Locklin on science

Automotive memories

Posted in fun, manhood by Scott Locklin on April 10, 2020

When I was a teenage kid in the 80s, my hometown had youth car culture. If you don’t know what this is, check out the old George Lucas movie, American Graffiti for a 1950s version of it. People driving up and down the strip, occasionally racing, getting crappy food, hanging out, getting into fisticuffs in parking lots, playing hide the salami in the back seat of the car parked behind the Zayres department store.  Vidya games sucked in those days, and our parents yelled at us if we talked on the phone for too long (twisted pair, yo). I guess there was cable-tv, but the novelty kind of wears off. The closest thing to a wholesome pass-time in my boring suburban home town was driving around aimlessly, blowing giant holes in the ozone layer, giving everyone brain damage and creating acid rain in Canada with our stinky “still uses tetra ethyl lead” old automobiles. I’m sure there are youthful tittering pustules now gasping in horror at the environmental destructiveness of it all: great; have fun furiously thumb twiddling  your outwage on your nerd dingus -I pity the new generation of human soybeans.

When you’re a working class teenage kid in a podunk suburb of a 3rd tier city, unless you have rich parents or are a drug dealer, you’re not driving a new car. You’re driving something 10 to 25 years old. In the 80s, on the East Coast, this also meant you’re driving something with gaping rust-holes in it; possibly with “bondo” patches. I remember one of my buddies drove this giant 2-door buick with a “fred flintstone” hole in the floor. Would occasionally drive over puddles when he had someone he didn’t like in the back seat.


The menagerie of cars we drove in those days really were something, and nothing like the things people drive now. One of the cool things about them was they were all “hackable.” You could work on your own car, and in fact, those old cars were meant to be fiddled with. At minimum, you had to fiddle with the carb/s, the voltage regulator and distributor of an old car.  Sky’s the limit for fiddlin; swapping an engine or transmission out was a project which could be accomplished by one or two people in an afternoon, even using shitty equipment. Less if you had a real garage with lifts to work in. Most of my youthful colleagues liked fiddling with automobiles. Some of them went on to become engineers and scientists as a result.

The one that got away: Starfire with 10.5:1 ultra high compression pistons, and alas a cracked frame

The car of dreams for a young guy was something like a Hemi Cuda, Boss Mustang, Firebird or Chevelle. A two door “compact” car of its day with sporty styling and a 7+ liter displacement “big block” engine in it producing upwards of 400 horsepower. Modern automakers started making these again a few years back, to cater to my generation; with even more preposterous horsepower numbers as routine equipment. Nobody actually owned one of these, but they might have owned one with a smaller engine in it (I had a couple of Barracudas) and done an engine transplant. That’s just redneck aspirational engineering though. The really cool ones in hindsight were the various kinds of “cigar butts” we got our hands on. Cars that were beat to shit, but had some kind of cool motor or other quality to them.

Satan’s Buick

The Buick I mention above was one of those. It was a two door, which considering how bloody long and boat-like it was, was pretty funny. It only had a 350 in it, but it was a Buick three-fiddy, which meant it had some decent guts to it; often beating newer IROC-Zs (preferred middle class jocko automobile; it looked fast, but the smog system of the day made it a real dog) in a race between stoplights. It also had the most preposterous boat-like suspension; when it was raining, and we were driving it hard on the baloney-skin little 14″ tires, it would occasionally smoothly slide sideways over 4″ curbs without anyone in the car noticing.


New cars were hilarious in those days; particularly US compact cars. I remember one dude whose girlfriend was a middle class girl who owned a Chevy Chevette she more or less bought new. What a trash fire that thing was. Lousy handling, 50 odd horsepower, and the fine engineering qualities we associate with Detroit in the 1980s. It was insanely bad, constantly breaking down, and she probably dated my pal because he was a mechanic. US technology of the day couldn’t figure out how to build a car with decent performance, gas mileage and emissions qualities. This is why everyone who had a choice ended up driving Japanese cars. The smog system on cars in those days was an unholy spaghetti of vacuum hoses and valves which rarely (if ever) worked properly.


