Elbie at Trig dot Net

Fri, 29 Apr 2005

The future as we know it.

I look back and reflect on things a lot. Today was the last day for the co-ops here at my job, and so we all went out for lunch as a group. During lunch, and the subsequent fire alarm, the subject of being an adult came up, and what our poor, deluded co-ops had to look forward to as an adult.

There was some question of what being an adult entailed, as there is sort of a hazy grey area where one could be or might not be considered an adult depending on context. As far as I can tell, this grey area extends from somewhere around the age of fourteen until the time of death.

Really, though, you can clearly delineate the point in one's life which may not actually be the moment of transition, but clearly after that point, there is no question that you are an adult. If this description is confusing, think of it sort of like jumping the shark.

That point: owning an appliance.

Technology has come a long way since the invention of fire. Since then, a lot of things have entered our lives to help make things easier for ourselves. Not all of them can really be considered appliances though. So what is an appliance?

Merriam-Webster defines an appliance as "any device meant for indoor use that's too heavy for a single person to lift under their own power".

This is fairly straight forward. A stove is an appliance, but a television is not. A television is instead classified as "Home Entertainment", or possibly "Audio/Video" depending on which FutureShop you walk in to.

A washer/dryer is an appliance, but an electric lawnmower is a "tool".

A refridgerator is an appliance, but a toilet is a "fixture". Come to think of it, a ceiling light is also usually referred to as a "fixture". Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Anyway, as our technology advances things like televisions are going to continue to get larger and larger. How is this going to affect our definition of appliances? Surprisingly, it isn't, for two reasons.

First, the volume occupied by a television has stayed the same over the years. This is actually a scientific phenomenon known as the Neilson principle. These new high definition 40" screens are actually incredibly thin, and thus do not weigh all that much more than in your great great grandparent's age, when tv screens were only 3" corner to corner, but had to be encased in lead shielding in order to protect the Earth from destructive radiation.

Second, humans are still evolving. As a species, we are getting bigger and stronger, meaning that any actual weight increases in non-appliances will be negligible to our larger offspring. By the same token, these behemoths will need to eat more and wear larger clothing, so appliances will have to increase in size and thus mass in order to service these child-like monstrosities. It all balances out.

I can't remember what my original point was.

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