What Makes Something Cool?

October 18, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

A speech by Neil deGrasse Tyson caused Jeff Porten to think about what it means for something to look cool. He pointed out:

  • We think the SR-71 Blackbird (pictured above), and the Concorde look cool, but not the double deckered Airbus A380.
  • We consider the Saturn V space rocket to look pretty cool, but not the Atlas V.
  • Yet the SR-71 Blackbird, Concorde, and Saturn V are fifty years old, and none of them are in active service anymore. In contrast the modern A380 and Atlas V are considered to be ugly.
  • We don’t think that phones that are fifty years old look cool. But we do think these ancient pieces of technology do. Why? Perhaps it’s because they were at the very top of their class and we have yet to develop anything cooler. When we develop something that’s even better than these older pieces of technology, we’ll begin to think that the old things look dated.
    • It’s disappointing then that some of our best technology was invented half a century ago.

Read more about the argument and how this relates to the space race over here.

Source: TidBITS

Via: Marginal Revolution