The first decade of the new Century and I’m already thinking about what technology and society has made obsolete. The funniest I’ve seen so far is from our friends at the Huffington Post cast as a photo show: 12 Things That Became Obsolete this Decade. The one that gave me pause was ‘Calling’, where they say that texting has all but replaced making personal calls. Too funny!
So here is my list of things that I wish had gone the way of the Sea Mink:
10. Power wires: I mean more than just too hideous overhead power lines that dot the country, nay world. Imagine a wireless world where proximity to a power source was all that would be needed to charge a device? There is a lot of talk about this, but we are not there yet. I think Stephen Alexander’s picture from Flickr.com demonstrates the effect well.
9. Stinky cars, trucks, and bikes: Have you ever gotten behind an old or poorly maintained vehicle that is spewing toxic exhaust fumes. You know the ones, that make you wonder how they pass the state inspection requirement. You cough, you gag, and you grind your teeth. How wonderful it would be to just impound them as they are found or tax the Hell out of people who want to continue to use them.
8. Cigarettes: My pet peeve here. I wonder at the mentality of any person who would smoke cigarettes. We need to tax the purchase of these into oblivion. Sure, you can continue to smoke, but you will have to subsidize the medical needs of the part of society that chooses to continue to smoke. We fine people for not wearing a helmet, but not for smoking? I don’t get it. This chart of the effects of smoking is so ugly that I can only point to it.
7. Life-time politicians: Philip Dick’s book had it right. Let’s run a ‘Lottery’ to elect our officials. The current method appears to be driven by piles of money applied by folks who only care about making more money. The disenfranchised now includes not just the poor, handicapped and elderly—it includes the middle class. We can’t get decent health coverage for Americans because the politicians already have their free, lifetime healthcare. I suspect they’d be more interested in providing better national healthcare like they receive to the masses if their benefit was tied to the common man.
6. Jet Skis: Truth be known I live two to three blocks from the lovely Lake Sammamish. I can’t believe how loud and smoky these little beasts are. I think they are as much fun as anyone, but at 6 PM on a weekend evening with friends on the deck, I don’t want to be yelling over them. Can’t we make jet skies that don’t use combustion engines?
5. Prudery: Having lived in Europe, this is one I just don’t get. We don’t talk to our kids about sex because it’s too embarrassing. So they find out from their ill-informed friends. Sex education is a joke. Nudity is restricted more than owning a gun. Nudity causes a movie to get more restrictive ratings than violence does. It is so bad in the puritanical United States that there are overseas versions of the same show we watch, like Survivor, where a butt crack isn’t fuzzed out by the censors. But watching someone get killed by knives, guns, and more, especially with all that blood and gore is okay? We live in a strange world.
4. CEO pay inequity: I am sickened by the greed of most CEOs. Their huge payday checks guarantees that fewer people can be hired by any given company. When a CEO makes more in a day than most people make in a year, I’m sorry, something is wrong with that company.
3. Taxes for the poor: Why are we taxing the poor? Let’s just say anyone one who makes $40,000 a year or less doesn’t pay US taxes. Why are we taxing these people. I don’t think anyone but the accountants lobby and the IRS employees in favor of full employment would mind.
2. Telemarketers: Do not call lists are not enough. If I don’t know you, don’t call me. Yes I have caller ID, but these sales people don’t ID themselves, so I can’t always tell who’s calling. And even though in this state you are not supposed to call after work hours, I continue to get calls after 8 PM even from charities I support. WTH?
1. High cost drugs for those in the US: The drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies have decided that Americans will pay more for drugs to stay alive than other countries, like say Canada. So my fixed income parents in their 80s have to pay sometimes as much as 10 times what their friends in Canada pay for the same medication. And this is okay with the politicians, … well see number 7 of this list.
No list is perfect, and this was just was an exercise for me on my winter break vacation. There are other things that I could have put on the list that I rejected at this time because I don’t think we have the technology just quite yet. And then there are the wishful, maybe fanciful things, that go against human nature, like wishing there were no wars that didn’t make the list.
I spent less than an hour on this list, but would be interested to hear from my readers, assuming I have any, what they might add to their list of “Things that should have disappeared” in this decade that just ended.