The Boomer Legacy


Boldly Into the Future

Pixel Time; Privacy Inside The Panopticon; Phone Zombies; Cut-through Advertising; Dances With Avatar; All The News That's Fit To Tweet.

Technology was a mirage. What you saw was never quite what you got.

On the other hand, to our credit, we also did brilliant things that decades ago would have been dismissed as mere science fiction.

Sample #5036
Let them drive cars    (Dec 2017)

Topic Images

There are currently 58 photographs in this section.



Binding energy: Everything depended upon the action of wave-particles that two hundred years earlier no-one could even imagine existed

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33kV AC transmission tower outside the Penrith Transmission Substation   (Jul 2011,  302kb)

Reeks & Wrecks: A sustainable future may only be found in recycling and repairs

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Cardboard packaging in Blue Anchor Lane at Circular Quay, awaiting transport to an interstate landfill   (Nov 2017,  470kb)

Brand garbage: 2000-08-07 purchase Omega Speedmaster Automatic watch (35105000) #56462628 $2150; 2001-01-13 repair under warranty for loud rattling inside watch; 2005-03-29 repair due to watch stopped $595; 2009-08-03 repair due to watch requiring movement replacement $655; 2017-07-20 watch gains 10 minutes every hour, Omega quote to replace movement and watch hands $1295 (+ $75 courier fee); 2017-07-25 quote declined and watch returned without repair; 2017-08-15 watch thrown into landfill at Blaxland Waste Management Facility

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A wristwatch achieved its destiny as a piece of rubbish at Blaxland   (Aug 2017,  342kb)

Rust-belt agriculture: I'd rather put my trust in looking at the sheep and seeing how it performs, than in some number dreamed up by some scientists on a bit of paper (Merriman, 2012)

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Farm sculpture, Cathedral Street Woolloomooloo   (Jul 2018,  639kb)

X-out & scroll: First they came for the workers, then it was our turn

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Gomo Sportswear prior to its demolition to make way for Granville Place   (Jul 2017,  308kb)

In the days of the citizen reporter: We no longer needed broadcast-quality equipment to craft good media stories to reach a global audience

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Reporters at the Sydney Opera House   (Jul 2014,  307kb)

Fabricating nostalgia: A lot was said about the impacts of deindustrialisation, but few missed the unimaginative and life-threatening work

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Davy press at ATP Eveleigh Workshops museum   (Sep 2017,  327kb)

Together alone: Everything you could ever want, via your smart-phone screen

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Pitt Street Mall passageway   (Aug 2018,  287kb)

Built for comfort: Cruise control ✓ Loudspeakers ✓ Touch-screen TV ✓ Dual petrol tank caps ✓ National flag ✓ Oversize padded seat ✓

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Indian Roadmaster motorbike at Mandible Street, Alexandria   (Aug 2019,  377kb)

Congestion busting: High speed rail was forever on everyone's agenda

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Bushfire wreckage, Zigzag Railway Clarence NSW   (Jul 2019,  569kb)

Interconnected loose-ends: Servicing sprawling cities with deliberately substandard public transport

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Southern Cross station, Melbourne   (Apr 2019,  283kb)

Linear ascension: Those who could afford to do so, raced toward an off-grid future

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Cars race along the Eastern Distributor at Woolloomooloo   (Jul 2018,  186kb)

Lifespans & outcomes: We no longer needed to dread living longer lives

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Anzac Day marcher, Liverpool Street Sydney   (Apr 2018,  197kb)

Project attention deficit disorder: Every Prague Spring had its tanks

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Construction cranes at the Central Park development at Broadway, in Sydney   (Oct 2012,  274kb)

Accidental monuments: Civil engineering the hard way: build it first on the cheap and then completely rebuild later

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Zigzag Railway upper viaduct, Clarence   (Jul 2019,  548kb)

Perpetual congestion: Once the great symbol of individual freedom and personal mobility, the car has become a ball and chain. Slow, expensive, and surrounded by endless others, automobiles have taken us as far as they can (Hume, 2012)

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Weedon Avenue garage at Paddington   (Mar 2017,  378kb)

A future strewn with coal: Oh precious darling, we loved you more than our children. You were our greatest and most cherished asset, an organic talisman that gave us light and warmth and windfall profits, and glistened so beautifully in the dying sun

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Anthracite in Lithgow, NSW   (Jun 2019,  209kb)

Aerotropolis now: We assumed cheap and easy international travel was a fundamental human right which would last forever

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Sunrise over the Sydney International Airport   (Nov 2017,  172kb)

Edgy by order: We created zeitgeist-y fresh environments in which nimble start-ups could prosper

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Disposable bicycles on Pitt Str, outside World Square   (Jan 2018,  264kb)

Chariots of freedom: We were what we drove

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Custom license plates, Sydney   (Nov 2018,  392kb)

