In June 11 IssueBy Jeff Smith, Columnist
One of the greatest things about being a parent, at least in my opinion, is the great many things you can subject your children to without fear of legal repercussions.
Now now, don't fret, I'm not talking about torture.
Well, not physical torture, anyway.
Case in point: I've recently been going through the list of movies my child is allowed to view, and trying to think of anything really good that my wife and I may have forgotten to add to the list.
It was during this activity that I realized he had not seen the Back to the Future Trilogy. You remember those, right? Marty McFly and "Doc" Emmet Brown's fantastic follies throughout the timestream?
Well, my wife and I agreed that they are safe for our son, and so without further ado, we watched the first one.
Amazingly enough, the boy did not react as I expected him to (calling into effect the Geneva Convention rules against torture), but instead opted to see the next one.
The first one, as I'm sure you will recall is set for the most part in 1955, with the movie's "present" set in 1985. A temporal distance of 30 years.
The second one, or Part II, fast forwards by that same amount to 2015... which you'll notice is only about four short years away. I found it quite interesting to see how Robert Zemeckis foresaw the current times. There were a lot of things he got wrong, but there were a few small things he got right.
If you'd like to take a break now and go and re-watch the film to refresh your memory, go right on ahead. Don't worry, I'll wait.
Welcome back! So, wasn't it creepy seeing Michael J Fox dressed in drag?
I thought so.
But back to the important stuff. No, we don't have hoverboards, and I doubt that we'll get them in the four short years before Marty and the Doc are due to arrive.
But we do have video games that you play without using your hands. We do have holographic projections, though they are pixelated and require way too much power to be practical. We do have automated cashier systems, they just don't have Max Headroom style interfaces.
In fact, I used one last week at Walmart. Also, while Moller International is working on building a flying Ferrari, chances are it won't ever make it to market, just like Moller's other flying vehicles failed to do. We don't have self-drying self-adjusting talking jackets, but Nike did get a patent for self-lacing shoes recently.
Seeing all this stuff reminded me about how much wonder and hope we all had for the future when we were young... back when we were sure that we'd all grow up and fly a jetpack to work.
All in all, I can get over the lack of hoverboards, even though I spent many hours as a kid trying to figure out how to design one using superconductors and magnets.
No, truly, the one thing that was shown in the movie that I wish, with all my might, had come to pass: Mr. Fusion.
If only we had the ability to generate 1.21 Gigawatts of electricity from some Miller High Life, the aluminum can it came in, and a banana peel, I don't think we'd be all that concerned about whats going on in the Middle East nor would we care one bit what they do with their oil.
But Mr. Fusion does not exist, and our country is as deep in its oil addiction as it ever was.
Again, I blame the patent trolls.
Until next time, remember, kids in 2015 are supposed to wear their pockets inside out, which may actually come to pass since with the current economy, they're not likely to have any money to put in them