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Museum of the Future 234

Magnavox writes "In Boulder, Colorado tonight there is going to be a rather unusual announcement about the DaVinci Institute's effort to create a Museum of Future Inventions. This will be a museum where they exhibit things that haven't been invented yet, like spray on clothing, instant sleep, genetically engineered Velcro sheep, and metric time. Pretty creative stuff. Some of the people they have involved are Dr. Paul MacCready, inventor of the Gossamer Albatross and Paul Dusenbery, Founder of the Space Science Institute. This looks like serious competition for Paul Allen's Science Fiction Museum."
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Museum of the Future

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  • Neat Idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SallyMac ( 815623 )
    It's nice to see progress and innovation. It seems that even with the new age space race, there just isn't excitement in this country about what's next, what else, and what now, except as it pertains to Medicine.
    • The American psychic pendulum has been swinging through the "fear" realms for years now, and it's just getting underway. However, as per William Gibson, "the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed". Plenty of us are greedy for progress, but christalibans tend to be sticks in the mud, whose fear response contains unplumbed depths.
    • I'm eager to see the exhibit containing a wax scultpure of Darl McBride begging on the streets, and Linus tossing a quarter in his cup.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:03PM (#10792544)
    for the troll-free Slashdot thread.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:03PM (#10792548)
    Metric time? Metric time has already been invented - one of those things the French came up with in revolutionary times. (It didn't take off.) I am not making this up.
    • Actually, since 'metric' refers to SI units, and since seconds are an SI unit, that surely makes our current time system metric?

      But I know what the meant.... and of course, that has also already been tried already.

      On the other hand.... velcro sheep. Yikes. That's a scary thought. Even scarier, now that it's been suggested, what are the bets that some mad scientist somewhere decides to try actually creating one? :-o
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:03PM (#10792550)
    Will I be able to go there and play Duke Nukem Forever?
  • by rfischer ( 95276 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:03PM (#10792553)
    How 'bout we draft some patents on these pre-natal inventions?

    and profit, of course.
  • by aceat64 ( 706106 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:03PM (#10792563)
    "Not only are the trains running on time, but now they're running on metric time!"
  • I thought... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mad_Rain ( 674268 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:03PM (#10792565) Journal
    I thought metric time already invented [zapatopi.net]?

    Or at least it was at the time of this posting: 41.911 UMT. :)
    • Re:I thought... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      No... Time should be base 360. There should be 360 minutes in a day. You can divide the day into 36 decaminutes to replace hours. Time is how we relate to the rest of the universe. This way the sun moves through the sky one degree per minute.
      Now if you want to make 100 degrees in a circle then we can talk.
      • Degrees in a circle? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Trejkaz ( 615352 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:18PM (#10792737) Homepage

        But there are 2*pi radians in a circle, using proper units.

        Shouldn't we make sure there are 2*pi hours in a day or something?

        • We would have to round pi to a hole number then and that could just get all sorts of ugly.
          • Pi is a "hole" number - it's a sine from above.
          • Why do we need to round it to a whole number? Mathematics has survived forever without doing that.

            Midnight would be 0. Midday would be Pi. 9am in the morning on the old system would be 3Pi/4.

            It's so simple it has to succeed!

            You could denote years in the same format, as well. So all times and dates could be expressed purely in terms of the only thing we can really measure, which is how far around the planet has rotated. :-p

      • "Decaminute"? I think you mean a "centon". :)

        I _love_ the new Battlestar Galactica (I hafta download it since it's only playing in the UK thus far), but I wish they'd stuck with some of the made-up words and games. They use minutes, and play poker. But they _do_ use the made-up curse words, which is great. And no daggits (yet)!
    • Re:I thought... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tmack ( 593755 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:32PM (#10792884) Homepage Journal
      Yes, as has been posted in other replies to your post... but I feel that for metric time to be of any use scientifically, it should be based off of the current Second, rather than 10Metric Hours/Day. That way, all of the other metric units based on seconds would still hold with metric time, no conversions or new unit deffinitions necessary. Also, I think this would be much more relavent in a space travel or submarine setting, where the unit of "Day" is basically meaningless since there is no sun rise/sun set.

      Minutes of 100 metric seconds would be 2/3 longer than current ones, allowing more excuses to be made for being late to work/meetings: "I meant I would be there in 10 metric minutes", hours of 10000 seconds would be about 3x longer, and a typical earth day would be about 8.6 metric hours long. While not very usable while on the planet, in space travel you could expand that to 10 metric hours per "day" (27.8 normal hours).

