OK, first the good bit:
(Link from Fred).
Sure, it’s only one-colour, and simple stuff right now, but the step from “no programmable clothes” to “simple programmable clothes” is a lot bigger than the step from “simple programmable clothes” to “tricked out programmable clothes”.
I can’t stop thinking about this. I want a t-shirt like this so I can have Quote of the Week Friday. I want it be able to attach it to an SD card so that the text and image can change ever 10 minutes all day. (The all Russell Quotations T-shirt! The random non-sequitor T-shirt!). I want to integrate other sensors, so I can have mood-based programming, and so that when I pass out the shirt can change to an “If found, please return to…” message. I want to have a shirt that displays the entire text of the Fagles translation of the Odyssey, one line at a time. And so on.
The sad realization is that many of those things are only cool when programmable clothes aren’t common. As soon as everyone has them, that would quickly become annoying. Oh well.
Now the bad bit:
You know those science-fiction novels where the ex-urban future is a kind of “Road Warrior in the landfill” scenario? The ones from before nanotech was going to give us the Diamond Age? That kind of Max Headroom dystopia where scavengers survive by boating through a literal stream of garbage?
Yeah, that’s here too:
Apparently that area was absolutely pristine twenty years ago. That’s some shocking change in a relatively short time.
And the doomsday effect will spread. It is one of two major rivers that feed Lake Saguling, where the French have built the largest power generator in West Java.
Experts predict that as the river chokes, its volume will decrease and the generator will not function properly.
The area will be plunged into darkness.