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Weekend Discussion Thread: Useless Technological Advances

Alert regular John writes:

It’s going to be 2018 soon (remember when 2000 was considered the far future?) and we’re living in an age of amazing technology. But, as Crow once quipped in the short ‘Design For Dreaming,’ “Just because it’s futuristic doesn’t mean it’s practical.” In that frame of thinking, what are some advanced/futuristic technologies from MST3K movies that just look like more trouble than they’re worth? M
y choice is the atomic hearing aid from ‘Wild World Of Batwoman’. Yeah, I wanna put THAT thing in my ear.

I’m going to have to go with rocketships that land on their tails. NASA, a while back, proved that it CAN be done. But it seems like energy that could be expended somewhere else.

Your pick?

49 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Useless Technological Advances”

  1. jay says:

    Santa Claus Conquers the Martians –

    Torg (an anagram for Gort?) the seven foot tall robot made out of cereal boxes seems like an odd thing to haul across space. He’s slow and apparently easily twitterpated by Santa’s charms. Did you notice that Torg is never seen again after they leave Earth? Maybe they left him to cohabitate with the detachable headed polar bear.

       12 likes

  2. Yeti of Great Danger says:

    Without a doubt, the Zamboni/floor waxers as vehicles of choice for getting around the warehouse, I mean ship, in Space Mutiny. Wouldn’t it be faster, easier, and more comfortable to just walk or jog? Then there’s the whole “tends to explode” thing.

    p.s Shout out to Sitting Duck — over on the “Christmas MST3K Traditions” thread I think I found the movie you were wondering about.

       10 likes

  3. Murdock Hauser says:

    The Phantom of Krankor’s weapons are useless against me! HA HA!

       18 likes

  4. Our NASA space station/shuttle technology eventually demonstrated that you can pretty much wear anything indoors without the suit, if the air is on; you don’t have to wear futuristic metallic bathing caps.

    And they don’t bother as much about magnetized shoes, so there’s not as much need to post reminders about walking on the walls.

       5 likes

  5. Normal View. It just takes too long to get back to it.

       13 likes

  6. Scott Strong says:

    How about being able to doppel yourself into an anteater?

    Now THAT’S a really good use of “future” technology!

       14 likes

  7. goalieboy82 says:

    cheap Japanese crap.

       5 likes

  8. RedZoneTuba says:

    The “invisible face shields” from 12 to the Moon. Great for letting audiences see actors’ faces but not really that useful in real space exploration.

       10 likes

  9. Kenotic says:

    The itch ray in Yongary. Unless it’s a prototype for some kind of neurological weapon against North Korea, it’s basically just a way for kids to annoy parents and cause mass chaos. Imagine that thing instead of a laser pointer when planes land.

       9 likes

  10. Son of Peanut says:

    Do Tom’s water-filled tires count as future tech? He seemed really proud of them.

    Oh, and a note to Scott Strong – Lay off the anteaters! Come on!

       6 likes

  11. Scott Strong says:

    Son of Peanut:
    Do Tom’s water-filled tires count as future tech? He seemed really proud of them.

    Oh, and a note to Scott Strong – Lay off the anteaters! Come on!

    Daisy’s too good for you!

       4 likes

  12. stanmcserr says:

    RedZoneTuba:
    The “invisible face shields” from 12 to the Moon. Great for letting audiences see actors’ faces but not really that useful in real space exploration.

    A little off topic. That invisible shield thing was used on the animated version of Star Trek. At least, live action has an excuse because of expense. Why on an animated version?

       5 likes

  13. Mr. Krasker says:

    Is the electric bathtub in Secret Agent Super Dragon futuristic technology? It seemed to involve complex equipment in order to achieve a questionable goal.

       4 likes

  14. RedZoneTuba says:

    Opposite topic and including RiffTrax: MOST useful technology?

    Attack from Space “global wristwatch thingy”. It has three powers…plus whatever the hell other powers the scriptwriter needs at the moment.

       2 likes

  15. Sitting Duck says:

    Moon Zero Two with its easily accessible artificial gravity cut-off. Because pranksters pulling fire alarms aren’t annoying enough.

