The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Gifts" of the 20th Century

What would you consider the worst invention of the 20th Century? There are many contenders for this title. Let me list a few (in close to chronological order):


Moving Pictures with Sound (aka "talkies")
The military Tank
The Crossword Puzzle
The Bra
The Zipper
Instant Coffee
The Thompson Submachine Gun
The Polygraph (Lie Detector)
Frozen Food
Pez Candy
The Aerosol Can
Bubble Gum
Yo-yo
The Television
The Jet Engine
The Parking Meter
Canned Beer
LSD
The Helicopter
The Atomic Bomb
The Assault Rifle (specifically, the AK-47)
The Microwave Oven
The Cell Phone
The Credit Card
Super Glue
Diet Soft Drinks
The Birth Control Pill
Teflon
The Modem
The Barbie Doll
Non-Dairy Creamer
Video Games
Breast implants
Arpanet (forerunner of the Internet)
Micro-Computers
Gene Splicing
Viagra


Of all the above, which one has had the worst effect on civilization? When you consider this, perhaps you should take into account the positive and negative effects and unintended consequences of each. Most , if not all, have had a great impact on lives all over the world. Consider your choice carefully, some of these might be viewed as entirely beneficial or, at least not "bad things", until you think about all the side effects. The list is incomplete, there were a number of others I left out (the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee, for examples) that I didn't think had enough impact on life to be considered. There may be a few that you think should be added

[930/931]

13 comments:

Dee said...

Cell phones, the internet and nuclear weapons.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Bubblegum without a doubt, the technological ones were all a matter of progression rather than invention per se; followed by frozen food.

Today is even worse, I am listed as Belo Horizonte, an eight our bus ride north in another state.

AV

Steven said...

I think most of the things listed are pretty awesome. Whatever bad side effects most of them have are vastly outweighed by the good things. In fact, some of them boggle my mind, as I don't see how the stodgiest old codger could be against them.

I will say, however, that we'd probably be better off had the nuke not been invented. Who knows how much longer we would've been fighting Japan, but that seems preferable to what did happen. And it's been nothing but strife since.

How is Viagra on the list?? Or gene splicing? Teflon? Diet coke? Many more confuse me, but those do the most. And then most of the rest I just have to disagree with.

The Jules said...

Baseball cap.

What's the point?

Ooh - the Ford Pinto was a pretty bad invention, for you yanks wasn't it?

Douglas said...

Jules - Baseball caps existed before the 20th Century (wearing hem crooked didn't, though). The point was to name a worst invention. The Pinto was not an invention but it definitely wasn't a good design.

Steven - I have to disagree about he nukes. Unless you are of the "people don't kill, guns do" sort. Nukes may have actually prevented war by their existence. Think about these things; consider how they have impacted life, good and bad. I did not say they were the worst, I said they were inventions of the last century. You are decide what one (or ones) might be the worst.

Dee - Good choices, maybe. I disagree about nukes and I am on the fence about the Internet.

AV - Great choice! Every time I find it stuck to the bottom of my shoe, I curse the inventor. I like frozen food... much better than canned.

My personal vote is the AK-47.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Canned food would have followed had it been on the list.

AV

Douglas said...

AV - Both canned and frozen foods have improved life for billions. The only drawbacks are the energy used and the waste from the packaging. Fair trade offs for the benefits of improved nutrition, I think. I prefer frozen (vegetables) because they are almost as tasty and fresh as right from the farms. Canned always seems mushy and bland to me. Now, if you were thinking in terms of meat, well... they still expanded nutritional opportunity even if they added other problems.

Steven said...

Oh, ok, that makes more sense.

I wish we could easily own real AK-47s. I'd forgo one for an M4, of course - but I think the framers would have explicitly protected automatic small arms if they'd had crystal balls.

Worst invention of the 20th century is the reality show.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

@Douglas, That is exactly what I was referring to, fresh veggies, not canned (I agree about the mushiness). Prepackaged food is unnecessary, a waste of resources, a creator off rubbish and pollution when we have perfectly good hands to till the soil and grow our own. It is a clear demonstration of laziness. And don't come back with but people don't always have the garden space to grow. If frozen and canned veggies weren't invented, they'd buy a place with space to grow.

@Steven, I agree, it was an omission from the list on Douglas' part. "Reality" Shows are indeed the worst form of TV ever invented.

Or, perhaps he enjoys "Reality" Shows and doesn't see them belonging on the list (AV writes tongue-in-cheek)

LOL

AV

Douglas said...

AV - Without canning (an invention of previous centuries), millions would suffer from malnourishment because they would have no variety of foods throughout winter. Famines would be common due to regional droughts and poor weather spells. All you need to do is go back a few centuries to see what happens. Wait, just go back to the Potato Famine. Canned and frozen foods are essential to a modern world.

I have to agree with the Reality Shows (I do not watch any of them) but we could easily do without television though I watch an awful lot of dramas and comedy. I would just read more books.

Steven - The AK-47 is the most ubiquitous weapon of rebellions and small wars. The price of these has dropped to somewhere in the range of $30 (African manufacturers). It is a cheap, reliable, almost accurate, weapon. It is the mainstay of the illegal arms dealer.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

One could extrapolate that idea and say that canned foods are responsible for overpopulating the planet...

btw, I'm pleased you don't watch reality shows, I was worried for a moment.

AV

wordify - recan

Douglas said...

AV - Yes, one could say that. But it is not alone. You have to add in medical breakthroughs (antibiotics, plague vaccines, flu vaccines, advances in pre-natal care, and much more), advances in agricultural technology and nutrition, and all the other things which make life so easy today. But the primary cause of over population is that sex feels good.

Douglas said...

AV - Both canned and frozen foods have improved life for billions. The only drawbacks are the energy used and the waste from the packaging. Fair trade offs for the benefits of improved nutrition, I think. I prefer frozen (vegetables) because they are almost as tasty and fresh as right from the farms. Canned always seems mushy and bland to me. Now, if you were thinking in terms of meat, well... they still expanded nutritional opportunity even if they added other problems.