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Nina In New York: Things Just Keep Getting Cooler

In this handout image provided by NASA and released on August 8, 2012, a Picasso-like self portrait of NASA's Curiosity rover was taken by its Navigation cameras, located on the now-upright mast. The camera snapped pictures 360-degrees around the rover, while pointing down at the rover deck, up and straight ahead. Those images are shown here in a polar projection. Most of the tiles are thumbnails, or small copies of the full-resolution images that have not been sent back to Earth yet. Two of the tiles are full-resolution. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images)

In this handout image provided by NASA and released on August 8, 2012, a Picasso-like self portrait of NASA’s Curiosity rover was taken by its Navigation cameras, located on the now-upright mast. The camera snapped pictures 360-degrees around the rover, while pointing down at the rover deck, up and straight ahead. Those images are shown here in a polar projection. Most of the tiles are thumbnails, or small copies of the full-resolution images that have not been sent back to Earth yet. Two of the tiles are full-resolution. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images)

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.

By Nina Pajak

The thing that I love about right now, this particular moment in time, is all the incredibly cool futuristic stuff that’s being invented.

I guess the human race has always tried to think of the next wacky invention, be it the spherical globe, the printing press, moon shoes, jet packs, or talking meat thermometers. But I feel like things are finally starting to really heat up. We are finally at the perfect nexus of technological advances and creative thinking, where cool crap gets made and it doesn’t all look like rejected props from the set of Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Of course, we’ve all been introduced to the big stuff. The Mars Rover, Google Glass, THE IPHONE 5 OMGOMGOMG, military robots, uterus transplants, peanut butter flavored Cheerios, etc. But there’s been some other stuff happening which, though of perhaps lesser importance, still blows. My. Mind.

For instance, some freaky scientists have deduced a way to make laboratory-grown leather. Just biopsy a little bit of cow (it’ll only hurt for a second), add a dash of this, a pinch of that, stir it all up, let it cook for a while, stretch, tan, and BOOM. You’ve got a jacket that will make both hide-loving Lady Gaga AND vegan Alicia Silverstone happy. And if you’re the Sultan of Brunei  you might be able to afford it. It’s like Dr. Frankenstein meets Neiman Marcus . . . Dr. Neimenstein! Oh no wait, that’s my dentist.

And—get this—GPS shoes! Okay, apparently these already existed (boy am I out of it), but only in the “tracking device super sleuth private eye” sense. Now they exist as a prototype in the  “your feet will tell you where to go” sense. Now, don’t get too excited. When I first read that headline, I imagined shoes which could physically compel a person to move in a given direction. Like, if you’re supposed to take a right onto Main Street, your shoes will remain planted if you lean left or zap you with a mild shock or something. On the other hand, through the magic of magnets or whatever, they would move your legs in the right direction, taking you effortlessly to your destination while you continue your game of Scramble with Friends uninterrupted. In reality, the shoes have LED lights in the toes which point you in the right direction and turn green when you’ve arrived at your destination. Totally cool. But try not to let your imagination get carried away, because you’re not actually going to be.

I can’t wait to buy my first pair. I wonder how long it’ll be before I walk into the side of a bus due to walking while staring down at my toes.