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10 (Even) More Modern Conveniences That Met with Sick Resistance
They say that “hindsight is 20/20,” and as with some clichés, this one couldn’t be truer when it comes to some people’s attitude toward change, especially when it comes to doing something easier, better, or faster. Well, here are even ten more modern conveniences that most of us take for granted today that we couldn’t live, work, or play without.
These include conveniences that, when first proposed, some people “never got the memo on” or resisted in some other way since they’re such no-brainers now today. So keep reading to find out how amazing and outlandish the public’s attitude can be, not only today but also in the past, toward some of the most successful and important ideas, inventions, and innovations of all time.
10 Cold Start for Ice Cubes
Those residing in frigidly cold places could always get ice when needed during the winter months, so it wasn’t until the 19th century that ice became a global industry, taking much hard work and smart advertising to do it. An ice harvester, one Frederic Tudor, a New Englander, tried for decades to generate interest and buyers for his crops of ice he cut out of frozen lakes and ponds.
Thinking out of the box, he made a connection with people in the West Indies who might want his frozen product. When his friends and colleagues back in his hometown in Massachusetts heard, he was “laughed at by all his neighbors.” They thought it was ludicrous to try to ship ice all the way to a Caribbean island. Even the Boston Gazette got in on the act, saying, “We hope this will not prove to be a slippery speculation.”
When he did get to the Caribbean, with a 130-ton (117.9-tonne) load of fresh and frozen water in 1806, the natives of Martinique didn’t want the ice since they weren’t even sure what to do with it. To them, it was a novelty, and they were more amused with it than anything. With his valuable ice turning into worthless water, the resilient Mr. Tudor had to come up with something, so he did. He made as much ice cream as he could out of the water he had left. Although Tudor lost thousands on that initial attempt, he soon succeeded beyond his wildest dreams in an ice-delivery business with customers from Louisiana to India.
Frederic Tudor is well known today as the “King of Ice,” but we’ll call him the “King of Ices.” It has a better ring to it. Get it, king of hearts, king of spades, king of ices? 
9 The Skateboard Skates It to Stardom
In the 1960s, the recently developed pastime of skateboarding was just beginning to catch on with kids. But not with parents, as many declared the sport as just a fad—a possible fatal one—and they didn’t like it a bit. In 1965, according to the Pittsburgh Press, Harry H. Brainerd, Pennsylvania’s traffic safety commissioner, stated that skateboarding was just an “extremely hazardous fad” and asserted that parents “would be well advised not to permit the children to use skateboards until they have been instructed in and understand basic, common sense rules of safety for their use.”
He wasn’t the only one that thought kids couldn’t be trusted to ride early skateboards without killing themselves. A liberal political organization called the “Americans for Democratic Action” sent a petition to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1979 in an attempt to ban skateboards and skateboarding entirely. claiming, “The design of the skateboard itself cannot be improved in any way to make it safe.” Sorry, but the rest is history.
8 The Printing Press Prints Paper to Perfect Shame
A leading professor during the days of Columbus in 1492, the monk Johannes Trithemius, made a solemn prediction that the printing press would fail. In his essay, “In Praise of Scribes,” he asserted that writing by hand was morally superior to printing with a machine. Trithemius claimed, “The word written on parchment will last a thousand years… the printed word is on paper… The most you can expect a book of paper to survive is two hundred years.”
How wrong was Trithemius? The material used for the books monks scribed in was made from animal skins called parchment. The paper of the day was made from cellulose produced from different species of plant fiber. Today’s modern paper degrades due to it being made from wood fibers and high acid content, making it unstable. In Trithemius’s day, rag stock was used to make paper and was so stable it would last for centuries. In fact, several original printings of the Gutenberg Bible sre still around to prove it.
Trithemius would go on to write, “Printed books will never be the equivalent of handwritten codices, especially since printed books are often deficient in spelling and appearance.” Ironically, his ranting and raving with pen and paper was overtaken by the printing press that he wanted so badly to fail. That’ll teach Trithemius to refuse a printed copy of the memo.
7 The Cell Phone Calls on Reason
Jan David Jubon was a telecommunications consultant in 1981 and was leery of the claims of how well the new cell phone devices would sell. His attitude in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor goes so far as to reflect it by saying, “But who, today, will say I’m going to ditch the wires in my house and carry the phone around?”
Even the “father of the cell phone,” Marty Cooper, didn’t predict just how significant the cell phone might soon become. This is evident in a comment he made in an interview with a newspaper reporter, who included Cooper’s quote in his article, “Cellular phones will absolutely not replace local wire systems,” Cooper states, “Even if you project it beyond our lifetimes, it won’t be cheap enough.” But Jan had no cellphone, so he never got the memo. Hmm? If only foresight wasn’t 20-20, right, Jan?
