Everybody knows that when you’re faced with an overwhelming amount of work, not because of outside pressure as much as because you’ve been slow to get things done, the best course of action is to procrastinate some more. The past couple of nights I’ve been hard-core with the procrastination; I did something I can’t remember doing in a long time: I just sat in front of the TV and flipped through the channels, watching whatever was on.
When you start channel-surfing after years of having a reliance on the TiVo, it really makes you stop and think. I just couldn’t shake the thought of how much research and effort and science and technology went into my TV setup.
Go back hundreds if not thousands of years, to when man first discovered sequential images. Then the discovery of persistence of vision, and the foresight to put those images together to create animation. Elsewhere, the principles of color theory that lead to the pointillist movement in art, and the ingenious discovery that the human brain can make up a complete image from discrete points of color.
Then there’s all of the genius that went into the discovery and use of radio waves and the idea of broadcasted transmissions. Research into sound and acoustics, so that a signal can be recorded, transmitted, and reproduced on a remote speaker. The study of phosphors, which can generate light when hit with electricity. The idea of representing information digitally, so that a single coherent image can be broken up into discrete pixels and then reproduced on a display device. The evolution of the cathode ray tube, which generates a complete two-dimensional image several times a second using a single beam of electricity that moves faster than we can easily conceive. Then the development of plasma and liquid crystal displays, which create images and animation on a flat surface. Not to mention all the technology that went into the construction of flat, high-resolution screens and tiny speakers and circuit boards.
On top of all that, there’s the study of propulsion and rocket science. And the evolution of that from the obvious applications like space exploration and blowing up people, to the ingenious idea of launching a piece of machinery into geosynchronous orbit with the earth so that you can transmit these digital images to far distant points on the planet almost instantaneously.
And all those centuries of research and toil and brilliant discoveries from the most genius minds of the human race all work together to bring us “Deal or No Deal.”
While we’re all contemplating the significance of that, I have to go use a bunch of miniaturized transistors that perform millions of calculations in a second, and ultra-thin liquid crystal displays and tiny radio transmitters that communicate with an extensive cellular radio network to provide instantaneous communication with points halfway across the world, so I can vote for Mario Lopez to win “Dancing with the Stars.” Slater’s got the moves, yo.