the car that made the Yugo look good

I had this thing called an AMC Concord at one point; in principle this sort of car in 4WD form was the origin of the “crossover vehicle.” In actuality mine was an ordinary rear wheel drive. Someone’s older brother bought the thing, handed it down to his bro, who sold it to me when he upgraded to something people wouldn’t make fun of him for driving. It was basically an economy car of the late 70s early 80s; it had a straight-6 engine, and unlike the chevettes was a fairly comfy ride. There are various stories I could tell about my antics with the thing, involving quarts of vodka, offroad adventures with dead deer and sleazey women, but the operative story was how poor I was when I was driving this contraption. For some reason I didn’t think I could afford anti-freeze for the thing in the winter (probably $50 I’d rather spend on gas). I’d just keep the thing running by driving it around all the time, which is more or less what I did anyway. Seemed reasonable, as I worked a lot when I wasn’t plumbing the mysteries of Calculus. It actually worked almost the entire winter, until I slept in on a cold day and the engine block froze. I figured the thing was kaput, so I sold it to the local junkyard for $200 and bought another cigar butt with the proceeds. After the spring thaw I saw it in the junkyard I was picking over for parts for my new cigar butt; a Dodge Dart. Laughing, I stuck my key in it and it fired right up. The block was sturdy enough I guess; same one they used in Jeeps until fairly recently.

The Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant was the ultimate cigar butt car. It was a “compact car” of its day; it actually weighed under 3000lbs with a driver in it. The standard engine was this thing called a “slant-6.” A really antiquated inline-6 design with such a large (4.125 inch) piston stroke, it had to be put in the engine compartment at a thirty degree angle. You could have put it in a Studebaker or a Packard sticking straight up and down, but in 60s and 70s contemporary cars, the hoods weren’t so tall and cavernous.

dat slant-6

The thing was bulletproof. This came from a couple of interesting design decisions. Originally it was designed to use a futuristic aluminum block, so the castings were thick to support the aluminum design. To save money, the iron castings were the same as aluminum. The iron blocks could have been made thinner as iron is stronger.  Most of the engines ended up being made of iron, a spectacular waste of material from a planned obsolescence point of view, but a huge win for those who owned one. The engine also used giant crankshaft journals; the bearings which kept the engine together. The small bore combined with long stroke helped keep things torquey and fuel efficient. And for some reason they used a forged crankshaft, which is ridiculous overkill on an economy motor that makes 125 horsepower. It also ran really well with good rolling torque; mostly because of the intake manifold design. In those pre-fuel injection days, that was usually the limiting thing about your engine; getting the fuel from the carb jets (basically these were just reversed spray can nozzles) to the combustion chambers over the pistons. The design of the slant-6 intake manifold actually came from Chrysler’s experience with cross ram Max-Wedge engine manifolds; the much cooler looking 7 liter high performance engines that came before the legendary 426 hemi. This, combined with weird antiquated things like … solid lifters; something that hadn’t been standard since the early 60s; combined to make this weird atavism virtually indestructible.

This motor, plus the decently designed carriage of Chrysler A body cars gave the reputation of “only cockroaches and dodge darts will survive the apocalypse.” I’ve had a couple of them, again, you pay a few hundred bucks and drive them until the tires fall off.



While I probably should have worked on my calculus a few years earlier than I did instead of screwing around with hoopty mechanics, the type of thinking and practical experience you’d get from such things was pretty helpful. Putting together anything mechanical in the atomic physics world was pretty trivial after working on weird borked up cars in backyard garages. More to the point; debugging things on these old cars was a great lesson in fixing anything mechanical or electronic. If you can make a ratty old engine purr by fiddling with the carbs and dwell angle on some distributor points, you can make a complex scientific apparatus work.

I don’t want to work on your shitty blockchain project: especially you, Facebook

Posted in fun, privacy by Scott Locklin on May 24, 2018

At the moment, I appear to be some kind of unicorn. I’m a no bullshit dozen year veteran of using math and machine learning to solve  business problems. I’ve also got some chops in blockchain which I am considerably more humble about. I am a real life machine learning blockchain guy. I don’t actually ride to work on a unicycle while wearing silver pants, but I probably could get away with it. As such, recruiters looking to cash in on the blockchain chuckwagon  seem  unable to leave me alone, despite my explicitly asking them to do so.

Image result for blockchain unicorn

It boggles my mind that there even exist recruiters for blockchain. After the blockchain annus mirabilis of 2017, anyone who knows a few useful things about the subject is almost certainly productively employed and probably fairly unconcerned with stuff like money. I’d posit that any blockchain type who can’t find productive employment on socially useful projects or isn’t in danger of financial independence either  doesn’t feel like working, doesn’t care about money or doesn’t actually know anything about blockchain. In the former cases you can’t recruit them, and in the latter case, you really shouldn’t.

Of course there are no shortage of faux “experts” who wouldn’t know a Merkle-tree from a KD-tree. Usually these same “experts” were or would have been touting themselves as “AI” or machine learning thought leaders a few months prior, and IoT, augmented reality, clean tech, “dat cloud” and … I don’t remember what the litany of  marketing diarrhea was being squirted out of Silly Con Valley’s corporate orifices before then. I have better things to use that brain cell for.

On the off chance that someone who is competent in this subject were looking for a job, there are obvious places to go. The crypto currency exchanges are decent places that will  incubate many new ventures; Gemini would be my pick. Their exchange is technologically far and away the best there is, and based on my experiences so far, it’s also the best run. There is good reason for this; the Winkelvii struck me as a couple of smart, honest and diligent guys. Better than the exchanges are the companies and foundations running the various blockchain projects themselves. Crypto investment funds will be an interesting place to make a buck. Right now it’s shooting fish in a barrel and there are a lot of morons doing it, but some of them are going to accumulate tremendous wealth, and there are direct, obvious and not so obvious ways a blockchain expert can help them do this. Or, start your own blockchain project. There is much work to do, and even though it is more difficult to fund new projects than last year, good projects will be funded, and now is the time. Whatever solutions win either already exist or they will shortly.  Other decent ideas: one of the big accounting firms, the banks, various corporate contributors to hyperledger fabric.

Of course, I don’t want any of this: I’m exactly where I want to be. I am helping good people fix the internet and save it from corporate weasels. Every day I get up and help do my bit to make things better. It’s a nice feeling. Problems are pretty interesting too.

But if I did want another job, the very last place on earth I would work is Facebook. Facebook is corporate syphilis. I keep telling them this. I even went through the process of quitting their service and wrote a whole blog on it. They don’t listen. It’s almost like they don’t give a shit when people tell them things. I was polite the first time, joking they could have my services if they buy my company. No more.

When I say Facebook is corporate syphilis, I am not engaging in hyperbole. I consider tobacco companies to be more ethical and serving a higher social purpose. Tobacco companies employ factory workers, farmers, shopkeepers and .. they keep doctors in business. Tobacco is more sociable than Facebook; smokers must meet face to face now that they are banished to the outdoors. Hell, smoking is probably physiologically healthier than spending hours a day noodling with your nerd dildo on ‘tardbook; at least you get up and walk around once an hour.  Supposedly nicotine is a prophylactic against Parkinsons disease, even if the most popular delivery method does kind of give you cancer. Facebook isn’t prophylactic against anything but having a life. Unlike Facebook,  some people want and enjoy nicotine. Nobody in the history of the human race has ever decided they want something like Facebook in their lives. “Gee I want a fraudulent advertising service that ruins and commodifies my relationships, wastes my time, makes me depressed, decays the moral fiber of entire civilizations, causes mass hysteria, spies on me and sells me out for pocket change, is as addictive as heroin,  is the bones of a hellscape surveillance state and is impossible to live without in the modern world; SIGN ME UP YO.”

Even gambling syndicates serve a higher social purpose than Facebook. The gambling rackets provide subsidies for entertainment, jobs for hundreds of thousands of decent working class people, and they somehow manage to employ more and more interesting applied math types than Facebook does. Facebook has all of the addictive and time wasting qualities of gambling, applied to more people, causing more social corrosion and employing fewer people. Facebook really is corporate syphilis.



Their excuse for existence is that Facebook “brings people together.”  CBS news used to bring people together; everyone would watch 60 minutes and talk about it at the water cooler. Facebook is a narcissism factory which causes moral panics, ridiculous rumor propagation, argument between friends, social fragmentation, alienation and even mass suicide. It’s also so obviously rotting the social fabric of the internet and society at large, even the debauched whores in the media are noticing. Facebook’s walled garden is wrecking the economics of the content providers and entertainers that make the internets interesting and worthwhile. It’s run by opportunistic mountebanks and sinister robots who … well, assuming they aren’t actual comic book villains, they sure do a reasonable impersonation. The PR these yoyos get is at best Stalinistic nonsense; at worst, people just sucking up to money and power. Speaking of Stalinism, Facebook employs literal former Stasi agents to censor and snitch on people for … saying things. Think about that. They expect me to work for a company that employs East German Secret Police; in precisely the same capacity as they were used in the former East German Workers paradise. I wonder what their dental plan is like? Maybe the one described in Marathon Man?

