Thursday, August 04, 2022

The Personal Part Of Jet Packs

 July 31, 2022 was recently recognized as the birthdate of one George Jetson. For those of you uninitiated, George was, or will be, the patriarch of the space age version of The Flintstones, who were the stone age version of The Honeymooners. If you're following all that, then here's the nitty gritty: George Jetson had a flying car. Or will have a flying car. This is why time travel is so ridiculous. It's not the technology, it's the verb tenses. 

This flying car is what is at the core of my disappointment. For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of having a personal mode of transport that would lift me up and carry me over the traffic and the hustle and the bustle of earthbound twentieth century life. I have certainly mentioned it enough here in this blog that there are plenty of you who are past tired of hearing about it. And the personal jetpack. Same thing. 

I get it. 

But it hasn't been until this past week or so that I have begun to consider the folly of these pursuits. The idea of a flying car is integrally connected to the idea of a personal jet. And that notion has recently been under fire for all the right reasons. I confess that in all my fantasies involving my future modes of transportation, I had not considered the effects they might have on the planet that I seem so interested in floating lightly above. If you're a Drake or a Kardashian or a Swift, you may be as tired of hearing about the ecological impact of your private jets as my audience is about hearing me whine about the possibility of finally getting a flying car. But this is where the rubber meets the road, or rather the jet fuel hits the air: How about one ton of carbon for a ten minute flight to Las Vegas? And what if you did that fifty times a year? A hundred? A hundred seventy? 

Well, here's the thing: George Jetson was/is a fictional character. The world in which he lived had these flying saucer shaped cars that zipped around in what appeared to be fundamentally clear skies. That makes sense if there were that many private fictionally powered vehicles flitting about to the grocery store or to the office. But if I have my math right, it seems like we've got about forty years to turn that bit of made up cartoon world science into reality. Otherwise George and his boy Elroy might end up stuck on the ground, foraging for grubs in a dystopian wasteland in the aftermath of the climate Armageddon. Which probably wouldn't be as fun a cartoon, now that I think about it. 

No comments: