Where did the future go?

Another story on one of my favorite topics. The Wall Street Journal mourns the future that never was in: Requiem for the Future. Instead of moon bases and spaceports, we have the occasional robot to Mars and the now grounded space shuttle.

The biggest accomplishments of the Discovery mission were that a) it came back; and b) an astronaut pulled bits of cloth out from between tiles.

The shuttle was first designed in 1969, and first flew in 1981. Who drives a 24 year old car these days? Still, it could be worse. The US air force is still flying B-52s.

Contrast this quarter-century of near-stasis with the technological revolution that’s remade our daily lives. When we were kids, computers were hulking things off in universities that chattered and blinked mysteriously before spitting out reams of paper. Today, we feel guilty about putting exponentially more-powerful machines than those out on the curb. […] We have Web-enabled phones in our pockets, instant messaging at the office and can shop in our skivvies at 3 a.m. Wonders upon wonders — it’s only up in the heavens that we’re a generation behind.

Dating Truisms

Some dating truisms from Defective Yeti:

  1. No woman, in the history of courtship, has ever uttered the phrase “he’s a really great guy” and not followed it with the word “but.”
  2. Getting involved with a girl who has stuffed animals in the back window of her car is rarely a good idea.
  3. If a guy introduces you to a girl and says, “We were just good friends,” they weren’t. Watch out, they probably still aren’t.
  4. Never date outside of your political party in an election year.
  5. Don’t ever be the “other people” in “We’re seeing other people.”

Jonny Lang

Last Wednesday, I went to Villa Montalvo with some friends to see Jonny Lang. He’s a 24 year old blues and pop musician who’s been getting some airplay for his album “Long Time Coming”. He put on a good show, and of course the venue was as beautiful as always. But he sure attracted a different crowd than Keb Mo did back in June.

A lot of women in the audience were especially excited to see Jonny. They screamed and yelled “Marry me, Jonny”. Too bad, ladies – he’s been married 4 years already. Now I’m sure he’s cute, but not that cute. Maybe he just brings out the maternal instinct in rich Saratoga socialite women.

The high point of the concert was when two young women rushed the stage during one of Jonny’s piano solos. They danced around and laid a necklace around his neck before security hustled them off the stage. “Security” at Villa Montalvo being a matronly woman in Bermuda shorts carrying a walkie-talkie. It’s like having your mom chaperone the high school dance.

Einstein never stopped for directions

It’s (ahem) a bit of a stretch, but Lawrence Krauss explains how the long arm of Einstein guides my steering wheel. Without Einstein’s theory of general relativity, we would not be able to account for clocks on satellites running slower than on earth. And very precise clocks are needed for today’s GPS navigation systems. Something to think about on the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s “miracle year” of 1905, in which he published 5 papers that changed the world.