      Just my thoughts..


      • Re:I thought... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rusty0101 ( 565565 )
        Considering that the second is defined by the NIST as:
        'exactly 9,192,631,770 oscillations or cycles of the cesium atom's resonant frequency'

        I am not sure I want the 'second' to be the standard increment of time.

        Remember, we use the second because we have divided the clock first into 12 hours, (12 day, and 12 night when the sun casts no shadow) then divided each hour into 60 increments called minutes, followed by another 60 increments of those called Minutes. The last two breakdowns were based upon the fac
        • or better still go with the microfortnight. VMS waits on bootup for a period defined in microfortnights. http://computing-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/ microfortnight [thefreedictionary.com]
        • Re:I thought... (Score:3, Informative)

          The last two breakdowns were based upon the fact that the number 60 has more even combinations than any number less than it (1,60;2,30;3,20;4,15;5,12;6,10).

          In fact, you should ask yourself 'why 12 and 30' rather than 'why 60'. 12 and 30 come up directly from the lunar cycle -- roughly 12 lunations in a year, roughly 30 days in a lunation. It was natural to divide the days into 12 again (hours), and to divide these into 30. This is what the Babylonians did. 60 is the least common multiple of 12 and 30
    • Actually, metric time was introduced in 1793. [straightdope.com]
    • Jesus Jumping Christ on a Pogo stick, I just read through that page. If people already have enough trouble telling time as it is, imagine what it'd be like with this.
      • You should submit "Jesus Jumping Christ on a Pogo Stick" to them. With a description to the effect of:

        "In the future, Christ will return for his second coming. To facilitate his travel around the world while still seeming personable, he will travel on a pogo stick that can hop on water."

        Hey... it's less cartoony than half the ideas they have on there. Portable holes? Tunnels straight through the Earth? Give me a break :P
    • There have been several proposals for decimalised time, including the French revolutionary calendar (which like the rest of the French was discarded but unlike the rest was never restored). The only reason the French system of units was popular to begin with was that the European system had become approx. a thousand local systems with slight and not-so-slight variations, and it was easier to get folks to change to a new system than to get them to change over to someone else's system. Since everyone measur
    • As I understand it, there were two competing concepts at the beginning of communications. There were a bunch of not-terribly-smart people who saw that they had ten fingers and decided that was the number to which they would count.

      Another group (apparently either much more intelligent or endowed with an extra diget) noticed that 12 was a Very Nice Number. Where 10 is divisible by 1, 2, and 5 (Making those numbers very easy to use) it really had no other easy to use numbers. 12 is divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4
      • As I understand it . . .

        You clearly don't understand much. There is nothing particular smart or stupid about a particular number base; rather it's a question of utility. The utility of base 12 in having a number of factors is only for systems limited to integer math with small numbers. In that respect, it is the "stupid" choice.

        Anyway, a base 10 clock would be lousy. The quarter hours are gone, the only division is the half hour. You also lose the rarely used ability to divide the hour into third

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Frenchies tried to impose a ten-day week and a ten-hour day right after their revolution. It caught on about as well as esperanto.
  • by 3770 ( 560838 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:05PM (#10792579) Homepage
    Screw those inventions. What I want is potato chips with negative calories.
  • Prior Art? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bloodstains ( 676306 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:05PM (#10792582)
    The question is, can exhibits from the Museum of the Future be used as prior art in patent requests.
    • Of course. You need merely read 35 USC 102 and 103 (they're short) to know what can qualify as prior art.

      It would be ridiculously easy to write claims for those exhibits while disqualifying them as suitable prior art. That fact has to do with the level of "enablement" present in a fluff-journalism paragraph. The very basic concepts are taught, but throw in 5,000 details of implementation and you have yourself a completely different animal.

  • Innovation... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Blue-Footed Boobie ( 799209 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:05PM (#10792587)
    Innovation is going to be the US export of the future. Outsource the crappy tech support, outsource the manual labor. Create a workforce of innovation. Own the world through patents and ideas.

    Maybe this museum ill bring back some of the creativity that is so lacking in this current fed-everything-through-games-and-tv generation.

    • Innovation is going to be the US export of the future.

      You seem to think that we have some kind of competitive advantage for innovation. If we do, I don't know what it is.
    • I don't think it will work. Too much innovation is being stifled by excess litigation. Then there's the stuff being patented that, by any reading of patent law, shouldn't be patented due to prior art, being obvious to anyone in the trade and other reasons.

      What we need is to export the litigiousness such that everyone is bogged down.
  • Spray On Clothing (Score:3, Informative)

    by epiphani ( 254981 ) <epiphani@ d a l . net> on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:06PM (#10792596)
    has been around for quite a while. People just think its a lot like nudity, thats all. Try woodstock or martigra for references.

    And of course, there is even a japanese company selling spray on stockings [japantoday.com], so I wouldnt call it future technology. But I'd definitely like to see more of it.
  • Wasn't there another slashdot story about a web site recycling all those dot com business plans?

    This sounds like they are going to take all the ideas from the failed dot coms and set them up in a museum. I wonder if they can still get the smoke and mirror presentations to still work?

    Velcro sheep? Is that so the hillbillies don't have to face the sheep over a cliff while they take care of business to get them to push backward?
  • It's a newsfeed from the future!


    FutureFeedForward [futurefeedforward.com].
  • The place could fit in a shoebox. Won't it be populated entirely by ideas versus things? As soon as an idea is realized, oops! Get it outside quick before we have to change our name!

    It's like the barber who shaves all and only those who never shave themselves...

  • but, in about 10 minutes, 20mg of Ambien puts me out for 8 hrs
  • 1. Exhibit stuff no one has actually made
    2. ???
    3. PROFIT!!!
  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <(moc.nozakeeg) (ta) (guodpoons)> on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:17PM (#10792725) Homepage
    I bought a season pass to that museum two years from now and went there twice next month.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:18PM (#10792735)
    I would have liked to go, but sadly the announcemnet on the museum of the future seems to have occured most firmly in the past.

    An inauspicious start...
  • The last picture on the right side of the main page, is from the old game for windows 3.1 Outpost, I never did well on that game but interestin to see that picture again.
  • Epcot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DoctorHibbert ( 610548 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:22PM (#10792775)
    Isn't this basically the same idea as Epcot?
    • Isn't this basically the same idea as Epcot?

      I don't know about you, but Epcot in California is the lamest, most retarded excuse for a place to give yourself nausea since the whole building is spinning without any way to visually orient yourself to what's really going on.

      So, what do you get for your price of sickening nausea?

      An entire sea of cheap PCs set up with dumb flash games for the kids that they can also get (coincidentally) by going to any of a number [addictinggames.com] of sites on the Intarweb.

      I sincerely hope t
      • Epcot in FL isn't that much different. More space between the buildings, that's about it. Buildings are very dated. The Land building, IMHO, is the worst of the lot. The GM Test Track ride is just OK, but you're better off visting 6 flags if you want thrill rides. The whole Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow concept has been abandoned, you don't go to Epcot to see what World of Tomorrow will look like, instead it's a door mat for the World Shopping Mall^w^w Showcase.

        You feel like you're on a
  • Like some decent replacement for Democracy? This is not a flamebait -- Democracy has serious flaws, as was famously pointed out by Winston Churchill.

    When playing Civilization, I prefer Corporate Republic (I guess, this is what we have in US now) to everything else, but am forced to switch to Virtual Democracy at the end, since C.R. is not suitable for too big an empire...

  • Not invented yet? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:27PM (#10792831) Homepage

    Surely if they've described the item / concept then they have just 'invented' it.

    At least that what the USPTO believes.
  • I look forward to the Military exhibit wing, sponsored by the Veterans of Future Wars.
  • This will be a museum where they exhibit things that haven't been invented yet, like... metric time.

    There were ten hour pocketwatches a long time ago, if that's what you mean. They just never caught on.

    • Here we go: according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], decimal time was officially introduced in 1793 and one proposed metric time system was introduced in the 1990s. They most definately have been invented yet.

      But surely if you can think of something, by its very definition it's been invented, you just don't have a working prototype...

  • Competition? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:31PM (#10792877)
    This looks like serious competition for Paul Allen's Science Fiction Museum.

    The Science Fiction Museum has much more realistic content.

    ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]
  • Any Futuristic presentation since forever always show monorails

    Can someone please explain the attraction, I traveled in a few like Disney's and one in Las Colinas (Dallas) and I fail to see the benefit.

