New Scientist, May 29th, 1999
To me, "The Future" can be officially pronounced when I see the flying aircars zipping majestically over my head. I will look wisely into the sky and be a minor yet integral character in both Bladerunner and the Jetsons. Seconds later people will have to wear the mono-colored jumpsuits embossed with some kind of starry insignia, some bloody-handed rightwing conservative will shout "Soylent Green is People" and I will inappropriately laugh at the naked terminator who wants my clothes...
I never thought that day might come in my lifetime. But it looks like that day might appear in, oh, 2001 sometime. Because Paul Moller, after 30 years, has finally finished his flying car and, boy, does it look cool. This is a car that Bond or Bruce Wayne would own.
There's been a lot of news about this car from the usual suspects, Wired and the BBC to name a few. But The New Scientist manages to tell me some things I don't remember reading about elsewhere Unlike PC Mag with their easily diagnosed trends.
For example, what if I run out of gas at 300 feet? I would probably be inclined to aim my flying car toward some church van full of soft children that would lessen the impact. Turns out that the car will have two parachutes and airbags both inside and out.
They also include other interesting facts, such as their goal of making these aerocars self-piloting through satellite control. Or how they take off and land vertically like a Harrier Jet. Or how this might be a 1 trillion dollar market that might make traffic jams a thing of the past. A must read. You can also read more at www.moller.com.
As if that lead story wasn't enough, there's also a story about an Anglo-Japanese effort that could yield ram memory that has the capacity of hard drives.
PC Magazine, June 22nd 1999
I guess I sort of asked for the June 22 issue of PC Magazine.The writing in the magazine always struck me as a bit stolid, full of technobabble The sort that loses you on Star Trek when they're frothing at the mouth about Warp Core Vectors and other indecipherable minutia concerning the details of imaginary things
So, I suppose they were aiming for me when this week's issue actually made an attempt to give us The Big Picture, as opposed to diagnostic gobbledygook. For their lead story focused on 10 trends "that will change the way we live and work."
Startling ramifications of PC Mag's Shock of the New include, but are not limited to: newfangled IMAC-inspired Wintel boxes, revolutionary screen designs that would allow for better resolution and functional e-books, software that thinks and a lot of stuff that should have been a lot more interesting to read, but wasn't.
That's because the writing in PC Magazine is always so professional. So professional that every ounce of style, wit, passion, and wonder has been drained from the prose like the blood that drips from a gutted, hanged deer. Just once, I just wish these guys would rip off Mondo 2000, or Bruce Sterling or Clifford Stoll on their better nonfiction science writing days.
I also didn't find what they were writing about to be all that groundbreaking. I mean, they predict, boldly no doubt, that computing power will increase, that ecommerce is real and that the web will get smarter. They think that's news. I guess maybe they know what they're doing when they stick to those exciting printer comparisons.Thank God for Dvorak. He's always interesting at least. He shot off his mouth (pun intended) this month on the Littleton shootings. He freely admits that games like Doom and Quake and Duke Nukem do make you a better killer if you're so inclined, or as he states "If you're going to tear up a place like a maniac, you'll do a lot more damage after playing DOOM for a year or two."
But he also thinks that the kids who did the shooting were influenced by things more insidious than just video games.
To quote him at length here:
"The DOOM players who tore up their high school had other problems. I was personally creeped out by the school itself, which from the helicopter views actually looked like a DOOM scenario. It looked like a factory, warehouse or prison--you decide. And the principal was an out of touch bureaucrat running a too-large institution.
"The rationale for such cavernous, soulless schools is beyond me. They're building one in the town where I live, and I expect it to be shot up one day by a disaffected youth haunted by the daily prisonlike impersonal atmosphere. Nobody shoots up small private schools where the kids get lots of attention "
Of course, decreasing student to teacher ratios would cost money. I suppose it would be a lot easier to start carding kids at movie theaters. Or blame video games and artificially outrageous rock n roll acts.
Popular Mechanics, July 1999
How can this be put. The most interesting thing about this month's Popular Mechanics wasn't anything inside the magazine, although I always find it chockful of interesting short pieces. And if you know me you know I can never get enough info about cars--especially the ones I will never ever afford.
I suppose, in order to describe the month's lead story about what astrobiologists think might be the kind of life found on other planets, the editors chose a picture of an Alien Gray. But she wasn't any old Alien Gray. She had ruby red lips and, how can I say this, quite the rack. I mean there was just the hint of a very impressive Alien Gray bustline.
Apparently, our nude Alien Gray woman(?) has her right arm strategically placed across her breasts, hiding no doubt what would be those erect and firm Alien Gray nipples that probably glow in the dark--a strategic placement just like those Austin Powers shots where fruit baskets and cups of milk magically appear to cover the Monty Python styled "naughty bits".
It must be sweeps week for magazines. Upside, allegedly a "business magazine", features a female torso (presumably) in black jeans which is meant to promote their lead story of hot net companies. I guess their thinking is that your Amazons and your Pricelines are not unlike a hot piece of ass. I don't think I quite make that connection.
And a while back, I believe Fortune gave us some disturbing info on their cover about the workplace's hidden disease: Sex Addicts This is, of course, a female problem I would love to run into, buy it a drink or two, and even invite it to the sleazier area motels that charge by the hour.
By the way, having gone way off point, their were some interesting things inside Popular Mechanics. There was a very well written piece about the HAARP Project, for all you www.disinformation.com fans out there you probably remember this as being the Nicola Tesla project that could inadvertently destroy the world, or something equally horrendous.
The lead piece about aliens from other worlds was also decent, although I couldn't discern how hot Alien Gray chicks figured into the storyline. There was also some interesting short pieces about a space hotel--which, judging from the pictures looked to be cramped and slightly claustrophobic (Babylon 5 it ain't)--as well as a cool short piece about holographic ads.