When the article says something like "tidal generated" black hole, I start thinking of a little string of these MBH swishing up like a current in a pool. Walla! Cosmic string-like series of holes that generate more as they swish by! Sure, they die, complete their life cycle, whatever... but there's always more...
Now, I think _Earth_ needs a re-read...
I'm still waiting for sub-vocal computer inputs.
Horses? Are you serious? Are we going back to 1914 in your world? I believe I heard on TV that equine waste was the #1 problem in large cities of the past. Cities in Asia embraced the bicycle as "normal" locomotion, so should we.
PS: get out more for more "fitness" on your cycle. That "Mum" is seriously out-classing you hills or no hills, I wager.
The issue with bike commuting presently is having a home on roads that accept bicycles between home and work. When I lived in Chicago I was a serious bicycle commuter. Now I'm outside of Hilton Head, SC and there is no real chance of making a try at commuting. I sort of pictured the spike in gasoline prices would have brought round a greater number of people riding bicycles. It sort of happened on the island where you don't have to use the road the county is trying to keep calling a "highway," but not out where it's the only connector road between destinations. More than gas price will have to drive that sort of change.
And I wish that those plexi go-mobiles would catch on. But I'd want some sort of mass grouping of them on the roads here to assure people know about them and won't smack into me. And down here in South Carolina, I'd like my boss to let me shower at the work end of the ride
But just the same way I don't see Segways at the Wal-mart, but do see the occasional Hover-round Chair, I don't think this is going to transform cities overnight
The motor replaced the horse too directly in a lot of ways. Transportation was so stuck on dragging goods and people around, they take out the horse, plop in the motor in it's place. (And measure its work in terms of horse-power, to boot!) I don't think much got subtracted in the system. There wasn't a lot of rethinking of the system and as a result we've got the most inefficient cars.
Star Trek didn't do too bad predicting stuff from the 60's. I think one thing Roddenberry's crew took for granted was that the computer would just 'be there' for our bridge crew. And that was 1963 when personal computing was still not really thought of. People still used slide rules and mechanical adding machines and cash registers. I think it's simply a trickle of stuff that makes it, like the article hints. Things with the lowest effort to adapting present tech to new methods will make it arrive faster than the more difficult ideas. Like food created on the fly and matter transporters. And methods for which people pay a premium to embrace will surface the quickest. Think computers, cell phones and Walkman's. A minority of people paid the sky-high prices for the originals and encouraged the knock-offs to drive the price down fast. If the power of the peoples' pocketbooks wasn't so free on "have to have" stuff we wouldn't have tiny cell phones and iPods.
Star Trek had quite a few pointed predictions:
1. flash memory cards. Back when your recording media had to move at the correct speed to recreate sound this appeared too impossible. This stuff is now down to the size of a thumbnail.
2. medical scanners. For sure this is what is MRI today. Or the further development of ultrasound. And it's getting to the size of the tri-corder sooner or later. The room you have to put the unit it gets smaller every year.
3. Tablet PC/Palm computers/PDA/Kindle. (When they had to show a pretty girl, she came around for a signature with a tablet.) Only they actually got more compact than depicted in the show.
4. communicator. The cell phone. (Okay so you don't have to be on an away-team to have one... But the perk of getting a Blackberry from your job used to be a big thing.)
Stuff that hasn't made it:
1. the hand held phasers. These hint at power storage to size greater than even the smallest battery can bring today. Plus we still don't have the kind that would stay cool in the hand as it unleashed its charge. Stunner tech is almost there but hasn't 'gone wireless' to the distance they could zap someone on the show. There's a level of energy storage we still haven't reached.
2. matter transport and creation. A single photon across a room is hardly a start on this making you a turkey sandwich on the fly.
3. space craft/shuttles to space. The X-prize was an ambitious try to getting money behind the effort. We're almost there. But I still suspect someone will 'take the skies' from those ambitious folks in the name of regulating space for the good of the earth governments and not smacking willy-nilly into existing equipment up there in orbit. (And with NASA turning back to rocket technology of the 1970's to continue heavy lifting to the ISS a sleek little space ship bus not going to come from them. The tried and true is cheap enough for government work.)
4. warp drive/small fission/small fusion. Of course, we're going to have to wait for small-scale fusion or the space race developed fuel-cell tech because there's a level of danger.
The technology might be ready to adapt to the 'next greatest thing' but the ease of use still hasn't eliminated the 'idiot factor' in the design and operation. Like the article's jet pack example. You're putting a fuel on a person and directing the jet past their body. Someone is going to make a mistake sometime. Presently, there isn't a company out there which wants to face the class action court case for burns and accidents. There's a level of risk that businesses no longer take. I think there's not a lot of individuals that want to take on that level of risk. Great strides forward might be sitting on shelves all over America because of this.
"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond