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Old 6th November 2019, 02:51 AM   #1
Squeegee Beckenheim
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The "accurate predictions from the past of scientific advancements" thread

First, here's something I've just seen:



Absolutely all of it is 100% correct:
  • We carry phones with us today
  • We have watches that can be used as phones
  • We can call people simply by asking the phone's built-in AI to call a person in our contacts
  • We can use Facetime and the like to engage in video calls
  • We can use apps to translate languages from one to another in real time, as they are spoken

That's a hell of a good prediction.

I thought this could be an interesting topic, where people post predictions of future technology from the past that have ended up coming true. Sources from science fiction should count, too.
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Old 6th November 2019, 03:44 AM   #2
Robin
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
First, here's something I've just seen:

https://i.imgur.com/HA5yduj.png

Absolutely all of it is 100% correct:
  • We carry phones with us today
  • We have watches that can be used as phones
  • We can call people simply by asking the phone's built-in AI to call a person in our contacts
  • We can use Facetime and the like to engage in video calls
  • We can use apps to translate languages from one to another in real time, as they are spoken

That's a hell of a good prediction.

I thought this could be an interesting topic, where people post predictions of future technology from the past that have ended up coming true. Sources from science fiction should count, too.
Can't really match that.

Isaac Asimov's 1964 prediction of the world of 2014 was quite good in places:

http://www.openculture.com/2013/08/i...bout-2014.html

"Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence."

"Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica."

And so on.
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Old 6th November 2019, 04:03 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
First, here's something I've just seen:

https://i.imgur.com/HA5yduj.png

Absolutely all of it is 100% correct:
  • We carry phones with us today
  • We have watches that can be used as phones
  • We can call people simply by asking the phone's built-in AI to call a person in our contacts
  • We can use Facetime and the like to engage in video calls
  • We can use apps to translate languages from one to another in real time, as they are spoken

That's a hell of a good prediction.

I thought this could be an interesting topic, where people post predictions of future technology from the past that have ended up coming true. Sources from science fiction should count, too.

It is an excellent prediction. And it looks genuine. Can we be sure that it is?
https://twitter.com/eastbengal/statu...42415402307585
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Last edited by dann; 6th November 2019 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 6th November 2019, 04:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Can't really match that.

Isaac Asimov's 1964 prediction of the world of 2014 was quite good in places:

http://www.openculture.com/2013/08/i...bout-2014.html

"Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence."

"Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica."

And so on.
He was a little early on self-driving cars, but not by much.
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Old 6th November 2019, 04:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
It is an excellent prediction. And it looks genuine. Can we be sure that it is?
I don't think we can be 100% sure, but if it's a fake then it's a damn good one.
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Old 6th November 2019, 07:40 AM   #6
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Pah!

Fiction always outruns what "scientists" claim to have predicted.

How Dick Tracy Invented the Smartwatch

Quote:
If you’re not up to date on your fictitious detective history, here’s a little refresher: Dick Tracy made his debut in 1931 in a comic strip that still runs today. He’s a tough-talking crime fighter who often uses technology to nab the bad guys. And in 1946, he started using a state-of-the-art two-way wrist radio while fighting crime.

Less than a year after the comic strip showed Dick nabbing criminals with a flick of the wrist, the term “Dick Tracy watch” was being used to market small portable radios, Harry McCracken reports for Time. And the idea of using a watch to communicate soon became what McCracken calls “the most indestructible meme in tech journalism”—a cultural touchstone that has outlasted cheesy movies, the radio revolution and even the debut of real smartwatches.
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Old 6th November 2019, 08:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
I don't think we can be 100% sure, but if it's a fake then it's a damn good one.
I suspect it's fake. It seems too on-the-nose to be real. And by that I don't mean too accurate, I mean too in-tune with our present views. Someone from 1953 who saw today's technology would probably have a different perspective than we do about what's amazing about it.
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Old 6th November 2019, 08:15 AM   #8
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This might not be far enough "in the past" to count, but I mentioned in a previous thread a line of AT&T commercials from the early-90s that were almost 100% spot on. Pretty much the only thing they got wrong was AT&T having absolutely anything to do with any of them.

From that previous thread:

Quote:
The commercials captured the idea, if not the exact execution in every instance, of:

The spots all started with "Have you ever..."

Ebooks - "...borrowed a book from thousands miles away" and shows a (presumably) student reading a textbook on a computer monitor. Weird in that it looks like she's literally looking at that physical book via real time camera, not a digital copy.

Car Navigation Systems - "...crossed the country without stopping for directions" and shows a car dashboard with what very well could be a modern GPS system, completed with route by route voice directions, a map screen, and real time re-routing. This one is practically perfect.

Digital Connectivity and Document Shared - "... sent a fax from the beach?" and shows a man sending a document from a touchscreen tablet device from a beach chair. Calling it a "fax" is someone quaint but sending someone a document from the beach using a touchscreen tablet device is commonplace. And hell you probably could send a fax that way these days.

Toll Pay Systems - "... paid a toll, without slowing down?" shows a driver approaching a toll booth and swiping a credit card on a slot on his dash and recieving confirmtion that the toll is paid on a dashboard display. The oddity of using a physical credit card to do it (which might have been visual short hand on the ad makers part) aside E-Z-Pass systems are commonplace.

Kiosk Purchasing - "...bought concert tickets... from a cash machine?" Shows two people walking up to a machine, selecting their seats, and getting ticket for a show. Calling it a "cash machine" is a little off (although I have seen those weird Super-ATMs that can do near anything) but buying tickets for events at kiosks is common.

Video phones - "...tuck your baby in from a phone booth" and a young woman (A young Jenna Elfman in fact) walks up to a phonebooth an initiates a video call with her baby. Again not from a phone booth but video chat like Skype and Facetime are ubiquitous.

Voice security systems "... opened doors with the sound of your voice." and a woman with an armful of groceries walking up to her door, saying "Open" and the door unlocking. This is probably the only one that isn't commonplace on a functional day to day level but the technology is certainly there.

Digital Medical Record "...carried your medical record in your wallet?" shows a man wheelchairing his wife into the hospital and handing a credit card sized card to a doctor who inserts it into a machine and it brings up the wife's medical record. Online recording has made this sorta quaint but with storage density, cheapness, and durability this is hardly science-fiction.

Telemeetings - "...or attended a meetings in your barefeet?" and shows a guy in a beachfront gazebo attending a meeting on his laptop. Commonplace these days.

On Demand Video Services - "...watched the movie you wanted to, when you wanted to" and shows a group of kids selecting a movie from a list organized by genre on their TV. Again pretty much ubiquitous now.

Distance Learning - "... learned special things from far away places?" shows a group of students listening to a lecture, and being able to ask questions in real time, over a video screen. Very common these days.

So yeah in a case or two they flubbed the exact nuts and bolts methodology of it but outside of the voice opening door nothing they showed isn't common place conceptually these days, and hell even the door things if you saw someone doing it you wouldn't be "What? What form of dark magic is this? You must be from some far off space future or something."
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Old 6th November 2019, 08:49 AM   #9
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In 1948 H. Beam Piper, in the story "Police Operation", describes an office desktop data access system with multiple screens and keyboards that links to a remote library. Information is found by key word search, which is started in general terms, then refined down using additional search terms. Displayed document files include links to other related files.

In the same story he introduces the Paratime Police, who are a prototype of the mythical "Men in Black".
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Old 6th November 2019, 09:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Pope130 View Post
In 1948 H. Beam Piper, in the story "Police Operation", describes an office desktop data access system with multiple screens and keyboards that links to a remote library. Information is found by key word search, which is started in general terms, then refined down using additional search terms. Displayed document files include links to other related files.

In the same story he introduces the Paratime Police, who are a prototype of the mythical "Men in Black".
H. Beam Piper -- one of the many forgotten writers from the Second Golden Age of Science Fiction whose work deserves to be remembered and credited with so much of what passes as "SciFi" in movies and TV today. Why always Philip K Dick (not that I dislike Dick -- quite the contrary)? Where are folks like "Cordwainer Smith" and George O. Smith given credit?

My actual memories of Piper are a Little Fuzzy. Though that is a Pandora box I prefer not to open.

(Bonus points & etc)
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Old 6th November 2019, 10:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
H. Beam Piper -- one of the many forgotten writers from the Second Golden Age of Science Fiction whose work deserves to be remembered and credited with so much of what passes as "SciFi" in movies and TV today. Why always Philip K Dick (not that I dislike Dick -- quite the contrary)? Where are folks like "Cordwainer Smith" and George O. Smith given credit?

