Top 10 Things that should have Disappeared this Decade

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:

image10. 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 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.

image7. 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.

image6. 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 imageto 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.

image2. 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.

About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra) a GOLD sax quartet, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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17 Responses to Top 10 Things that should have Disappeared this Decade

  1. Donna says:

    Love it, here are a few of mine even though they go against human nature, sigh

    1.) Politicians are paid the average salary of their constituents to include benefits (health, dental, vision, etc.). This should encourage them to work to raise the average pay and benefits.

    2.) No more free food, entertainment, transportation, etc. for politicians. That’s right, they can’t use our tax dollars to buy food for their gatherings, buy free give-aways and more.

    3.) Stop taxing our Income. This should be a Constitutional Ammendent. You can take what we buy, but not what we earn.

    4.) Enact more effective punishment, rehabilitation, confinement (whatever you want to call it) for anyone who harms another unless in direct self defence. We have the technology to do this.

    5.) Never allow a child molester, rapist or murderer back into society, EVER. They can live together in a self contained community where they can be self sufficient on the land. We have technology to manage this very cost effectively and you will see the crime rate diminish.

    6.) Yes, we must stop WAR, War mongering, etc. This is human folly at the expense of those who have little to no power, are under represented, etc. We should spend the money to educate and build up contries not tear them down. Although some may resist, if enough agree we can manage those who will not cooperate.

    7.) We must put an end to Hunger. We can do this. We have the means and the technology.

    8.) Everyone, in Every Country should have adequate access to medical attention. Oh yes, we have the ability to make this happen! This should not be just for the privileged.

    9.) Completely erradicate any and all discrimination based on age, gender, race, sexual preference, etc. This can be done through education, perseverance and other methods.

    10.) Identify and implement EFFECTIVE programs that support people to move out of poverty so we can put an end to generational welfare. We have the means and the technology.

    I believe we have the means, intelligence technology and resources to do all of the above. All we need is the WILL and less greed on the part of those in position and power.

  2. Donna says:

    oops, a typo – supposed to be ‘tax what we buy’ not ‘take what we buy’ – ;~)

  3. mike says:

    Great post. The prudery thing is part of a larger issue in the US of continuing to be under the (imo undue) influence of overtly religious thinking.

    As for cigarettes, nicotine is highly addictive, and there seems to be some sort of satisfaction in the rituals associated with smoking, both personal and social. Still, there once was a time when everyone chewed tobacco and everywhere you went you found spittoons, and we now consider that gross and it disappeared. So maybe.

    Couple things to add, I guess:

    * Low-mpg passenger vehicles. I don’t understand the justifications for things like Hummers and Expeditions.

    * _Indoor_ power cords. Every time I wind an extension cord around the house somewhere, I wonder that we haven’t come up with a better way to distribute power to appliances that need it. Where’s Tesla when we need him? 🙂

    * Batteries. I think we’ll look back at the 90s and 00s and marvel that blithely used up and then discarded little packages of toxic chemicals by the billions.

    I’m sure I can think of other things that we’ll look back on and shake our heads about (McMansions, wrapping everything in plastic, inchoate educational standards, environmentally disastrous farming and animal-husbandry practices, crappy public transport, etc.). We’ll see, I guess!

  4. Gandalfe says:

    Very thoughtful and unrestrained list Donna. Wonder if there really is a cure for greed? Take this pill and…

    • Donna says:

      haha, ya, not in our lifetime… but we can dream. Hey, and I threw this list together in less than 15 minutes. It’s best you don’t give me any time to ponder as the list might not be contained 😉

  5. theteachingwhore says:

    Great list. I’ll add: Stupid, outdated and pointless public school scheduling

  6. mike says:

    @Donna: “Stop taxing our Income. This should be a Constitutional Ammendent. You can take what we buy, but not what we earn.”

    It IS an amendment, namely the 16th, which instituted the income tax. (

    • Donna says:

      Yes, you’re right, it is true that an Ammedment was passed to implement Income Tax, sigh, and the reason, to fund a war, hmmm, is anyone surprised by how that slipped in and has grown to the monster it is today. Don’t get me wrong, we needed to change how we were treating people (legalized Slavery), but I also suspect there was underlying greed involved in the genesis of the Civil War and it was not all about ‘freeing the slaves’.
      Does anyone find it a bit ironic that the passage of the Amendment to allow Income Tax was used to fund a War that was supposedly a War against Slavery yet all Tax Paying Citizens are now enslaved to the Income Tax system? Don’t think you are a Slave? Stop paying Income Tax and see what happens when you are caught. Yes, you will pay your Income Tax, find a loophole that allows you not to pay it, not get caught not paying it, and if you do get caught, may God have mercy on your soul because you and those dear to you will suffer.
      To add insult to injury we also have no effective no voice in determining how the money is spent and those Government Officials who benefit from our hard earned dollars get to determine their own Salary and Benefits. Yes we do pay for their free lunches, which cost much more than feeding some hungry school children, pay for their transportation which is much more expensive than busing children to school and the list goes on and on.
      Ok sorry, pet peve, I rant. Jim please feel free to delete this, I won’t take it personally, lol, I Promise or Pledge Allegience or something like that.
      Have a great 2011 everyone and thanks for the opportunity to rant a little in public 😉

  7. mike says:

    @Donna, using terms like “enslaving” to refer to the duties of citizenship cheapens the term, as even the most casual research will reveal about what _real_ slavery is like for the enslaved. (Just for starters, slaves are actual property and have zero rights whatsoever.) Moreover, hyperbole like that makes the argument sound shrill and drains a great deal of credibility out of the point. There is certainly a basis for discussing the basis of the government’s right to taxation, about taxation rates, and about the individual’s ability to influence government spending. But running around calling taxpayers “slaves” isn’t a way to have that discussion, it’s just rhetorical hysteria.

    You have the same right and ability to influence how the government spends tax money that every voter has had in this country since its inception: by electing representatives who share your views about taxes. The fact that your tax money goes to causes that you don’t personally agree with is one of the downsides of living in a democracy (representative or otherwise). The fact that your representatives help themselves to the public coffers is something you can influence by helping to elect different ones. (It has also, for better or worse, been a fact of political life since there were politicians — I challenge you to find a government where this is not true.)

  8. Maxwell Smart. That great shoe phone. (I had a high heeled version, silver.)

    Good stuff.

  9. Gandalfe says:

    BLW, you make me laugh… usually. ;O)

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  11. I’m the photog from your item #10. for the record, I took the photo and like the photo because I find the subject matter beautiful.

    As to being “not there yet”, we won’t ever be there, either. From a business perspective, here’s no cost incentive to doing some other thing with the wires (burying them, e.g., costs 5x what the aerials do); from an engineering perspective there’s too much energy loss in wireless power transmission, either near-field or point-to-point, to make a case for adequate efficiency.

    Might as well find a way to enjoy them as long as you have to put up with them.

  12. Gandalfe says:

    Stephen, thanks for the stop by and especially for leaving a note. I am curious, did you get any traffic from this blog to your most excellent photo collection on

    • Stephen says:

      I really can’t say – Flickr’s tools are useful in the instant but not in the long term to see where traffic comes from. I don’t keep very close track of traffic; it’s just that from time to time I check on tineye and google image search etc for copyright violations – this is one of my more popular photos, so I keep an eye on its usage.
      Its currently copyrighted “all rights reserved”, but I did have it licensed CC-By-SA at one time so I honor that license as long as proper attribution is made (for which I thank you!).

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