Nicola Mostyn goes back to the future-ish

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I read an article recently about a young man accused of stealing a crate of Lucozade while riding a hoverboard. He could be about to make legal history by being the first to be prosecuted under a new law banning motorised devices on roads and pavements.

Frankly I was appalled. Not by the crime – surely the desperate act of the horribly hungover – but that we’re calling these devices hoverboards. Patently, they don’t hover. If anything, they trundle. Trundleboards. That’s what we should be calling them.

I know what’s happening. The Back to the Future and Star Wars franchises promised Generation X wonders that never appeared. Now Gen X are at the helm of the marketing departments and they’ve decided that, since no one invented it, they’ll just delude themselves they did.

Awesome. In 2016, let’s all agree to pretend the following are actually real:

They mastered it on Star Trek back in 1965, yet 50 years on and we chumps are still obliged to drag our pathetic meat sacks hither and thither, with nary a wibbly pixelated aura for consolation. Fret not. You can replicate the teleportation experience by closing your eyes after boarding public transport and bellowing “Beam me up Scotty!” repeatedly until you find yourself facing a group of perplexed men in blue uniforms.

The meal in a pill
A staple of science fiction, the food pill was imagined by suffragette Mary Elizabeth Lease, who believed that such a wonder would release women from the kitchen to live fabulous lives. “A small phial of this life from the fertile bosom of Mother Earth will furnish men with substance for days, and thus the problems of cooks and cooking will be solved,” she declared, which, coincidentally, is what I say every time I dial a Dominos.

Ah, the invisibility cloak, the fantasy of hormonal schoolboys everywhere. Researchers have actually developed a light bending cloak that can conceal objects in plain sight. Unfortunately it’s only 80 nanometers wide. For perspective, a million nanometers is the size of a pin head. Which is just daft. I mean, if you’re that teeny, who’s going to notice you perving anyway? NB Larger beings can experience what it’s like to be invisible by being a straight girl at a gay bar, a short man on an online dating site, or a fifty-five year old woman anywhere.

Time machine
Apparently there’s a time machine in a sealed mausoleum in Brompton Cemetery, but rather carelessly they’ve lost the key. Tsk. Perhaps it’s for the best. Theoretical time travel has thrown up a myriad of problems, from inconsistent causal loops to distorted probability, quantum fluctuations and the paradox of meeting yourself at a party only to find you’re wearing Crocs. If you’d still like to time travel, just visit Blackpool, though do try to avoid the Wormhole. (Not a passage through space time, but a B&B
I stayed at circa 1996.)

The memory-wiping light beam is still a work in progress, to the chagrin of Conservative MPs, 1970s DJs and anyone who has ever watched the film Battlefield Earth. While researchers have managed to switch off mice’s memories of being shocked by beaming light into their brains, there are some PR challenges to rolling this out on humans, not least that the light must be connected to the subject’s brain via a cable, a slightly harder sell than Men In Black’s “could you please look right here”. In the meantime, we have tequila.

Happy 2016!


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