My actual memories of Piper are a Little Fuzzy. Though that is a Pandora box I prefer not to open.

(Bonus points & etc)


Many of his works are available online.
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Old 6th November 2019, 10:07 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
I don't think we can be 100% sure, but if it's a fake then it's a damn good one.
There should be a way to check with the paper in some archive.
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Old 6th November 2019, 10:33 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
There should be a way to check with the paper in some archive.
I tried looking up their archives:
https://thenewstribune.newsbank.com/...7C5A280B6BCA57
For some reason, the online archives don't cover 1953. It spans 1883-1937, and then 1992-present. So no luck for me.
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Old 6th November 2019, 10:36 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I tried looking up their archives:
https://thenewstribune.newsbank.com/...7C5A280B6BCA57
For some reason, the online archives don't cover 1953. It spans 1883-1937, and then 1992-present. So no luck for me.
Well, one of us is going to have to physically go there to check!
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Old 6th November 2019, 10:42 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well, one of us is going to have to physically go there to check!
Thank you for volunteering.
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Old 6th November 2019, 10:50 AM   #16
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Many writers predicted portable phones, but so far as I know, only Heinlein immediately saw the down side. In "Lost Legacy" 1941, people routinely carry portable phones. One of the characters deliberately leaves his in the office when going to lunch so he won't be bothered. The ploy fails, as his secretary just calls the restaurant. (This is the same story that, sadly, seems to have supplied much of the mythology L. Ron Hubbard borrowed for Scientology.)

One of the characters in "Space Cadet" 1948 does something similar, packing his phone in his hold baggage so he won't be bothered while reporting to the Academy. There is even reference made to the call to the portable phone being routed through nearby ground stations.
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Old 6th November 2019, 11:24 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I suspect it's fake. It seems too on-the-nose to be real. And by that I don't mean too accurate, I mean too in-tune with our present views. Someone from 1953 who saw today's technology would probably have a different perspective than we do about what's amazing about it.

I don't see anything incredulous about the predictions. Nothing to make me think it would be fake. Maybe he watched or read science fiction.
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Old 6th November 2019, 11:44 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I tried looking up their archives:
https://thenewstribune.newsbank.com/...7C5A280B6BCA57
For some reason, the online archives don't cover 1953. It spans 1883-1937, and then 1992-present. So no luck for me.
Which raises the question: If the article in question is not available online where did it come from?
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Old 6th November 2019, 12:08 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I suspect it's fake. It seems too on-the-nose to be real. And by that I don't mean too accurate, I mean too in-tune with our present views. Someone from 1953 who saw today's technology would probably have a different perspective than we do about what's amazing about it.
That newspaper wasn't called the "Tacoma News Tribune" in 1953. It didn't use that name until 1979.

In 1953, it was still known by its the combined name "Tacoma News Tribune and Ledger" which was derived from three newspapers that amalgamated or were bought out over the previous 100 or so years - the "Tacoma Ledger", "The News" and the "Tacoma Tribune"


I don't know whether this is significant of any fakery or not, but I would have thought that any researcher finding an article like this would at least get the actual name of the newspaper right.
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Old 6th November 2019, 12:14 PM   #20
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At this link:
https://www.americanradiohistory.com...st-1953-04.pdf

is a PDF copy of what looks like a television industry newsletter also dated in April 1953. At the bottom of page 38 it has part of the same quote, attributed to the same person.

Searching on the first line of the quote finds it in a couple of other newspapers from the same time frame.

So it seems to be a real quote from 1953, printed in more than place at the time.
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Old 6th November 2019, 12:21 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by JimOfAllTrades View Post
At this link:
https://www.americanradiohistory.com...st-1953-04.pdf

is a PDF copy of what looks like a television industry newsletter also dated in April 1953. At the bottom of page 38 it has part of the same quote, attributed to the same person.
OK, that's pretty good evidence. The screen cap in the OP would be pretty easy to fake, but a 70 page document is a lot of work to fake, and getting it inserted into a large archive of same seems rather unlikely. I'll accept it as authentic now.
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Old 6th November 2019, 12:24 PM   #22
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The progress on jet packs has been somewhat disappointing
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Old 6th November 2019, 12:59 PM   #23
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I used to be impressed reading Philip K Dick when he spoke of his characters putting on headphones and entering imaginary worlds.
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Old 6th November 2019, 01:15 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
I used to be impressed reading Philip K Dick when he spoke of his characters putting on headphones and entering imaginary worlds.
And then you realised how crappy the technology really is.
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Old 6th November 2019, 01:15 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
I used to be impressed reading Philip K Dick when he spoke of his characters putting on headphones and entering imaginary worlds.
I've been doing that since Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon!
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Old 6th November 2019, 02:15 PM   #26
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1971 my BIL's Computer Science master thesis was on Convergance. Maybe he invented that use of the word?