Kim Jong Il backed by officers visits the July 18 Cattle FarmImage result for zuck and cows


The recruiters (4 so far counting outside contractors) tell me there is some little Eichmann at Facebook who suffers under the delusion I would work in their cubicle jonestown. I will not. Not as long as I have a kidney I can sell to Ukrainian kidney merchants,  hands to shovel shit, or a sword to fall on. Facebook needs blockchain and machine learning people the same way they need a Manhattan project on biological warfare.

I am no boy scout, but I do still harbor a vague moral sense. Facebook is bad and anyone who works there who is not an active saboteur or malingerer should be deeply ashamed of themselves.   The only way I will ever return to their once pleasant campus (it was pleasant when Sun Microsystems was there) is at the head of a column of tanks.


Edit add: look at what they came out with today; a press release from their own internal ministry of truth. I’m going to assume it is either the Demons they keep in the basement, or the electroshock therapy they administer in the “art rehab center” which causes the total lack of self awareness which makes crap like this possible: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/05/facing-facts-facebooks-fight-against-misinformation/


Please stop writing new serialization protocols

Posted in Design, fun by Scott Locklin on April 2, 2017

It seems that every day, some computer monkey comes up with a new and more groovy serialization protocol.

In the beginning, there was ASN.1 and XDR, and it was good. I think ASN.1 came first, and like many old things, it was very efficient. XDR was easier to use. At some point, probably before ASN.1, people noticed you could serialize things using stuff like s-expressions for a human readable JSON like format.

Today, we have an insane profusion of serializers. CORBA (which always sucked), Thrift,  protocol buffers,  Messagepack, Avro,  BSON,  BERT, Property Lists, Bencode (Bram … how could you?), Hessian, ICEEtch, CapnProto (because he didn’t get it right the first time), SNAC, Dbus, MUSCLE, YAML, SXDF, XML-RPC, MIME, FIX, FAST,  JSON, serialization in Python, R, PHP, ROOT and Perl… Somehow this is seen as progress.

Like many modern evils, I trace this one to Java and Google. You see, Google needed a serialization protocol across thousands of machines which had versioning. They probably did the obvious thing of tinkering with XDR by sticking a required header on it which allowed for versioning, then noticed that Intel chips are not Big Endian the way Sun chips were, and decided to write their own  semi shitty versioning version of XDR … along with their own (unarguably shitty) version of RPC. Everything has been downhill since then. Facebook couldn’t possibly use something written at Google, so they built “Thrift,” which hardly lives up to its name, but at least has a less shitty version of RPC in it. Java monkeys eventually noticed how slow XML was between garbage collects and wrote the slightly less shitty but still completely missing the point Avro. From there, every ambitious and fastidious programmer out there seems to have come up with something which suits their particular use case, but doesn’t really differ much in performance or capabilities from the classics.

The result of all this is that, instead of having a computer ecosystem where anything can talk to anything else, we have a veritable tower of babel where nothing talks to anything else. Imagine if there were 40 competing and completely mutually unintelligible versions of html or text encodings: that’s how I see the state of serialization today. Having all these choices isn’t good for anything: it’s just anarchy. There really should be a one size fits all minimal serialization protocol, just the same way there is a one size fits all network protocol which moves data around the entire internet, and, like UTF-8. You can have two flavors of the same thing: one S-exp like which a human can read, and one which is more efficient. I guess it should be little-endian, since we all live in Intel’s world now, but otherwise, it doesn’t need to do anything but run everywhere.

IMO, this is a social problem, not a computer science problem. The actual problem was solved in the 80s with crap like XDR and S-expressions which provide fast binary and human readable/self describable representations of data. Everything else is just commentary on this, and it only gets written because it’s kind of easy for a guy with a bachelors degree in CS to write one, and more fun to dorks than solving real problems like fixing bugs. Ultimately this profusion creates more problems than creating a new one solves: you have to make the generator/parser work on multiple languages and platforms, and each implementation on each language/platform will be of varying quality.

I’m a huge proponent of XDR, because it’s the first one I used (along with RPC and rpcgen), because it is Unixy, and because most of the important pieces of the internet and unix ecosystem were based on it. A little endian superset of this with a JSON style human semi-readable form, and an optional self-description field, and you’ve solved all possible serialization problems which sane people are confronted with. People can then concentrate on writing correct super-XDR extensions to get all their weird corner cases covered, and I will not be grouchy any more.

