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Can We Get To The Future From Here?

Aug 14, 2008
Although Pythagoras and other early mathematicians believed in numerology, it's now considered an occult art in which numbers supposedly reflect personal characteristics. Only numbers 1-9, plus 11 and 22 are used. All numbers are reduced to those numbers by adding their components. For example, 24 would be 2+4 or 6. The numbers in my birth date reduce to 8, which makes 8 my life path. According to numerology that means I have executive ability, I'm materialistic and I'm unscrupulous. Obviously, there must be something wrong with a system that makes it impossible to be a 10.

Some 26 centuries later when the automatic answering machine was invented, it was a 3-foot-tall machine. Back in 1935 the answering machine was primarily used by Orthodox Jews whose religious beliefs prevent them from answering the phone on the Sabbath. Today the answering machine is almost a necessity of life, but not all futuristic ideas make it to the future.

Many of Q's futuristic ideas for James Bond didn't make it to the future. The character Q was based on Charles Fraser Smith, an engineer who worked for the British government designing special tools for British agents to use in WWII. Now the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has its own Q. Rolf Dietrich's official title is Deputy Director of Research and one of his futuristic ideas is implanting tiny monitors in cell phones to detect biological weapons. This idea would provide thousands of monitors in places like airports, subways and sports arenas. Because our spy program has already given us things like baby monitors and text messaging, maybe cell phone monitors will be a part of our future. Maybe a smoke detector that doesn't go off when I use my indoor grill will be a part of my future.

The space program has given us things too - like Teflon and Velcro, but what the men aboard the space station recently wanted was a toilet that flushed. After two weeks of having to manually flush the Russian-made toilet, a new pump was sent on the space shuttle. I can't relate to the arduous training required to be an astronaut. I can't relate to leaving the earth's gravity or dealing with weightlessness in space. However, not being able get a toilet fixed for two weeks has made the space program seem less futuristic to me. In fact, it's brought the space program down to earth.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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