could be handy whenever I go for a run since I can't see where I'm going what with all the sweat streaming down my face. And that's just while I'm tying my shoelaces before setting out.

From now on, you may address me as "Sweatno-king". Hey, I'm not proud and I'd be thrilled if it caught on. Unlike the younger Uri Geller, I'd be over the moon if they turned me into a Pokémon card, nor will I need James Randi to underhand-shuffle off this mortal coil before lightening up a bit. I could be the unassailable battle Pokémon Sweatnu from Figleaf Town whose unique power lies in the jets of salty water exploding from its armpits. Add some e-skin and it turns into the highly charged if somewhat pungent Wetpatch, before ultimately evolving into the sweet-smelling Gotmesomedeoderantard.

Better still, sports shoes and blockchain have an opportunity to conjoin and give birth to little baby crypto slippers. Apparently there is such a thing as a competitive sneaker resale market, in which people buy and sell designer trainers as if they were collectable artworks. Just like there are unnecessary bloated blockchain token systems for digital art – all the rage, I understand – we could have buyers trading their stinky gym shoes AND burning up the energy equivalent of Norway at the same time. Result!

I could be the "Whiffy King of Sweaty Sneakers". In fact, I must try that for size on my LinkedIn profile. It'll be better than the last one I put up there – "Franticwan King" – which generated plenty of excitement but which Mr Musk's lawyers ordered me to return to the original copyright owner.

Ah, what's in a name, eh?

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Alistair Dabbs
Sweatno-king is a freelance technology tart, juggling tech journalism, training and digital publishing. He looks forward to his workout sweat being converted to electricity so that fewer nuclear power stations need to be built. He worries, though, that his waste sweat will not break down safely into the environment for another 700 years. More at Autosave is for Wimps and @alidabbs.

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