It also bugs the hell out of me that people idiotically serialize data when they don’t have to (I’m looking at you, Spark jackanapes), but that’s another rant.

Oh yeah, I do like Messagepack; it’s pretty cool.

The Future ain’t what it used to be

Posted in fun, Progress by Scott Locklin on November 1, 2016

I came across this video recently. It is a think piece by the Ford motor company and a long dead electronics firm called Philco showing what the future will be like from the perspective of 1967. It’s a nice imaginative vista from a time of great technological optimism: 1967. They were close to accomplishing the moon shot, and the Mach-3 Boeing SST had only recently been announced. From the perspective of a technologist alive in those days, life could have ended up like this. The set of things people worried about technological solutions and conveniences they thought would be cool are also interesting. It is kind of sad comparing this bold imagined future (only 32 years away from when the video was made) to our actually existing shabby 1999 +17y future.  It’s 21 minutes, so if you don’t have 21 minutes to watch the whole thing, you can read my comments.


The husband of the house is an astrophysicist (working a remote day job on Mars Colonization no less) with a hobby doing … botany. He’s got a lab at home and is trying to breed a super peach with a protective tangerine skin. This is wildly unrealistic, even if they had thought of genetic engineering back then, and as far as I know, nobody is breeding crazy fruits today, let alone doing so as a hobby. Obviously nobody is colonizing Mars. Still, food and novelty was apparently considered important in 1967, so it is kind of endearing they gave the astrophysicist this kind of hobby. Most astrophysicists I know work 80 hour weeks and have hobbies like looking at youtube videos and grousing about funding levels.

home botany experiments

home botany experiments

The house of tomorrow has a central computer where all kinds of stuff is stored in its “memory banks.” There is really no reason why people distribute their data all over creation the way they do now; the future from 1967 looked a lot more sane and safe in this regard.  Memory banks and computers in this video look a lot like the computers, TVs and radios of 1967. They’re kind of cool looking, like a bit CAMAC crate or IBM mainframe.


memory banks of the future have lots of dip switches

The kid (single child to upper middle class parents; good prediction) seems to be homeschooled by  teaching machines. This is quite technically feasible these days, but not so many people work at home in our shabby future of 2016 that this is done regularly.

home schooling technology

home schooling technology

They chat with each other electronically. Their future used a sort of video intercom, which is a lot more interesting than our actual crummy future, where people furiously thumb-type text messages to each other from across the dinner table, rather than video calling from the other room. They also didn’t predict chatroulette.

1967 era instant messaging

1967 era instant messaging

Dinner is pre-processed and stored in some kind of central silo which microwaves dinner for everybody, based on their nutritional requirements and how fat they’re getting; all done in less than 2 minutes. The upside to our shabby future present is people don’t like icky but futuristic seeming TV dinners as much as they did in the 60s. Our shitty future equivalent, I guess, at least in the Bay Area, we have “services” which deliver food to your house unmade, and you have a bonding experience with your significant other following the directions and making the food. Or we just go to the grocery store like they did in 1967. There are probably apps which claim to track calories for people,  but in shitty future now pretty much everyone is disgustingly fat. Oh yeah, in the future of 1967, dishwashers are obsolete; everyone throws their (seemingly perfectly reusable) plates away. Little did they know in 1967, landfills would become a political problem.

making dinner using technology

making dinner using technology

Lots of clothes in the 1967 future will be as disposable as the plates and silverware. The ones that you want to keep are ultrasound dry cleaned using a frightening closet which seems quite exposed to the rest of the house, despite shooting visible clouds of noxious chemicals all over the place. People in the 1967 future weren’t as petrified of chemicals as we are now. Frankly their self cleaning closet gives even me the creeps. I don’t even like using moth balls. Hot link to scary cleaning closet here.

In the 1967 future, the Mrs. of the household can buy stuff “online,” which was a pretty good guess. Of course, their “online” is from some kind of live video feed. The idea of a website (or a mouse or keyboard) hadn’t occurred to them yet. And the bank is also accessible through some other kind of computerized console, as is a “home post office” which I guess was a form of email. Though their email system works in cursive in this example. I am guessing that typewriter style keyboards were seen as a specialized skill in those days, and “push button” was seen as more futuristic.

