Expectations dashed

My wife bought a new spatula for the kitchen. Imagine my excitement when I read on the blurb that this device uses Elevate™ technology!

Wow… *breathless gasping noises*

Finally someone has cracked the anti-gravity mystery allowing us to elevate effortlessly – and in such a mundane item on top of that, who would have ever imagined it?!

Well done, Joseph Joseph. Pick up your Nobel prize whenever suits you.

Imagine all the options this opens up: zero-gravity rigging, zero-gravity work positioning and ascent. Hell, zero line work positioning, come to that. Just to be first, I would like to stake claim to the acronym for that, which would be ZLWP – remember, you read it here first! This is even cooler than jet packs!

But then I realized that all it was is a crappy foot on the base of the spatula. Talk about a sense of deflation and dashed hopes. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait for another fifty years – or however long it takes. Probably just round the corner, like nuclear fusion, always  five years away.

Talking about visions of a future that was never to be, I came across this article about the Maxim Gorky, a futuristic propaganda plane in the 1930s. The plans envisioned a printing press capable of producing 12,000 pages an hour, a darkroom, and a pneumatic post system and telephone switchboard for communications inside the aircraft. A loudspeaker system, named Voice from the Sky, would broadcast to people below.

Ultimately the whole project was a white elephant,  as the plane was slow and had limited lifting capacity, and only ever flew twelve times.

On May 18 1935 it was due to carry its builders and their families on pleasure trips over Moscow and was accompanied by two smaller fighters planes to emphasize its size. The pilot of one of the fighters, named Nikolai Blagin, performed an aerial stunt much to close to the larger plane and crashed into the right wing of Maxim Gorky, leading to both planes crashing to the ground in the suburb of Sokol, killing everyone on both aircraft, a total of 48 people.

Which just goes to prove that the weakest link in technology, however highly evolved, tends to be a flawed risk awareness in human operators.

Maybe if the Maxim Gorky had been powered using Elevate™ technology, things might have turned out somewhat differently! 🙂