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May 28, 2009

The jetpack is a lie
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 05:48 PM *

From IM, names deleted to protect the irrelevant:

Abi I’ve identified [S]’s third sock on [D]
Patrick In the future, we will speak very strange sentences!
Abi Where the heck is my jetpack?
Patrick I’m going to write a story set after the Singularity, a million years hence, when we are all intergalactically-empowered immortal sentiences in the Beyond, and people will STILL BE COMPLAINING ABOUT NOT HAVING SODDING JETPACKS.
Abi Now, a sodding jetpack is an accessory too far, in my book
Though it would simplify the mounting and improve the marketability in some quarters
Patrick true that
Abi Besides, jetpacks are impossible.
Because we will have jetpacks in the future, right?
Patrick uh, right
Abi But by the time the future comes it isn’t the future, it’s the present.
Thus no jetpack.
Comments on The jetpack is a lie:
#1 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:11 PM:

You know, this is kind of like the flying car argument.

People drive so badly and with so much inattention, jetpacks and flying cars would be a murderous disaster. They would be just as dangerous to the bystanders as to the drivers/passengers, too.

Just sayin'

#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:12 PM:

This inspires odd thoughts about what sodomy (consensual) with jetpacks would look like. Even sodomy between two humans would be a Cirque-du-Soleil-worthy feat of acrobatics on airborne jetpacks.

I assume the 'sock' in the first entry was a sockpuppet. Juicy behind-the-scenes gossip, if not quite as exciting as the acrobatic sodomy.

And about the dinosaurs? They go with the sodomy, and if there's no jetpacks, there's no sodomy, and therefore no dinosaurs, which means that evolution is wrong and the Bible is true. QED. (Hey, it makes as much sense as any OTHER Creationist argument!)

I also don't think the future becomes the present. Or rather it does, but the present of a quite different timeline/quantum universe, whereas the ACTUAL present was never our future, but the future of the next timeline down the row, and so on. If you try to get me to explain this I will fuddle you with other logical-sounding but totally nonsensical utterances, and make my escape.

#3 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:18 PM:

I thought a sodding jetpack would be really great for redoing my lawn.

#4 ::: Sarah W ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:24 PM:

Xopher @2: I'm sure that there will be special harnesses and\or attachments on the market soon after jet packs are released to the public. And I'm pretty sure the visual results (complete with sparklers held in the participants' . . . teeth), will be available on YouTube.

Ooooo--you don't suppose ancient phoenix sightings (or more recent UFOs) were just airborne time travelers looking for a little privacy, do you?

A couple of Pratchett's characters say that time is like a pair of trousers. I'm going to go with this concept until I meet myself coming back up . . . or reach the ankles . . .

#5 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:27 PM:

The jetpacks are here already. They just aren't evenly distributed.

#6 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:28 PM:

time is like a pair of trousers

A pair of very loose trousers, considering how quickly you run out of it.

#7 ::: Darth Paradox ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:30 PM:

No, no. I don't want jetpacks to be readily available. I just want one for me, and maybe a carefully selected friend or two.

#8 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:32 PM:

Clearly we need to invent time travel. Then you go from the present to the past, thus ensuring a future, make the jetpacks, and bring them back.

Xopher @ 2:

I was thinking of the sock as a sock, and trying to identify why someone would be wearing someone else's socks.

For the other aspect, wouldn't the jetpacks, uh, get in the way? Or, at least, be a burn hazard?

#9 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:33 PM:

AHA, Darth! Obviously so you can have privacy* for your airborne sodomy with said friends.

Unless they're dinosaurs.

*A new and unfamiliar definition of 'privacy', if you do it in broad daylight. That's so perverted. You sicko.

#10 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:35 PM:

KeithS: why yes, they would be a burn hazard. And as one of you spirals to the Earth in flames, the background music would be "Hunka-hunka Burnin' Love..."

#11 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:40 PM:

Jetpaks schmetpacks. I want teleportation.

#12 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:42 PM:

Really, I can't add to this in any meaningful way; it's already perfect:

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn't get much higher
Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire

#13 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:43 PM:

Josh, I can think of several ways in which teleportation would make sodomy more fun, too.

#14 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:45 PM:

Always jamjetpack tomorrow, never jamjetpack today...

Although honestly? I don't personally *care* about not having jetpacks. I was promised that computing would bring about a paperless office. I still don't have a paperless office.

#16 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 06:59 PM:

Xopher @ 10 and 13:

If I ever meet you, you're in trouble for that song choice. Please keep it up.

For the teleportation, it didn't take much playing of the game Portal for my mind to go there.

Steve Burnett @ 14:

I don't recall where I heard the wisecrack that the paperless office of the future is just down the hall from the paperless bathroom of the future.

#17 ::: linnen ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 07:15 PM:

'You couldn't have it if you DID want it,' the Queen said. 'The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam to-day.'

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, 1871

#18 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 07:34 PM:

Sarah, #4:
Making love in a zero-G environment
May foster changes in our moral attitudes.
Nature provides for the planet-bound,
But the state of the art in orbit must improve;
Desperate lovers may engage
Space-age sex aids.
"Together-tethers" would prevent random wandering;
Magnetic harnesses incorporating alternating poles
Could sustain an interaction electrically;
Rear thrusters would provide perfect docking control,
Entry speed and rhythm set --
Easy on the retro-jets!

- "A Reconsideration of Anatomical Docking Maneuvers in a Zero-G Environment", words and music © by Diana Gallagher

KeithS, #16: *hopes that double-entendre was intentional*

#19 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 07:36 PM:

I could gladly pay you on Tuesday for a jetpack today.

#20 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 07:37 PM:

Ya know, jetpacks would solve certain issues of sodomistic access to certain large dinosaurs. Why someone would think that they'd survive the encounter is beyond me.

Now Dragons, Dragons wouldn't need jetpacks. Because, as you know bub, Dragon flame doesn't actually come out of the mouths of dragons, that concept came about when some mealy-mouthed Victorian prude got offended whilst reading stories to her great-niece. The reality severely limits Dragons from participating in certain acts of airborne sodomy.

It also makes those supposed Dragon-slaying knights look a tad less heroic.

#21 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 07:38 PM:

Three future tech things I could live without: flying cars, jetpacks and transporters.

