Living in the FUTURE!!

I love old-timey stuff.  Jesus, sometimes it seems like that’s all I friggin WRITE ABOUT. But I’m also a dreamer and sci-fi addict, so my eyes are always on the horizon.  I love it here.  And by “here” I mean, of course, the future. I like the fact that I have access to all the old-timey stuff (I made chainmail once.  True story.  I also own an M-1 Garand which was manufactured in the spring of 1943.  I looked it up) and still get to play Skate 3 with my kids on the ol’ Xbox 360.  It really is the best of both worlds.  Yessir, no doubt about it: this is the best time that’s ever been.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is the future.

Because perfectly sane men spend months twisting and cutting metal links for a costume they’ll wear once.

“BULLSHIT!” you scream at the cold, unfeeling monitor.  “AIN’T NO FLYING CARS!!”  An excellent point, and the one that everyone uses when they wish to express displeasure at the quality of life in these modern times.  And my counter-argument is that there will never be cities full of flying cars.  Never.  Films like “Metropolis” and “Fifth Element” aren’t going to happen.  They aren’t.  Why?  Because technology is going to make flying cars obsolete.  Remember when Doc Brown tells Marty that where they’re going they “don’t need roads?”  In the coming century (yes, it will happen within a hundred years) you won’t even need cars.  Instantaneous transportation is going to change everything. How do I know?

It’s already been done.  (Kind of.)

This article from Scientific American is already four years old, and a decent Google search will bring up more recent experiments, surely.  But the gist is this: scientists were trying to see if entangled particles could communicate faster-than-light.  Under our current physics model, this is impossible.  However, when they created two entangled photons and separated them by about eleven miles, they proved (again) that entanglement is fucking spooky.  When they’d tweak one particle, the other responded instantaneously. With our primitive measuring capabilities, they weren’t able to prove that this sort of communication is infinitely fast.  They were able to measure that at the very least, data transfer was happening at 10,000 times the speed of light.


The applications right now are obviously limited.  But it’s safe to assume that someone will one day soon build a pair of transmitters that include entangled particles.  When one is switched on and off in a pattern like, say, Morse code or Binary, the other gets it immediately.  No lag.  No waves traveling through the air, no bouncing off satellites.  A guy in China knows what’s happening in Nevada at the exact second it happens.  And like our own communication systems that have gone from telegraphs to telephones to radios to Skype and Wi-Fi, you can imagine that this is just the beginning.  And even better; entanglement theory is part of the grander, broader world of quantum mechanics.  Mark my words: we’re on the verge of figuring out how to actually either fold time-space what we’d call “Warp Drive” style propulsion (which is kind of a misnomer, since you’re not actually propelling anything…you’re moving space-time, not the object itself) or a “transporter” of sorts.  Build a bubble of entanglement or probability (or whatever spooky shit they call it) here and another one somewhere very far away.  You step into one, you come out in the other.  Seriously.  This is going to happen.  And most of the world has no idea how close we actually are.  It’s moving beyond theory now, into actual applied science.  This proximity to amazing breakthroughs literally give me goosebumps.  We live in the future, but our grandkids are going to live in the FUTURE!!!

I’d like to say that I photoshopped this. I’d like to, but I can’t. Because this shit is real.

Louis C.K. points out that right now, at this time in Human History, everything is awesome.  And it is.  He also points out that nobody is happy.  His assertion is that we take so much for granted.  We don’t appreciate things like the miracle of flight.  he has some valid points.  But if you think you’re spoiled now, just wait until you can have a real-time holographic conversation with your pal who’s going to school at the Martian Colony…or step into a terminal in New York and step out in Berlin in less than a microsecond.  It’s sort of staggering, but it’s coming.

And I can’t wait.

Wayback Interview: Charles Holland Duell

As many of you know, I have a fully-functioning time machine.  I use it all the time to give people the heads-up on things like the Miami Dolphins’  2015 Super Bowl win and so on (congrats to Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning!) But I thought it’d be nice to really see what this thing could do, so I decided to pry the minds of some of history’s giants.  Okay, maybe “giants” is a bit of a stretch…let’s say interesting footnotes to our societal timeline.  Grand.

First up: Charles Holland Duell. Who is he?  Only the most famous head of the United States Patent and Trademark Office EVAH!! Why is he famous? Because of something he said.  A statement that seems ludicrous today, and incredibly short-sighted. He once recommended that the Patent Office be discontinued because “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”  Dumbass.

