Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The "blunting" of advancement

I've been an avid follower of scientific and technological news since my teens, at least 25 years.
With the exception of a few items like the currently quite powerful CPUs, tiny electronics in cellphones, a handful of rationally designed drugs and a smattering of GMOs in agriculture almost none of the promised or claimed transformitive technological advances have come to fruition.
High T Superconductivity for example. The phenomona involved in ceramic type superconductors is, if not Well understood, at least relativily well explored. Methods of working with the material were outlined by the mid 90s. Liquid nitrogen is readily available. And yet I've come across very few major advances using this technology.
I could make an enormous list of other materials, methods and insights which have come to light in the last decade or so and yet, again, none of them seem to have made an impact.
MRI is still expensive and getting more so. A common user grade computer still costs around $1000 (I know, you get so much more for your money, then why does it still take so long for a document to load?)
Somewhere, within the defining constructs of our society there must be a number of forces/factors which cause a blunting of these developments. Social inertia? Or are all these so called developments really just hype?

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