#22 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 07:47 PM:

KeithS @ 16: The room down the hall that has three seashells on a shelf?

#23 ::: Glen Blankenship ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 07:49 PM:

Jetpacks are the personal transportation of the future!

Always have been; always will be.

#24 ::: shallot ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 08:00 PM:

What a good point.

#25 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 08:10 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ #1, "jetpacks and flying cars would be a murderous disaster"

If you've read JD Robb's "in Death" series of police procedurals set in 2050 NYC, you'll know that this prophecy is correct.

#26 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 08:21 PM:

You want a jetpack? It only costs $128K, and it's got some problems of needing water....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0snTqLQLpBA

#27 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 08:24 PM:

Time's always slipping, slipping, slipping,
into the future...

#28 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 08:34 PM:

TomB #3: I thought a sodding jetpack would be really great for redoing my lawn.

Green side up, plz....

#30 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 08:46 PM:

While we're discussing the potential naughty uses of future technology, one can only imagine the amorous contortions possible using the portal gun from Portal.

#31 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 08:55 PM:

What's the French word for Jetpack?

#32 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 08:56 PM:

Erik Nelson @ #27, gotta love those Texas guitarists.

#33 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 09:10 PM:

Lee @ 18: *hopes that double-entendre was intentional*

Aw, naturally.

Steve Burnett @ 22:

Since no one ever explained the three seashells to me, I'll just stand here and talk about dinosaur sodomy until I have enough tickets to do it the old-fashioned way.

#34 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 09:20 PM:

So Bill @29, you live in a mythical future, this explains a lot. I suppose your jetpack is powered by a beam of neutrinos, and doesn't get hot, and it doesn't matter if your legs get in the way because they pass right through without actually touching any of your precious atoms.

#35 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 09:35 PM:

John Houghton @ 34

I suppose your jetpack is powered by a beam of neutrinos, and doesn't get hot, and it doesn't matter if your legs get in the way because they pass right through without actually touching any of your precious atoms.

I don't know about the jetpack, but this certainly raised my temperature. Hubba-hubba. After all, interpose yourself in front of enough of a neutrino flux, and eventually you'll get lepton.

#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 09:38 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 29... "Cadet Lensman Higgins reporting for duty, SIR!"

#38 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 09:46 PM:

I once had a very frustrating dream in which I actually got a jetpack. It was a piece of crap; my father bought it off of QVC. It ended with me disgusted at the price of propane cylinders in a Queens, NY hardware store and taking a bus. And my sneakers were wet from skimming Flushing Harbor.

#39 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 09:48 PM:

Keith @16
There are paperless bathrooms, or rather, toilets. They were invented in Japan, and cost a lot more than conventional ones.

Here's a couple of links:
http://www.totousa.com/Default.aspx?tabid=67
http://paperlesstoilet.com/

#40 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 10:25 PM:

Magenta Griffith @ 39, you got there before I did! I was ALSO going to link to the Toto Washlet for "paperless bathroom." I suspect that if I tried one, I'd feel the same need for a final towel-dry after the blow-dry just as I inevitably do with the hot-air hand dryers in public bathrooms. Hate them. Hate hate hate. Especially when the public bathroom doesn't ALSO offer paper towels. The super-blast ones (like we had at a catering place I worked at) are somewhat better for actually getting your hands dry, but the only one I've ever used that I've liked has been a top-opening vertical dryer that they had in the bathrooms at Mass. General Hospital, at least on the respiratory acute care floor.

#41 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 10:34 PM:

I want to especially appreciate the way Xopher dragged the conversation DIRECTLY INTO THE GUTTER with comment #2. Xopher FTW!

#42 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 10:38 PM:

PNH @41:

I want to especially appreciate the way Xopher dragged the conversation DIRECTLY INTO THE GUTTER with comment #2. Xopher FTW!
Sodomy with jetpacks was clearly implied by Abi's remarks. After that, dragging dinosaurs into it was inevitable. Say sodomy, there will be dinosaurs; say dinosaurs, there will be sodomy. They're inextricably linked.

Formalist!Xopher, FTW!

#43 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 10:50 PM:

Who needs dragons when you have dinosaurs with jetpacks?

#44 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 10:55 PM:

I spent my commute home one day last week listening to teenage angst (changing boyfriends and a prom were both prominent in her near-monologue) and wondering if it needed more dinosaurs or more sodomy.

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 10:59 PM:

I spent my commute home one day last week listening to teenage angst (changing boyfriends and a prom were both prominent in her near-monologue) and wondering if it needed more dinosaurs or more sodomy.

#46 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 11:01 PM:

*bows* Gutters R Us!

#47 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 11:28 PM:

re 37: In our house, never ask, "How do I look?"

#48 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2009, 11:53 PM:

Rikibeth, #40: Funny how perceptions differ. I can use half a dozen paper towels and my hands never feel really dry until they've had some air-drying time, but the blower-dryers work fine for me. I wish I had a large version in the bathroom at home, because towels never make me feel dry after a shower either.

#49 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 01:13 AM:

I gather that, depending on precedents set in State Courts, Sodomy may include all sorts of otherwise un-named* sexual carryings-on.

But dinosaurs with personal helicopters would still have problems.

*I was always told not to speak with my mouth full.

#50 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 01:38 AM:

Lord knows I'm a big fan of sodomy, and all, but what I'd really want to see is the All-Jetpack Hamlet.

C'mon. Polonius is stabbed behind the arras, and his punctured fuel tank goes up with a muffled whoompf... and Ophelia's mad scene, now with extra TOTALLY AWESOME. You know you want it, too.

#51 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 01:49 AM:

Andrew Willett @ 50: Definitely! Don't forget about the part where Ophelia drowns...to realize that her jetpack helmet lets her breathe just fine when underwater. Initially frustrated that she's still alive, she then reconsiders her self-destructive impulse and launches herself from underneath the water like a Polaris missile aimed at Hamlet.

#52 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 01:54 AM:

Linkmeister@ #25

I haven't read those, I just drive in the streets of my hometown in an itty-bitty car (Mercury Mystique, inherited from my partner's mom, who we bought it for but decided a couple of years ago she did not need to drive anymore).

