Posted by: sweetpea | May 31, 2006

Marvels of the modern age

Last night after having yet another re-think about what clothes to take to Italy (I’ve managed to make the pile smaller which is great) I caught part of Dan Cruickshank’s latest TV series ‘Marvels of the modern age’ in which he is tracing the history of modernism.  Last night’s episode seemed to be looking at where modernism will take us in the future.  I wish I’d caught it all but what I did see was really interesting, especially when he visited MIT.  There he saw a kitchen of the future, where the fridge has an image on it’s door of it’s contents so you don’t have to open the door, and if the freezer is left open you get the sound of a snowstorm; all devices to help conserve energy.  I wasn’t sure about the idea of a plate maker rather than a dishwasher, even if apparently the plates can be re-made over and over.  In the bedroom there was a device that allows you to use your eyes to control things, pretty cool although I can imagine it being a problem if you have a twitch or something!

Another section looked at the future of transport.  They were designing a new form of city vehicle that runs on electric and has a new design of wheel and steering making it more flexible.  The idea being that the vehicles are stacked together in various places around a city, and users just turn up, swipe a card and set off.  While the vehicles are stacked up they are re-charging.  There was also some kind of flexible wall that reacts to people’s emotions, it looked nice but I couldn’t really see the point other than entertainment I guess.

Dan also looked at the problem of how we will feed ourselves in the future. One idea was to build vertical farms that look like sky scrapers.  I can’t see them being good on the animal welfare side, but I guess maybe there will be no choice in the future as the population grows.  Although Bill Oddie made a good point on ‘Springwatch’ last night saying that humans need to react like wildlife does to changes in food availability i.e. when there isn’t enough food don’t have more children.  But then we just find other ways of producing food, hoping that technology will keep advancing to allow us to do so.  And of course as Dan mentioned, humans will have the technology to populate other planets in the future so some people might think does it really matter if we destroy this one.  That would make us a very irresponsible and selfish race, but then we already know that about ourselves don’t we!  This reminds me of something one of the audience members on ‘test the nation’ said when asked if he cared about the environment and the planet. He said he cared about the planet as a whole but didn’t care what he did… doesn’t he realise that what he does has a bearing on what happens to the planet as a whole, even if it might only be a small part.  If everyone thinks like that then there is no hope, but thankfully there are many of us who do care enough about our influence on the planet to do something positive 🙂

Well I think I went off on a bit of a tangent there didn’t I!  I have to say though that I really enjoy watching Dan Cruickshank, he’s definitely one of my favourite presenters at the moment.


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