Saturday, November 3, 2007

Technology: The Latest and Greatest

TIME magazine recently published this years best inventions; As you can see, the iPhone toped the list.

What struck me was the number of “green” items on this list, which would be just fine, except many do not belong there. According to the “how we chose the list” video, the editors chose things that 1) filled needs, or solved problems, that have not been before, and 2) must be real. Many “green” items were not built yet, and many others seemed insignificant or impractical.

I would hope that technical brilliance would play a larger role. If a person came up with a transporter device that ran on baby polar bears, it should still make the list.

Also, the list sometimes confuses the best inventions with the most marketable ones; things can be brilliant and currently unusable. Just look at the world’s first nanoradio, which will greatly improve our ability to build microscopic machines (which has enormous practical applications.)

One other thing that irked me was that, on the “Best Inventors” list, they did not include Heron of Alexandria, who invented the first steam engine over two-thousand years ago; or another Greek thinker, Galen, who invented medical techniques that weren’t rediscovered until the 19th century.

Ah Well, I guess I should just be happy that intelligence and technological progress are being rewarded at all.

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