Amazon shopping in the future

Amazon shopping in the future

The house is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell for some reason, and “pure water” is a useful byproduct. Maybe in the 1967 future plumbing will be depreciated. In their 1967-vantage future, despite breeding crazy peaches and eating all their food from the microwave-refrigerator food dispensing machine, they’ll get strange undersea fruits from hydro-cultured underwater farms. 1960s futurology was filled with fantasies of growing things under water; science fiction from those days seemed to think we’d all be algae eaters in the future. I was never able to figure that out. I guess humanity obviated this with the green revolution, which was not something which was particularly predictable from those days.

The home gym is fun. It features a medical scanner which scans you while reclining on an Eames style couch and makes exercise suggestions; something that doesn’t exist anywhere, probably never will, despite all the DARPA requests for such a thing. Pretty much the same thing as in Star Trek’s “sick bay.” There’s lots of funny old timey exercise equipment in the gym, some of which has made a recent comeback; exercise clubs, gymnastic rings, chest expander. I don’t think they predicted the come back of such devices: those were probably cutting edge in 1967. Oh yeah, the medical scanner sends data back to the community medical center: HIPPA records apparently don’t apply in 1967 future, as opposed to our present shitty future, because people didn’t think of themselves as living in a sinister  oligopoly careening towards totalitarianism as we do now.



In 1967 future, you video call your far away buddy to make travel plans, just like now on skype. But in 1967 future you could pick between a golf course in Monterey and one in Mexico City for a casual afternoon of golf, depending on the weather forecast. Because in those days, it seemed inevitable that supersonic or even hypersonic air travel be cheap and convenient. They had no way of knowing the oil crisis would come, just as they had no way of knowing you’d need to arrive 3 hours early to the airport because of imbecile US foreign policy hubris. Remember you didn’t even need a photo ID to get on a plane until 1999 or so; you could go to the airport with a bundle of cash and fly anywhere you wanted to; just like in 1967. In a later scene in the video, pals from Philippines and Paris show up for a house party, because, again, supersonic (maybe hypersonic) flight is super cheap in the 1967 future.

skype in the future

skype in the future

Hobbies in the future: the lady of the house has a fine arts degree and makes pots at home. I actually know a few people like this, and suspect there were people like this in 1967, but it’s really more of an upper middle class thing than a future thing. It’s arguably more upper middle class now for the missus to work for a non-profit. Video games in 1967 future seemed to be restricted to chess. 1999 shabby future had stuff like Castle Wolfenstein and was legitimately less shitty than the imagined 1967 future. It’s probably better for kids to play computer chess though.


Parties in the 1967 future looked better than modern parties; people dressed stylishly and listened to decent music while having enlightened conversation. This is pretty rare these days, though I suppose people do often have “parties” centered around the TV the way they did.



The 1999 future as envisioned in 1967 seemed like a nice place. Everything is convenient. People spent a lot of time bettering themselves with productive hobbies; making artistic pots and breeding interesting plants when they’re not doing a man’s work sending people to colonize Mars or playing duets with your child on a giant synthesizer. Friendships were cultivated all over the world, and travel was trivial and cheap. People in the 1967 envisioned future were apparently very worried about getting fat; I can only speculate that this was an actual concern of 1967, which is probably why everyone looks so slim in those old timey “people watching the moon shot” photos. I’m not sure what happened to that; perhaps cheap insulin has made people worry about it less. People in 1967 were also very concerned with overpopulation and foodstuffs to feed the teeming masses, which is why food came up so much in the video, and why the future family only had one offspring. While the 1967 envisioned future seemed preternaturally clean and environmentally sound, upper middle class neuroses now a days are more overtly concerned with pollution and environmental issues. I am guessing the household conveniences of disposable dishes, self-cleaning closets and pre-made meals were some technical reflection on the cultural changes between the sexes brewing in the 60s. In 1967 it probably seemed like you could solve these looming cultural upheavals using technology; just give the missus some self-cleaning closets and a machine which does the cooking. I couldn’t help but think that the Housewife of the future seemed a little bored. Honestly the whole family seemed  pretty spaced out and lost, but perhaps that’s because plot, characterization and motivation in industrial videos is not always a priority.

They did guess that computers would be important in the home, which was far from obvious at that point. They also guessed that some kind of networked computer system would be routine, which was a very good guess, as computer networks were entirely military up to that point. Oh yeah, and unlike lots of science fiction movies, the screens of the future were flat, rather than CRT based.

It would be interesting to find a modern “home of the future” video by a modern industrial concern; maybe there is one by Microsoft or Apple. I doubt as their future is as interesting and healthy seeming as this future. Perhaps some visionary should attempt this, if only for aspiration purposes.