People don't pay enough attention manning vehicles that pretty much are on one basic plane of streets. I really don't want idiots so witlessly maneuvering vehicles that are pretty much moving in 3D. My life is in danger enough already.

If you could guarantee anyone 'flying' those things could get a pilot's license before being allowed to fly them, I'd go with it. Otherwise, they are stupid machines.

#53 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 02:01 AM:

Now, a sodding jetpack is an accessory too far, in my book
Though it would simplify the mounting and improve the marketability in some quarters

And improve the mounting on hindquarters.

#54 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 02:15 AM:

Oh great, the neural cross-connection just got made, and now I'm hearing "The jetpack is a lie" over and over to the tune of the Jazz Butcher song "The Devil is my friend"

The jetpack is a lie
The jetpack is a lie
The jetpack's in the future, right?
The jetpack is a lie.
... whaddya think about that, boy?
#55 ::: Doug Faunt ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 02:56 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @#52
They'd have to not only have a license, but they'd have to PAY ATTENTION. 3D travel is beyond the attention spec of most current humans (including myself, usually).

#56 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 03:17 AM:

Revising my #31, how would you say "Jetpunk" in French? or in Old English?

#57 ::: Christian Severin ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 03:19 AM:

Xopher @ #13:

"Josh, I can think of several ways in which teleportation would make sodomy more fun, too."

You weren't thinking of something along the lines of Douglas Adams'

"I teleported home one night
with Ron and Sid and Meg.
Ron stole Meggie's heart away
and I got Sidney's leg",

with a cast of Ron and Sid and Jock, did you?

#58 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 03:19 AM:

PNH:

You MISSED that ENTIRE subtext of my comment? What did you think I was talking about there?

#59 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 05:57 AM:

Helipacks, not jetpacks. Avoids the whole "setting your legs on fire" issue, and if the engine fails you can autorotate down.

#60 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 07:59 AM:

John Houghton writes in #34:

So Bill @29, you live in a mythical future, this explains a lot. I suppose your jetpack is powered by a beam of neutrinos, and doesn't get hot, and it doesn't matter if your legs get in the way because they pass right through without actually touching any of your precious atoms.

No, the mythical future is inside my head.

The dirty little secret of jetpacks and flying cars is that they belong to the past, not the future.

The rocket belt I wore was amazing crowds when I was in grade school.

Flying cars were cruising down Broadway before I was born.

Hovercraft are rusting in museums.

People who wonder "Where's my jetpack?" may be looking at the wrong end of time.

We're living in the post-future.

#61 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 08:00 AM:

P.S. Neutrino beams are doing just fine.

#62 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 08:33 AM:

Xopher #2:

This leads to the "many worlds, none of them with jetpacks" interpretation of quantum physics.

Bill #60:

Yep, the past's future has Luna City, warp drive, socialist utopias, Mars and Venus inhabited by natives and colonized by Earthly powers, etc. OTOH, it also has humans enslaved by alien invaders, driven to extinction or driven to barbarity by global nuclear war, conquered by a DARPA project that has unknowingly invented stasis fields, etc. It's kind of a wash.

#63 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 08:56 AM:

Just as an SFnal/science aside, this cool Mystery Rays post made me think of Tree-of-Life virus.

#64 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 09:19 AM:

Paula@1: many of the fictional flying cars (such as, for example, in Stranger In A Strange Land, aren't flown by hand. In fact that may be one of the things we're longing for, not having to guide ourselves second by second while traveling.

#65 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 09:21 AM:

OK. I understand that jetpacks and flying cars might represent a safety hazard. But decent household robots? Where's the harm in that?

#66 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 09:31 AM:

Alison Scott @ 65... Decent household robots? I guess that excludes the Jude Law model featured in Spielberg's A.I.. Besides, remember Y2K? The year 2038 is when unix machines will do an encore of that, if I remember correctly.

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 09:34 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 56... Would 'roublard à fusée' do? Not quite as snappy as 'jetpunk', true. Then again, French doesn't do snappy.

#68 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 09:37 AM:

You guys just made my morning. Thank you.

#69 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 10:13 AM:

say dinosaurs, there will be sodomy. They're inextricably linked.

Well, I know that can happen to dogs...

#70 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 10:52 AM:

Tuesday, January 19th 2038, at 03:14:07 (UTC).

And it won't be like Y2K.

Things will actually break. All at once.

#71 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 11:00 AM:

Sodomy,
Levitatio,
Trannysaurass,
De-con-suc-tion.

Father, why do these words cause a ruction?
Moderation rhymes with fun.
Join the post-bronze slip-steam singularists
Everyone!

(We'll work "Roger Ramjet" and "[fudge]packing" into version 1.2.)

#72 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 11:02 AM:

That's no sock puppet!

#73 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 11:17 AM:

Steve @ 70... On the other hand, 29 years from now, all those unix servers will be so obsolete that they and their programming will have been retired and replaced by something without that bug built into it.

Now, where did I put my rocket boots?

#74 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 11:28 AM:

Serge @ 73:

On the other hand, 29 years from now, all those unix servers will be so obsolete that they and their programming will have been retired and replaced by something without that bug built into it.

And no one uses COBOL anymore, either.

#75 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 11:46 AM:

Off #71:

Dinosaur, sodomy,
Hoist on a jet of free
Neutrons or petards or
Skazlorls or such --

Contra-real-zeppelin
Scrolls off my iphone screen
History's clinamen
Takes and gives much.

#76 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 12:23 PM:

ajay @ 59:

I was wondering when someone would bring up COPtors.

#77 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 12:39 PM:

Alison Scott @65, compare the speculations that start with post 230 in the Zombie thread.

#78 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 12:40 PM:

Christian 57: Brock, actually, and no I wasn't. It occurs to me that the second line might end with Tass, as well (or Lars in the UK). Also with Nathan, but that's too kinky even for this group.

abi 58: I didn't think I was introducing anything new.

Serge 66: He was pretty decent...in fact I had the distinct impression that he was excellent.

Kip 71: *applauds*

#79 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 01:25 PM:

"Sodomy, Levitatio" sounds like a spell from one of those Happy Rotter fanfics.

Ah, Patrick (#41) , all of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at … the stars!

