Monday, October 25, 2010

It's 2010, and I would like my flying car, please.


Two ways you'll know the future has arrived, according to the gospel of The Jetsons: we have mouthy robot servants to manage our lives, and we all drive flying cars or have personal jetpacks.  

Well, I don't see any robots around (at least ones that don't scare the bejeebus out of me by tripping and falling squarely into the uncanny valley, a la this specimen) , but jetpacks and flying cars are getting closer to becoming a reality.

Case in point: the Transition.  I say getting closer, because to me this still looks mostly like a plane (although it becomes more VW-bug like when the wings are folded up).  It's only a mere $10,000 to be put on the waiting list behind 70 other prospective futurists, and a cool $194,000 expected sticker price.  Added drag: total fuel hog.  So yeah, we're closer but not quite there yet.  Show me one that runs on renewable energy, and maybe I'll get in line.

Sadly, that's still science fiction for now.

I'm still waiting for my jetpack, too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Salaryman robots...a cultural diversion

As most of the people reading this blog know me in real life or in other various internet incarnations, I think most of you know that while I love science fiction, I also love many aspects of Japan and Japanese culture.  I lived in Japan for a couple of years and did my graduate work at Cornell on Japanese Literature, so some of that is bound to seep through, here and elsewhere.

In that light, please enjoy this somewhat sci-fi lookin' Japanese music video from World Order, called Mind Shift:

More interestingly (to me, anyway), after doing some quick googling, I discovered two great blog posts about this song. talks about the lead singer, Genki Sudo, and his Mixed Martial Arts career before he got into J-Pop.  It also discusses some of the larger themes in the song itself, which is fairly important to the music video.  This blog over at sheds some light on the actual lyrics.  The TL;DR version seems to be that it's about a salary-man feeling out of touch with the spiritual, creative side of life, leaving him feeling like a mechanical, robotic part of society.

I love that on the surface this looks like a slightly goofy musical video of businessmen doing silly things in Japan...but that underneath, this has got a rather important message about life in Japan (and for workers in most places, I reckon).  Rather like Genki Sudo himself, there's a lot more than meets the eye.

Also?  It's pretty darn catchy.