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creativity Braised seals and the brain drain

Readers have clearly been putting their brain cells to work, working out uses for brain cells.

Drew Barrow offers sympathy to Mollie Caird, whose anxiety at losing her brain cells was the cause of this week's object. He recommends that she use a mobile phone to prevent the brain cells from escaping through her ears by trapping them in a cell net. He advises her not to worry, though, because they have probably passed their cell-by date.

Nicholas James points out that since discarded brain cells are expelled in the form of ear wax, one should not leave one's aural pickings on the end of paperclips, but collect them and, when a sufficient quantity has accrued, press it into a disc with a hole in the middle. Played on your CD-Rom drive, it may then be used to access your lost memories.

John Donnelly points out that hoovered-up brain cells are eventually deposited on municipal tips, where some very clever weeds now flourish. He says they have been giving some very witty replies to Prince Charles when he has stopped by to talk to them. Australian ones, he says, are currently being used for an intelligent television series called "Brain Cell Block H".

Many readers suggested re-charging defunct brain cells and distributing them to various categories of the needy, of which Michael Howard and the House of Lords were the most popular nominations.

A J Brewer's Hoover has written to point out how intelligent a vacuum cleaner may become if it has hoovered up enough brain cells. Her cites the examples of J Edgar Vacuum-Cleaner and Herbert Vacuum-Cleaner, both of whom did rather well for themselves in the United States. A J Brewer himself points out that no one need fret about losing a few brain cells, because dandruff makes a perfectly adequate substitute. Harold Stone warns of the dangers of crossing brain cells with dust mites. He believes they are best sprinkled into a think tank.

Len Clarke is convinced that intelligent vacuum cleaners have been entering the Creativity competitions in this newspaper and, under various pseudonyms, sweeping up all the prizes.

R J Pickles suggests gathering discarded brain cells and selling them to housewives as thinking woman's dust. Or feeding them to fish to make them more intelligent. "Use them for imprisoning unruly thoughts," advises Patsy Abraham.

Martin Brown points out how similar are the sounds of "brain cell" and "Brian Sewell". He believes that further advances in alphaneural surgery could lead to their mutation into brave snails or even braised seals.

"Mollie Caird," says Ciarn Ryan, "should use her remaining brain cells to realise that she is supposed to sweep her intelligence under the carpet, not vacuum it." He also points out that since bright light bulbs appear above people's heads when they have clever ideas, discarded brain cells could be attached to key-rings to light up when you lose them.

Prizes to Drew Barrow, Patsy Abraham and A J Brewer's Hoover. Next week, we shall be discussing all those useful things you can do with cloned humans. Meanwhile, however, we seek uses for traffic lights. All ideas will be welcome at: Creativity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. The ones we like best will be rewarded with copies of the Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore.