Dept. Of Frivolous Modern Marvels


Apologies in advance to the editorial staff and to the larger Science in Society community for this post, but I think it warrants mention that the innovations I proposed in the abstract as a first-grader are finally becoming a reality.  In something that qualifies as vaguely scientific, Topps, the baseball card company, has teamed up with Disney CEO Michael Eisner to create animated 3D baseball cards.  Hold the card up to a webcam and a fully-rendered 3D model appears, complete with animations of stretching, pitching, hitting... the whole nine yards...or innings.

Glass-half-empty, maybe this is a marquee example of the ways in which funds for science and technology are completely misdirected to frivolous endeavors, but I prefer to view it as a testament of science as an innovating force.  Scientists have taken a medium normally limited to low-quality cardboard packaged with stale, flavorless gum and transformed it into a stage on which a digitalized Ryan Howard can clean his cleats and practice his swing.

While it's entirely possible that I just like cool, animated, 3D baseball cards, I also think that if it is possible for science to so completely transform lighthearted technology such as this one, it also must be possible to make similar revolutions in the development of cancer treatments, embryonic stem-cell research, and perhaps other serious disciplines and technologies.  But it's true that I still do really like 3D baseball cards.




I thought it was amazing that someday, research being conducted at NU and elsewhere could lead to real-life versions of "Skelegrow." But now you say J.K. Rowlings's imaginary, moving wizard cards are a reality. That IS cool.

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