It's 2007, and I know I've made the joke to my friends a hundred times, that I want to know where my flying car is? I think it was promised to be available by now in my Boy's Life magazine I got when I was 8 or 9.
Of course at 8 or 9, I didn't understand the concept of big business and that the automotive industry would just be so dense that we'd just be getting hybrids in 2005.
But the advance of technology has my really amazed. If you look at the advancement of the Internet, mobile phones, and HD television, since 1987, it's amazing what we can do now across the globe. However, we're still digging coal out of the ground by sending down men with heavy machinery. It boggles the mind. Robots can build cars (and frankly just about anything) but they can't dig coal out of the ground??
I realize that for some/ALL of these coal mining towns, this IS their only source of income and how they make a living, so robots doing this would be met with huge resistence, but in the last 2 years, the amount of trapped and dead miners has to really make one think. I saw a woman who lost her husband in the Sago Mine accident in 2006 ask a question at the recent Chicago Democratic Presidential debate (sponsored by the labor unions), what the candidates would do to ensure better mine safety.
I realize that every big labor job has it's dangers, but the words safety and mine don't necessarily go together. Let's see, take 50 sticks of dynamite down a mile into the ground and then explode it to loosen coal from the walls. Not at all safe, if you ask me. It sort of reminds me of those stock news stories that run every July 1st on your local news stations where a dummy's hand is blown off in 2 seconds.
So, back to little Duey at age 8 or 9. We'd make our annual trek to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and each time, we'd do the Coal Mine exhibit. Part of this exhibit is that they show you what happens when the oxygen goes out and the flammable gases that exist NATURALLY take over. The demostration is with a gaslamp that then explodes!
This isn't a safe profession, but clearly a little more advanced technology might be the call of the day. Heavy machinery, dynamite, and workers that tend to die too early in life due to their profession just seem to scream for it.