Wednesday 24 May 2017

We are pygmies standing on the shoulders of Victorian giants

Steve Jobs: A ‘new Victorian’. Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File
Steve Jobs: A ‘new Victorian’. Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

We in these gormless times owe much to those born under the reign of Victoria. Overall, we cannot hold a candle to achievements of that world. A gasoline-powered car was built in Birmingham in 1895, London's tube opened in 1890.

Thomas 'John' Crapper, born in 1836, created his floating ballcock. My house still has various functioning ballcocks, I'm proud to say. Ontario, powered by Niagara falls since 1896, Edison's bulb brightened his finances in 1879. By 1903, Orville Wright's prescient but weather-delayed flight offered no beverage, only varieties of nuts. Thomas Watson received an unexpected telephone summons in 1876 from impatient Mr Bell. Also ahead of time Logie Baird, born in 1888, broadcast a ventriloquist dummy on his televisor - a dummy, for the first time on TV.

Next to astronauts floating in space stations for 40 years, doing 'experiments', observing copulating Drosophila, driverless cars are now this generation's great goal. Which country needs these things? Rockall? Sleepy Hollow? Maybe bus, taxi and Uber drivers better get off their high horse, if that is coming down the pike. However, except for delivering mail in corridors or dodgy carnival rides, I expect 'headless cars' will not come to pass. Too soon.

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