Last chance
August 25, 2010 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Tell me about some things that aren't going to be around much longer.

Analog TV is dead. Smallpox is eradicated. Yugoslavia doesn't exist. That big stone face in New Hampshire is a pile of rocks. Wikipedia has a list of last occurrences, but what are some things still around that are foreseeably going to be gone in my lifetime? Put another way: what can I see or do now that would impress my imaginary grandkids? (No species please, Douglas Adams covered that territory pretty well.)
posted by theodolite to Grab Bag (101 answers total) 74 users marked this as a favorite
 
Video stores.
posted by something something at 12:02 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


there are some assumptions made here, but this chart for natural resources kind of gets you wondering: http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/archive/2605/26051202.jpg
posted by kenbennedy at 12:03 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a little chatfiltery since it's very subjective. There are outmoded devices now that some stubborn people still use (rotary telephones come to mind).
posted by Eicats at 12:03 PM on August 25, 2010


Newspapers....magazines...
posted by pearlybob at 12:04 PM on August 25, 2010


Cadmium in paint. But it's a legal/health thing not a resource thing. It'll be a problem is the stained glass field.
posted by princelyfox at 12:04 PM on August 25, 2010


Encyclopedia sets...
posted by pearlybob at 12:04 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Inefficient light bulbs, anything involving most dangerous chemicals (now is your chance to learn to set off fireworks,) possibly getting a sport license to fly planes (they can change the rules at any time.)
posted by SMPA at 12:05 PM on August 25, 2010


Oil prices south of $200...therefore frequent air and possibly car travel.

Free newspapers online, most anything "free" online will cost money.

Global warming could conceivably wipe out Mauritius and other low lying islands.

South/North Korea will likely be reunified.
posted by the foreground at 12:05 PM on August 25, 2010


Best answer: I don't know if it'll impress anyone, but there are only a few months left for getting Kodachrome film developed.
posted by misteraitch at 12:05 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Best answer: The Space Shuttle.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:05 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Internet anonymity
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:05 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The middle class.
posted by Naberius at 12:06 PM on August 25, 2010 [14 favorites]


I have heard that affordable pastrami is on its way out because brisket has become more popular and more expensive. Something I found by googleing pastrami prices blames it on the rise of BBQ chains. The article claims that the price of pastrami is a leading factor in the death of traditional delis.
posted by abirae at 12:06 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Real cork in wine bottles.
posted by the foreground at 12:07 PM on August 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


I used a rotary telephone until 2005. Cassettes until 2008. My mother still uses a VCR. And newspapers and magazines aren't going anywhere soon - not until you can read an iPad in the bath.

I'd say A-Zs, but this assumes that everyone has a smartphone. A lot of 'old' technologies still persist where people do not have the money or resources to upgrade.
posted by mippy at 12:07 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I recently visited Christiania in Copenhagen, which is under threat by the Danish government to be "normalized" and the land taken back.
posted by anderjen at 12:08 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Global warming could conceivably wipe out Mauritius and other low lying islands.

Mauritius is fairly mountainous, being a former volcano; its highest point is about 2700 ft. I think you're thinking of the Maldives.

posted by Johnny Assay at 12:09 PM on August 25, 2010


Response by poster: This is a little chatfiltery since it's very subjective. There are outmoded devices now that some stubborn people still use (rotary telephones come to mind).

That's why I didn't include rotary phones on my list - or VHS, or top hats, or anything else obsolete but still available. I'm talking about stuff that'll be straight up GONE, which can be debated but isn't simply a matter of opinion.

There have been some good answers so far.
posted by theodolite at 12:09 PM on August 25, 2010


Wilderness.

Coastal cities.

Email.

The middle class.

Privacy.

Tangible media (CDs, DVDs, etc.)

Net neutrality.

Free information.

Giant gas guzzling vehicles.

Chicken pox.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:09 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mauritius is fairly mountainous, being a former volcano; its highest point is about 2700 ft. I think you're thinking of the Maldives.

Doh! Yes, sorry. (red face).
posted by the foreground at 12:10 PM on August 25, 2010


Best answer: Well, you could go the environmental route and visit some glaciers and snowfields that are melting. Kilimanjaro comes to mind.

If you like to hike, look into hiking trails and areas that are on private land, or that cross private land. A lot of those are going away as landowners close them down due to liability and other concerns. I was just reading recently how some cave entrances, located on private property, are being closed off. Same with climbing crags.

Dog tracks are closing up. I don't know if bullfighting will ever go away; hopefully one day soon it will. Go see one if that's your thing.

The last space shuttle mission is scheduled to be flown in 2011. It'll probably be the last chance to see anything really big get launched from Florida for a long time.

Go find a restaurant that serves something made with trans-fat.

You could get arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana. Hopefully that will go away in your lifetime.

Go see The Rolling Stones or what's left of The Who.
posted by bondcliff at 12:11 PM on August 25, 2010


Smallpox is eradicated

Not sure if it breaks your no species rule, but the guinea worm parasitic disease should be eradicated within the next few years. That's impressive because the disease has been around for thousands of years, and there is still no vaccine or cure, yet an ongoing international effort has brought the number of new cases per year down from several million in the 80s to a few thousand today. I wouldn't recommend going to Ghana to experience it for yourself before it's gone though.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:11 PM on August 25, 2010


Best answer: You should take up diving so you can enjoy the beautiful coral reefs before ocean acidification kills 'em off.
posted by iminurmefi at 12:12 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


CDs. Digital transfer is just easier and cheaper for everyone involved. DVDs and other forms of video disc will stick around for a while, because there tends to be a lot of value added content beyond just the movie, but i'm betting that music-only compact discs that hold between 74 and 80 minutes of audio aren't going to be here much longer.
posted by quin at 12:14 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Bats
posted by raxast at 12:17 PM on August 25, 2010


Glacier National Park will probably have to be renamed in 2030. There were about 150 glaciers there in the mid 1800's and when I was there a few months ago 25 remained.

Helium is a natural resource and will be gone in the next 30 years supposedly. So suck on some balloons while you can.
posted by zephyr_words at 12:19 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]




Cars with ashtrays built in.
posted by NoraCharles at 12:23 PM on August 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Venice
posted by ejazen at 12:24 PM on August 25, 2010


(Darn it, that link should have been here.)
posted by fings at 12:24 PM on August 25, 2010


Bananas.
posted by Madamina at 12:26 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Badlands
posted by Miko at 12:28 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


World War II Veterans
posted by Miko at 12:28 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jazz musicians that played during that genre's heyday.
posted by jbickers at 12:29 PM on August 25, 2010


Pandas. :(
posted by brand-gnu at 12:30 PM on August 25, 2010


You could go meet some people that speak an endangered language.
posted by mmascolino at 12:32 PM on August 25, 2010


bluefin tuna
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 12:33 PM on August 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Helium. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/23/tech/main6797764.shtml
posted by 2legit2quit at 12:34 PM on August 25, 2010


They're trying to send cervical cancer the way of the Dodo with that new vaccine...
posted by Ys at 12:36 PM on August 25, 2010


Personal checks.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:39 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


World War II Veterans

We're only just losing the last WW1 veterans so we should have 30 years or so before this happens.

The middle class?

Maybe where you live.
posted by biffa at 12:40 PM on August 25, 2010


The glaciers in Glacier.

The great pine forests of the American West - what's still alive, will be dying from beetle infestations in the next couple years. Probalby the aspens, too.
posted by notsnot at 12:43 PM on August 25, 2010


helium balloons (via /.)
posted by bdc34 at 12:46 PM on August 25, 2010


Old Blues musicians
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:47 PM on August 25, 2010


The rock formations in Arches National Park. I was there in 2003. In 2008 one of the most famous arches collapsed. As time goes on more will surely follow.
posted by phunniemee at 12:48 PM on August 25, 2010


Quiet places free of human created noises (like airplanes flying overhead). There's one square inch of it left in Olympic National Park.
posted by jardinier at 12:48 PM on August 25, 2010


Bees. And we're all gonna be screwed when that happens.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:48 PM on August 25, 2010


