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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Failures of technological progress

Why can we have phones that converse with us and servers that store eleventy billion dissertations' worth of data, but not umbrellas that don't flip in the wind, or socks and gloves that actually keep toes and fingers warm when it's freezing? Why can't something be done to systematically diminish the static charge generated by every warm fabric? Why can't there be rainboots that are simultaneously waterproof and breathable? The catalog of minor but persistent aggravations caused by everyday weather conditions is so vast and the number of people affected by them so large that affordable and sensible solutions to these inconveniences would seem to be highly remunerative. So why, in 2015, am I still being tormented by winter?

8 comments:

Will said...

Perhaps it's because the people who would invent them all moved to California instead?

Miss Self-Important said...

That's market failure.

They should invent it from California - all the profits, none of the suffering.

Alex said...

While these people are at it, please to get rid of cold and flu viruses.

Miss Self-Important said...

Well, I can see how the self-driving car is in a way easier to do than the manipulation of our unpredictable innards or the extermination of billions of single-celled things. But at the very least, there should be reusable tissues that are less gross and more snot-capacious than hankerchiefs.

Ponder Stibbons said...

For mountaineers, socks and gloves are a matter of life and death, so they've had to invent some that work. Don't count on them being stylish though.

Miss Self-Important said...

But why can't they adapt the technology in them to everyday civilized life? Things just need to be effective, lightweight, and durable. Surely that is also true for mountaineers, who can't carry space heaters around with them? So the transition from niche gear to mass consumer product should be easy.

Take those hand and foot warmers that people use for skiing, the kind with the gel that gets warm in your shoes or gloves. Why can't they figure out something like that for my daily life, something either re-usable or much cheaper per use than is currently available to skiers?

Will said...

But now we're just bargaining of price. Maybe the answer is that they are just waiting for you to cave and buy them anyway.

Miss Self-Important said...

I'm pretty close to buying them, actually. I found some that you can reuse by boiling them in water, which seems a bit gross given that they will be living in my shoes between boilings. But first, I'm going to try the hallowed Uniqlo Heattech line to see if it can bring me warmth w/o the necessity of boiling, though that doesn't promise warmth of the extremities, which is what I mainly seek.