    Real world technology in development I’m least looking forward to are self-driving cars. It looks like the preferred method of operation involves an internet connection, and we all know what that means. Dickweed kids hacking it and taking you for a joyride. At best, this will result in you being late to wherever you’re going. Worst case scenario has you stranded in a bad part of town.

    Yeti of Great Danger:
    p.sShout out to Sitting Duck — over on the “Christmas MST3K Traditions” thread I think I found the movie you were wondering about.

    I saw that and it appears to be the right one. However, looks like it never got released on home video.

       2 likes

  16. Yeti of Great Danger says:

    Sitting Duck:

    Real world technology in development I’m least looking forward to are self-driving cars. It looks like the preferred method of operation involves an internet connection, and we all know what that means. Dickweed kids hacking it and taking you for a joyride. At best, this will result in you being late to wherever you’re going. Worst case scenario has you stranded in a bad part of town.

    That’s your worst case scenario? You are more optimistic than I. Worst case for me would be a fiery crash… over a cliff… into the ocean… into shark-infested waters. ;-)

       5 likes

  17. mando3b says:

    Those gravity-plate destroyer thingies that they fight The Duel with in “Phantom Planet” seem precisely useless, although Captain Odd-Face does help destroy the Solarite with it at the end. What the hell do you do with the things when there are no The Duels to fight? And they’re right there in the floor of the one public place that planet seems to have. Also dubious is the death ray in “Danger! Death Ray!”: clunky,inefficient as a weapon, and the inventor never does specify what “peaceful uses” the thing could have. Santa’s spy technology in “Santa Claus” is overly complicated (and creepy), although I wouldn’t mind having a flower that would turn me invisible whenever I wanted to be.

       6 likes

  18. littleaimishboy says:

    Travelling through time and space to capture dinosaurs from Earth and train them to hunt escaped slaves (also from Earth, but later) while equipped with tracking devices that cause them to explode when shot may SEEM like a good use of technology, but after watching “Future War” you have to wonder …

       13 likes

  19. Ray Dunakin says:

    Sampo wrote: “I’m going to have to go with rocketships that land on their tails. NASA, a while back, proved that it CAN be done. But it seems like energy that could be expended somewhere else.”

    Well, SpaceX and Blue Origin seem to think it’s worth pursuing.

       4 likes

  20. jay says:

    Fugitive Alien –

    The Japanese have a knack for high tech stuff so why didn’t they have a forklift that was better at enabling warehouse-based homicide?

       13 likes

  21. jay says:

    Ray Dunakin:
    Sampo wrote: “I’m going to have to go with rocketships that land on their tails. NASA, a while back, proved that it CAN be done. But it seems like energy that could be expended somewhere else.”

    Well, SpaceX and Blue Origin seem to think it’s worth pursuing.

    Putting things in low earth orbit using the Space Shuttle cost something on the order of $10,000 a pound so now we are using the Russian’s 1960s designed Soyuz system because it’s cheaper. Reusable components have the potential to reduce costs even further and eliminate our dependance on a potentially hostile foreign power. I could also mention the coolness factor demonstrated by Rocket Jones and Winky. Well, never mind Winky.

       6 likes

  22. davidmello says:

    Two words: Protective surveillance from “Stranded In Space”. The Perfect Order snoops on you to make sure you’re living right…or else. Some Republicans want that now

       8 likes

  23. Mr. Krasker says:

    Fart Bargo’s wrist radio. I mean, how could they think that ANYONE would be dumb enough to believe that people would have the desire to be so obsessively connected to everyone else at all times that they’d actually wear a thing on their wrist that would . . .

    Oh. Never mind.

       10 likes

  24. mst3kme says:

    Rifftrax has a new short available.

    “Farm Family in Winter.”

    Enjoy. :-)

       5 likes

  25. Ray Dunakin says:

    Poolside chaise lounges never really panned out as spacecraft seating. And so far we don’t have space stations equipped with office furniture.

       5 likes

  26. Ray Dunakin says:

    Apparently they conquered death in the future, which seems pretty cool. But then you just have to go right back to work, so maybe returning from the dead isn’t worth the trouble.