Technology-wise I'd have to say that in the next decade physical media will be dead. No more DVDs, Blu-Rays, etc... All content will be obtained through digital distribution through channels like iTunes, NetFlix, XBox Live, Playstation Network, etc.
posted by ganzhimself at 12:50 PM on August 25, 2010


Wilderness

I can't remember the "technical" definition of wilderness - something like less than one person per square mile - but in some places, like the lower 48 states, the movement to suburbs and cities since WWII means that there is actually much more wilderness than a century ago.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:50 PM on August 25, 2010


This is what the United States Congress says (from the WILDERNESS ACT, Public Law 88-577 (16 U.S. C. 1131-1136), I'd be interested in seeing interpretations from different countries and cultures to determine if we do in fact think Wilderness 'won't be around much longer':

DEFINITION OF WILDERNESS

(c) A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of underdeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.
posted by jardinier at 12:58 PM on August 25, 2010


Best answer: Exploring the ATM cave in Belize. This already seems pretty iffy, since you're basically walking around an archeological dig with exposed Mayan pottery and the only divider between you and the artificats is a line of tape on the ground. It's probably already at capacity for the number of people per day, with Belize tourism only increasing, and it will only take one bad tourist incident to shut it down to non-academics for good.

Also, Mount St. Helen's still looks a lot like you'd expect it to, with the fallen trees and not much vegetation. I'm no expert, but I would think it will grow back at some point and just look like every other mountain.

Bars that allow smoking.
posted by smackfu at 1:05 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bars that allow smoking.

Oh yeah, that's a good one. Restaurants, too. Even if you don't smoke, you might be interested in having a cigarette while sipping a coffee in a Waffle House, just so you can UTTERLY STUN the grandkids with that one.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:08 PM on August 25, 2010


Speaking of smoking - you can still smoke in the Boise airport, imagining that won't last long.
posted by jardinier at 1:09 PM on August 25, 2010


check out the polar bears in Churchill.
posted by nicoleincanada at 1:11 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rather, it's Salt Lake City that has the smoking. My recent trips through Boise and Salt Lake blurred together because they both had huge God Bless the Troops signs.
posted by jardinier at 1:12 PM on August 25, 2010


oops, sorry. Missed the 'no species' line.
posted by nicoleincanada at 1:13 PM on August 25, 2010


Predictions come down to "opinion" in that they come from observed trends, an assumption about whether the trends will continue, and a projection of the effects. The more evidence presented to support the trends and assumptions, the less "opinion"-like the prediction.

Problem is, to reach a truly impressive statement about the future, you have to kind of go out on a limb. I think any one of us could have predicted the end of the CD or some tiny Pacific Islands. But a really juicy prediction is provacative in that it combines trends and extrapolates in a novel way. "Any useful statement about the future must at first seem to be ridiculous" - Jim Dator.

Also, "gone" is pretty relative. "Gone" from all existence? (like certain glaciers?) Or "Gone" from all except collectors, historians? (like VCRs and music CDs?) Or maybe "gone" from all except the ultra rich? (like privacy?) And does "gone" mean permanently gone?

Not too surprising:

A peaceful Arctic Ocean may be gone as ice melts and the seas are more passable and natural resources there become more accessible. I'd expect some conflict about access to newly ice-free waters in the next generation. (Assumes: global warming, resource scarcity trends continue, "Gone" meaning possibly just temporarily for the whole planet)

Single-function devices like phones and television sets. (Assumes the trends toward miniaturization of electronics, increased computing power, increasingly multifunction devices continue, "Gone" meaning for most people in developed nations except collectors, some grumpy old people, and ironic hipsters.)

More interesting, but riskier ... Texting, QWERTY Keyboards, wallets, Ahi Tuna (sigh), Alzheimers' Disease,

Out there, but possible: High School, speeding, voting machines, dying purely of old age, cryptography

All depends on the trends you highlight and your assumptions about them. The ones you read and call BS on can provoke a debate about those trends and assumptions. That's teh real value of predictions.

A good futurist might make predictions, but they do it mainly to make people think or react. Which is a good thing.

Excellent question.
posted by cross_impact at 1:21 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


CRT televisions and monitors.
Computer mice.
CDs and DVDs and in fact all forms of spinning media.
Individual separate portable music players, point and shoot cameras, satnavs and PDAs.
Boxed software and games.
DECT phones.
Music stores.
posted by emilyw at 1:29 PM on August 25, 2010


People who have walked on the moon
posted by zix at 1:34 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mass-market paperbacks. There will still be a market for more arty/fancy paper books, but the trashy romances, paperback best-sellers etc. will be all-ebook eventually.
posted by JoannaC at 1:34 PM on August 25, 2010


WWII Holocaust Survivors.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:38 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Revival harpsichords (i.e. those factory-made boxes of the mid-20th c. like the one played by Glenn Gould on this video).
One reason is that some of the then-modern materials like the plastic used in the jacks and some glues, have deteriorated. Other reason is that not everyone likes them (some people in the Addams family excluded) and no one wants to pay for keeping them in trim.

Otherwise floppy drives. Try to explain what those are to your kids...
posted by Namlit at 1:42 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Centrist politics?
posted by JaredSeth at 1:46 PM on August 25, 2010


Overhead projectors
posted by mkultra at 2:24 PM on August 25, 2010


I still use Rotary Phones and Typewriters, so I guess I'm a little weird (and I'm only 30). I've read and heard that film will mostly be a thing of the past in the next decade (i.e. photographic film), but who knows. Most analog technologies will be obsolete, except for people (like myself) who have an interest in nostalgia/vintage/retro/antiques.
posted by 1000monkeys at 2:31 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Best answer: You're in Chicago, right? Visit and have your picture taken at places that may no longer be around soon.

See a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, for example, and make sure you do the whole thing: go when they play a classic rival (Cardinals, Brewers, White Sox), sing the songs, get the hot dogs, do the stretch, whatever. Get pictures so they'll be able to see grandpa at Wrigley Field.
posted by pracowity at 2:36 PM on August 25, 2010


Polaroids. The film stopped being produced by the main factory, and while the license has been bought, the number of people willing and the cost may ensure it does not last.

Civic architecture - as styles become outmoded and decay they get pulled down. The Victorian buildings in many cities went in the 1950s and 1960s, now many Brutalist buildings (at least those which aren't listed like The Brunswick Centre and Trellick Tower) are coming down. There are styles popular either now or in the last three decades that will eventually vanish. Same with interiors - certain voguish appliances or furniture will quietly disappear from our lives. Logos. Packaging.
posted by mippy at 2:54 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


hard copy "yellow pages" type phone books. cursive handwriting.
posted by lemniskate at 3:17 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Look at places that are due for big earthquakes. Eg, Istanbul sits on a big fault and has a lot of vulnerable old buildings. Go see the Hagia Sophia, for example.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:31 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Peace between Canada and USA.
posted by found missing at 3:32 PM on August 25, 2010


Free newspapers online, most anything "free" online will cost money.

Highly disagree.
posted by limeonaire at 3:54 PM on August 25, 2010


the guinea worm parasitic disease should be eradicated within the next few years.

Thanks in large part to the work of The Carter Center. Which reminds me that Jimmy Carter probably won't be around much longer. Which hurts my heart.

You can still hear him teach Sunday School at his church in Plains, GA, though, and get your picture taken with him and Rosalynn Carter afterward.
posted by runningwithscissors at 4:11 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


skype
posted by Akeem at 4:23 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Antibiotics
posted by susanvance at 4:31 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hand-drawn feature-length animation
Yellow Pages
Sushi
posted by Joe Beese at 4:52 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


US Postal Service (paper mail) ......Barber Shops.....Cash......Land Line Phones
posted by boatsforshoes at 5:18 PM on August 25, 2010


Family Guy.
posted by xbeautychicx at 5:43 PM on August 25, 2010


And Bill Cosby.
posted by xbeautychicx at 5:45 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Put another way: what can I see or do now that would impress my imaginary grandkids?

This is an interesting question. Consider what your non-imaginary grandparents did that would impress you.

My own were born anywhere from 1913 to 1924 and the things they did that impress me are pretty much the result of the different world they lived in. I find it remarkable that my father's father could support himself, a wife, and five children on a single blue-collar salary, for example. A carousel from my grandfather's slide projector bought at Sears 50 years ago wouldn't cut it.

It is easy to speculate about technical change but much harder to speculate on social ones. I am sure a cursory search through the archives here on mefi will reveal plenty of scanned articles from the previous century speculating on what the far-off year of 2004 or 2007 or something would be like. These things often predict with reasonable accuracy gizmos like microwave ovens or cell phones but no one seems to speculate -- or at least not in print -- that gay marriage would be an issue.

And it is the very small things that beggar description. The OP has no indication of age, but as a fortyish person with a brother fifteen years younger, I have found that even half a generation is enough to render depictions of some common experiences baffling. There is a moment in Fast Times at Ridgemont High where a class of students are given a handout by their teacher and as one, the students all lean forward to inhale the fumes off the dittoes... A movie made in the eighties contains a moment totally mystifying to someone born in the eighties.

What do I think will impress your grandchildren technologically? A photo of you in a phone booth, with an explanation of what that weird glass and steel thing you are standing in is. A roll of prints from developed and processed film still in the envelope along with the negatives. A boarding pass from the era of cheap air travel. A week's worth of a daily newspaper -- advertising inserts, comics and all. Movie ticket stubs from the days when a thousand people used to gather in a big room and watch the show all together.

More likely it will be stories of the days when people smoked in public or when you wanted to research something, you had to go to the library, or of the days when people paid travel agents to book vacations for them.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:56 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


The Cavendish Banana might be gone for good if they can't get the blight that's been plaguing them under control.
posted by squeak at 6:48 PM on August 25, 2010


Anything to do with driving a car alone, video of traffic, the price of gasoline, real copper pennies (pre 1982), real silver coins, and knowing how to operate a slide ruler. (OK... skip the slide rule)

Photos or video of a library would be interesting, perhaps your current phone, computer, tv, living arraignments, etc.

Mostly it's going to be nostalgic for you more than impressive to them.

A complete photographic survey of your neighborhood where you grew up might be cool, like your own street view.
posted by MikeWarot at 7:40 PM on August 25, 2010


People who train animals for film and TV shows; soon it'll be easier to do with CGI than with real animals. Performing animals at Sea World etc might last a little longer but I imagine we'll see an end to that in my lifetime.
posted by The otter lady at 7:53 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]




Examples of casual racism, sexism, misogyny, and homophobia will hopefully seem insane to our descendants, the way old animation, or commercials like Chinese Baby Jello Ad (#4 on this list) seem almost unbelievable to us today.

So maybe all the "I'm not gay, bro!" jokes on sitcoms, or the coded language in the "Ordinary Americans" type of anti-Obama sentiment, or various problematic pop-culture portrayals of people of colour (this site has tons of analysis about that) will make our grandkids' eyes bug out in the future.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:15 PM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Freedom of religion. Preservation of culture and languages.
posted by chinabound at 8:26 PM on August 25, 2010


32-bit microprocessors
posted by Joe Beese at 8:34 PM on August 25, 2010


Smallpox isn't eradicated. We just (hopefully, foolishly) know where it is.

Real cork in wine bottles is a tossup. Turns out cork is pretty environmentally friendly.

@boatsforshoes: Barber Shops

Dunno where you live, but they never died out and are resurgent in, at least, the Eastern US.

@Joe Beese: 32-bit microprocessors

No.

Apparently you don't much deal with embedded processors. There are literally billions of 32-bit, embedded processors out there, and they will be around for decades. AMD and Intel might not be making them, but ARM, MIPS and PPC are there.

Consider what your non-imaginary grandparents did that would impress you.

Always interesting. My maternal grandparents didn't see a car until they were 5 or 6, and didn't see a plane until they were in their mid teens.
posted by kjs3 at 9:19 PM on August 25, 2010


Not around at all, or not commonplace? People are remarkably stubborn about technology and personal habits. Not to mention city governments, universities and colleges, and small businesses in less-wealthy neighborhoods, which keep the use of incredibly outdated equipment somewhat normalized.