<exits stage left with dramatique flourish, head and hand elevated>

#80 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 01:25 PM:

I'm sorry, I got distracted imagining consensual sodomy with jetpacks and wondered:
1. When did jetpacks become self-aware?
2. and wouldn't that hurt? a lot?

#81 ::: Mez continues from #79 ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 01:48 PM:

… SFX, off: (sound of trip, stumble, crash; many objects falling, breaking glass, hollow metal bouncing, dies away; final tinkle of glass, hubcap spinning down to rest)

#82 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 01:51 PM:

The "where's my jetpack" query made it into Reed Farrel Coleman's "Redemption Street," a story of a reluctant Jewish P.I. poking about in the Catskills in the early 1980s.

This useless non sequitur brought to you by the letter B for Borscht.

#83 ::: mensley ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Introducing the Turbotex(tm) Kevlar & Nomex condom from the makers of OveGlove!

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 02:58 PM:

Xopher @ 78.. I couldn't agree more. In fact, Jude was probably the best thing in the movie.

#85 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 03:24 PM:

Jet packs will be here when we no longer have heads to injure. Get cracking on the head replacement technology.

(All those willing to decapitate themselves now will receive free jet packs. 1 to a customer.)

#86 ::: Sarah W ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 03:28 PM:

Lee @ 18: I want to hear the whole thing as sung! Does Ms. Gallagher have a recording available somewhere (or somewhen?).


Janet @ 80:

1. Maybe it was the shock of, um, initial contact that got their full attention?

2. I'm sure the outer casings would be heat-proof. . .

#87 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 03:53 PM:

Mez: Speak for yourself. I far prefer it down here in the storm drains. More dark nooks to skulk about in. (cue glowing eyes, down left, just below the lip of stage)

#88 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 03:57 PM:

Calling Mr. Irving, Mr. Washington Irving to the white courtesy phone...

#89 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 04:07 PM:

I'm not arsed about jetpacks. I want matter transmission, and I want it yesterday (matter replication would be nice too).

#90 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 04:25 PM:

Making Light predicts CNN Headline a day in advance! Time travel confirmed! http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/05/29/jetpack/index.html

P.S. Image one.

Image two.

Q. E. F. D.

#91 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 05:12 PM:

Re #72: If it's a space station, somebody got some 'splainin' to do.

#92 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 05:18 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ 90:

Quod erat <present participle of (in)appropriate latin verb beginning in 'f'> demonstrandum?

#93 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 05:22 PM:

I believe the correct verb is 'futuere', but I'm not sure how to form a gerund from that.

#94 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 05:26 PM:

The excerpted IM motif reminds me of something I've been trying to re-find, off&on, for a while now. These are all the half-remembered clues I have. I hope I haven't just deluded myself into thinking I actually read this...

I believe it was in here. I believe it was a quote from an IM conversation. I believe the quotee was Patrick. It had a line in it that went something like: "The women of Science Fiction are on the move".

It was a masterpiece of comic timing and I wanted to save it off, but I neglected to, and now I can't find it again.

If somebody has it, and doesn't for some reason want to post it, kindly do me the awfully big favor of sending it to me by email. TIA.

#95 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 05:45 PM:

And here's the flying water-jet car. It does have severe limitations, but the City of Tomorrow would be clean as a result.

#96 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 07:08 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #89: I'm not arsed about jetpacks.

Does that mean the same thing as "I can't be arsed about jetpacks"?

#97 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 07:55 PM:

Earl Cooley III #96: I can't be arsed to answer that.

#98 ::: Karen ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 08:45 PM:

#93 I'm not sure how to form a gerund from that. Don't you mean a copula?...

#99 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 09:36 PM:

If you put your jet pack on wrong, you're no longer arsed.

#100 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 09:39 PM:

Xopher@6: I remember seeing that (by accident -- they weren't quite finished) at the obvious point in a small production of Anything Goes; everybody stopped for hysterical laughter, except two orchs who managed two bars of "The Stripper" before giving in.

Paula@52: requiring a pilot's license wouldn't be nearly enough; at least around Boston, a lot of commuting is done in instrument conditions -- which take a lot more practice to learn to handle. There was a story (IIRC by Kris Neville?) in which the driver (but not the point) was the installation of weather control, because flying cars would be impractical without it.

Alison@65: You mean you haven't seen "Viva La Roombalucion!" And if that isn't enough, just think what a Roomba with extensors (as invented by Daniel Boone Davis in The Door into Summer could do....

#101 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 11:22 PM:

Sarah W @ 86: The song was published on the cassette Diana Gallagher ... Live!. I'm almost certain that I've got a different recording of it, but I can't find it on any of my tapes.

The Canadian group "The Frantics" had a similar song closing one of their shows.

Making Love in Outer Space

The retro-rockets crack the sky
I ride upon my fire
I should feel awe as we lift off
But I just feel desire
I felt love spark the first time
We flew a simulation
But now we're on a shuttle
For our cosmic consummation

There's something about weightlessness
My thermostat's red hot
In zero gee please come to me
Find my zero gee spot
Your eyes look lovely in the light
That shines from the Big Dipper
I know we'll get our space suits off
When we get through these zippers

    Making love in outer space
    It's just like science fiction
    Although we have a problem for
    In space there is no friction
    The heavens swirl above our heads
    Your moon blocks out the moon
    We're going to reach orbit now
    Just don't reach it too soon!

I love to stroke your floating hair
And gaze upon your charms
I feel safe and protected
Within your Canadarms
Oh that was beautiful my dear
You're the lover of the century
And if you're ready, so am I
We're going for re-entry
We're going for re-entry

#102 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 11:34 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #97: I can't be arsed to answer that.

(student makes note to self to recite that koan just as the Singularity hits; that should work)

#103 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2009, 11:36 PM:

David, #64: Yes, exactly. Most of the flying-cars (or, indeed, futuristic-groundcars) stories of recent vintage postulate that they're controlled by the traffic net, with manual controls only as a backup and for use in rural areas. I would gladly surrender my own judgment as to when it's safe to blow thru that yellow light if it would keep people from blowing thru red lights because they're too busy talking on the goddamn cellphone to notice and hitting the cross traffic.

