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Although fairly unimportant to the majority of people, the recent ending of commercial Concorde flights annoyed the hell out of me. Not only did it signal the end of an incredible bit of British and French engineering, the first and only supersonic passenger aircraft, but also the end of part of my youth since the airport in my hometown was used every summer for training flights for this majestic airplane. While I was growing up, from almost anywhere in my home town you could see the most futuristic plane you had ever imagined taking off, circling the town and practice landing dozens of times each day for one week every summer.
But the main reason that the removal of this plane from the skies has bothered me was the fact that it is a giant leap backwards, suddenly no-one, no matter how rich, can buy a ticket for a supersonic flight, and Britain and America are no longer only 2 hours apart. But mainly because the removal of Concorde from the skies shatters the version of the future sold to me as a child.
When I was young I read and believed my comics, I watched Science Fiction and believed in the futures they were selling me. I never was stupid enough to take their predictions to be exact, but when I saw 2001, it opened to me the fact that one day colonies would exist on the moon, and that passenger flights would be scheduled to orbiting space stations, and that manned flights would one day stretch across our solar system. But now, the reality is that manned flights are too expensive and difficult, so sending robot probes is a much more economical solution, much in the same way that slower and bigger planes were more economical than the small, petite and incredibly beautiful Concorde.
They promised supersonic travel, they promised flying cars, they promised rocket packs, they promised robots which would clean your house, they promised solar panels which would power your entire house, they promised that cars, planes, and indeed rocket packs would all run on cheap and easy to produce hydrogen. They also promised central computer systems in your home which would run all of the electronics in the house and send orders when you were running low on supplies . . . .
Okay, I admit they did occasionally get it right. But on the whole, the future they were telling me I was going to grow up into is completely different to the one that the older generation have actually provided. When I look up into the sky, I see a total lack of supersonic travel, flying cars and rocket packs, so I'd like to take this opportunity to complain, this future that I've been provided with is faulty, it's a bit crap to tell the truth.
Okay, so we've got the internet, and computer technology has evolved totally beyond what anyone imagined possible 20 years ago. Mobile phones are so advanced now, that science fiction seems totally bland in comparison (compare a communicator out of the original Star Trek with a modern mobile phone, personally I'm sure that mine has more computing power than they imagined the entire starship Enterprise would have). But everything else they promised has totally failed to appear. I want my artificially aware house, I want my bio-dome on the moon, I want to commute every morning by hover-bus, I want to visit Australia on a flight which only takes 30 minutes, I want a robot dog, I want synthetic clothing with television screens built in which also keeps itself clean through some sort of static charge, and GODDAMIT I want my rocket pack, or I want my money back.
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