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Archive for January 14th, 2011

Not exactly an iPhone ...

On a rainy Friday in Seychelles I get a call from Mexico informing me that the Chinese calendar will be bringing me a year of good luck starting on the 3rd of February, prompting me to share that possible reprieve with friends in the US, England, Germany, Italy and South Africa.

Yep. Within about 30 minutes eight countries were buzzing about my radar, and that was without going anywhere near facebook.

It never ceases to amaze me how this world of ours has gone so tiny, yet stays so bloody big. Yeah, sure I can conference call … for free … with a half dozen people in as many countries when effectively connected, and that’s wonderful, but getting up-close and personal with anyone off this rock? That’s not so simple, is it?

It wasn’t long ago the Internet and its wonders were beyond the scope, but within a few short years it’s more common in my world that peeps have it than don’t. Not only can we now communicate globally easily and far more cheaply than in the days it took a pricy phone call to reach out and touch someone, we now have Internet ON our phones. Just take a moment to imagine how shocked we would have been had we been told ten years ago this would be at our fingertips? And with a touch screen, yet!

Yes, we’ve seen HUGE changes, but at the same time so much stays the same.

Ease of communication has leapt and bounded, but transport? Not so much.

It was 40-some years ago James T. Kirk and Co. were stepping up for getting around of the dissolve/stick-together-somewhere-else sort, but the only real change in how we’re able to move about that’s happened over all those decades is the size of the planes that cram us in, then subject us to endless hours of torture.

Oh! You can now make calls from your own phone on some airliners and connect to the Internet, but that seems just rubbing it in if you ask me.

I’ve been waiting for that Beamy-uppy thingy ever since I moved halfway around the world from my roots and shoots, but in vain.

So, what is it with all the sticking-to-the-planes deal? I admit my lack of science-y expertise may be tricking me into thinking it should be an easier row to hoe, but since I was equally clueless on the WorldWideWeb, I’m in no mood to allow any excuses.

Look at it this way …

The first telephone … the precursor to our modern communication wonders … was patented in 1876. The first car … the beginning of travel that didn’t require draught animals … came along about 200 years EARLIER, and the first gasoline engine cranked over almost in sync with the phone.

An automobile powered by his own four-stroke cycle gasoline engine was built in Mannheim, Germany by Karl Benz in 1885, and granted a patent in January of the following year under the auspices of his major company, Benz & Cie., which was founded in 1883. It was an integral design, without the adaptation of other existing components, and included several new technological elements to create a new concept. He began to sell his production vehicles in 1888.
A photograph of the original Benz Patent-Motorwagen, first built in 1885 and awarded the patent for the concept

In 1879, Benz was granted a patent for his first engine, which had been designed in 1878. Many of his other inventions made the use of the internal combustion engine feasible for powering a vehicle.

I know there’s a huge difference between the internal combustion engine and the Star Trek transporter, but so is there between the gadget you see Alex G. Bell mouthing into in the photo above and instantaneous video calls around the planet.

“I signed aboard this ship to practice medicine, not to have my atoms scattered back and forth across space by this gadget.” ~ Dr. McCoy

Yeah, yeah … it’s a bit of a scary concept, but if Bones could get over it, anyone can.

So … get on the stick, folks. I hate flying, always get a fuckin’ cold when I’ve had to freeze my ass off for 12+ hours and ingest the breath of 250 other people who are as just as uncomfortable as I am, and I don’t like the food.

But …

If 2011 actually IS my year … me being a metal rabbit and this being the year of the rabbit and all … I’m not wasting any of the luck that may come my way on R&D for rapid-er transit.

Nope.

I’ll be keeping all that for health, wealth and wisdom for me and mine, thankyouverymuch. And if that puts my ass on planes, so be it.

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