Sarah, #86: It's been recorded; I have at least one version, but it's on a tape that hasn't yet been archived to CD. If you know any filkers, ask around -- it's a classic, and most of them will be familiar with it. (The colloquial title is "Zero-G Sex".)

#104 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 01:55 AM:

Lee @ 103... ?they're controlled by the traffic net

Just make sure not to be up in the air when the net's Windows O/S decides that an upgrade will be implemented in 9... 8... 7... 6...

#105 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 02:31 AM:

Maybe I've just been reading too much transhumanist literature lately, but I can imagine a future with safe, ubiquitous jetpacks--though only for those with the right neural implants, ones that enhance their three-dimensional reasoning and hook them into an omnipresent air traffic control datastream.

#106 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 02:32 AM:

Serge:

Blue Sky of Death.

#107 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 10:13 AM:

(Apologies to those who have mentioned jam already, but here's my take on it:)

This implies that every jet-pack is covered in jam.

This _might_ have further implications for the sodding, but I'm not volunteering to find out, either as subject _or_ observer. More likely, and I know that this is not strictly entomologically right, it means that your jet-pack might end up COVERED IN BEES.

#108 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 10:42 AM:

I'd settle for a Dick Tracy-tech flying trashcan, if it were reimagined by Dean Kamen with LeanSteer technology.

#109 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 10:56 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 108... I'd settle for a Dick Tracy-tech flying trashcan

...the technology of which Diet Smith extrapolated into the Space Coupe, used for the first flight to the Moon. I wonder how much that lunar snail shell's meat fetches at Whole Earth's these days.

#110 ::: Cath ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 11:30 AM:

Joel @101: Diana Gallagher's "Docking" song is also on the Bayfilk II Concert 1 cassette. Given I own but 7 tapes of filk music, I was surprised to remember I had it...

#111 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 12:47 PM:

Xopher @93 -- wouldn't that be "futuens"? Certainly true if it's second declension, possibly if it's third. But it's been close to 40 years since I studied Latin...

#112 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Better than me, Tom. It's been at least 50 years since I studied Latin (and I don't think it's one of those things that carries over from a previous life). I learned the name of that verb in linguistics class, but never learned how to conjugate.† Verbs.
___
†I'm sure you meant second/third conjugation, right?

#113 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 02:50 PM:

Futuere† is a third conjugation* noun; the first person singular is futuo. That doesn't make a difference to the present participle, which is futuens in both conjugations.

Declining‡ the participle to form an adverb from that is another matter. My Allen and Greenough gives multiple options for this.

1. Third declension adjectives often have -ter added to them, thus futuenter (214b)
2. The neuter accusative of adjectives and pronouns is often used as an adverb, thus futuente (214d)
3. The ablative singular neuter (or less commonly) feminine may be used adverbially, thus futuenti (214e)

Absent guidance, I'd go for option 1.

-----
† This is Xopher's second excellent and dirty pun in Latin that I know of. It is a delightful talent, and one I envy greatly
* It is unsurprising in this conversation that we should end up (as it were) in conjugation
‡ Inevitably, after a successful conjugation, things decline.

#114 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 02:56 PM:

abi @ 113:

I thought that successful conjugation involved reclining, not declining.

#115 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 03:01 PM:

KeithS @114:

One may or may not recline during conjugation, but after it, there is an inevitable decline.

#116 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 04:38 PM:

Conjugation often follows the dative, and the conjugation itself may be in the genitive. And if so, the conjugation may be followed by the accusative. Conjugation's relationship to the acquisitive is currently being discussed in the "Deconstructionist" thread.

#117 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 04:57 PM:

Also, after the genitive, conjugation often declines. Both the vocative and the locative tend to become either rare or obsolete.

#118 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 07:14 PM:

Since you're stating that your very old MT install is screwed up, are you actually implying that your dinosaur has been sodomized?

#119 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 07:21 PM:

Glenn @118:
I don't know whether to award you an internet or ban you for life.

It was that good.

#120 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 08:03 PM:

Sister Mary Margaret didn't teach Latin like this...

#121 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 09:52 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) #116: Of course, in languages which possess the optative case, conjugation may, I stress, may follow it. In some languages, it may require the nominative case, though I find that rather restrictive.

#122 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 09:53 PM:

Until now this thread has had no mention of my favorite song about rocket packs. I fix:

"It's the Eighties, So Where's Our Rocket Packs?", by Daniel Amos

#123 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 10:40 PM:

Well, as noted above, we actually do have jetpacks, just insanely expensive. My intuition is that the basic idea is dubious -- basically, I suspect that just on first principles, you'd find that the amount of energy and propellant needed for the basic goal is too large to be really practical.

So, you can fly a little -- if you can sink enough resources into the goal -- but, it's never going to be affordable for everyday use. Indeed, ISTM that the rule visibly holds for "personal planes" in general. (It's not that you have to be rich, but it helps....)

#124 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2009, 11:13 PM:

janetl @ 120:

My Latin classes were rather boring as well. When I was younger, I used to think that our teacher had come over during the Roman invasion of Britain and stayed.

David Harmon @ 123:

In keeping with the futurism of the thread, a useful quote from a slightly different context: "Why worry? Each of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back." Sounds practical enough, in a futuristic '50s sort of way, to me.

#125 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 01:11 AM:

Abi @ 113... Futuere† is a third conjugation* noun

No kidding. I hesitate to bring this up, but 'futuere' is spelled like and even sounds like the French word 'foutu'. So? Well, French being French, its 4-letter words are 5-letter long, even the 'F' word that involves some conjugation.

#126 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 01:16 AM:

Bruce Baugh @ 122.. I think there was a Calvin & Hobbes strip in 1991 where Calvin demands to know where rocket boots are. The idea of Calvin with rocket boots is scary. By the way, I've often wondered how easy it'd be to fly with rocket boots if there are no braces to keep one's legs rigid. Must put quite a strain on one's knees. (Unless you're a half-Vulcan zipping up to the top of Yosemite Park's El Capitan.)

#127 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 01:39 AM:

Regarding the reclination of conjugation: In Russian we were warned about some of the strange inadvertencies of language.

