Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It changed our world and we cried anyway

Car seat belt.
The volvo PV544 had the first belt in 1959, but the resistance to wearing it en mass had to be enforced with laws. It was the Czechs that led the way in 1969 and despite speed dummies being pounded to show the damage we incur in accidents, we resisted. Despite the lives it saved, we cried about its introduction anyway.

Produced in the 1800 from a simple rubber sole design, in the 30s two brothers began to build their own franchise after differences: Adidas and Puma. Initially targeted at athletes, before it became fashionable, your parents would have resisted buying you a pair because of its extravagance. Shoe makers stored up their own anger fearing a dip in sales; some made their shoes look like trainers, and still do. During the NY transit strike of 1980s as people were forced to walk miles between Queens and Manhattan, the sneaker really took off. Despite its obvious benefits to our feet, we cried about the second shoes we needed to buy.

The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell, played by Gary Cooper chronicled the trials of Mitchell's attempts at proving the worth of air flight and air power. The Wright brothers were having their own battles with the military, who were initially dumbfounded at this contraption and its possible use. But the Wrights and Mitchell persevered. They needed the funding, which only the military with deep pockets could provide. In spite of what we think of about planes today, our best brains back in the early 1900s lamented its introduction.

Channel Tunnel
An hour and a bit travel to Paris from London sounds a no brainer, but mooting the idea of a channel tunnel, circa 1870s, brought red to the eyes of the exec sea farers. Building a tunnel would not only not work, but it would be highly unsafe to travel beneath the sea and open up Britain for invasion. Also think what would happen if there was a leak. Despite this the channel tunnel finally burrowed through. Can't think what we'd do without it, but the sea execs still wish it wasn't here.

Printing Press
Aw shucks you know that story, except Guggenheim, whilst he was the first, wasn't the only one at it and the keepers of the Christian faith were apoplectic some businessman had wrestled power away from them.

The Internet.
The whole planet is interconnected - a new electromagnetic cloud to worry about. Newspapers were last seen in museums. P-interfaces using souped up blue tooth allow you to vocally call up your requests on your system. The wwp (philanthropic) has made funds available for micro payments to be credited to your account as a content provider, after the top 20,000 leading newsproviders protested by turning their screens black for a day. It's believed a bit like the Marshall Plan at some point the slush fund will be work itself and people accept paying micropayments for content. Pubs, clubs and scores of outdoor venues relay films to their clients on virtual screens. The world has not collapsed as feared. Webernalism has usurped journalism - a system that loops in and out with info. Despite all this we lamented the introduction of this new thing.

It is within our nature to reisist the new. It's happened through out history and will continue, and we survive.