Deferred consumption model: As we grew older we could finally afford the things we wanted so much when we were young

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A mint green 1977 BMW 633 CSi at the Classic Throttle Shop showroom at Milsons Point   (Dec 2020,  216kb)

Sci-Fi Now: Superconducting NbTi coils; Holmium magnetic flux condensers; 4°K liquid helium insulated within a liquid nitrogen jacket; A suitcase-sized helium condenser; A FFT-processing rack more powerful than a dozen 1980s mainframes… A 3T magnetic field from a machine the size of a small car, to obtain non-intrusive millimetre resolution 3D internal body images. Twenty years earlier no one would have believed any of this was possible…

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The 3T MRI scanner at a medical imaging practice at Penrith, in Sydney   (Sep 2013,  166kb)

Orphaned success: A visionary but impractical architect; Engineers hamstrung by 1960s tech; Conservative politicians who inherited the project mid way through and regarded it a pointless extravagance… The greatest achievement about the SOH was that it was ever completed

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Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall exterior.

(BTW the true colour of the shells is off-white cream — which was done to help reduce glare from reflected sunlight)   (Dec 2018,  327kb)

Option V — for victory: On the assumption that postal services were a universal right, the UPU Terminal Dues System was adjusted to ensure developing countries were generously subsidised whenever they exported small parcels to the west (Swiss World Cargo, 2019)

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Airport Drive, outside Sydney International Airport   (Oct 2019,  180kb)

Think small: The opera house refurbishment didn't quite go according to plan

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Domestic fountain at Church Street in Croydon   (Sep 2016,  456kb)

Accelerated obsolescence: Yesterday's broadcast-quality equipment was re-purposed as landfill

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Tape-based off-line editing equipment in a dumpster at Darling Harbour   (Jan 2013,  257kb)

The flipped classroom: A tremendous benefit of student BYOD was the collection of quality data to support evidence-based decisions and inform the continuous improvement in our teaching practice

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At the State Library of NSW   (Oct 2014,  434kb)

Social networking: CNN, Bloomberg, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, ByteDance, WeChat, Weibo, Google, Tinder, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, 4/8Chan, Thomson Reuters Eikon: we built elaborate frameworks to ensure you were never alone

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Stargazer lawn at Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney   (Aug 2016,  596kb)

Peace through superior fire-power: Build it and they will die

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Vought F-8 Crusader at the Intrepid Museum, NYC   (Oct 2017,  250kb)

Pan Atomicus: 48 tonnes of reactor fuel blew into the atmosphere; 500 000 liquidators tried to clean the mess; 335 000 evacuees fled; 6 000+ citizens died; 90 000+ animals were killed; 20× factor increase in mutations; 2600 km² exclusion zone; €2.15 billion for the New Safe Confinement; $235 billion in damages; the collapse of the USSR… The effects of 1986-04-25 are with us still (National Geographic, 2019)

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Heritage locomotive at Central Station, Sydney   (Jun 2019,  193kb)

The spam massif: We facilitated a global network of unsolicited urgent messages

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Sydney University public noticeboards   (Oct 2017,  573kb)

Force carrier: Sometimes we just couldn't contain ourselves

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Electrical junction box at Chippendale, Sydney   (Jul 2017,  476kb)

You'll never use it: Mate, I dropped maths at school as fast as I could

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At the One Circular Quay construction site, Sydney Cove. At the time the overseas developers had run out of money, so the site had been abandoned for weeks   (Oct 2017,  509kb)

Orderly exodus: When we were finally done, we all got into our white vans and disappeared

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Toyota HiAce vans await delivery at Penrith   (Apr 2017,  367kb)

Cut-through messaging: Make your mark, repeat, move on

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Vandalised rail-car at the Zigzag railway, subsequently destroyed by the 2019 summer bushfires, Clarence   (Jul 2019,  424kb)

The well-connected domicile: LCD in the bedroom; OLED in the lounge-room; Playstation, XBox, iPhone, Galaxy, Note, iPad, Touch, Android and iOS scattered everywhere else

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Home entertainment in suburban Kingswood, in Sydney's West   (Sep 2010,  380kb)

It just works: Release now, patch later

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Jensen Avenue at Dover Heights   (Nov 2016,  282kb)

The tip of the spear: The great thing about the Kamikaze was that every problem had exactly the same solution

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Lockheed A-12 engine aerospike at the Intrepid Museum, NYC   (Oct 2017,  96kb)

The imperfect panopticon: One nation under CCTV, but who was watching?