    • We have one in S. Florida called the MetroRail. It's very good for eliminating those pesky budget surpluses. Plus, many of the benches make convenient public urinals.
    • Well, they're nicer than busses and trains in some ways (from wikipedia):

      -require minimal space
      -more attractive than elevated trains

      But mostly I think it's the same reason you always hear of jetpacks and flying cars: These were popular "future inventions" from the 50's, a monorail looks perfect in a painting of a "city of the future".

      There doesn't seem too many "sexy" inventions that have any chance of becoming reality any time soon. Robots? Too complicated for general use, AI is very far away.
      • Food in a pill? We could make it, I guess, but you'd have to eat a bowl full of them

        I dunno about that. I imagine it is well within our capabilities to put a daily 1000-2000 calories, vitamins, carbs, and protein into something the size of a candy bar. To take it further, could a week's worth be so condensed into a package that resists digestion in stages for several days, essentially 150 hours of food in a tiny package? But really, apart from rations for soldiers, campers, survivialist nuts, and peopl
  • Largely Irrelavant (Score:4, Informative)

    by beaststwo ( 806402 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:33PM (#10792891)
    When I was in grad school (1990), I read the book "Megamistakes" by Steven Schnaars, Professor of Marketing at the City University of New York. An amazingly interesting book that can be read cover to cover in a few hours. Professor Schaar's book talks about science and technology forecasting and how wildly wrong such forecasts almost always are. He then goes on to talk about why forecasts go wrong.

    The uptake of the book is that even the "best of the best" forecasters are only right one prediction in nine. The record falls off sadly as you move away from that top tier.

    So while hearing visionaries talk is fun and can be enlightening, they seldom represent anything likely to actually happen. After all, isn't Popular Science still telling us about how we'll drive personal aircraft instead of cars in a few years?

    • He then goes on to talk about why forecasts go wrong.

      Hmmm, isn't that itself a forecast prediction, with an 8/9 chance of being wrong?

      That said, it's funny how much stuff that was predicted never came to pass and how much stuff came to pass that was never predicted. At least it ensures that our future, no matter how many sci-fi novels are written, will be surprising.
      • He then goes on to talk about why forecasts go wrong.

        Hmmm, isn't that itself a forecast prediction, with an 8/9 chance of being wrong?

        Actually, it's not. It's a statistical analysis with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. You don't have to make any predictions of the future to figure out why jetpacks, smell-o-vision, and atomic generated electricity so plentiful it's too cheap to meter" didn't happen.

  • The Self-Cleaning House: Some people may find cleaning enjoyable. Something like this may not change much.

    The Movable Hole: Something that seems impossible. Plus, the solution would be for a really stupid mistake one did. Make sure you don't drill the hole in the wrong place in the first place.

    Instant Sleep: Hypnosis could probably accomplish this.

    Caffeinated Eye Drops: It's a problem in our society if we can't get a good night's sleep to offset this.

    The Virtual Ceiling: Wouldn't work in smog filled cit
    • The Movable Hole: Something that seems impossible. Plus, the solution would be for a really stupid mistake one did. Make sure you don't drill the hole in the wrong place in the first place.

      I see you haven't played the Multi-Dimensional Thief! :-)

  • by waveclaw ( 43274 )
    As a long time gamers, what is this sleep stuff I keep hearing about?

    I it something that comes in can form? Or do I have to stop playing for 5 minutes to pop a pill?

    From what I hear, as long as it tastes better than 'instant' coffee, this *sleep* stuff might just be worth trying. But I gotta go, too many spawns to camp.

  • by nizo ( 81281 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @06:47PM (#10793011) Homepage Journal
    You wouldn't be able to mix velcro sheep and regular sheep, otherwise they will stick together, forming one large sheepmass.
  • I knew computers and technological devices became obsolete at an insane rate, but this is ridiculous!

    Equipment is now obsolete before it's invented! So obsolete, in fact, that it's in a museum!
  • This looks like serious competition for Paul Allen's Science Fiction Museum."

    Yeah, I can't decide which one to poop on.

  • ... You obviously missed this important piece of fine Japanese manga/anime character, Doraemon [nephco.com]. A museum of the gadgets in his pocket is a museum of the future!

    See some of his gadget at work here [dmd-sales.com] and here [dmd-sales.com].

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"