Mason County News
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I'm Still Waiting on My Floating Car!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 • Posted June 8, 2011

Growing up, I was a fan of Popular Mechanics. While the magazine gave great hints about how to repair or fix any number of things, I especially enjoyed their glimpses at the future of technology.Brightly illustrated, thoughtfully researched, optimistically slanted. The articles postulated on the many great gadgets awaiting us in the near future. Probably the most notorious of their future guesses, and one that still hasn't materialized, was the floating car.It looked like something that Luke Skywalker would have driven across the wastes of Tatooine. Floating a couple of feet above the ground, the car eliminated vibration from the road, negated the need for perfect roadbeds, and allowed the driver to enjoy a game of cards and a meal while the trip was underway. As we all know, Detroit has never actually been keen on innovation of too great a leap. Fenders, windshields and colors may change from year to year; but, actual innovations in engines, mechanics or guidance stay remarkably similar.In other areas, the magazine did a much better job of envisioning our sparkling future. I remember their artists' renderings of the kitchen with devices that cooked without flame or obvious heat sources. A glance around any modern kitchen reveals microwave ovens, radiant cooking surfaces that produce heat only with compatible cookware and food that is ready to eat straight from the package.Our houses have whole-system heating and cooling systems, controlled by computers that manage temperature and humidity at various times of the day. Those same computers can turn on or off lights throughout the house, start the coffemaker and have the oven warmed up prior to our arrival home.One of the biggest revolutions in our homes is tied to the computers. Our televisions and computers are now tied together in both form and function. In those early magazine spreads, there were flat screen televisions that doubled as information retrieval systems, entertainment systems and communication devices. It is no longer unusual to walk into a home and see a large screen television that is attached to the internet, and that can be used to answer your phone calls. The future is now!It seems that each day brings new innovations and new advancements that were only dreams a few decades ago. When we opened those magazines and saw images of the home of tomorrow, part of us found the ideas presented amusing. Another part of us was eager to see if we would be able to accomplish all that our dreamers were planning.And look at the things that we do have.... cellular phones that can also be used as personal computers. Televisions that don't just give us two or three channels; but, rather, offer us hundreds of entertainment options, including movies and television shows available on demand rather than on a schedule. We have cameras that allow us to take hundreds of photos rather than just a few, and we can share those photos in moments rather than in weeks.Go by Country Collectibles and find a few old copies of Popular Mechanics. Turn to their "Visions of Tomorrow," and allow yourself to enjoy seeing just how far we really have come in only a few short years.But, I still don't have my floating car!

It’s all just my opinion.

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