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Beam me up, Scotty! Well, on second thought…

I’m tired of writing about the decline of the EDA media industry. It’s time for me to get back to my roots, i.e., the joy of engineering and dreaming of what might be. To help in that journey, here’s an odd little piece that I found on the McBru blog:

> 5 Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions (that would actually suck)!

While I don’t fully agree with the blogger’s – Keith Mclean from the staff of CRACKED – reasoning for why some of these inventions might “suck” in reality, the article is humorous. For example, the author describes modern jetpacks as “tanks of compressed gas that basically fart you into the air.” Flying with flair, so to speak.

Rocketeer jetpack

One of the blogger’s more controversial opinions is why teleporter technology will never work:

“A teleporter wouldn’t actually break down your atoms and then shoot those same atoms thousands of miles through the air; even if it were possible, there’d be no reason to do it. It would instead just grab Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms from out of the air and assemble you out of those (one Hydrogen atom is the same as another, after all).?

Essentially, he explains that teleporters would work more like fax machines, transmitting a signal that would be reproduced at the other end as a copy. In other words, the original would die! “Don’t beam me up Scotty! I’ll take a shuttle.” Guess McCoy had it right all along.

Why do I find this connection between science fiction and science/engineering so interesting? For one thing, it has proven to be a great way to discuss technology with the younger generation. If I have time later this week, I’ll post a presentation that I do every summer at Saturday Academy for high-school students, on the importance of Sci-Fi as inspiration for future engineers and scientists.


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