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Apartment courtyard surveillance cameras awaiting connection at Victoria Park

Revisited the location on 2018-11-03 and the cameras were still not connected…   (Sep 2014,  204kb)

Computer says no: We could detect Gravitational Waves (LIGO, 2015), prove Fermat's last theorem (Wolfram, 2014) and even ridicule Wall Street's misuse of Gaussian copula functions (Wired, 2009) — but no-one could figure out the true cost of mobile-phone plans (WSJ, 2013)

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Mobile phone users at Martin Place, Sydney   (Dec 2014,  371kb)

We have some planes: All this technology and yet aeroplanes could be made to disappear by merely flipping a transponder switch

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Church Street cones at Parramatta   (Feb 2017,  439kb)

Moving forward: Monorails; Supersonic airliners; Jet-packs; Thunderbirds; Moon-bases; Hover-boards; London to Sydney in 90 minutes; Long-range electric cars; Flying cars; Submersible cars; Cars with a computer called KITT; Fully autonomous cars navigating suburban streets

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First Lane at Hurstville, Sydney   (Sep 2016,  427kb)

Retro-tech: We discovered that 100 year old technologies weren't as hopeless as we originally thought

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The pantograph of a NSW Heritage “Set F1” suburban carriage, Central station   (Jun 2019,  156kb)

Springtime for Eloi: We were forever amazed by the vast contraptions built by our distant ancestors

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Sydney Harbour sunrise kayaks   (Jan 2019,  305kb)

Ubiquitous presence: We took our phones everywhere and relied on them for everything

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Mobile phone users, Sydney CBD   (Mar 2015,  376kb)

To deindustrialise: Wholesale deindustrialisation led to scaling back carbon related activities, eventually

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The abandoned remains of the Illawarra Coke Company at Coalcliff   (Sep 2014,  467kb)

Waves don't vote: Toughly 2TW of energy was freely available in the form of coastal wave-power, but we ignored it because fossil fuel production was more important

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The abandoned 2006 Oceanlinx Mk1 Wave Generator prototype at Oilies Beach, Port Kembla. In June 2017 it was eventually towed out to sea and sunk   (Sep 2014,  411kb)

Scaffolding the past: We became a culturally unbalanced society. BScs and BEs were displaced by BAComs, CPAs, LLBs, MPsychs, FRACGPs and BA(Hons)MT

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Sand-blasting and repainting the Sydney Harbour Bridge to replace the decades-old lead-based paint   (Jul 2011,  300kb)

The upgrade escalator: Every nine months there was always something that was just little bit better

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York Street escalators, Wynyard station   (Jul 2018,  373kb)

Stasi without the politics: HD-CCTV; IP address logging; Cookie tracking; SMM Profile Harvesting; EFTPOS transaction records; Data-mining; Phone-hacking; Location-sensitive personalised marketing; Mandatory QR Code scanning; Live facial-recognition surveillance; The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program; The unassailable cult of predicting future demand by knowing everything about what everyone has ever done

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Satellite, UHF and cable communications at Marrickville, in Sydney   (Sep 2012,  256kb)

Faisal's pivot: The engine warning light came on in October 1973, but we covered it over and kept going

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Abandoned shops (since demolished), Parramatta Road Homebush   (Jun 2016,  259kb)

We took your privacy, security & trust extremely seriously: The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner; The Information and Privacy Commission of NSW; The NSW Information Commissioner; The NSW Privacy Commissioner; The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Amendment Act 2012 (Cth); The Australian Privacy Foundation; The Cyberspace Law and Policy Community; The NSW Council for Civil Liberties; The Law Council of Australia Business Law Privacy Sub-committee; The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era Inquiry; The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) to replace the National Privacy Principles and Information Privacy Principles; The drone "roundtable" inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs; The Royal Guide Dogs of Tasmania Privacy Officer

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A Menckenesque kaleidoscope ensured that everyone in Wollongong could see you taking a bath   (Feb 2011,  312kb)

Let them drive cars: How were private toll-roads ever going to make real money if people weren't encouraged use them?

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Abandoned bus at Opoho Road, Dunedin NZ   (Dec 2017,  458kb)

∇×E: The wholesale implementation of renewable energy struggled beneath a mantle of ignorance, conspiracy and fossil fuels

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Distribution cables (since demolished) in College Lane, at Stanmore in Sydney   (Sep 2012,  388kb)

1918 revisited: Every scholar, bureaucrat, politician and reporter believed that wearing masks was a universal panacea

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Masked commuters try to get home after yet another train network meltdown   (May 2021,  271kb)

Big data and the cloud: Off-line storage by the petabyte → provided your network connection was fast & reliable enough → provided your resellers didn't vanish overnight…

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Mobile phone tower and clouds from a summer storm, at Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains   (Dec 2012,  186kb)

Nostalgic Futurism: The Eighties didn't quite get the future right

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The now dismantled Sydney Monorail at One Dixon Street, Sydney's Chinatown   (Jan 2012,  245kb)

Fibre nescience: Do consumers really need data transfer rates that only fibre could provide? (Liberal Party of Australia, 2013)

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Mothballed satellite dishes in Rozelle, in Sydney's East   (Jan 2013,  342kb)