Return of the “Available Next Year” Flying Car

This year is the 10th anniversary of 2008, the year we were supposed to see flying cars in the sky.

(HT: @BillHudge)

The 12 loyal readers of this blog know that a decade ago, during the year 2008, I decided to blog about a random topic for reasons I can’t exactly recall. The topic I decided to follow was “flying cars.” This was before self-driving cars had become a thing and before @realdonaldtrump had a Twitter account — in other words, the golden age of everything good.

By the end of that year, I had written 50 items — mostly short Tweet-like items. The best part of the exercise was that it spawned a small cadre (you 12) of flying car scouts who were far better than Google Alert at pointing me to news items on the topic.

In December 2008, I tried my best to declare an end to the experiment by posting a year-end “Top 10 Stories about Flying Cars in 2008 ” that once every few years still earns me a visit from some self-flying enthusiast either thanking or trolling me.

However, despite my efforts to escape the flying car beat, one specific brand of flying car (or, at that time, a “roadable aircraft”) has never gone away.

It was from a company called Terrafugia in Woburn, Massachusetts, or, “the little flying car that couldn’t say no.” (My suggested slogan, not their’s.)

In 2008, Terrafugia said its “roadable aircraft” would go on sale later in 2008 — “cruising you smoothly on the road and through the sky.” But, alas, 2008 came and went, along with 2009 and 2010 and 2011. (I did receive this comic strip update that year, however.)

In 2014, Bloomberg had a feature about Terrafugia with some awesome video supplied by the company and amazingly similar to their 2013 video. And their delivery date was “sometime between January 2015 and March 2016.”

All of that background to say that my #1 flying car scout just pointed me to news in the Daily Mail that reports “the world’s first flying car is set to go on the market with pre-sales scheduled to begin next month…According to manufacturer Terrafugia, which belongs to the parent company of Volvo, the Transition can fly up to 400 miles (640km) at top speeds of 100mph (160kmh).”

Okay, so let’s review: In 2008, the roadable aircraft from Terrafugia was due out the following year, which, according to some quick math, was ten years before today’s year, 2018.

But I’m still a believer because the Terrafugia company actually was purchased by the parent company of Volvo. And since I’m an owner of a Volvo, I’m hoping for some type of trade in allowance around 2020.

Convenience is Boring

Not exactly sure if I agree, but it’s too convenient to pass up.

Not exactly sure if I agree, but it’s too convenient to pass up.

From: “The Tyranny of Convenience” by Tim Wu. New York Times, 2/16/2018

Quote:

“Convenience is the most underestimated and least understood force in the world today…Convenience is boring. But boring is not the same thing as trivial…The paradoxical truth I’m driving at is that today’s technologies of individualization are technologies of mass individualization. Customization can be surprisingly homogenizing. (Nearly everyone is on Facebook.) It is the most convenient way to keep track of your friends and family, who in theory should represent what is unique about you and your life. Yet Facebook seems to make us all the same. Its format and conventions strip us of all but the most superficial expressions of individuality, such as which particular photo of a beach or mountain range we select as our background image.”


Photo | Julie Clopper | iStock

People Love Selfies, Unless They Are of Someone Else

Is this surprising? This is why they are called selfies.

According to TheNextWeb, researchers in Munich have found evidence to suggest that few people want to look at the selfies of others, but they love sharing their own. The findings of a survey of 238 people were published in Frontiers in Psychology in a January article titled “The Selfie Paradox: Nobody Seems to Like Them Yet Everyone Has Reasons to Take Them.”

77% | Take selfies at least once a month
49% | Receive a selfie at least once a week
90% | Think others’ selfies are self-promotion
46% | Think their own selfies are self-promotion

Translation | People enjoy taking selfies but don’t like looking at other peoples’ selfies. (The researchers say that other cultures than Germany may have more accepting attitudes towards selfies and that further study is required.)

Observation | Is this surprising? They are called selfies. It’s why Apple put a camera on both sides of the iPhone.

For some reason, selfies are of great interest to researchers and the publications that write about research. Bottomline. There are two types of people in the world: People who like taking photos of themselves and people who love to hear themselves complaining about people who take photos of themselves.


The image of the macaca is in the public domain because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested.