The Mix

A true technological marvel

Some of the technological gadgets I'm longing for: a remote that turns off other people's cellphones and a microphone for journalists with a built-in bullshit detector.
For someone how works at an online magazine, I'm basically a luddite. I don't really know what TiVo is, for example, and I have not yet listened to or produced a podcast. It's partly that science and technology never seems to come up with solutions to what I actually see as problems. How can we have Viagra, for example, but not a legal male contraceptive? How can we have wireless Internet, but no way to turn off ear-splitting car alarms?

I really wanted a device that would turn off other people's cellphones while they were driving, but since I couldn't find one I finally ordered a TVBeGone, that nifty remote device that turns off televisions anywhere: at your in-laws, at the airport, at the restaurant/bar when you're trying to have an actual conversation. Thing is, I'm too scared to try it yet. Won't that beefy guy at the airport bar beat me up when I turn off the television in the middle of the game? And I know that just because I can't stand listening to the President's State of the Union address any longer, doesn't mean my dad doesn't want to sit right up close, yelling at the screen, till the bitter end. I keep TVBeGone on my keychain, though, waiting for the perfect moment to press the button.

While I'm waiting togather the courage, I'm hoping inventors will come up with some of the other technological devices I've been longing for. Top on my list right now is a microphone that members of the White House Press Corps could use that would include a lie detector that would shout out "Bullshit!" every time Scott McClellan said an outright lie. For an extra charge, the press could get microphones that repeated back, from their tapes, the Press Secretary's earlier, contradictory, statements.
Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.
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