Science / Technology

One Giant Leap...

Originally posted: July 20, 2009

lunar module
Moon Lander by Thomas J. Kelly

"Tranquility Base, Here...The Eagle Has Landed..."
On July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin lifted off from earth atop a roman candle that soared above the clouds and roared into history. Four days later, and forty years ago, Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, set foot on the Moon.

The Surly Bonds of Earth.
Only 66 years before the Apollo 11 mission, the Wright Brothers achieved powered, heavier than air flight over Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

In 1969, the Saturn V rocket that propelled the Apollo crew was the most massive of its era, powerful enough to break the bonds of gravity for a journey of a quarter of a million miles.

But not to be forgotten is the Lunar Module, the engineering marvel of the Grumman Corporation.

Home Away from Home
Christened the Eagle and weighing little more than a 2006 Hummer, it was the Lunar Module that touched down upon the magnificent dusty desolation of the Moon, and was lander, living space and launch pad for the crew's two day stay.


Living Space...

Launch Pad...

After Project Apollo was shelved, Grumman bid to build the Space Shuttle. And though their Lunar Module was the only major component of the Apollo/Saturn system to never suffer any failure that negatively impacted a mission, they were not awarded the contract.

A Testament to Teamwork
After the end of the Cold War, Grumman was acquired by Northrup. But the base of the Lunar Module still stands in the Sea of Tranquility as a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of the Grumman team.


Slouching Toward the Stars: In Defense of the Final Frontier

Astronauts Armstrong, Lovell and Cernan

The Right Stuff

On May 12, the first and last man to walk on the moon told the U.S. Congress that the decision to scrap America's return to the lunar surface was short sighted.

These two authentic heroes expressed fear that a timid approach to the final frontier could result in the US forfeiting yet another arena in which it had once been a pioneer and was rapidly becoming a mere bystander.

And as if Halliburton and Blackwater/Xe didn't have enough to do, the current proposal to shift to the lion's share of the planning and development of space transport systems to the private sector is a curious and ominous twist in the once exciting story of space exploration.

First words on the moon for each of the six Apollo missions

That's one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind.
Neil Armstrong Apollo 11 July 1969

Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but it's a long one for me.
Charles (Pete) Conrad -- the shortest astronaut -- Apollo 12 November 19 1969

Al is on the surface. And it's been a long way, but we're here.
Alan B. Shepherd Apollo 14 February 1971

As I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown at Hadley, I sort of realize there's a fundamental truth to our nature, Man must explore . . . and this is exploration at its greatest.
Dave Scott Apollo 15 July 1971

There you are, mysterious and unknown Descartes highland plains. Apollo 16 is gonna change your image.
John Young Apollo 16 April 1972

As I step off at the surface at Taurus-Littrow, I'd like to dedicate the first step of Apollo 17 to all those who made it possible.
Eugene Cernan Apollo 17 December 1972

And... the last words spoken on the moons surface, just before the launch of the Lunar Module...

OK, let's get this mother out of here.
Eugene Cernan Apollo 17 December 1972

What's the Buzz ...?

Buzz Aldrin sees no need to return to the moon where, after bitter infighting at NASA, he was denied the opportunity to be the first man to make footprints on lunar soil and had to play second fiddle to Neil Armstrong.

And while former astronauts Armstrong and Cernan were on Capitol Hill fighting to save the future of space travel, Buzz was otherwise occupied.


Back to the Future: Apple iPod Predictions from 2005


How Business 2.0 got it all wrong and all right at the same time

Five years ago, Business 2.0 ran a cover story on the future of Apple.

Based on the Apple's product line at the time and the company's innovative history, the magazine made some bold guesses about where Apple was headed.

But what Business 2.0 saw as separate components, Apple saw as an integrated whole.

As it turned out, the least-likely Apple product predicted would be the one that would have it all.

Here's what they came up with, in the order of likelihood to come to market..

1 The Wireless iPod Likelihood: Virtually Certain

"If there's anything close to a dead-bang sure bet on what Apple will do next, it's a wireless iPod."

The magazine was certain that WiFi was the magic that would connect the iPod to iTunes.

2 The vPod Likelihood: 75 percent

"(Steve) Jobs has repeatedly argued that video doesn't make sense on a portable device."

Business 2.0 believed that Jobs was using disinformation to throw the media off the trail of the inevitable video iPod.

3 iHome Likelihood: 70 percent

"What's clearly emerging from Jobs is a vision of the home network that is an entertainment network."

Maybe Apple TV is as close as they came to this.

4 iPod on Wheels Likelihood: 60 percent

"Eventually the iPod will wirelessly communicate with the car, providing an iPod-like (dashboard) interface that handles not only music but also addresses calendar information, and even a navigational system."

Many car manufacturers have iPod interfaces but this hasn't exactly been the most exciting development for Apple's music player.

5 iPhone Likelihood: 50 percent

"An Apple phone's functions could be accessed hassle-free with the iPod's scroll wheel, and the numbers could work with a slide out keyboard or a simple touchpad system on the screen."

What Business 2.0 gave only a 50/50 chance has become the central component of Apple's business model.

Today's iPhone

Will there even be a classic iPod five years from now?
The iPhone and its cousin the iPod touch make some wonder whether the classic iPod has a future at all.

In addition to making a call, the iPhone can download music anywhere, play video, turn off your lights at home and unlock your car.

Business 2.0 had a pretty good fix on Apple's future. Steve Jobs just pushed the envelope and put all the goodies in one package.

While the magazine's prediction of the iPhone of the future wasn't dead-on, it was a sight better than this one:

What happened to Business 2.0 anyway?
The excellent magazine, Business 2.0, folded just two years after this article was published.

The New Martin Jetpack: This is Progress?

The Martin Jetpack
The Martin Jetpack is aiming to be the first commercial rocket belt. For $75-$100,000 you'll soon be able to strap on something the size of a Sears lawn tractor that will lift you about 5 feet off the ground.

Sorry but we're just not that impressed.


Fifty years ago we had the Bell Aerospace Rocket Belt
It was a fraction of the size of the Martin Jetpack and actually looked cool.

Of course, even the Bell Rocket Belt had nothing on the Commando Cody version.

Dream Machine: The Macintosh PowerBook 180

powerbook 180

I'm in the market for a new Mac
The iBook G4 I have now runs on the ancient PowerPC chip. It was one of the last Macs off the assembly line that still runs System 9.

When I bought it a few years ago that was an important consideration. Now, not so much.
ibook g4
But somehow the iBook and I never really bonded. The stark-white plastic body always seemed a little too fragile, a little too delicate.

The keyboard seems to float on a tiny, mushy waterbed.

And without an Intel chip, it doesn't have what it takes to run Apple's latest ferocious-cat operating systems.

snow leopard

And then there's that spinning beach ball of death... That menacing-maelstrom-churning-marble of doom.

spinning beach ball

You Mac users out there know what I'm talking about.

I've looked at the new sleek, fashion-forward MacBooks at the Apple store, all shiny, cool and snuggly enclosed in their aluminum unibodies.

Their keyboards glow in the dark and their touchpads and mouse clickers are all integrated into one smooth glassy surface.

They're all like works of modern art, but still they seem to lack something.

That's when I realize I'm comparing every new MacBook and new MacBook Pro to what was for me the gold standard among laptops...

My Mac PowerBook 180

powerbook  macbook

The Powerbook 180 was a grey-on-grey, greyscale only, heavy-as-lead Sherman Tank of a laptop.

I bet you could fire a .22 at the shell and just watch the bullets bounce off.

The keyboard was as steady and as stable as a 1975 IBM Selectric Typewriter.

I ran my business off of it for years and it never let me down. Of all the Macs I've owned, the PB 180 was truly the best-in-class.

Of course, with only 4MB of RAM and a 33 MHz 68030 microchip, it wasn't exactly teeming with horsepower, but after all these years it still powers up.

That's more than I can say for my other now-defunct laptop-paperweights stacked up in the garage.

I'm not the only one with good feelings about the Powerbook 180.

Many who either still have their old one or who purchased a used one from eBay sing its praises on YouTube.

Psychologia Apocalypzia

Smile! You're on Candid Camera!

Reality TV was born at the dawn of the medium
Candid Camera, created by Alan Funt, first hit the television airwaves in 1948 and by the 1960's was one of TV's most popular shows.

Observing human behavior in unusual situations
Real people, filmed by a hidden camera, were maneuvered into awkward situations staged by the Candid Camera crew.

The program concept is often credited as the inspiration for programs like Ashton Kuchter's Punk'd, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment and Shannon Doherty's Scare Tactics.

But this program had far greater influence on modern culture than that.

Candid Camera helped bring an end to one of the most interesting and, literally, most shocking aspects of the field of experimental behavioral psychology.

The Stanley Milgram Obedience Study

Among the millions of Candid Camera viewers was Yale University psychology professor, Stanley Milgram, who used this program as a template for one of the most controversial and most revealing psychological experiments of all time.

You've heard about this experiment.
People were told to administer a quiz, via a telephone hookup, to a person located in another room.

The people asking the questions were told to pull a switch that would give the people answering the questions an electric shock if the response was incorrect.

A white-smocked professional running the experiment demanded that each wrong answer would require a step-up in the voltage.

Two out of three would have killed for a wrong answer
65% of participants pushed the voltage to the lethal level when told to by the white-smock guy, despite the blood-curdling screams -- or worse the post-screaming silence! -- of the people with the wrong answers.

Of course, in reality, there was no juice connected to the switch and the person providing the wrong answer was an experiment-insider screaming on cue.

But the person asking the questions and throwing the switch didn't know that.

The Prison Experiment

Illusion becomes reality
The Philip Zimbardo Prison Experiment was supposed to run for two weeks but was pulled after 6 days. Things got out of hand.

Students were divided into two groups: prisoners and guards. A realistic prison environment was created and in a very short time, the artificial became the real.

Each group began to not only act out its role but began to embrace it.

Some of the guards exhibited cruel and sadistic behavior while prisoners became docile and obedient -- even though any of the participants could have exited the experiment at any time.

The Bottom Line
Experiments of this type are no longer permitted in psychological study for reasons of professional ethics.

We find it keenly interesting, however, that these tactics abound in advertising, entertainment and government, not to mention in so-called enhanced interrogation of the so-called intelligence community.

In the words of Alan Funt, Candid Camera creator:

"The worst thing, and I see it over and over, is how easily people can be led by any kind of authority figure, or even the most minimal signs of authority."

Ethical or not, these experiments reveal more about the human psyche than those who profit from such manipulation want us to know.

Reverse Speech: Satanic or Sham?

regan demon

There's no argument that reverse speech is one of the creepiest sounds ever.

There was that frightening scene in William Friedkin's The Exorcist when the Jesuit priest hears the demonic utterances of the young possessed girl emerge while playing a tape recording of her voice in reverse.

That's fine for a horror movie, but is there any truth in it? Is reverse speech the secret language of great beyond?

David John Oates

David John Oates is convinced there's something there.

He's one of the most leading proponents of the validity of reverse speech as a doorway to the subconscious. He calls it the seventh sense that offers a portal into an unknown world of the mind.

To him, the unconscious reverse-speaking part of the brain is beyond our ability to subvert or compromise. To Oates, the reverse voice speaks only the truth.


We've looked at his evidence and we're just not convinced. It seems to us that the reverse vocalizations are just gibberish until Oates tells us what they mean. And even then it's a stretch to make any real sense out of any of this.

Listen for yourself.

Clicking on any of the reverse speech quotes below will open a new window that will allow you to play a QuickTime audio. Come back to the Apocalypzia window to continue here.

Hillary Clinton

"I surely would fit in."


"Innocent! Innocent!"

"I'm not telling."

david john oates

Perhaps the clearest example of reverse speech, interestingly, is provided by David John Oates himself, who claims that he just happened to be tape recording himself when his house caught on fire. Hmmm...

The house is on fire!

Even Art Bell isn't buying this

art bell

It's one thing that we don't see anything in this reverse speech gibberish but even Art Bell, original host of the all-night paranormal all-things-wacky radio show -- Coast-to-Coast, has problems with Oates and the two have a history of acrimonious litigation.

So what's your take on reverse speech? Satanic or sham?

The Invisible Universe: Welcome to the Dark Side

dark energy

The universe used to be easy to understand

Aristotle explained that Earth was the center of all. The Sun, the Moon and stars were all subordinate to terra firma.

aristotelian system

Then Copernicus changed the paradigm, declaring the sun was the hub of everything

At the beginning of the 20th century, astronomers believed that the galaxy we now call the Milky Way was all there was of the universe.

But by the Roaring 20's, the perspective shifted again.

The Milky Way was just one of a seemingly countless number of galaxies and star clusters.

With each change in point of view, the prestige of Earth and its human inhabitants has been diminished.

The universe no longer revolves around us, around our sun or even our galaxy.

But now comes the biggest shock to our Earthly ego.

Everything we ever thought existed accounts for less than 5% of all that scientists believe that there is. And the bulk of that is just thought now to be intergalactic gas.

Of the now perceived universe, all the stars, planets, moons, meteors and comets make up less than one half of 1%.

If this is true, the entire cosmos as we know it is no more than rounding error.

What lies behind the visible universe that we know is the dark side. The mysterious world of Dark Matter and the even more perplexing realm of Dark Energy.

Like the Force in the world of Star Wars, dark matter both binds the universe together but at the same time adds an unseen heft that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of the cosmos.

Dark Energy: The Mind of God?

And if that isn't strange enough, dark energy is the invisible elephant in the room that accounts for possibly three-fourths of all that is.

What is dark energy?

Scientists can't begin to guess...

The Beat Goes On...

The Ballet of the Apocalypzian Illusion

There is an underlying rhythm to life.

There is a pulse within you that keeps time to a clockwork cosmos.

The beating of your own heart, the change of the seasons, the phases of the moon, earth's roller coaster space ride around the solar hub...all throbbing in cyclical counterpoint harmony.

All things in time and synchrony with all else, dancing to the same primitive, primordial, perfect beat.

To hear the music, you must first feel the rhythm... Can you feel the rhythm..?

Nokia Eyes the Future...Cautiously

Slow and Steady?
Nokia took a shot at describing what the future would be like six years ahead, empowered my their breakthrough technology. This presentation is what they came up with.

This exercise in crystal ball gazing is not getting rave reviews. Mashable said "all of this is already available on iPhone, Android (Android), Symbian, and other mobile devices of today."

Deepfreezevideo (via Huffington Post) said "that had to be the lamest thing I've seen in thirty years."


Though to be clear, we weren't very impressed either. This has to be one of the more modest predictions about the world of tomorrow that we've seen.

To boldly go...
It's, of course, unfair to compare this internal pitch to some of the bold predictions AT&T made on national television in the 1990s, but if the goal was to get people excited, inside or outside of the company, Nokia might have tried to stretch imagination at least a little bit more.

On the other hand, most attempts to look ahead truly overstate or totally distort what future technology is prepared to deliver.

After all, we're still waiting for our rocket cars.

Men Who Stare at Goats VS the Sense of Being Stared At

stare at goats

Clooney gets his goat
The film, Men Who Stare at Goats, starring George Clooney among others, explores what happens when military intelligence meets new age mysticism.

The military believed it would be shocking and awesome to kill a goat, or even better an enemy soldier, just by staring at it.

This kind of mental warfare is a little extreme but our favorite scientist, Rupert Sheldrake, has done some eye-opening work along somewhat similar - though far less deadly - lines in developing his theory concerning The Sense of Being Stared At.

What you see is what you get
According to Professor Sheldrake, seeing is not a passive process of connecting reflected light to the brain via the optic nerve. The mechanics of vision may be localized in the brain but the magical experience of seeing is an interactive process between the seer and the seen.

The foundation of his theory is that odd sixth-sense thing that most of us have felt at some time in our lives -- the sense of being stared at.

But who better to explain and test this theory than the great Sheldrake, himself.

Related Apocalypzia Posts:

Sheldrake the Magnificent

parking lot
Psychic Social Media: The Parking Lot Theory
When we discussed our Parking Lot Theory with the great Professor Sheldrake he said it was interesting and he encouraged us to test it, so here's the test.

If you have time, we would appreciate your participation. Come on. It'll be fun.

More about Rupert Sheldrake:

Rupert Sheldrake Online - Official Website

Rupert Sheldrake - Wikipedia

The Ballad of Dr. Stan: Get Well First, Pay Later

doctor ad

Dr. Stan was the Man!
He did it all. And what would you expect from a pioneer in penicillin and sex hormones.

This ad is from a 1953 Chicago Street Guide. It promotes the services of Dr. Stanley Veselsky. This particular page was the center spread, so we're guessing that Dr. Stan paid dearly for that placement.

Better Than X-Ray Specs
This may have been the early 50s but Dr. Stan had a bangin' X-Ray machine, no doubt. He could sit in a wooden chair in his office and look at your gizzard real time.

Somewhat confusing, Dr. Stan was a surgeon who "used no knife." Maybe that's where the electro-therapy came in. But hey, this is Dr Stan and he's the Man.

Who was Dr. Stan Anyway? lists a Stanley Veselsky in Chicago, who would have been about 73 years old when this ad ran. Census data from 1930 lists him as a physician by occupation.

Born in Czechoslovakia in 1880, he was brought to the US when he was 5 years old. It appears that 23 years before this ad ran, Dr. Stan was a single guy, who owned his own home, valued at about $15,000. And, as the census data reveals, he owned a radio set.

What About Dr. Stan's Office?
Dr. Stan's office was on the fourth floor of the eight-story Dexter Buildiing, that stood from 1883 to 1961.

Looking down Adams Street, it was half-way down the block, on the right, about where that tall building is now.

39 W Adams

By the way, what is Lack of Nature?

View of Tomorrow from 1950: How Well Did The Futurists Do?

1950 Future

Oh, I Believe in Yesterday...

Last year, Paleo-Future published a fascinating post concerning an Associated Press article from 1950 titled, "How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000AD."

We thought we'd take a shot at grading these historical hotshots with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. We're being very generous here, even spotting them almost 10 years to 2009.

The text from the original article is showcased in the grey boxes below.

Let's see how well the futurists from the 50's did...

10. 3D Television with Smell-O-Vision Grade: B-

"Third dimensional color television will be so commonplace and so simplified at the dawn of the 21st century that a small device will project pictures on the living room wall so realistic they will seem to be alive. The room will automatically be filled with the aroma of the flower garden being shown on the screen."

TV manufacturers, like
Sony, claim they're on the verge of a 3DTV breakthrough.
Meanwhile Johnny Lee Chung is doing some unbelievable things with holographic-like video.

Until the real thing comes along, HDTV, especially via the new LED monitors, is impressive and about as close to 3D as you can get on a 2D screen.

9. Amazon Women Grade: D-
Klaudia Larson

"The woman of the year 2000 will be an outsize Diana, anthropologists and beauty experts predict. She will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver. She will go in for all kinds of sports and probably will compete with men athletes in football, baseball, prizefighting and wrestling."

Does this futurist make my butt look big?
These futurists went a little overboard here, getting curiously specific about the muscles like a truck driver thing. We should give this prediction a failing grade altogether but we do think we should acknowledge the great strides women have made in amateur and professional athletics over the past 60 years. Because of the WNBA and the Williams sisters, to name two examples will give them a passing grade, though barely.

8. World War III Grade: F (Thank Goodness)

"The Third World War - barring such a miracle as has never yet occurred in relations between countries so greatly at odds - will grow out of Russia's exactly opposite attempts to unify the world by force."

Dodging a Bullet
Futurists didn't give us much credit for statecraft and saw no way around a major war with Russia. So far, so good.

7. Cell Phones Grade: A+
motorola droid

"The telephone will be transformed from wire to radio and will be equipped with the visuality of television. Who is on the other end of the line will seldom be a mystery. Every pedestrian will have his own walking telephone."

Apple's iPhone was a true breakthrough and now the Motorola Droid -- shown above -- is near release. Not sure how the 1950s futurists could have been so right about this one and so wrong about the muscles like truck drivers thing, but so be it.

6. H1N1, anyone? Grade: F -

"Public health will improve, especially the knowledge of how air carries infections, like the common cold, from person to person. Before 2000, the air probably will be made as safe from disease-spreading as water and food were during the first half of this century."


5. Rocket Cars Grade: F -
honda fuzo

"Combination automobile-planes will have been perfected."

We're all still waiting for our rocket cars and Segways don't count.
The Icon A5 doesn't count either. A DUI in this contraption could be very, very serious.

4. House of the Future Grade: A+ if you're Bill Gates; C+ for the rest of us.
house of the future

"People will live in houses so automatic that push-buttons will be replaced by fingertip and even voice controls. Some people today can push a button to close a window, another to start coffee in the kitchen. Tomorrow such chores will be done by the warmth of your fingertip, as elevators are summoned now in some of the newest office buildings or by a mere whisper in the intercom phone."

The Push-Button World
We leaned toward grading this one lower at first but it's easy to forget that -- with remotes for our TV and our car, our garage door openers, our microwave ovens and our iPods -- push-button control is far more integrated into our lives than we might imagine. We're still not talking Jetsons here, though

3. Video killed the Radio Star Grade: A+

"Radio broadcasting will have disappeared, for no one will tune in a program that cannot be seen. Radio will long since have reverted to a strictly communications medium, using devices now unheard of and unthought of."

This was a pretty good call 60 years ago.
Television and today's multi-format video has usurped radio as an entertainment medium relegating radio primarily to news and extreme-wing talk programming. We'll even give them bonus points here for hinting at the unheard of and unthought of internet.

2. Can you say Homeland Security? Grade: A++

"Some see us drifting toward the all-powerful state, lulled by the sweet sound of security. Some see a need to curb our freedom lest it be used to shield those who plot against us. And some fear our freedom will be hard to save if a general war should come."

This reads like the futurists got ahold of the Cheney/Rumsfeld playbook half a century ago. This is a home run.

1. Is it Quitting Time Yet? Grade: B-
homeless family

"So tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds a 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law.

They kind of stumbled onto this one.
Many Americans are working shorter hours today because -- as a consequence of the struggling economy -- their full-time hours have been cut back. We don't think that's what the futurists were hinting at here.

Children of Stardust

Right now, anything and everything that is within your field of view -- and indeed all solid matter in the universe -- is the product of the violent and explosive death of a star.

The Birth of Stars ...
In the cosmic beginning, there was only hydrogen gas. Tremendous forces of gravity compacted that gas into isolated pockets that reached levels of density so intense and mass so great that a star was born.

Each star is a nuclear fusion furnace, collapsing at precisely the same rate that it is exploding, converting that which is simple -- like hydrogen -- into that which is more complex and heavier -- like carbon, oxygen and iron.

... the Death of Stars
For each star, the delicate balance is eventually disrupted as the outgoing force of the nuclear fusion explosion overtakes that crushing gravity that holds the star together.

The star explodes into a supernova, and the heavy elements forged in its core are ejected into the cosmos.

All that you can see, touch and taste is composed of the ancient remnants of dying suns.


We the Children
That goes for you and me, as well. Skin, blood and bone all constructed of elements and compounds manufactured in the fiery center of stars. We are all indeed, the children of stardust.

And when we look out into the night sky what we see millions of light years beyond is no more a part of the universe than we are. Every star, planet and moon is a cosmic cousin.

Purpose and Meaning
Eric Carlson, twenty-eight years the senior astronomer at Chicago's historic Adler Planetarium and now an astro-theologian believes that when we look up into the vastness of the cosmos and wonder about its origins, it is indeed, the universe contemplating itself and meditating on its purpose and meaning.

The cosmos depends on we the children -- the essence of its mind and evidence of its soul -- to unravel its own riddle and master its own mystery.

Poem by J. Sig Paulson
I tried to conquer the Universe, but it defeated me
I tried to capture the Universe, but it eluded me
I tried to understand the Universe, but it outwitted me
So, clumsily, hesitantly, I tried to love the Universe
And it embraced me

Niepce's Camera: Yesterday's Eyes and Visions Darkly Fading

This grainy image captures a turning point in human history.
Taken in 1826, this is considered to be one of the earliest photographs ever taken. Titled View From the Window at Les Gras, the image allows us to look out over rooftops and fields beyond as they appeared the better part of 200 years ago.

A shutter -- open for 8 hours -- allowed the image to be focused on a butimen-covered pewter plate which was then washed with a combination of oil of lavender and white petroleum.

Nicephore Niepce
The photographer was Nicephore Niepce, a pioneer-inventor. This photograph -- Niepce called it a heliograph -- was taken at his Les Gras estate in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France.

And Niepce wasn't the only pioneer photographer to spend time there. Daguerre, inventor of Daguerreotype photography, collaborated with Niepce a number of times at the estate.

In 2002, Les Gras estate was converted into a museum in honor of Niepce's work there.
The window -- through which the historic photograph was taken -- was removed during a renovation sometime after 1836 and its actual location was for a long time a mystery.

But after studying blueprints, historians have created a computerized artist's conception of what Niepce actually saw that fateful day.


But View From the Window at Les Gras wasn't the first image Niepce captured. The year before he replicated a 17th century Flemish engraving, depicting a man leading a horse.

flemish engraving

Why take a picture of an engraving?
Nineteenth century publishers needed an efficient way to reproduce works of art. Something called a camera obscura -- much like today's overhead projector -- was used to project the image of a painting or engraving onto a blank sheet of tracing paper where it could be replicated by hand.

Niepce couldn't draw very well and sought a way to capture the projected image permanently.

Photography started out as the search for a good Xerox machine. All the rest was serendipity.

Renaissance Man
But Niepce didn't spend all his time in the dark room.


In 1818 he invented the velocipede, a precursor to today's bicycle. And if that wasn't enough, he also built the world's first internal combustion engine, with fuel injection, no less. He even hypothesized mounting his engine to the velocipede.

If he'd followed up on that, he would have invented the world's first motorcycle, as well. Vroom Vroom!

Apocalypzia Trivia: On the far side of the Moon, in the high latitudes, there is a crater named after Niepce, in honor of his many contributions to science.

The Lizard of Oz: The Mayhem of Monsters from the Id

black lagoon

The Brain Within the Brain
Dr. David Diamond, professor of molecular physiology at the University of South Carolina, suggests that within our brain, beneath our cerebellum and medula oblongata, there exists the basal ganglia, a lizard brain barely evolved from its Jurassic beginnings.

Who's Zoomin' Who?
The Washington Post reports that this lizard brain may be responsible for heart-wrenching and horrific tragedies of judgement and behavior. But maybe the workings of the basal ganglia are something that we experience on a regular basis.

And perhaps many of what we've come to call senior moments are actually very darkly different from what we've been led to believe. The Lizard Brain, scientists believe, actually takes control when the conscious parts of our brain are stressed and overstimulated.

basal ganglia

It's the Lizard that's actually driving the car while you're chatting on your cellphone in rush hour traffic. And it's the Lizard that puts your keys where you can't find them.

Leaping Lizards
This all gets very complicated when you take into account the work that scientist Bin He is doing at the University of Minnesota. Scientist He believes that he's mapped the brain in such a way that he can identify the sub-atomic volt signals that are the manifestations of thoughts.

Bin He

Consider that for a moment. He (proper name or pronoun) has discovered a quantum terra nova that exists somewhere between the qualitative consciousness and the quantitative nervous system that animates us.

He has gone so far as to concoct a brain interface that allows your thoughts to control the computer-simulated flight of a helicopter. And we thought Project Natal was amazing!

The bioengineering possibilites of Bin He's work are staggering. He and others in this field are exploring the frontiers of the unimaginable. Since the dawn of humankind, the brain has had dominion over only the musculature of the body itself. Tools and machinery were always a step removed.


But if our thoughts could guide the flight of real helicopters, not just computerized versions, then man and machine bond as never before.

This is all well and good when we think about that conscious, deliberate, hard-working, industrious part of the brain. But what about that pesky Lizard part? What happens if, or better said when, the autonomic Lizard Brain gets the keys to Bin He's magic machine?

Monsters From the Id
The 1956 sci-fi film Forbidden Planet was all about that. The movie -- one all Star Trek fans should see -- tells the story of what happens when Earth astronauts discover, among the ruins of an alien civilization on an uninhabited planet, the next generation of Bin He's mind machine.

When the astronauts experiment with the device they find themselves under attack from a creature they horrifyingly learn is the manifestation of their own fears and jealousies.

Sometimes you get the Lizard and sometimes the Lizard gets you...

Apocalypzia Bonus: Forbidden Planet Clip
Forbidden Planet was inspired by Shakespeare's play The Tempest. It stars Walter Pidgeon and a very young, and very serious, Leslie Nielsen.

Learn more information about the alien Krell version of the Bin He's innovation at timecode 4:30.

AT&T Predicts the Future with Amazing Accuracy ... Almost

future phone

Foretelling the future isn't easy and most people who try get it wrong.
Sci-fi novels and movies promised us rocket cars, jet packs, ray guns and time travel. We're still waiting for delivery.

But some people who envisioned tomorrow put some thought into it. The video clip below is from a 1967 documentary exploring future possibilities. The technology shown may look a little clunky today, but the clip clearly hints at the basics of eBay, online banking and email.

Hey, isn't that Wink Martindale?

That's all well and good for a documentary but -- in the mid 1990's -- AT&T put its reputation on the line by running a series of TV ads that challenged viewers to imagine the many ways future technologies would influence and guide our everyday lives.

The Tom Selleck voiceover suggests that we close our eyes and contemplate the shape of things to come. What's astounding is just how spot-on this version of the near-future was. Uncannily, AT&T nailed almost every prediction with the exceptiion of one extremely important one. Can you guess which one that is?

(You may see a blank screen below. Just click the arrow to play)

Let's See...
From over 15 years back, AT&T was right on the money for Google Books, Garmin GPS, iSight Video-Conferencing, Video-on-Demand and iPass Toll Collection, to name a few.

But the tagline was where they tripped up - "...the company that'll bring it to you? AT&T."

AT&T may have indeed been involved in the technological development of some of these wonders but it sure didn't get any of the credit.

Arguably, the most innovative phone so far is the iPhone, brought to you not by AT&T but rather by Apple. Of course the iPhone did launch with AT&T as the exclusive carrier, but that isn't quite the same thing, is it?

Ironically, one of the predictions that didn't pan out was the woman (yes, that's the stunning Jenna Elfman) checking on her baby from a phone booth. A phone booth?

When's the last time you saw one of them?

Real Women of the Apocalypse Series: Hedy Lamarr

hedy lamarr

Ecstasy, White Cargo and the Cuban Missile Crisis

"I am Tondelayo."
With that sentence the world's most beautiful woman set the silver screen on fire in 1942. But it wasn't the first time she had fanned the flames of desire in a darkened movie theatre.

Ten years before, she had appeared in the Czech art film Extase, or Ecstasy. That cinema classic was banned in the US not because of its nudity but because an orgasm in one scene was so vividly portrayed by the lead actress that audiences were unsure whether or not it had been the real thing.

Such is the legend of Hedy Lamarr.

In the film White Cargo, she played the mysterious and exotic Tondelayo. The scorching primal excitement of her character is captured by the line:

"It wasn't the heat that drove Ashley crazy. It was Tondelayo!"

Beyond Hollywood
Hedy Lamarr's most successful film was Samson and Delilah with Victor Mature in 1949. But her true claims to fame have nothing to do with Hollywood. Without her, those few survivors left might this year be marking the 46th anniversary of World War III and there might never have been an iPhone 3GS for you to lust for.

Escaping the Nazis
Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, Ms. Lamarr, in 1933, married Fredrich Mandl, an arms merchant who was controlling and possessive. Mandl forced her to attend his business meetings, during which the mathematically adept Ms. Lamarr learned a great deal about the munitions industry.

But when her husband began consorting with the Nazi high command and holding grand parties for Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, Ms. Lamarr sought escape.

According to some accounts, during a Nazi celebration, she drugged her husband, disguised herself as a maid and fled the country. She made her way to Hollywood by way of London and Paris.


Hedy Lamarr and the Cuban Missile Crisis
During World War II, when her film career was in high gear, Ms. Lamarr had a conversation with composer George Anthiel that helped change the course of homeland security and human communication.

Anthiel, a Hollywood neighbor of Ms. Lamarr, was fascinated with the automated mechanism of player pianos that caused them to play the right notes at precisely the right times. He and Ms. Lamarr, who had learned quite a lot about torpedoes from her munitions-merchant husband, started trading ideas.

The two collaborated to develop a guidance protocol for torpedoes that couldn't be jammed by enemies of the Allied forces. The result was a patent for a process by which radio transmissions hop rapidly across 88 different frequencies like notes on a keyboard.

The Patent Documentation for the Frequency Hopper, in Ms. Lamarr's then-married name H(edwig) K(iesler) Markey:

hedy lamarr patent

The US Navy thought it was a good idea but ahead of its time.
They were right. It was 1962 before the US military used the technology to aid in the blockade of Soviet ships carrying nuclear weapons components during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And it was 1997 before the very same concept became an integral part of the spread spectrum technology that makes your cellphone and Wi-Fi network possible today.


Beyond Beauty
Hedy Lamarr was once considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world but we salute her today as a Real Woman of the Apocalypse.

As an artist she revealed new frontiers of artistic expression of human intimacy. And as a scientist, she helped to save the world when it teetered on the brink of a thermonuclear Armageddon.

Thank you, Ms. Lamarr.

Apocalypzia has two questions:

1 - Why hasn't Hedy Lamarr's Hollywood made a definitive movie about her fascinating and inspirational life?

2- When they do make the bio-pic, who should play the role?

Read our Top Ten Women of the Apocalypse post.

The View from the Star Trek Holodeck...


What is Reality, Anyway?
If we can see something, hear it and feel it, is it really there -- even if it isn't?

Touchable Holography - Seel and Feel What Isn't There

Image Isn't Everything

Holograms are three dimensional illusions that can make the brain believe that the image is the reality. But holograms are only optical experiences, right?

Not Any More
The holodeck on the USS Enterprise has moved a step closer to reality. Scientists at the University of Tokyo are pushing technological frontiers by using ultrasonics and Wii Remote tracking to give holograms a tactile dimension. This new tech allows you to see and feel raindrops falling on the palm of your hand or to toss a ball up and down.

The clip below shows you how. Captain Picard would be proud.

See another example of Touchable Holography in this silent video clip.

Holophonics - Hear What Isn't There

Hearing is Believing

Holophonics could be the next breakthrough in audio. Holophonics is to sound what holograms are to images. Think stereo on steroids.

Experience it for yourself in the example below. Close your eyes and find yourself in a neighborhood barber shop with a guy over in the corner strumming a guitar.

There is a catch, though before you can "Make it So."
You'll need earphones or earbuds. The effect just doesn't work without them.


(Be Prepared: At about 4:15 minutes into the clip the barber will whisper a word in your left ear (if you have your earphones on correctly). This isn't a screamer meant to frighten you, but it may be a surprise. You may think someone's really walked up behind you.)

Check out more amazing examples of Holophonics.

Read other Apocalypzia posts in the Science / Technology category.

Psychic Social Media: The Parking Lot Theory

parking lot

Theory Apocalypzia:
Just as gravity, magnetism and nuclear forces cause physical objects to come together, there are other unseen forces that cause living things -- or even events -- to cluster.

Social attraction is as real and as necessary a dynamic of nature as electromagnetic, gravitational and nuclear attraction.

In other words, for chemical elements to combine to become more complex compounds, those elements must be in close physical proximity with one another. Forces of nature inform and facilitate these combinations.

By the same token, for communities to rise and for offspring to come to be, the behaviors of people are informed and facilitated by observable and
necessary forces of nature.

Let's Get Physical: Love is an Essential Component of the Natural Universe
Corrollary Question: Are love and kinship any less important as scientific forces of nature than gravity and electricity?

Parking Lot Experiment:
The next time you're walking to your car in a parking lot, notice how often someone else is, at the same time, walking toward their car. In that situation, notice how often your car and the stranger's car are in very close physical proximity (within one or two parking spaces).

Notice the frequency with which there may be an awkward door opening moment or, when pulling out, one of you will have to wait for the other because you are parked so close together.


Bookstore Experiment #1
The next time you go to a bookstore to buy a particular book or magazine, notice how often there is someone standing directly in front of the book or magazine that you're looking for.

Notice how often the reverse happens, when you are blocking someone else from reaching for the book or magazine they're looking for.

Do these encounters result in an "excuse me" exchange?

Bookstore Experiment #2
In a bookstore that is not especially crowded, stand or sit in particular place for at least 15 minutes. See if a small cluster of two or more people seems to gather in the stacks or chairs near you.

Let us know.
Rupert Sheldrake suggested that we test this theory. Please help us do that and report any interesting findings to Apocalypzia.

What evidence have you observed that suggest this kind of social gravitation? What experiments would you suggest to test these theories?

Experiment Requirements:
Only an open mind and a spirit of curiosity.

Other than that, have fun with it...

Kevin Bacon Explains the World

kevin bacon

The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

You know. The idea that a chain of associations across a series of movies links any given actor to Kevin Bacon in no more than six steps.

Just some old college drinking game, right?

Guess again.

The Science Channel recently reported that scientists are on the verge of a major breakthrough in working out the underlying algorithms that determine the relationship between elements within complex systems.

If they're right, we may be on the brink of cracking the code of ... well, just about everything, and certainly just about anything that can be described by a network.

six degrees

Scientists believe that this new science could provide insights into everything from the internet, to anti-terrorism, to the spread of the flu viruses, to the very mysteries of synchronicity.

At the foundation of all this is the concept of the small-world network, the idea that universes with a large number of elements (e.g., the population of Earth) are organized into a vast series of clusters (e.g., your personal network of friends and family).

These cluster points, nodes or hubs, if you will, are the magic of networks. They allow for short pathways that dramatically facilitate the inter-connectivity of individual elements within any network.


But are we truly only six people away from connecting with virtually any one on a planet of nearly 7 billion people?

The work of Strogatz and Watts would suggest that we are.

Steve Strogatz, professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University, and Duncan Watts, professor of Sociology at Columbia University, partnered to develop a mathematical model that graphs short pathway/high-cluster networks.

Strogatz and Watts -- and other Small-World scientists like them -- are doing work that may change the very nature of our understanding of connectivity.

Interestingly, the concept of the six-degrees concept is based, in large part, on the work of Stanley Milgram (yes , that Stanley Milgram).


The Kevin Bacon Experiment.
The math these scientists are involved with is way above our heads and maybe you feel the same way. But the Science Channel offered an experiment that we can all relate to.

The target was Marc Vidal, a a geneticist at Harvard University in Boston.

A letter was given to Nyaloka Auma and 39 other people scattered around the planet who had no idea who Marc Vidal was.

These 40 people were asked to send the letter to anyone they knew on a first name basis who might move it closer to the target by, in turn, passing the letter on to someone they knew on a first name basis, and so on, and so on...

Nyaloka's immediate challenge was that -- living in the remote village of Nyamware, Kenya -- she was having difficulty just getting the letter out of town. Until she remembered her aunt from Nairobi who had a friend in New York.

Nyaloka's letter eventually made it to Marc Vidal. The number of connecting steps? Six.

Nyaloka Auma

To be clear, only three of the 40 letters dispatched made it to Marc Vidal but it is more than interesting that the average number of connecting steps was...six.

Maybe It's a Small World After All...

Sheldrake the Magnificent

If there were an Apocalypzian Hall of Fame, Rupert Sheldrake's portrait would surely have a place of honor there.

Rupert Sheldrake is the biologist and author who turns laws of science and nature inside out with theories that align less with Freud's mechanical universe and more with Jung's quantum cosmos, where the collective unconscious is as valid a force of nature as electromagnetism.

And he indeed believes, Jedi-like, that the Force is with us. He postulates that unseen morphic resonance fields surround all matter communicating information about form and structure, amazingly linking and cross-linking past and future.

Composite photographs of 30 female and 45 male staffers at the John Innes Institute provide eerie insight into Mr. Sheldrake's theories of morphic resonance and formative causation.

The Sense of Being Stared At
Ever had the feeling that someone was staring at you and been right? Mr. Sheldrake believes that the act of seeing is hardly passive and that, instead, we interact with and change that which we observe.

alex grey

Sound fantastic? Surely it does, but the 1935 theory of Shrodinger's Cat discusses the entanglement phenomenon in very similar terms.

Telephone Telepathy
Ever heard the phone ring and known who it was before answering? (And we're not talking distinctive ring tones here.) Mr. Sheldrake can shed light on why and how.

To be sure, Mr. Sheldrake is not without critics both inside and outside of the scientific community. But he takes on all comers in lively and ongoing debate about the nature of all things. Such is the life of true revolutionary thinkers.

And the post-apocalyptic world will need renegade thought leaders like Rupert Sheldrake to be the trailblazers and the pathfinders of the new science.

The Parking Lot Theory
We had the privilege of meeting Mr. Sheldrake a few years ago and found him to be as gracious as he is brilliant. He listened with apparent interest to our Sheldrakian postulate that a kind of social gravity -- similar to that which causes matter to move toward matter -- causes organisms and -- even events -- to cluster: a phenomenon we call the Parking Lot Theory.

After a moment's reflection, the Magnificent Sheldrake said it was a theory worthy of being tested. Though he did not say, and in no way indicated, that we had found an answer to the great mysteries of the universe, we left the meeting feeling inspired and validated.

You'll be able to participate in an experiment to test this theory in an upcoming post here at Apocalypzia.

Senseless Attack
In preparing this entry, we learned that Mr. Sheldrake had been the unfortunate victim of a Monica Seles type attack in 2008. We understand that he has recovered and is doing well. We wish him the best.


China Moon

Yang Liwei

The 100 Mile High Club
In 2003, Yang Liwei, became to China what Yuri Gagarin was to Russia and what Alan B. Shepherd was to the US.

Yang Liwei, astronaut (taikonaut to some) and commander of the Shenzhou 5 mission, became the first traveler aboard China's ambitious space exploration program.

Liwei made 14 revolutions around the earth, before making a hard landing in the Inner Mongolian grasslands the day after his launch.

Always Be Prepared
He was apparently ready for anything. He was supplied with a gun, in case he met any unfriendly aliens along the way or, more likely, unfriendly earthmen if he overshot has planned landing site.

Since that flight, China has flown several missions and including Zhai Zhigang's space walk in 2008.

Lost Moon
The Shenzhou 5 mission was the first move of a high stakes game of political wei qi that may end with China following the contrails of Neil Armstrong and his colleagues all the way to the Moon by 2020.

But while the Apollo lunar missions turned out to be a temporary excursion, China intends to stick around with permanent Moon bases for exploration and mining expeditions.

Several years ago, the US announced plans to return to the Moon. But while it took only 8 years from John F. Kennedy's call to action in 1961 to Apollo 11's lunar touchdown, NASA needed 15 years for the redux.

15 years?!

As was reported in the Discovery Channel's television documentary, When We Left Earth, today's NASA no longer possesses the necessary technology or expertise to travel to the Moon and return safely.


It's as if forty years after the Wright Brothers historic flight, we had forgotten how to fly.

In truth, within only forty years after the success at Kitty Hawk, the Bell P-59 Airacomet, the first US jet fighter aircraft, was already paving the way for the jet fighters and jetliners in service today.

P-59 Airacomet

The Final Frontier?
But the question as to why the US needs longer to get back to the Moon than it took to get there in the first place may be moot. President George W. Bush's rambling and half-hearted 2004 commitment to travel back to the Moon and beyond is reported to be under review by the Obama Administration.

So forty years after the US achieved the most amazing scientific breakthrough in the history of humankind, the International Space Station boondoggle may be our only crumbling outpost on the Final Frontier and our ultimate destiny in space may be to timidly go where everyone has gone before.

The US beat the Soviets to the Moon (indeed, they never got there) but if American astronauts ever return they may find that their Chinese counterparts have already done all the giant leaping this time around.

One Giant Leap...

lunar module
Moon Lander by Thomas J. Kelly

"Tranquility Base, Here...The Eagle Has Landed..."
On July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin lifted off from earth atop a roman candle that soared above the clouds and roared into history. Four days later, and forty years ago, Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, set foot on the Moon.

The Surly Bonds of Earth.
Only 66 years before the Apollo 11 mission, the Wright Brothers achieved powered, heavier than air flight over Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

In 1969, the Saturn V rocket that propelled the Apollo crew was the most massive of its era, powerful enough to break the bonds of gravity for a journey of a quarter of a million miles.

But not to be forgotten is the Lunar Module, the engineering marvel of the Grumman Corporation.

Home Away from Home
Christened the Eagle and weighing little more than a 2006 Hummer, it was the Lunar Module that touched down upon the magnificent dusty desolation of the Moon, and was lander, living space and launch pad for the crew's two day stay.


Living Space...

Launch Pad...

After Project Apollo was shelved, Grumman bid to build the Space Shuttle. And though their Lunar Module was the only major component of the Apollo/Saturn system to never suffer any failure that negatively impacted a mission, they were not awarded the contract.

A Testament to Teamwork
After the end of the Cold War, Grumman was acquired by Northrup. But the base of the Lunar Module still stands in the Sea of Tranquility as a testament to the ingenuity and perseverance of the Grumman team.

Back to the Future

"Man will not fly for 50 years."

Wilbur Wright, 1901

dark roasted blend
Graphic from Dark Roasted Blend

Isn't this the way we all once imagined ourselves in the future?

All purple-jump-suity and blissfully anxious to let our buxom loved ones know that Earth was about to collide with Saturn?

Okay, maybe that was just us here at Apocalypzia, but you get the point.

When we look back at how people in years past envisioned what life might be like in the 21st century, it's surprising how far most of them missed the mark.

"Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946.

Brave New World
With the exception of Blade Runner, most visages of the future were a sterile and clinical amalgam of stainless steel and glass. Every house, every building was some smooth perfectly polished geodesic structure.

Each person wore some strange and extreme costume that looked neither comfortable nor practical.

It was as if the entire architectural, stylistic and cultural landscape of the past (our present) had been wiped clean and supplanted by some stark and gleaming new post-modern world.

retro future city

"Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever."
Thomas Edison

Things to Come (1936)

Where There is No Vision, The People Perish
While many predictions of the future either went too far or didn't go far enough, the on-target writings of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, George Orwell and, perhaps most especially, Aldus Huxley continue to amaze us.

"It's a great invention but who would want to use it anyway?"
Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, after a demonstration of Alexander Bell's telephone

And while a lot has been written about retro-future -- how people in the past imagined a yet unrealized future -- what about the other side of the coin?

What about inventions and technologies of the past that we once believed were the shape of things to come that just somehow didn't turn out that way?

We can think of a few. What would you add to the list?

The Concorde SST
Though, even today, still looking like a flying machine from the future, the Concorde was first conceived way back in 1956. Concerns about airworthiness and post 9/11 financial pressures grounded the Concorde fleet in 2003.

Bell Rocket Belt
Years before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, the world first witnessed a man flying around like Superman. Surely, we should all be rocketing to Starbucks for a Caramel Machiatto by now.

Harrier Jump Jet
Didn't we think that by now airport runways would be a thing of the past? Our Boeing 767 would slowly ascend from an O'Hare International Airport launch pad before rocketing us off to parts unknown.

Vertical take-off/landing jet aircraft technology is still the exclusive domain of the military.

And the Harrier Jump Jet is the marvel of the British RAF.

Harrier Taking Off...

Harrier Landing...

True Space Travel
We're not talking about namby-pamby coffee-tea-or-milk Space Shuttle cruises, but real honest-to-goodness AOK Right Stuff fire-in-the-hole space travel. You, know. Where the goal is not to go orbiting around in circles doing odd-job handyman work but to actually go some freakin' where!

For millennia on end, humans wondered who would be the first person to walk on the moon. Now we wonder whether or not Eugene Cernan will be the last.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

Honda Fuzo

Yeah, Baby! That's What I'm Talkin' About!

Now that's a car of the freakin' future! It's just what we've been waiting for. Crystal clear evidence that we've officially crossed the threshold into the amazing World of Tomorrow.

Honda has done it again. Or at least they plan to. The Fuzo is their new concept car. It's sleek, streamlined and way cooler than the 1960's Hovering Pontiac.

The Fuzo's not some shaky Segway PUMA rickshaw or some dinky climate-hugging hybrid. It's a real honest-to-goodness Buck Rogers Rocket Car!

BTW, you can't just step out of one of these transports wearing khakis and a polo shirt. You've got to have the whole color-coded, helmet and jackboot ensemble.

And those aren't supersize cupholders on the port and starboard sides of this craft. Those are vertical turbo-lift turbines, baby.

This bad boy has a GPS system not just to tell you where you're going, but to keep you from running into other Fuzos on the stratospheric freeway.

Does It Fly?
Does it fly?! Apocalypzia got a hold of the official test flight footage. Check it out.

My Dinner with Androids - Part II

More Robots!!!

Somebody cue Ah-nold the Terminator. Apocalypzia warns you that the line between androids and us gets fuzzier all the time.

What's Your Sign?
First up, Miss Hello Kitty, who seems more animated than some humans we know. We shudder to think of the beer goggle consequences.

Eva the Head
So far, she's just a head, but still is creepy enough to freak you out. She's interactive but, at this point, pretty much at the Magic 8-Ball level.

Please dim the lights for my Power Point presentation...
Can't you imagine sitting across the conference table from her in a meeting?

Ah-nold, do you want to meet the new female robots now or do it another time?

My Dinner with Androids - Part I

Cyborgs! Mechanical People! Androids! Robots!

Apocalypzia keeps a close watch on robots. Ever since Radio Shack rolled out the TRS 80, we humans have been sharing the planet with machines that increasingly think like us.

Now we stand on the same stage with machines that, heaven-forbid, look like us. The amazing part of this is not so much looking like us as moving like us.

Our style and manner of movement have always separated us from the creatures lower down the phyla and to the left on the evolution chart. Cheetahs are poetry in predatory motion but no biped is a graceful as we are, right?

How would Bruno and Carrie Ann rate Asimo's performance?

Would George Jetson Drive a PUMA?

That's Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility for those of you who don't yet know the shape of things to come.

It's a far cry from the rocket cars we were promised. Have we only moved from a horseless carriage to a horseless chariot?

Dean Kamen, the PUMA inventor (and son of Mad Magazine/Creepshow illustrator, Jack Kamen), came up with a vehicle that's certainly no Ford Mustang Boss 302, but some think this is our future.

What? No Training Wheels?
Perhaps someone knows why Segway remains so enamored with its side-by-side two-wheeled balancing technology (Segway calls it dynamic stabilization). The original Segway is revolutionary but in operation it looks like someone riding around upright on an old push lawnmower.

Would it hurt to just add a third wheel so we wouldn't have to worry about doing a header into oncoming traffic after hitting a pothole? Yes, the two wheel thing is mystifying and magical but how about a little tripodal stability.

George J. deserves better, don't you think?