Cory Doctorow at 2:00 pm Sun, May 13, 2012
Another Vintage Ads gem for Mother's Day: this bit of corporate futurism from the energy sector.
“They’re working on it!”
Maybe while they’re at it, they could replace that massive steering wheel with a small joystick or something. …and what’s up with the rearview mirror!?
They’re taking so long with the flying cars and the jetpacks that by the time they finally arrive we’ll be the disembodied brains and’ll’ve probably lost interest.
There were several convertibles of the 50′s that had the rear-view mirror on the dash. Nearly worthless for rear-viewing but possibly more convenient for applying lipstick.
You need the rear view mirror to see which kid to smack while on driving vacations. “I’m landing this flying car over right now!”
Don’t forget. If you were in your 30′s in the ’50′s you were born in the 20′s. So you saw horse carts in the street as a child, and orbital spaceflight as an adult. Your first airline flight was probably in a DC-3 and in your 30′s you were flying in a 707. You saw a lot of change. Average household power draw was 100 or so Watts in your child hood and was drawing up to 10 kilo Watts as an adult. Your car delivered over 100 kilo Watts alone. It was not outrageious to think by the 70′s the average American household could draw up to a megawatt due to the coming of nuclear power. If you live in a society where the average citizen has a megawatt to throw around, the mechanics of flight do open to the masses. Nav … That’s another problem. But the point is I think this ad is less outrageous than you might think. That generation saw a lot of change, and expected it. There is a deep seated conservatism in the US right now both in the Left and the Right that would have some real problems with the changes in society if a power source were to come along that offered a megawatt per capita. We literally would not allow ourselves to think of what to do with it.
I know what you mean. I always marvel at the changes of my fathers generation. I once had the great honor of meeting Ed Mitchell , he of Apollo 14 fame. He actually worked as a cowboy in his youth back in New Mexico in the 1940′s….and some of the old timers he worked with would have been around when it was still the Wild West…..then he goes and walks on the friggin’ Moon!!
But by 1960, the increase in power consumption was replaced as an industrial goal by the increase in transistor count, and the result is that today we have a gizmo in our pocket that out-does the Star Trek Communicator, but our cars are only twice as efficient as the cars of 1960.
So, what you’re saying is, that if we miniaturise ourselves then we get the flying cars?
Frankly, my iPhone still doesn’t have an inbuilt universal translator and I can’t make direct calls to orbiting space craft, so I don’t think we are there yet.
Because moving an electron is a lot easier than moving a person, and people keep getting bigger.
Both my parents were born a few years after Kitty Hawk and saw tremendous change before their deaths in the new millennium. Born in 1952, I believed my future would include flying saucer cars, but it’s turning out that most of the societal advances ground to a halt in the 1970s. Sure, there have been advances in medicine and communications technology (and conventional war-fighting) but much of what is communicated is garbage and many of the medical advances are countered by the increasing amount of crap we eat, breathe and drink.
On nuclear, it was clearly over-sold as the cure-all. “Too-cheap-to-meter” was a widespread belief. Society at large and especially scientists who came up with The Bomb felt guilty about it and wanted to conjure up a bright side. Too bad it didn’t work out that way.
Oh, and my first flight was in a DC-3. If my parents’ life experience held for me, I’d have that flying car.
That lawnmower has a handle, and the human is pushing it?? Wack. However, “The kids’ homework…” paragraph nailed it perfectly spot on.
“The kids’ homework will be quick and painless because they’ll copy and paste from Wikipedia instead of being forced to slowly and tediously hand-copy from the dead-tree encyclopedia. That done, they’ll be free to watch people try to eat tablespoons of cinnamon.”
I fixed it.
And why does it have to look like a UFO?
No seatbelts?! That’s really not safe.
Antigrav tech implies inertia control.
Women drivers? Ha, that’ll be the day.
Hey, where’s George?! (Jetson, I mean)
He’s stuck on the dog walker treadmill.
Any chance someone could sketchup that house, insides, too?
I believe that is a Dodge Rambler saucer. I can’t tell you of the good times we had in our old Rambler.
I bought the biography of Claude Pepper (long-serving politician) just because of two pictures in the middle. Both pictures were signed by the people pictured and addressed to him specifically.
The second picture was of the two astronauts who flew the first space shuttle (signed by Young and Crippen)
The first picture was of the Wright Brothers flight at Kittyhawk (signed by Wilbur and Orville Wright)
Think about that for a minute.
Even in the retro-future rich people knew to put the dog on the inside of the flying car.
Back when I was a kid (about the time this ad came out) I yearned for the advent of flying cars. After decades of sharing the road with wacko ground-car drivers, I thank heaven they never came.
Flying cars, eh? *rubs chin* Tell me. . .more.
I guess when you fly you don’t need a seatbelt?
Charging that thing on a 120V outlet would take about a year.
I miss the future.
The future is not what it used to be.
Also at least the dog gets to ride inside the car.
Recently I saw a 1950s science fiction movie that featured video phones with rotary dials and hats that covered only one side of your head.
“Mom, look out for the drone at 9:00.”
Metropolis (1927) features push button video phones.
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