Last night my wife and I saw a white skunk in an urban residential area of Bloomington. It walked across a street in our headlights, padded across a yard, and ducked under a garden shed. I had never even heard of a white skunk. This one had black on the sides of its head so it wasn’t an albino. As it turns out there are four genera of skunks, each of which consists of several species, including some with spots or bizarre circular stripe patterns. Who knew?
When my great-grandfather needed to warm his farmhouse, he would cut down a tree, chop it into firewood, and carry a portion back to put in the fireplace. If he ever wondered about future generations automating that chore, he might have imagined a mechanical man performing a similar task, much like the Tin Woodsman from The Wizard of Oz. He could not have imagined that his grandchildren would warm and cool their homes with the turn of a dial, taking advantage of technology and infrastructure that are inevitable only in hindsight.
The Tin Woodsman is irrelevant tech.