March 28, 2001
It used to be that every cover of a WIRED magazine had "Get Wired" inscribed on it - each time in a different language.
Perhaps they got tired of "Get WIRED" (or more likely, they exhausted all the pleasant looking scripts) for now they have a new clever slogan for each issue. This issue dealing with "GIGATRENDS" has been anointed with "For Future Reference".
For some reason, that struck me as funny. I've been reading WIRED for some years now and I don't think I've ever looked back on it for reference. And even if I did it would be just to laugh at the exuberance and hubris of its early days (as Thomas Frank does so well).
That being said, I enjoy this issue of WIRED (with its WIRED warts and all).
It starts with a story about the custody battle over a glow-in-the-dark bunny rabbit between the lab that was responsible for its unique skin condition and the artist who had commissioned the living work of art.
What follows is a another good piece which profiles structural engineer Cecil Balmond, and in doing so brings to light the sometimes strained relationship between architect and engineer.
And if you are a space-buff, there's also a bit on battle over a proposed NASA probe to Pluto. (I'm not, so I skipped it)
Now there's usually at least one bit in every WIRED magazine that raises my eire, and for this issue it was the "Raising the Bar" profile of top-of-the-line bicycles, like the Ferrari-made CFI bikes at $9500 a pop.
This fetishism just seems so misguided. To me, the glory of a bicycle is the fact that they *don't* cost $9500. And I don't really care for all the new high-tech features that the profiled bikes have. Bikes that are simple, are also understandable, maintainable, and hackable. Just like how cars used to be.
The dangers of such complexity
would be one of my GIGATRENDS, but it's not one WIRED's 12. The odd thing
about their GIGATRENDS is that they are not very GIGA in size. Most ideas
get a couple paragraphs, tops. I will call these miniTRENDS.
1. The Protein Hunters
2. Personal Fabrication
3. Plague Years
4. The Next Wave
5. Debuggin Democracy
6. Disposable Corporations
8. P2P Health Care
9. 24/7 Global Marketplace
10. Borderless Bureaucracy
11. Micropower goes Macro
12. Turn on the Light
And rounding out the
list is a BONUS!
Singularity is an idea that so profoundly aggravates me that I think I'm going to write about it my next entry.