Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Technological Ray Of Sunshine

Couldn't we all use some nice, cheerful, sci-fi-quality tech news to remind us that, unlike our profit sharing accounts and 401(k)s, some things are actually moving forward and not backward these days? Some things are, in fact, getting better, stronger, faster and cooler! While financial turmoil shakes the foundations of our economic empires, science is still making amazing progress. Retirement funds and college savings plans may be shrinking, but technology is shrinking, too, both in size and in price, and that is a very good thing. I'll pass you over now to this little piece at Gizmag, which will show you a cutting edge, "affordable" (no amounts given here) almost credit-card-small, flexible electronic touchscreen display. This "electronic paper" uses very little power, is ultra portable, can send or store the information written on it, and can take a serious beating to boot. (Watch the video for evidence of the latter.)

On a side note, this is the kind of thing that gives me hope that the current shaking of our financial foundations doesn't mean the whole building will come crashing down. The things that sparked the general prosperity of the last century--creativity and hard work--haven't crumbled yet (despite the best efforts of our political classes). Humans are an inventive lot, and many of the societal problems we face can be addressed successfully with the right technological advancements. They won't fix the human nature problem--people are still going to do stupid things in the name of blatant self-interest--but they can improve the human condition, feed people, provide clean and affordable energy, extend communication, fight disease, and provide information to the masses. I can't say that I'm at all positive about what the powerful people are doing these days, but the fact that the inventors and scientists keep plugging away is a technological ray of sunshine in a cloudy and difficult time.