austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I don't wanna grow up

Because of the holiday (Deepavali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, not to mention a triumph of Good over Evil, and a data point used to make longwinded arguments trying to tie Star Trek: The Next Generation stardates into calendar dates) I wandered around downtown today, spending most of my time as it happens in toy stores. You'll recall last time I paid attention to toy stores I noticed the robot dinosaurs ready to attack.

I'd like to report better hopes for the survival of humanity, but I can't. If anything the situation is worse. Some company named DK released a couple of kits, including the ``Robot Warrior Kit''. There's also a ``Make Your Own Gobblebot'', which would appear to be a robot that, you know, gobbles. As in consumes smaller robots, not as in makes bird noises. Meanwhile Gearbotics, if I wrote my notes down correctly, is unleashing a ``Sonic T-Rex'', raising the prospect of a robot dinosaur with Urkel's voice who natters on about chili dogs and Doctor Robotnik.

Some other outfit has an ``RTF Ready-To-Fly Honey Bee'' model helicopter, and to emphasize the point that it's ready to fly out of the box they show it allegedly flying inside a Cubicle World office. I think we all want to fly model helicopters in Cubicle World. The Smithsonian still markets a Crystal Radio kit, so the kids of tomorrow -- even after fusion-powered flying cars get on the market and broadcast TV switches to HDTV -- will still be able to spend hours carefully snapping together parts according to well-itemized checklists and setting up a simple antenna, to discover they can't hear a thing. At least if their experience is like mine. Meanwhile the University of Cambridge sells a Digital Recording Studio Kit, which I'd have never dreamed of back when I was putting together circuits that never worked for my Radio Shack 300-in-one experiments kit.

Trivia: Among 1930s plans proposed for a New York City Municipal Airport was constructing one on the roof of Pennsylvania Station. Source: Naked Airport, Alastair Gordon.

Currently Reading: Signor Marconi's Magic Box, Gavin Weightman. Well, there's a jolt; Hugo Gernsback mentioned in a context having nothing to do with science fiction. Instead it turns out he's, perhaps, the first person to sell home-buildable radio kits, giving him the credit (or blame) for starting off ham radio too.


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