"Also? This telphone nonsense is complete bullshit." - C. H. Duell

Charles agreed to let me interview him in the office he used after he was chosen to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC.  It was March 3rd, 1904 and as I entered, Judge Duell sat in a leatherbound chair, smoking a pipe and sipping brandy.  I politely declined his offer of a drink and sat opposite him in a similar armchair to begin the interview.

ME: So, Your Honor.  Do you mind if I address you in a more…familiar manner?

DUELL: Not at all.

ME: Can I call you Chuck?  Or better, Chuckie?  See, in the future there’s this awesome series of movies about a killer doll named Chuckie, and what happens is–

DUELL: You may call me Charles.

ME: Fair enough.  Speaking of the future, do you know if you have a great grandson named Doug?  Because he was my defensive partner when I played hockey in Evansville, and…well…you know.  Same last name.  Small world and all that.

At this point, Charles Duell glared at me in the way that only old judges with bald heads and white mustaches can glare.  He re-lit his pipe and took a long drag.  As he exhaled the blueish smoke, his eyes never so much as blinked. He was a tough customer, this Charles Holland Duell.  And his middle name was a country, so I knew I was in for a challenge.

ME: Well, let’s get right to it.  This quote of yours.  What were you thinking when you said “Every–

DUELL: Nonsense.

ME: Pardon?

DUELL: I never said that.  I never said anything like that.

ME: But…the interwebs…

DUELL: The which?

ME: It’s…it’s this thing that allows computers and mobile devices to…share…um, you can look up, uh…stuff.  I mean, it’s like…

More icy staring. I wondered how to explain Reddit or Wikipedia to someone that barely knew how steam engines worked.  I decided to move on.

Seriously, it's like a bunch of Dwarves got together to find a way to totally fuck the environment.

ME: So you’re saying that this quote that has been attributed to you for, what? Over a century?  You never said that?

DUELL: Correct. I know of this ill-attributed “quote” [editor’s note: at this point, Charles Duell may have given the first-ever “finger-quotes” in American history]  And if you would use your fancy Webnitron or what-have-you to do better research, you would realize that I actually implied quite the opposite.

Me: Oh.  Okay, when I get Back to the Future, I’ll look that up.  But…then, if not you…who?  I mean, are you suggesting that perhaps someone completely made that statement up?

DUELL:  Sir, you have a time-travel device.  Certainly you’re not so vacant and insipid that you believe everything you read.  You can read, can you not?

ME: Oh, I read good!

DUELL: But of course.  Young man, if I may…

ME: Young?  Dude, I’m forty-one years old!

DUELL: Wow…you look really good for forty-one!  I bet you work out, huh?

ME: Oh, yeah!  And you know the real secret? Clean living.

[editor’s note: none of the events from the last three lines ever happened.  Ever.]

DUELL: The truth is, I was and continue to be impressed with the breadth of creativity this great nation has spawned.  Here at the turn of the century, we marvel at splendid advances in the sciences and the arts.  Would you like to hear something that I wrote a few years ago on the subject?

ME: Yes, sir!

Charles Duell then produced a folded piece of good parchment, put on a pair of rimless reading glasses, and read his statement in an authoritarian baritone.

DUELL: Ahem.  In my opinion, all previous advances in the various lines of invention will appear totally insignificant when compared with those which the present century will witness. I almost wish that I might live my life over again to see the wonders which are at the threshold.

He folded the paper lovingly and placed it back inside his jacket.  He then removed his glasses, took a long pull of brandy, and folded his hands in his lap.

DUELL: Have you any further questions?

ME: No, sir.  And thank you for enlightening me.

Charles Holland Buell’s mouth hinted at a smile, and he stood and firmly clasped my hand with his.  His hands were very warm, probably because the dude had spent all day chugging brandy.

DUELL: I envy you.  The things you’ll get to see, the music you’ll hear, the wonderful Velodrome Racing advances you’ll witness. [editor’s note: Velodrome bicycle races were fucking HUGE in the 1900’s]

As I turned to leave, I considered how badly I’d probably messed up the space-time continuum already, but couldn’t help myself.  I had to tell him.

ME: Your Honor, one piece of advice.  In about eight years, say you happen to be in Europe for any reason, do NOT buy a ticket on a boat called the “Titanic.”  Gonna sink, bigger’n shit.  The White Star line will brand it as “unsinkable.”  It ain’t.

DUELL: Another reason you shouldn’t believe everything you read.

ME: Oh, also?  Keep an eye on those Krauts.  Just sayin’.

DUELL: Duly noted.