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Technology: Hits, Misses & the Future

Date Saturday - January 16, 2010
Host Ian Punnett
Guests Joel BarkerKurt Haskell

Business futurist Joel Barker commented on predictions made ten years ago in New York Times Magazine about what life would be like in 2010. Some hits were grass that never needs mowing (which Barker actually has in his own lawn), cars that use radar and adaptive control systems to avoid crashes, non-lethal guns (tasers and sonic weapons), medicinal 'french fries,' (known as nutraceuticals), and the rise of virtual-companies that rely on independent contractors/manufacturers instead of a traditional full-time work force to conduct their business. Misses included makeup that allows people to dramatically change their skin-tone, surveillance cameras that recognize bad guys, microchips that record human experience and thoughts, and documents that cannot be forged.

Barker talked about some of the exciting new technologies on the horizon for the year 2020 as well. According to Barker, waterless toilets will be in use throughout the Southern United States and in many other countries. The waste will be captured, picked up by waste management, converted via composting, and used to re-enrich depleted soil, he explained. Barker also expects vertical farming within city buildings, increased reliance on natural gas and traveling wave nuclear reactors for power, printable paper batteries, jets fueled by hydrogen, the end of summer break for students, and our continued immersion into the digital reality.

The Well-Dressed Man

In the first hour, Ian spoke with attorney Kurt Haskell, who claims to have overheard a well-dressed Indian-looking man help "Underwear Bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (Mutallab) get on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, from Amsterdam to Detroit, without a passport. According to Haskell, the well-dressed man told a ticket agent in Amsterdam that Mutallab was from Sudan, had no passport, and needed to get on the flight. He was referred to a manager and not seen again, Haskell noted.

On the flight, Haskell recalled seeing smoke come up from eight rows in front of him, seats catch fire, and Mutallab get pulled into the first class area by two passengers. Officers boarded the plane after an emergency landing, removed Mutallab, and instructed everyone to remain in their seats, Haskell continued. The passengers were eventually taken to an evacuated baggage claim area. During his long wait there, Haskell watched as a man in orange, singled out by a bomb-sniffing dog, was arrested by the FBI.

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Ian Punnett's Blog

Check out Ian's latest musings and insights at his blog site.

World's Oldest Light Bulb Still Burning

A light bulb that dangles above emergency trucks at Fire Station No. 6 in Livermore, California, has been on almost continuously for 109 years. Known as the 'Centennial Light,' it was designed in the 1890s by Adolphe Chailet, a competitor of Thomas Edison, and manufactured by the Shelby Electric Company of Ohio. See the lamp burning live on BulbCam, and read more about it at Mail Online.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Saturday January 16, 2010

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    Alan Parsons Project

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