It was amusing on several levels: Rusian has some very specific aspects of verbs, and time. Things stand (a parked car, "stands", i.e. "Where did I stand my car?"). Some things, which are vertical (like a glass) have a specific sort of standing, i.e., "to stand up". We were warned not to use this as a way of saying a date had not arrived to meet us, as it was a common Russian term saying one had, "gotten lucky."

So, in russian, successful conjugation, of a fleeting nature, are not reclinitory.

#128 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 01:46 AM:

Serge: I'd put a lip on the back, so one sat on the boots. That would move the axis of thrust to a truer line through the center of mass, and leaning would be a decent form generaly steering.

#129 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 01:51 AM:

1) We can't give you sodomy and dinosaurs without jetpacks?

2) Help, help, I am IN A ROOM WITH ONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS IN THIS DISCUSSION SEND lube A CO2 FIRE EXTINGUISHER A TEAM OF RESCUERS.

... Oh Hell. Oops. Send an asbestos bucket, size medium. And an alibi.

#130 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 03:51 AM:

Serge: I figure it's like stiff upper lips, just lower down.

#131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 08:59 AM:

Terry Karney @ 128... Bruce Baugh @ 130... Speaking of conjugation and of airborne devices, did you know that, in French, the word used for 'joystick' translates as 'broomstick'? I think that's because the original joysticks were actual broomsticks. As for why joysticks are called what they are called... I dare not ask.

#132 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 09:39 AM:

David@123: I'm not certain that personal planes would be horribly expensive if we could get over the hump of moving from ~custom to mass production. (It's been a long time since I saw hard numbers -- almost as long as since I passed my instrument flight test -- but IIRC there was about 1 personal plane for every 1000 cars in the US; that's a lot of economy-of-scale.) Certainly an airplane gets more lift out of its fuel than a jetpack could; cf discussions about launching space shuttles from airplanes. However, I expect that airplanes will always have much smaller margins of safety than cars, not to mention not being able to pull off the road and stop when something goes wrong.

#133 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 09:52 AM:

Based on how badly people secure loads for two-dimensional street travel, I shudder to think what would happen with the flying equivalent of pick-up trucks. Do. Not. Want.

#134 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 11:42 AM:

Picture the skies above the city of Boston filled with flying cars. Picture the streets of the city of Boston filled with twisted pieces of metal and shattered glass, and the buildings pockmarked by impact craters. Picture the huge smiles on the faces of insurance salesmen.

#135 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 01:20 PM:

#108: LeanSteer technology.

If it had Murray LeanSteer technology, it would travel sideways in time.

#136 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 02:09 PM:

Debbie @133, Based on how badly people secure loads for two-dimensional street travel,

I'd say that, strictly speaking, street travel is almost one-dimensional- the two-dimensional elements are rather limited (except on large empty parking lots, town squares and the like). Which, of course, makes your point even stronger.

#137 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 03:14 PM:

Bruce #122:

Try Jill Sobule's "Jetpack." It's a pretty good jetpack song, and a pretty good New York song.

And if I had a jetpack, I’d bust into your door
Take you by the hand to the Jersey shore
And underneath the moonlight, you’d want me even more
Cause I’d have a jetpack

#138 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Serge #131: But what if your, ahem, joystick is wielded by Angela Lansbury?

#139 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 04:27 PM:

Erik Nelson, #135, I just read "The Runaway Skyscraper" for bookgroup on the 20th (Leinster/Jenkins was a Virginian and he's being honored this month so we decided to read a book of his -- had to get it POD) and the skyscraper goes down into the Fourth Dimension.

#140 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 05:04 PM:

Marilee #139: hah, I hadn't known about that. I just read Med Ship, the collection of his Med Ship Man stories. A bit Mary Sue-ish by modern standards, but there's actually some discussion about why people behave differently in his time. (And on a planetary scale, war and crime are considered medical problems to his society....)

#141 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2009, 06:57 PM:

heresiarch @105 Maybe I've just been reading too much transhumanist literature lately, but I can imagine a future with safe, ubiquitous jetpacks--though only for those with the right neural implants, ones that enhance their three-dimensional reasoning and hook them into an omnipresent air traffic control datastream.

I like this notion. All power tools should come with neural upgrades (but they should not include consumer/political biases, as I would suppose the programmers would be tempted/paid to put in).

#142 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 05:35 AM:

Serge @ 126: "By the way, I've often wondered how easy it'd be to fly with rocket boots if there are no braces to keep one's legs rigid. Must put quite a strain on one's knees."

Hmm. Well, IANAP, but cruising probably wouldn't be terribly difficult--at a constant speed the force on your knees would just be gravity plus wind resistance, right? Accelerating would be trickier, but most people can squat roughly their body weight, so you'd probably be okay up to one g-force. Athletes could train up to double that pretty easily. I'm not sure it would be much harder on your knees than downhill skiing.

I think the trickiest thing would be keeping your center of mass balanced over the thrust while travelling horizontally. It would be constantly changing depending on speed, and our monkey reflexes would be pretty terrible at intuiting the right spot, I think. Another neural prosthesis?

Rob Rusick @ 141: "I like this notion. All power tools should come with neural upgrades (but they should not include consumer/political biases, as I would suppose the programmers would be tempted/paid to put in)."

Direct-to-brain interfaces would be a terrible idea if the user wasn't able to protect against things like that. I don't think it would be too hard, though--a faux-pigeon* visual cortex would probably be pretty easy to distinguish from a "VOTE FOR XXX/BUY XXX" program.**

*What, not awesome enough for you? Fine, faux-eagle brain.***

**Or not... "I went for my first flight, and now I have this sudden craving for worms!"

***Although I'm suddenly struck with this image of jetpack-wearing humans flocking together and turning in sync like pigeons...okay, how about we compromise on faux-swallow brain?

#143 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 09:22 AM:

hersiarch @ 142... I wonder about high-acceleration takeoffs. If the strain makes one of my legs bend just a tiny bit more than he other, I'll probably be cartwheeling across the sky before crashing into the most massive object crossing my flight path - and that could include the Earth. As for horizontal flights... There I am cruising along then I look down. Next thing you know, I'm plunging toward the aforementionned planet.

#144 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 09:34 AM:

Joel Polowin @ 101 et al: Sorry, but measured by purely objective critaeria, there is no better song about sex in space than Mustang Sally.