       5 likes

  27. Mr. Krasker says:

    mst3kme:
    Rifftrax has a new short available.

    “Farm Family in Winter.”

    Enjoy. :-)

    Yes. Yes they do. But I’m pretty sure that most of us here know that already. This particular discussion is about silly “futuristic” technology. It is NOT about the latest Rifftrax offerings.

    Spamming discussion groups isn’t generally welcome or productive.

    Thank you, won’t you?

       5 likes

  28. Sadly, the space shuttle from Hangar 18. Kind of derailed the space program for 30 years

       1 likes

  29. Lisa H. says:

    Sitting Duck: Real world technology in development I’m least looking forward to are self-driving cars. It looks like the preferred method of operation involves an internet connection, and we all know what that means. Dickweed kids hacking it and taking you for a joyride. At best, this will result in you being late to wherever you’re going. Worst case scenario has you stranded in a bad part of town.

    That’s your worst case scenario? Not 50-car pileups or such vehicles being used in terrorist attacks? Wow. I agree with Yeti – you’re an optimist!

       3 likes

  30. Mr. Krasker: Yes.Yes they do.But I’m pretty sure that most of us here know that already.This particular discussion is about silly “futuristic” technology. It is NOT about the latest Rifftrax offerings.

    Spamming discussion groups isn’t generally welcome or productive.

    Thank you, won’t you?

    We do, but that doesn’t mean the news shouldn’t be mentioned. It should have been on the front page three days ago.

       8 likes

  31. Son of Gorgo says:

    Mr. Krasker: Yes.Yes they do.But I’m pretty sure that most of us here know that already.This particular discussion is about silly “futuristic” technology. It is NOT about the latest Rifftrax offerings.

    Spamming discussion groups isn’t generally welcome or productive.

    Thank you, won’t you?

    Eric, you get a new login?

       6 likes

  32. Sitting Duck says:

    @ Yeti and Lisa H.: I was thinking more along the lines of everyday annoyances by obnoxious pranksters. The scenarios you propose would require a degree of maliciousness that are relatively uncommon.

       0 likes

  33. Sitting Duck says:

    Son of Gorgo: Eric, you get a new login?

    Checking recent discussions, Mr. Krasker is almost certainly not EricJ. So why not apologize before it spirals out of control?

       2 likes

  34. Yeti of Great Danger says:

    Sitting Duck:
    @ Yeti and Lisa H.: I was thinking more along the lines of everyday annoyances by obnoxious pranksters. The scenarios you propose would require a degree of maliciousness that are relatively uncommon.

    From reading the news and seeing YouTube videos, I’m convinced that there’s nothing — no matter how illegal, cruel, or fatal — that a bunch of idiots glued to their phones will not attempt, and attempt often, in order to get their 15 minutes of fame or infamy. However, I’m a lifelong worrier, so…

    Back to the uselessness of imagined future tech, if we can bring up Rifftrax, then “The Home of the Future” is a motherlode. I was gobsmacked that they thought an entire room full of huge computers was necessary for educational purposes, each mammoth rig apparently being useful for only one subject each.

       1 likes

  35. mst3kme says:

    Michael K.:

    Thank you for your help.

    I’m not a spammer. I also participate in discussions here.

    I wanted to let other members here know that there’s a new Rifftrax short available. Not everyone checks the Rifftrax website every day.

    There’s also an 18% off sale going on now at rifftrax.com.

    Happy New Year.

    Michael Kuzmanovski: We do, but that doesn’t mean the news shouldn’t be mentioned. It should have been on the front page three days ago.

       8 likes

  36. mando3b says:

    mando3b: Those gravity-plate destroyer thingies that they fight The Duel with in “Phantom Planet” seem precisely useless, although Captain Odd-Face does help destroy the Solarite with it at the end. What the hell do you do with the things when there are no The Duels to fight?

    Well, I’ve been thinking about this. (You’re welcome.) They would make pretty good garbage disposals–if they had garbage (they don’t have to eat, after all). Also, if you rigged the bait just right you could use them to rid the place of rodentals and other vermin, although the only living beings on The Phantom Planet seem to be the 20 or so people in the cast.

