Thursday, October 19, 2006

Headlines and Heartaches

I left a meeting this afternoon and instinctively hopped onto Netvibes, and this is the first thing that caught my eye.

“Experts Create Invisibility Cloak”.

“Invisibility cloak!” I shout out loud, with little to no regard for those working hard around me. “I knew this day would come!”

October 19 was going to go down as being a better day than any birthday. October 19 was going to go down as being a better day than any Christmas. October 19 was going to go down as the day that my childhood dreams were finally realized.

I was one step closer to becoming invisible. How cool is that!

Sure, that may sound childish, but I don’t care. When you’re nine years old, there’s nothing cooler than being able to go invisible. Nothing. No rare baseball cards, no shoes with pumps in them, no nothing.

You’d never lose another game of hide-and-go-seek. Break a window with a foul ball? Johnny’s gonna take the fall, not the invisible kid. The possibilities were endless, and I still remember what it felt like to imagine those possibilities coming true.

Can I tell you the heartbreak I felt when I got two paragraphs in to find out that this groundbreaking “invisibility cloak” did nothing more than redirected microwave beams, so that they curved around a small object and reconnected on the other side, not unlike water flowing past a rock?

Sure, it’s quite a technological advancement. Think same idea as the stealth bomber, but much more advanced. Anybody in the military has to be pretty much ecstatic, as radar beams are even thicker than the tested microwaves, and just as easy to manipulate using this technology.

Good for them.

Know what? If I were a small object that was trying to hide from microwaves, I’d be jumping for joy today. But I’m not. I’m a nine year old kid trapped in a 20-something’s body, who thought he had just had his childhood dreams come true. Only to realize he was duped by a cleverly deceptive headline.

You got me this time, Paul Rincon, Science Reporter for BBC News. But just this once.

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