Monday, November 26, 2012

Hi-tech holiday advances

Every year I start my holiday shopping with a few “to me, from me” items.  Just to prime the pump, you understand.  I eventually get around to the rest of the folks on the list! 

This year, to kick off the season I’m getting myself an invisibilitycloak.  I will wear it in my magic world.  It’ll be long and flowing and ride the currents when I stride toward my enemies like Darth Vader. 
 

That in itself will be off-putting, as you can imagine.  But I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when suddenly I swirl the cloak around me, not unlike Dracula, and simply disappear from their baffled view.  Then I’ll be free to torment them at will, poking and tripping, tweaking and tussling.  Oh yes!  I will have my amusement. 

Actually, it’s on order, the cloak.  I saw it in the Christmas catalog from Duke University’s Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics.  Yeah.   

I’m not sure how I got on their mailing list.  But those guys are always coming up with something clever for the holidays.   

I know.  I probably should wait for the next generation of cloaks.  After all, this one will only deflect microwaves around solid objects.  You’ll still almost certainly be able see most things if you squint your eyes.  But being first with the latest is half the fun.  And I’m betting they’ll offer the full trade-in value when the new light-deflecting model comes out. 

Too bad, but the cloak will most likely be used for evil.  I don’t think I can resist abusing its powers.  After taunting my nemeses, I’ll swoop around the neighborhood and put an unseen sock in that barking dog’s mouth, right in front of his clueless and inconsiderate owners.   

As an accessory to the cloak, an “obliviousness blaster” would have a market.  In its absence, my stealthy self might just have to administer a wedgy or two to make a point. 

Those high-tech/low-tech solutions will have to suffice until the next scientific breakthrough I’m anticipating - the “inaudibilty hat.”  When inaudibility technology is perfected we can simply lower the flaps to tune out Bowser along with garbage trucks, alarm clocks and all those people with whom we disagree. 

Advances in space travel brought us Tang and Tempur-pedic, but, aside from the prankster, I can’t help wondering who will benefit from the actual, practical application of such a thing as an invisibility cloak. 
 
No, the commercial value of invisibility won’t truly be known until we get the cream.  That’s right.  There will be a huckster with his business acumen tuned to the American masses (pun intended) and at last “concealer” will accomplish what it’s claimed to do since teenagers got pimples.  It’ll be a perfect stocking stuffer. 

 I for one would rub that stuff on my thighs faster than you can say Spanx. 

 But the logistics remain problematic.  I mean, consider the Incredible Hulk for example.  As you know, when he got mad he swelled to many times his wimpy day-job size.  And when he did, his clothes ripped and fell apart strategically, so as to highlight his newly buffed and chiseled, if green, anatomy. 
 
But will vanishing cream work that way with ladies’ apparel?  Will our clothes shrink to fit our newly sculpted sinewy selves, or at least appear to do so?  Or will our clothes stand out against the actual flesh that still exists though imperceptible to the untrained eye?
 
Those things will have to be worked out, of course.  But no need for concern, there will be plenty of willing guinea pigs camped out around the perimeter of Duke’s campus, living in tents and working in shifts to insure their places in the line, offering themselves for scientific experimentation.  I’d take a dip in that pool. 

Oh yeah.  There’s a buck to be made with 21st century vanishing cream.
 
And that’s the reason for the season after all, isn’t it?  Share the science!  Sneak around and surprise the ones you love!  Get them something practical, but extravagant.  Something they wouldn’t get for themselves:  An invisibility cloak.  Vanishing cream.  Love potions.  Magic mirrors. 

Treat yourself!  And make Santa proud.