       1 likes

  37. jay says:

    The Atomic Brain – A wealthy, aging widow attempts to transport herself in to the body of a young woman.

    I tried to accomplish the same goal as a young undergraduate student at various campus social events, usually with the same level of success as the aging widow lady.

       5 likes

  38. mando3b says:

    Jay just reminded me: Is it really a good use of your medical degree to squeeze the brain of an old woman into the head of a cat, even if there are no marks and grey matter isn’t bulging out of the animal’s ears? Not to mention putting the cat’s brain into a young woman’s head . . .

       2 likes

  39. Ray Dunakin says:

    Gluing long blonde wigs onto the helmets of space fighter pilots hasn’t caught on yet, and I doubt it ever will.

       3 likes

  40. Ray Dunakin says:

    In “First Spaceship On Venus”, to demonstrate how smart the small, tank-like robot is, they ask it for a weather report. It replies, “The barometer will rise four milly-bar. Four milly-bar.”

    That’s definitely a small return on their technological investment.

       4 likes

  41. Ray Dunakin says:

    Two words: Food pills.

       5 likes

  42. Ray Dunakin says:

    Making humanoid robots with brittle, porcelain heads seems like a pretty flawed technology.

       3 likes

  43. radioman970 says:

    Space Mutiny. High tech railings. EVERYWHERE!

       7 likes

  44. Ray Dunakin:
    Two words: Food pills.

    I agree, but they sure got Droppo going.

       4 likes

  45. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Somehow, the teleport eject system from “Space Mutiny” seems like this. It only works for one person (the pilot), and only for a very short range. Ryder’s lucky it didn’t materialize him right in the middle of the crash site.

       4 likes

  46. Ray Dunakin:
    Two words: Food pills.

    Santa: “Y’know, I’ll bet when a Martian has a headache, he doesn’t take pills, he takes chocolate ice cream!”
    Mary Jo: “And then gets an ice-cream headache, which only makes the problem worse.”
    Cinematic Titanic

       3 likes

  47. Mr. Krasker says:

    Michael Kuzmanovski: I agree, but they sure got Droppo going.

    And you posit that this is a good thing?

       0 likes

  48. IR5 says:

    That colorful etch a sketch thingy used in Diabolik to create Eva’s face for the Doughy Guy and his thugs and babes.

       2 likes

  49. GizmonicTemp says:

    “Yes, El Guapo. Many!”
    1. The Magnet Pulley from 12 To the Moon which they used to rescue the captain from the quicksand. Specifically, the way it’s used is a problem. Someone more physics-inclined than myself could explain it better, but it’s not anchored to the ground which means the person holding it is burdened with its weight AND whatever force is needed to free the captain. You get NO mechanical advantage. In fact, it’s worse than just using rope or making a human chain.
    2. The vehicles from Space Mutiny. Mike and the bots covered these nicely.
    3. The entire “Clonus” operation from Parts: The Clonus Horror. Forget the ethics for a moment. How much money did the government put into this operation in both startup and maintenance, just to harvest organs to prolong life or its quality for a few years? If you can’t harvest organs until the subject is ~20 years old, you’re basically raising a few hundred children at one time and they aren’t cheap. Just, I don’t know, eat healthier and exercise like everyone else!
    4. The “Sampo” from Day the Earth Froze. Don’t get me wrong, the Sampo was incredible and I want one! However, and I’m gonna stretch a bit here, I think its application was flawed and the story uses it as a big red herring. Dig this: The Sampo is a divine relic granting endless gold et al. to its owner. The good guys can make a Sampo. Bad guys kidnap one of the good guys (girl) with a Sampo ransom in mind. Knowing those three things, the good guys should have A) told the bad guys to stick it knowing that a Divine relic and a simple maiden are not equal in trade value or B) use the Sampo themselves to build up an army to go smash the bad guys. All of that being said, they DID build an army and DID smash the bad guys with ABSOLUTELY ZERO HELP from the Sampo… in blizzard conditions… when they were outgunned. Soooooo, why is the Sampo so important again?

       2 likes

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