Cogito Ergo Tweet
Time has come up with a wonderful compilation of the greatest inventions of 2009.
Talk about a treasure trove!
Okay, so the first - and best, according to Time - on the list is the Ares Rocket, an invention that I'm afraid to say bores the space suit off of me. (How did it beat out the AIDS vaccine, by the way?) I guess I was just one of those whom the space program just blasted right by.
I remember our first astronaut - Alan Shephard - mainly because it was the first time that we had a TV in the classroom. Some parent must have lent us the little black and white "portable" with rabbit ears. The space shot would have been more thrilling if Alan Shepard had been a Catholic, of course. Oh, well. Maybe we got to watch it to begin with because the President was a Catholic.
A year or so later, I thought the John Glenn orbit was kind of cool.
But other than enjoying the laugh riot that was Bill Dana's HIGH-larious Mexican astronaut, José Jiménez - it was a different time, not so much a kinder, gentler time, as a time when you could tell ethnic jokes, make fun of people's accents and actually laugh out loud - I never paid much attention to the space program. (I did watch the moon landing, and look at the moon that night; and I loved the movie The Right Stuff.)
So the Ares invention doesn't do it for me.
But tank-bred tuna does. Sure, I know the rap on aquiculture is that it produces the plumped up, hormoned to the gills equivalent of the factory chicken. Still, it's good to know that when the oceans get tuna-fished out, we'll still be able to have an occasional sandwich featuring a salad made of the chicken of the sea.
I also like the Yike Bike, which kind of looks like a rabbit corkscrew on wheels. Yes, steering by leaning does seem like a major invitation to falling off and breaking a shoulder - no thanks - and the top speed of 12 m.p.h. is a tad frightening. But it looks so much like a tech-ish little tricycle, you have to just love it.
As I plan on cultivating vertical farming at a later date - by blogging about it, not actually doing it - I didn't even click through on this winning invention.
I'm glad someone invented a $20 knee, as I will probably be needing one at some point. But I'm not so glad that someone's cloning puppies - to the tune of $144K per clone. Not that I don't understand doggy-love; I just think that full-body cloning is on the downside of a steep and very slippery slope. Ugh.
Of the first 25 inventions on the list, though, my favorite is something called Tweeting by Thinking. I will admit that, when I first saw it, my initial thought was, 'oh, great, now the mindless twitterers won't even have to risk Twitter Thumb Syndrome, they'll just be able to think their 140 character bon mots."
Then I read the description of it.
It's not really Twittering by Thinking at all.
It's a way for those who are "locked in" - paralyzed but with their minds still working - to communicate by focusing on a character board while wearing an electrode cap. Locked in people can communicate now, but I believe it's only/largely by having someone count their blinks. This new method will let people communicate on their own. So far, it's slow going: the most rapid tweeters - and, yes, Tweeting is the first application they're using - only run at about 8 characters per minute. But the rate will only be going in one direction.
Yes, I can think of many creepy applications of this down the pike, but I'll probably be tweeting from the great beyond before anyone figures out how to really read an unwitting someone else's mind. But for the here and now, this is a terrific development. It's thrilling to me in a way that no Ares rocket's ever going to be,- although once we completely despoil the earth - something else that will likely be post-my-humous - it won't be a bad fall back position if those with the right stuff can hop into a rocket and check out the next universe to see if we can make a go of it there.
Until then, bravo to the Twitter by Thinking inventors. Cogito ergo tweet is one small step for the locked in man and woman, but what a might leap that small step will mean.