Glenn Hauman @ 118:
>Since you're stating that your very old MT install is screwed up[....]

This particular M.T. install is feeling old, but not 'very' old yet, and uninstalling still doesn't feeling like a proper option. Maybe this install is in need of some fixes at a fundamental level, what I believe the young folk don't call a "soul patch".

#145 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 11:17 AM:

Serge @ 143: Think of rocket boots as the SF equivalent of seven-league boots, with all of their attendant problems.

#146 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 12:20 PM:

heresiarch: I suspect the flight centers in birdbrains aren't hinged to the visual cortex, but rather to the centers of balance, and the feedback from the skin/feathers.

Yeah, where they are going matters but stability in the air isn't based on that.

#147 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 12:28 PM:

heresiarch @ 143:

I suspect that even when hovering it would be difficult to keep your rocket boots' thrust vectors co-planar in the dorsal-ventral central plane and intersecting above your center of mass. Get the first wrong and you either cartwheel or somersault, get the second wrong and you pirouette. Even if you don't crash into something you'll probably decorate the sky with your most recent meal.

#148 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 12:55 PM:

Bruce 147: Even if you don't crash into something you'll probably decorate the sky with your most recent meal.

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the vomit.

"Wait, the vomit?!?!?

"DUCK!"

#149 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 01:30 PM:

Serge @ 73
Sod the unix servers. The programmable coffee machines aren't going 64 bit anytime soon. And do you know what kind of disaster is going to occur when programmers don't get their coffee that morning?

#150 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 01:39 PM:

Bruce #147:

That image is going to stick with me all day....

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 02:09 PM:

Steve @ 149... Being a programmer myself, I dare not think of the possibility of even one day without caffeine. Hopefully the Singularity will happen after 2038.

#152 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 04:33 PM:

MT @ 144: Have you felt sodomized lately? If so, you probably aren't a dinosaur, and therefore don't have to uninstall.

(In the future, we will speak very strange sentences indeed.)

#153 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 05:40 PM:

Failed attempts at jetpack sex could lead to sexual thrustration.

#154 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 06:00 PM:

*throttles Erik*

#155 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 06:03 PM:

See, there's your problem, Eric. Your attempte at jetpack sex failed because of the throttle.

#156 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 06:08 PM:

He should have predicted this. I mean, this isn't rocket science hard to predict.

#157 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 06:11 PM:

Jetpack sex can be quite exhausting.

#158 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 06:13 PM:

And it raises your carbo rating.

#159 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 06:18 PM:

#152:
Uninstalling a dinosaur?

What would a dinosaur be doing in a stall anyway? It would have to be a very big stall.

#160 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 06:24 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 159: What would a dinosaur be doing in a stall anyway?

Obviously, the dinosaur mishandled the jetpack and now can't pull out (of the stall! What were you thinking?).

Splat!

#161 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 06:28 PM:

Ahh, you don't know the real answer! You're just stalling.

#162 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2009, 08:30 PM:

Has anyone linked to this dino-with-a-jetpack game yet?

#163 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 03:10 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 159:
What would a dinosaur be doing in a stall anyway?

Taking a wide stance.

#164 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 04:45 AM:

Serge @ 143: "I wonder about high-acceleration takeoffs."

I think the easy answer to this is: no high acceleration take-offs. Though as a general principle, any rocket boot that didn't have self-correcting controls would be pretty worthless. (A simple feedback loop designed to recenter the thrust under the center of mass would also work as a Segway-esque directional control: just lean the direction you want to drift.)

Terry Karney @ 146: "I suspect the flight centers in birdbrains aren't hinged to the visual cortex, but rather to the centers of balance, and the feedback from the skin/feathers."

I'd think that jet-pack flight (brute force) is sufficiently distinct from winged flight (aerodynamically sensitive) that the tactile inputs wouldn't be essential. On the other hand, the spacial awareness that enables flocking behavior would make for great collision avoidance programming. IMH, of course.

Bruce Cohen @ 147: "I suspect that even when hovering it would be difficult to keep your rocket boots' thrust vectors co-planar in the dorsal-ventral central plane and intersecting above your center of mass. Get the first wrong and you either cartwheel or somersault, get the second wrong and you pirouette."

Humans are pretty good at keeping their center of balance over a point of acceleration--it's how we stand. We just assume the direction of acceleration is constant over a plane, which wouldn't hold while wearing rocket boots. I can imagine a pretty simple neural hack though, that calculates a theoretical plane of thrust based on the 'boots' current angle/position and feeds that into our inner ear as "level." Combined with boots that can angle their own thrust relative to the wearer, and I think you could create a pretty stable hovering platform.

(An easy solution to the pirouette problem would be a rocket pogo-stick.)

#165 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 04:52 AM:

Is anyone here in a position to bring this thread to the attention of Randall Munroe?

#166 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 07:24 AM:

Erik @159

What would a dinosaur be doing in a stall anyway?

About 140 knots--they really need leading-edge slots and flaps.

#167 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 07:30 AM:

Bill's blog points to this awesome jetpack. Actually a jet pack, rather than a rocket, as well, which is good because the endurance isn't quite as pathetic and you don't need to carry an oxidiser.

Of course, the real problem with jetborne rather than wingborne flight is that all the failure modes are horrific. The glide ratio is either zero or infinite, depending on how you look at it, and you're quite likely to be too close to the ground to deploy a parachute. So you need a zero/zero ejection seat.

#168 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 07:33 AM:

166: The really difficult bit is when you get high enough that the effective TAS of the dinosaur's wing tip is simultaneously below Vstall and above Mmo.

#169 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 09:49 AM:

heresiarch @ 164... any rocket boot that didn't have self-correcting controls would be pretty worthless

I'll make sure never to buy pre-owned rocket boots that aren't registered on the BootFax site.

By the way, unless you're Iron Man, will you be carrying the fuel tank on your back, or in your boots? ("Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Surge Bigbootay!") Of course, if you have a small enough nuclear reactor, the boots really could be superduper reverse vacuum cleaners.

#170 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 11:14 AM:

Serge @ 169: "By the way, unless you're Iron Man, will you be carrying the fuel tank on your back, or in your boots?"

Honestly, both options seem equally and hilariously awkward.

#171 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Iron Man, Iron Man,
Does whatever an iron can....