My dad's not the only one still storing information on 3 1/4" discs, heck, he may still have a 5 1/2" drive. And microfilm and microfiche are still in use by libraries and city governments. Archives are a problem that technology has not actually solved, though we sure to buy a lot of stuff trying.

Faculty at the university where I work often have phones that look like this (and hey, they still make these shoulder rests!) In fact, flipping through an office supplies catalogue is still a walk through the 70s -- correction type for typewriters, rolodex files, thermal fax paper rolls, mechanical date stamps...
posted by desuetude at 9:19 PM on August 25, 2010


Oh, and why would barber shops become extinct?
posted by desuetude at 9:22 PM on August 25, 2010


Every time I drink on a plane, I imagine my kids will be as shocked to hear about it as I was to hear that you used to be able to smoke in movie theaters.

(Also on that note I suppose, drive-in movie theaters.)
posted by troublewithwolves at 10:11 PM on August 25, 2010


Smallpox isn't eradicated. We just (hopefully, foolishly) know where it is.

The viruses which cause smallpox, Variola major and Variola minor still exist in a handful of labs and storage facilities. Smallpox itself—a disease, not the virus that causes the disease—has been eradicated. (Yes, theoretically, it could come back. So could buggy whips.)

On that note, we're close to eradicating polio. If you're interested, check out the documentary The Final Inch for an interesting look at the efforts to eradicate it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:26 PM on August 25, 2010


Pay phones.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:52 PM on August 25, 2010


More things will be automated. We no longer have elevator operators, for example.

Think about how horses were a common part of life just a hundred years ago. Huge, strong, hungry, expensive animals that people just jumped on and rode as a matter of course (after they managed to get the saddle and bridle on it), or hitched up to buggies and drove behind. Big hairy steaming beasts that you kept in a special outbuilding and had to feed, groom, and clean up after. Now almost no one gets anywhere near a horse except for rare recreational rides.

Cars may go the same way. To your grandchildren, it may be very weird to see pictures of grandma or grandpa with her or his very own car, one you actually bought at significant personal expense, a big noisy stinking gas-burning pile of metal and plastic that you maybe kept in a special building outside your house, a car you manually (!) piloted down public streets and highways just inches away from other manually piloted cars coming the opposite way. Make movies of you driving through the city, racing around the country, zooming down the highway, and parking in vast parking lots where you work or shop. Make sure you get shots of your hands putting a key into the ignition and turning the engine on, your hands working the turn signal and turning the wheel, your feet working the pedals to make it stop and go, your hands putting the gas pump into the car. Get video on a sunny day of the gas fumes rippling through the air and the numbers flicking by on the pump. Show them how you open the hood, let them see and hear the engine. Show them how you check the oil and get your hands dirty. In the winter, let them see you dig it out of the snow and scrape ice and snow off the windows, and then very carefully drive away on slippery roads.
posted by pracowity at 3:56 AM on August 26, 2010


The OP has no indication of age, but as a fortyish person with a brother fifteen years younger, I have found that even half a generation is enough to render depictions of some common experiences baffling.

This is absolutely true. I have teenage nephews who have never made a call in a payphone, or had to wait to get home to phone, or had to use a microfiche or go down to the reference library to look up a common fact. The changes in everyday life and technology over the past 20 years has been phenomenal - and it makes me excited about what we will be able to do once I'm fifty.
posted by mippy at 4:32 AM on August 26, 2010


Paper card catalogs at libraries.

And I know you have to put lead additive into unleaded gas to use it in older engines. How long will that be available?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:27 AM on August 26, 2010


Cheap oil.
posted by entropy at 8:51 AM on August 26, 2010


The Dead Sea.
posted by timory at 9:54 AM on August 26, 2010


People driving their own cars.
"Wasn't that incredibly dangerous?" "Yeah, I guess so."
posted by greytape at 11:27 AM on August 26, 2010


Some things are definitely being eroded away.
posted by h00py at 2:54 AM on August 27, 2010


Climbing Uluru.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:13 AM on August 27, 2010


People from the Can Do generation. This was an amazing group of men & women. If you run across one, take the time to listen to their stories. They lived in terrible times & achieved greatness through every day willing and work. They will be missed.
posted by Ys at 6:02 AM on September 3, 2010


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