But let's not forget the IBM quote of "we just don't see any need for more than TWO computers"?

Or 1928 EE"Doc" Smith, with interplanetary travel with navigation computers! But they had to wait for the tubes to warm up before take off.
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Old 6th November 2019, 03:32 PM   #27
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In 1958's The Feeling of Power, Isaac Asimov accurately describes a pocket calculator, complete with glowing red numerals.
I don't think he expected them to happen in just 15 years.
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Old 6th November 2019, 03:36 PM   #28
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This site says the OP is true. Note that the story didn't originate with the TNT, it's credited to the AP so there might be a way to check with them.
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Old 6th November 2019, 04:38 PM   #29
smartcooky
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Originally Posted by jonesdave116 View Post
I've been doing that since Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon!

Aha, so you've been mad for ******* years too.

And by the way, there is no dark side of the moon really. As a matter of fact it's all dark.
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Old 6th November 2019, 10:36 PM   #30
Gord_in_Toronto
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
I used to be impressed reading Philip K Dick when he spoke of his characters putting on headphones and entering imaginary worlds.
In person, for some of his life, Dick did without the headphones.
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Old 7th November 2019, 02:43 AM   #31
Squeegee Beckenheim
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue
Digital Medical Record "...carried your medical record in your wallet?" shows a man wheelchairing his wife into the hospital and handing a credit card sized card to a doctor who inserts it into a machine and it brings up the wife's medical record. Online recording has made this sorta quaint but with storage density, cheapness, and durability this is hardly science-fiction.
Not your entire medical history, but you can get quite a bit of information in the Health app on iPhones. You can put in things like allergies, or anything else you'd have on a SOS bracelet, and this information can be accessed from the Lock Screen - meaning that if you have an accident or similar, EMTs can access your medical data from your phone before doing anything. You can also use it to call 999, and display your emergency contact number.

And one thing related is that you can set up your Apple Watch to detect if you've taken a hard fall. If it thinks you have, if you're not moving it gives you a minute to tell it that you haven't, and if you don't it'll call the emergency services and give them your location, and then it'll call your emergency contact for you. If you are moving it displays a button so you can determine for yourself whether or not to call the emergency services. It's mind-boggling to think that this is where technology is these days.

I actually recently used some of the medical data I've set up my phone and smart watch to collect in a recent trip to the doctor's, and it was partly instrumental in determining that I'm fit and healthy but have an abnormality that nobody had noticed until now.

So I'd definitely give that one a pass.
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Old 7th November 2019, 05:15 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by jonesdave116 View Post
The progress on jet packs has been somewhat disappointing
Some dude crossed the English Channel using something like a jet pack.

The technology as imagined seems to exist, it's just not as practical as a naive person thinking about it would think it would be.

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Old 7th November 2019, 05:25 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well, one of us is going to have to physically go there to check!
Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Thank you for volunteering.
Oh yeah, sure! With those things runnin' around? You can count me out.
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Old 7th November 2019, 05:41 AM   #34
Robin
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The 1921 science fiction movie "Frau Im Mond" has a multi stage rocket. I think it is also the first movie to have a countdown to lift off.

I recall it is also quite good in the depiction, physical and psychological, of the effects of massive acceleration.

It goes and blows its scientific credibility by having them discover that the Moon has an atmosphere. But I guess they considered it would be difficult to maintain the drama with everyone wearing bulky space suits.
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Old 7th November 2019, 06:53 AM   #35
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"Hey science... were's my jetpack? I know what you are going to say 'Now think about it, do you really want a bunch of people flying through the air powered by rockets strapped to their back?'

Now listen, I didn't ask where everybody else's jetpack was at. I asked where my jetpack was at. Give me mine and I promise nobody else will know... until I poop down their chimney from 20,000 feet." - Bob Chipman.
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