#172 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:12 AM:

Presses pants really fine,
Keeps those pleats right in line.
Hey hey-- there goes the Iron Man.

#173 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 01:53 AM:

Dee da lee da dee da lee da, dee da lee dee dee, dee da lee dee dee, dee da lee lee lee...

#174 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:12 AM:

In the boots would, I think, be funnier. But Project Pluto boots would be... interesting.

#175 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 05:28 AM:

Give him shirts,
any size
they come back
Martinized

Look out!
Here comes the Ironman

#176 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 08:53 AM:

Quick poll: how many people were terribly disappointed as kids when they heard about Iron Man events and discovered that it's just a lot of running around and cycling and swimming?

#177 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 09:24 AM:

I want to see Raymond Burr as Ironside duking it out with the Iron Chef and with Paul Ironhorse.

#178 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:03 AM:

CNN headlines under Science:

  • Scientists track penguin poop from space

  • Why our science fiction future fizzled

#179 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:09 AM:

If there really is penguin poop from space, I should hope scientists are tracking it, yes.
And, re item 2, I don't know about you, but my science fiction future certainly includes scientists tracking penguin poop from space, so it hasn't fizzled in the least.

#180 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 10:23 AM:

ajay @ 179... Coming soon to a SciFi Channel near you, Penguin's Fizzled Poop from Outer Space!!!

Come to think of it, this sounds like the premise for an episode of Eureka. After all, they had a story where the town experienced problems with its sewage system. As a result, when deputy Jo Lupo went to the ladies's room to pluck her eyebrows with laser tweezers, the toilets exploded.

#181 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 03:05 PM:

Speaking of futures, and Murray Leinster, the global information service in "A Logic Named Joe" (1946) resembles the Internet (or the Web, or Google, or Youtube, or public-library censorware) in very interesting ways. Well worth reading.

#182 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 03:53 PM:

Say you punch "Station SNAFU" on your logic. Relays in the tank take over an' whatever vision-program SNAFU is telecastin' comes on your logic's screen. Or you punch "Sally Hancock's Phone" an' the screen blinks an' sputters an' you're hooked up with the logic in her house an' if somebody answers you got a vision-phone connection. But besides that, if you punch for the weather forecast or who won today's race at Hialeah or who was mistress of the White House durin' Garfield's administration or what is PDQ and R sellin' for today, that comes on the screen too. The relays in the tank do it. The tank is a big buildin' full of all the facts in creation an' all the recorded telecasts that ever was made—an' it's hooked in with all the other tanks all over the country—an' everything you wanna know or see or hear, you punch for it an' you get it. Very convenient. Also it does math for you, an' keeps books, an' acts as consultin' chemist, physicist, astronomer, an' tea-leaf reader, with a "Advice to the Lovelorn" thrown in. The only thing it won't do is tell you exactly what your wife meant when she said, "Oh, you think so, do you?" in that peculiar kinda voice. Logics don't work good on women. Only on things that make sense.

#183 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2009, 04:47 PM:

Strange that the monster is not some wild beast
but kind-faced human with a ready smile
ready to welcome victims to the feast

not as the guests, but to be tied and fleeced
surprised they were so easy to beguile.
Strange that the monster is not some wild beast

as in the stories told in the warm east;
simple in form, but so complex in style,
ready to welcome victims to the feast

in such a form they think they'll be released
if they'll just come and wait a little while.
Strange that the monster is not some wild beast

but looks so gentle, with face lined and creased
by age and weather, absent of all bile,
ready to welcome victims to the feast

as if he were some calm presiding priest
whose attitude is wholly versatile.
Strange that the monster is not some wild beast
ready to welcome victims to the feast.

#184 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 02:00 AM:

Bruce Cohen (StM) @181: Then there's the (quite later) Michaelmas, by Algis Budrys (1977).
Niall @182, that was quite good & interestingly done right up to that (typical for the time) gratuitous misogynistic snipe. A nasty aftertaste that spoils the rest.

Fragano @183, 20 years ago, 1989 - 4th June: Tianamen Square massacre; Death of Ruhallah Khomeini; Fall of Polish Communist government.

#185 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 05:35 PM:

Epacris @ 184:

That was Bill Higgins, not me. But, yeah, Michaelas did a good job of extrapolating contemporary technology to the way the internet actually turned out.

To be fair, a great deal of the prediction about the use of email, newsgroups, and other communications was written many years ago by Star Roxanne Hiltz and Murray Turoff in "The Network Nation" originally published in 1981 (I have a copy, bought about the time I first got a unix email account). A lot of what happened in the '90s falls into the category of "they predicted that".

#186 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 02:47 PM:

Xree Multiple knew he would die today and be reborn yesterday, although the technology of time-travel based resurrection was beyond his clone mentality he very much was into the doing of it. He would need to carry some things in his own, he put the twin fish socks in the sock bag, the grilled partonomic nomynim generator in his genes, and the superfluid jet in his jetpack. Now he was god to do.
Xree Multiple did.

-apologies for anti-clonist statement, some of my best friends are clones, but it doesn't get past the fact that a lot of clones are just creepy. My army of clones feels the same way, so respect our feelings on the matter.

#187 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2009, 05:10 PM:

Epacris, #184: Of late, I've begun looking at out-of-the-blue literary sideswipes like that with an eye to "could they be fixed?" This one looks relatively easy to update: change "wife" to "boss" and "women" to "bosses" and it becomes a generalized peon's complaint about the management. The female pronoun doesn't have to change, because bosses aren't necessarily female.

It's much harder when the outdated sexual stereotypes are major plot points.

#188 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2009, 02:29 AM:

bryan @ 186:

Now he was god to do.

Only weakly godlike, I hope.

#189 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2009, 11:43 AM:

Without squid, cake, jetpacks
and villanelles
you won't get through a thread

At Making Light;

What is it
With Making Light
and villanelles?

#190 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2009, 02:10 AM:

Alex @ 189:

What is it
With Making Light
and villanelles?

Sestinas take too much time. By the time you've finished one that's appropriate for a thread, the thread is defunct. So you go to Making Light with the verse form you've got.

#191 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2009, 06:35 PM:

The jetpack is a wisecrack at Lab Brats.

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