- Education and Science
Top Five Scientific Inventions That Are Way Overdue: Get Busy You Scientists!
I try to avoid rants, but I have just really had enough! It is time that we as Americans demand that our scientific community get on the ball and provide us with a few things that we have been virtually promised through futuristic novels and far out films. I invite you to come along as I present these concerns to the scientific community at large in the hopes that we can get these long overdue items on the production lines as soon as possible. I do warn you that my rants tend to ignore things like basic facts, common sense and anything remotely resembling reality. But if you are willing to overlook those very minor issues and would like to take a chance, grab hold and hang on. Here we go...
1. The Hover Car
Let's start with the thing most obviously missing from the average American garage... the family hover car. These things have been around in science fiction practically since the beginning of the genre. And yet, we do not even have a viable prototype on the market. Surely with all the science that has been done over the years, the technology to create these hovercraft must exist.
It is true that there are some personal-size vehicles out there, like the Moller M200G volantor, that can travel through the air like a hover car would, but these are not true hover cars as they are suspended by air propulsion rather than through the use of an anti-gravitational device like we know all hover cars should be.
What's the deal, Mr. Science? One would think it is hard to come up with an anti-grav generator or something! Get on the ball, you techno-geeks! Like my dad has always said, if those darn Russkies get a hover car in the air before we do, you can kiss the free market, democracy and apple pie goodbye! Not to mention what those Commie bastards will do to baseball and dear ol' Mom!
Now maybe you scientists are thinking, why do we really need hover cars anyway? Simple... Because you promised. You cannot go around getting our hopes up then pulling the rug out from under us! If you weren't going to give us these way-cool cars, why did you even let them make Blade Runner and get our hopes up? Yeah, yeah, I know... That was a Hollywood movie. But it was based on a science fiction novel and we all know yesterday's sci-fi is today's obsolete technology. So get to it already!
2. Household Robots
The January 1957 issue of Mechanix Illustrated promised robots in every home by 1965. Yet here in 2011, almost five decades later, we still have no household robots. At least not in my neighborhood! Now even if I cut you scientists massive slack for slipping on the hover cars since you claim they were dreamed up only by sci-fi writers, you have to admit that Mechanix Illustrated was a cutting edge technology magazine for which many articles were written by scientists --scientists who did real science scientifically on a daily basis.
The article was written by a guy named O.O. Binder, and though I have no proof, I would bet he was a scientist. Or at least a high school science teacher. Probably. Maybe more of a fix-it guy at a local repair shop, but in some way he had to have some sort of background in something sort of scientific or why would he be writing for Mechanix Illustrated! You cannot get much more "authoritative" than that. So what's the hold up Mr. Wizard? Give me my robot, dang it! Or do you expect me to keep doing my own laundry here in the new millennium?
3. That Machine That Creates Food Out of Nothing
Okay, I admit I do not know exactly what this thing was called, but the Jestsons had one and it seems I have seen them in a couple of movies. Jane (or more likely their household robot Rosie) would just punch some buttons and out would pop a steaming plate of delicious pot roast. What's that? Elroy wants tacos? No problem. And Judy's on another diet to impress that dreamy rocker Jet Screamer? Not to worry. Just hold the calories! What is so hard about this?
Hey! I heard that snicker,brainiac! You say this is closer to magic than science? Well, isn't that what the Pilgrims said about washing machines and toasters? Isn't that what the Vikings believed about submarines and toothpaste? Did not King Henry VIII in fact have his very own daughter beheaded for "inventing" a printing press through the use of "sorcery"? Okay, some of that might not be 100% accurate, but I think I have made my point. Now somebody punch me up a pastrami on rye with a side of steak fries. I worked up a bit of an appetite on that one...
4. Transporter Beam Thing-a-ma-jig
I can hardly believe I am even having to bring this one up, yet here we are in the early 21st century without a transporter doo-hickey. No wonder space exploration has bogged down. We have to keep sending astronauts up to the Space Station in antiquated spaceships when we could be saving valuable research time by simply beaming them up there -- thank you very much, Mr. Scott! And now the whole space shuttle program is being scrapped because they can no longer find parts for them (at least that's what I heard) so now the astronauts are going to have to... what? Hitch a ride with those shifty-eyed Russkies? Does my dad know about this?
Come on, eggheads. This one was in Star Trek, for Pete's sake. Star Trek! The original series. If Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock can be beamed all over the Universe, I think it only fair that a mother who needs a quart of milk for her baby should be able to literally pop down to the market and grab it. Of course, if you guys would get that machine that creates food out of nothing finished, she wouldn't need to go to the market. But she doesn't have that machine, does she? Grrrrrr... I'm getting worked up!
5. Time Machines
And finally, as I am sure you expected, we end up here, at the Time Machine. time travel has been around in theory since possibly as long ago as 700 B.C. when a manuscript called the Mahabharata tells the story of King Revaita who travels to Heaven and returns to Earth in the distant future. This Hindu tale is generally agreed to be the earliest mention of time travel. So why have we not yet developed a machine that can take us "back to the future"?
Now I do not claim to know all that much about science and I have never been good at managing my time, so I am probably not the best person to ask about all of this, but I do not feel like actually tracking down experts. So we will just go with my limited knowledge and what I can learn by skimming the Internet. And the first thing I am pretty sure of is time is thought to be a fourth dimension. That should mean we can move in it like we to in the other three dimensions. So I think our first conclusion should be that time travel is a relatively simple process. So what's the hold up?
Well, clearly time travel would take more energy than walking across the room or even blasting a Russkie spaceship into outer space because the United States cannot find parts for their own spacecraft. So I thought maybe the problem was generating the power we need. But then I remembered Doc Brown and the setup he rigged together so it seemed power probably is not the hold up. Suire, the Doc was a pretty smart guy, but certainly NASA has smart guys on staff as well. (It is NASA working on this, isn't it?) So the massive amount of energy that may or may not be required cannot be the problem.
Well, maybe it would just be too expensive. I mean, let's face it... DeLoreans are not cheap. And do they even make them anymore? Maybe they are like the space shuttles and it is hard to get parts... Maybe we could use Toyota Celicas or something. But hey, why not go American and use Camaros? Wouldn't that be awesome? A time traveling Camaro! So since Camaros would be an excellent substitute for those useless space shu... er, I mean useless DeLoreans, there should be no hold up there.
Sorry scientists, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot place the blame for our lack of time machines on anything other than either your laziness, your incompetence, or your focus on conquering hair loss and prolonging... um... Well, let's just say you may be spending your days making things harder than they need to be. So get off your butt, watch a few sci-fi movies if you need some tips, and most of all, leave those hairy little baboons' private parts alone and get my time traveling Camaro built!
The Transmogrifier: Now That's Just Ridiculous...
Just to prove that I am not just pulling things out of the fictional world and demanding they be created no matter how unrealistic, I would like to mention the Transmogrifier. This "invention" came from Calvin of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip by the comically brilliant (and very likely scientifically minded) Bill Watterson. Now anyone who has read this comic strip knows Calvin has a very active imagination and this machine is just simply preposterous.
A machine that can transform a human into anything he chooses -- a buffalo, a dinosaur, a man-eating python? Sure, all that's believable. But what about a tricycle? Or a surfboard. Or toe-nail clippers? I mean, come on! Any scientist worth his Sodium Chloride knows a human cannot be transmogrified into something inorganic no matter how much juice you pump into a transmogrifier. I think that crazy tiger was putting these silly ideas into Calvin's head. Keep it real, Bill! Let's keep it real.