Posted by Jessica Boucher at 2/5/2001 4:38 PM EST
Student on team #237, Sie-H2O-Bots, from Watertown High School and Eastern Awning Systems & The Siemon Company.
In Reply to: 60 Minutes II - Story Summary
Posted by Brandon Martus on 2/5/2001 3:17 PM EST:
I swear by this site and the tutorials he has onhis page about web-page building.
So, this is officially the first piece of junk mail Ive wanted to read, but only because it has IT in the heading…
-Jessica B, #237
Now onto today’s topic…
Have you heard about…IT?
IT is out there.
IT will be the next biggest thing.
IT likes to be called Ginger.
No one quite knows what IT is, but IT is going to be big.
IT. IT. IT.
Have you heard about…IT?
IT is the code name for an invention that is getting stunning
press lately. The problem is that no one really knows what IT
is. We know the inventor of IT. His name is Dean Kamen. He’s
an inventor but he’s no Ron Popiel. Kamen invented the drug
diffusion pump, a specific format of heart stint that Vice
President Dick Chaney uses, and the iBot wheelchair. Each of
these inventions is revolutionary in their own right, but it’s
the newest invention, IT, that has people all abuzz.
I’ve been asked numerous times what I think IT might be. Each
time I’ve answered that IT is probably not what we all think IT
My guess is that IT is not really the word “it” but is rather
the initials “I” and “T”. That is an acronym standing for
“Information Technology” or, as I heard a reporter suggest,
“Individual Transportation”. Of course it could also be
“Information Transportation” or “Iggy Thompson,” a guy I went
to school with in Cleveland.
I think that the nickname “Ginger” is also an acronym, but I
can’t seem to make it spell out another classmate’s name.
I have heard some say that IT does not exist and that Kamen, and
those who claim to have seen IT, are only undertaking a societal
experiment that is meant to prove that the public will swallow
anything the media feeds them and in great quantities.
I somewhat doubt that scenario. There are simply too many big
names involved. None of those big names will want to be attached
to an angry public if this really is a hoax.
That scenario might be and I can sometimes see it, but I am
leaning toward another line of thinking. IT is real. IT exists.
IT is going to come out with more hype than next year’s New
The question then must be, if this thing exists, what is it?
Of course the media has weighed in with their suggestions.
Luckily, or unluckily depending on how you see it, one version
of IT has risen to the top and is the current “belief” of what
IT will be.
What? A scooter? Really?
Yes. As far as my sources can find, IT is some kind of personal
transportation devise. That would only make sense. The inventor,
Kamen, just invented the wheelchair to end all wheelchairs. Why
couldn’t IT be a scooter?
Well…because IT would be a scooter!
ABC’s Good Morning America sent a bunch of poor unfortunate
Communication major interns to the patent office to comb through
drawings and they came back with a line drawing of a scooter.
The image is very basic. It’s flat platform with a single giant
wheel. The user stands astride the giant wheel and holds onto a
post coming from in front of the wheel. Apparently the wheel is
motorized and can reach speeds of up to 60 miles-per-hour.
If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle, then you know that at that
speed bugs become projectiles.
This thing, IT, is being touted as something that will be bigger
than the Internet. It will make the inventor richer than Bill
Gates in under a year. Some of the greatest minds in science,
including Steve Jobs, have seen the IT prototypes and went on TV
to proclaim that it’s going to be the greatest thing since sliced
bread AND floor wax.
The Harvard Business School Press gave the inventor a quarter-
million dollar advance to write about IT. Rumor is that even
they don’t know what IT is.
With all of this hype and all of these names, and all of this
money being thrown around, IT must be spectacular. It must be
(Note: the Meepzork is a word representing the next best thing
that no one really knows about yet. Read about it here:
It’s going to be big! It’s going to be revolutionary. It’s
going to stop the world in its tracks! It’s… It’s…
A fellow professor who agrees it’s a scooter met my concerns
about IT being just a scooter with the line, “Yes, but it will
be a very advanced scooter.”
I about fell on the floor when he said that. I mean, call it
what you want, but if the media folk are correct, then IT is a
personal transportation devise that is basically…
Maybe I’m just the cynical type but if I had been in the room
when Jobs watched IT roll around for the first time, I think I’d
have had to ask if there was any more to it. I mean, it’s a nice
scooter, but what else does it do?
I’ve read that is disallows the user to fall. It disallows other
items to run into it. It goes 60 miles an hour. It can hover
above the ground. It comes in six flashy colors. Even if all of
that is true, I’m still stuck on the fact that it’s a scooter.
I dislike making bold predictions because I’ve been proven wrong
in the past, but I believe that IT is one of two things.
First, it might be the scooter. If it is, it’ll probably be
very popular, but so was Baywatch. Will it be bigger than the
Internet? Will it make the inventor richer than Bill Gates? Not
unless it is one heck of a scooter that does a few scooter things
that I simply cannot imagine at this point. If it is a scooter,
then a marketing group that knows the media can be manipulated in
time of slow news days and a few appearances by big names is
Second…someone is pulling our collective legs. When I read
about IT and all the hype, I get the same feeling of being
duped as when a phone company calls me during dinner to tell me
they can save me big bucks.
Who knows? IT may truly be the Meepzork that stops the world cold.
Maybe it will make travel an individual thing. Maybe it can go
across water. Maybe it comes with a cup holder.
If IT is for real…I just can’t imagine that IT is a scooter.
That’s that. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.
Joe Burns, Ph.D.
And Remember: Everything has become a science these days, even
the correct number of shakes per minute an orchard farmer uses
to get the largest yield. According to my sources, plum and
apple trees yield the most fruit when shaken 400 times per
minute, two inches per shake. Cherry trees respond best to
1200 short shakes per minute.
Of course, a machine is involved (maybe IT).