The year is 2010. I would just like for that to sink into your futureminds. Ten years ago... ok, ONE DECADE AGO, was the year 2000. The year 2000, for my entire life growing up was supposed to be the future. That year, is now ten years in our past.
Can you believe that?
Some things have really changed in my life; Computers, multi-core processors, the internet, the secret second internet that no one knows about, e-mails, social networking sites, the rhombus... but one thing that hasn't is airplanes.
All my life, airplanes have been the same. In fact, they actually got less technologically advanced for a while. When I was young, there used to be telephones everywhere in the plane. I remember calling girlfriends from thirty nine thousand feet, and it costing thirty nine thousand dollars. You would swipe your credit card, and boom, you were talking. Even better, I remember there were sometimes telephone jacks in the phone themselves, where you could plug your computer's modem into. This I did, two or three times. I was on the internet, in an airplane, in the year 1996.
It is strange that that went away, and has only reemerged as modern wifi in the last year or so. What is the hold up here folks? I asked the folks, and they didn't supply an answer... stupid folks.
Aside from in flight amenities, the commercial jet liner has really been the same since the 60's. In fact, a lot of the commercial jets built in the 60s are still flying today! Come on! Remember those tri-color projectors that would project the movie you were supposed to watch? If you see one of those, you know you are on an old plane. Planes back then flew at approximately the same speed and altitude as they do today... 50 YEARS LATER!
The Concorde was an excellent, futureistic alternative to medieval jetliners. Flying faster than Mach 1 would get you to your destination a lot quicker than flying the 5oo or 600 mph that regular jets fly today. In fact, it would get you there so fast that you'd arrive at your destination before you even left... which was impossible, so they had to shut the program down to keep the universe from tearing asunder. But the Concorde wasn't that futuristic... guess when the first test flight was... 1969! Commercial passenger service started in 1976! The god damned internet wasn't even around yet and people were flying around in futuretubes™! And what progress have we made today? NONE, we've actually regressed.
Well, hopefully, not for long.
The Nobel Foundation has awarded one of its famed prizes to a pair of researchers who developed a carbon substrate that's so flat it's considered a brand new material. The breakthrough could lead to ultrafast microchip transistors and other advances.
The Nobel Prize for Physics went to Andre Geim, and Konstantin Novoselov, whose work in quantum physics yielded a new material called grapheme. The Foundation said graphene, as thin as one atom, is a two-dimensional precursor material that will make it possible for scientists to develop a range of new consumer and industrial products."When mixed into plastics, graphene can turn them into conductors of electricity while making them more heat resistant and mechanically robust. This resilience can be utilized in new super strong materials, which are also thin, elastic, and lightweight. In the future, satellites, airplanes, and cars could be manufactured out of the new materials," said the Nobel Foundation.
Yes, that's exactly what I look forward to. Airplanes with even thinner hulls, so that I can be that much closer to outer space! So look for thinner airplanes in the future! When? Well, probably in another 50 years. But will that make us go faster? I dunno... shut up.
Photo credit: www.nasa.gov