Saturday, October 20, 2012

An adventure in future land!

I spend so much time today staring at a glowing rectangle simulating the historical progression of Japan from 1840 to 1930 (highly recommended, BTW) that I had completely forgotten to eat for the last six hours and was, consequently, famished.

I paused the game and took mental inventory of the food in my apartment. In the freezer there are an assortment of Tupperware containers with meat and vegetables I had previously diced for use in either soup or rice. There is a package of ready made bacon, microwavable tacos, sausage biscuits, and cat treats that really don't taste that bad at all. In the refrigerator there is a bottle of salsa, numerous cans of soda, and some tins of cat food which both smells and tastes terrible. In the pantry is popcorn, rice, ramen, canned chili (goes great with the rice), tortilla chips, pretzels, and dry cat kibble. In the holes of the cinder blocks that form the foundation of my ultra-ghetto furniture are sunflower seeds, peanuts, saltine crackers, and potato chips. I thought to myself (briefly, and then felt shame afterwards) "there isn't anything to eat in here". Even after the requisite shame, I still decided that I wanted something that was not any of the things in the apartment.

I gathered myself together and walked outside where I own a two ton cage of metal that has some decorative fiberglass (a material that did not exist when my grandmother was born) wrapped around it and some windows. I got inside and set down in the cup-holder a box, slightly larger than my palm and thinner than my finger, which holds around 2000 musical recordings from around the world, curated from a much larger personal collection stored on this computer, which is itself dwarfed by the recorded musical collection of humanity from the last hundred years. When I activated it, this tiny box began a personal concert with recordings from America, Ireland, America again, and Japan.

I then stuck a key into the cage and it began to roar with the explosive combustion of hundred million year old fossilized plankton and, as I kicked and shoved and spun an array of levers, wheels, and knobs, the flaming ultra-dense sludge of corpses pushed two tons of metal, plastic, and myself forward (well, first backwards, but then forwards). I slowly navigated this monstrous hulk out onto a public roadway-- fossilized plankton heated, mixed with rocks crushed by mechanical power exceeding the strength of a thousand men, and rolled to a flatness with no parallel in nature-- and was propelled forward at super human speed for nearly ten miles. A journey that would have taken perhaps three hours to walk was completed in fifteen minutes to the distracting and pleasurable tones of the best musicians in human history.

I arrived at one of the thousands of food distribution centers in the city. This particular one was part of a chain of over one thousand, six hundred distribution centers around the nation which, paired with the supply chain behind them, provide food that is tastier and healthier than what all but the wealthiest of men throughout history have enjoyed, and they do it on a scale unimaginable to the famine racked halls of history. There are dozens of institutions like this around the country, with countless more operating similarly on smaller scales. As a side note, remember that America has never in it's 230 year history experienced a famine.

After purchasing a meal for a pittance, I sat down and pulled out my magic box. The box is covered in plastic-- another application of ultra-concentrated fossilized corpses-- but the insides that make it tick are a simply baked sand carved with designs smaller than the eye can see with lasers and treated with an assortment of chemicals. I make it do things by tapping the glass-like pane directly atop the monitor which reacts to the microscopic electrical impulses in the human finger. I had ended the concert before entering the restaurant out of courtesy, and now I call up instead a book, a written treatise of the last two hundred and fifty years of Chinese history, compiled and written in a manner that is both entertaining and informative by a person who has made the study of that particular subset of history his entire career. I read and eat and return home.

We live in the future.

And yet, there is every reason to expect science to continue improving our lives, and every reason to think that we will grow wealthier, able to afford more and better things than we enjoy even in the diamond utopia of modern America.

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