Invisible Things

Something is here, but you can't see it because it's invisible. At the bottom of Chris Matyszczyk's recent blog post about the brave new invisibilitysomething I'm sure we all look forward tois a brief list of things he'd make invisible, if it were up to him.

My list would include Buckingham Palace, the Hotel Gansevoort in New York, the whole of Washington Avenue in Miami Beach, most of Warsaw (especially the sky), La Guardia Airport and perhaps even Michael Jackson and Newt Gingrich.

I've seen photos of the first, sixth, and seventh items in the list, and although I understand his point, I think there are a few important considerations that ought to be addressed before these cloaking devices become readily available. I don't want to feel the guilt that comes from knowing I could have done something, but didn't because I was afraid of public ridicule.

I saw Predator, so I have a pretty fair idea of how a person would look after flipping the power switch. The problem with light-bending technology is that . . . well, it bends light. This means whatever you're standing in front of is what someone looking at you will see. That's fine as long as you're in front of, say, a tree. But what if you're standing in front of someone who just happens to be on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, and the person staring at you is an FBI agent? What if, instead of putting his hands in the air when the FBI agent yells, "Freeze, perp!" the wanted guy just laughs and says, "You'll never take me alive, copper!" and the FBI agent starts shooting, except you're standing in front of the perp, so you're filled with lead instead of the guy on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List?

Maybe these cloaking contraptions are made of ballistic nylon already. If so, my concerns are obviously groundless, my imagination just ran away with me, and I'm sorry I brought it up in the first place. Still, when these things start showing up on the shelves of my local hardware store, the first thing I'm going to look for is the little tag that tells me it's bulletproof. Better safe than sorry.


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