6 Sony’s Walkman Walks the Walk and Talks the Talk
This device completely changed how the world listened to music. Right from the start, when Sony released their first Walkman in 1979, not everyone was “all in” on Sony CEO Akio Morita’s baby. In his book Made in Japan, Morita recalls, “It seemed as though nobody liked the idea. At one of our product planning meetings, one of the engineers said, ‘It sounds like a good idea, but will people buy it if it doesn’t have a recording capability? I don’t think so.’”
After the Walkman was finished with development, Morita recalls, even “our marketing people were unenthusiastic… They said it wouldn’t sell.” But sell it did. The Daily News of Bowling Green, Kentucky, wrote in a 1982 article, It’s “now clear that the Walkman and its successors not only sell and sell from Anchorage to Ankara but also appear to have become a semi-permanent appendage to most of the world’s ears.”
The Walkman would get flak from a few city governments who were trying to get the device banned so people wouldn’t be walking the streets with headphones on, claiming they were a threat to public safety. Even today, there is a law still being enforced in Woodbridge, New Jersey, that comes with a $50 fine for being caught wearing Walkman headphones while crossing the street, regardless if they’re playing or not. Some things will never change.
5 People Didn’t Want to Hear about Car Radios
In 1992, a New York City magazine called Outlook, with an author breezily reminiscing in an intentional manner, writes, “This equipment, with which you can listen to the radio concerts while driving in your car, is said to be the very latest development of inventive genius for the amusement of the radio fan.”
Well, not everyone had such a positive outlook on the car radio in 1930, though. Quoting an anonymous source in the nation’s capital, the New York Times wrote an article pointing out the cons of car radio technology that said, “Music in the car might make him miss hearing the horn of an approaching automobile or fire or ambulance siren… Imagine fifty automobiles in a city street broadcasting a football game! Such a thing as this, I am sure, would not be tolerated by city traffic authorities.”
In a 1934 poll of members from the Automobile Club of New York, 56% said that car radios were distracting to drivers, a danger to others on the road, and just “more noise added to the present din” of the highway. If only they could hear the thumping of bass and see the glass shuddering with the deep bass beat in a young person’s car today, they’d be thunder-struck.
4 “Movies Don’t Need Sound!”
In the Roaring Twenties movie industry, the “talkie” was all the rage. But that opinion was far from universal for many consumers and professionals in the industry. Newspapers from coast-to-coast printed headlines like “Talking Films Try Movie Men’s Souls” or “Union’s Discount Talkies.” The public and even members of the movie industry were calling talkies names like “squeakies” or “moanies,” which aren’t terribly flattering, to say the least.
One of these disenchanted members of the movie industry was prominent film director Monte Bell. Bell had employed three other producers, who he instructed to write three different takes on silent films and talkies, using three different attitudes toward them. Bell wanted to “dip his toe in the water,” so to speak. So one producer claimed in his reviews that the silent film was dying, while another claimed the silent film still had plenty of legs left, and the third hailed talkies as the revolutionary advancement that would bring prosperity to the movie industry.
As things turned out, the debates that resulted from Bell’s small experiment strongly suggested that people wanted sound and/or dialogue in films. As usual, those who criticized the advent of sound in movies would eventually come around to their senses and embrace the technology just like everyone else has ever since. Can you even imagine “no sound” in a movie today?
3 New York Times on Smartwatches: “Wearable Tech Could Cause Cancer”
Can wearable technology cause cancer? According to an article in the New York Times in 2015 written by technology columnist Nick Bilton, it can. His article’s original headline had been, “Could wearable computers be as harmful as cigarettes?” It has since been changed to the less accusatory “The health concerns in wearable tech” (still online) due to the myriad of harsh criticism it received. Still, the problems the piece caused don’t quit there.
In the article, Bilton attempts to answer an important and interesting question: Do smartwatches increase the wearer’s risk of getting cancer? There have been decades of research done that could address this subject since the radiation taking the blame for all this emanates from everything that employs a screen or radio device, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and flat-screen TVs. Instead of researching previous studies on the subject, Bilton dove right in by equating the dangers of using an Apple smartwatch to cigarette smoking. But recall that, apparently, there was a time when we were told smoking was good for us.
The problem is that Bilton’s only evidence was a 2011 report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer stating that it considered cell phones “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Bilton also claims the IARC report is “the most definitive and arguably unbiased result in this area.” This is more than just misleading since the IARC simply looked over available research on the subject and decided not to rule the possibility out due to a lack of data and time constraints.
In other words, it’s not like the IARC spent years researching this; they simply considered it briefly and sided with caution. So, in the end, it’s basically a farce in the eyes of the science and news media communities. Just kidding, folks, so don’t worry; that smartphone stuck to your head won’t kill you after all.
9 Motion Picture Association of America Tried to Get VCRs Banned
The Motion Picture Association Of America (MPAA) led the way for the industry’s attempts to ban the Betamax player and tapes, along with VCRs and their tapes, through legislation. In 1982, the president of the MPAA, Jack Valenti, had this to say to Congress: “We are going to bleed and hemorrhage unless this Congress at least protects [our] industry against the [VCR]… [and] we cannot live in a marketplace… capable of devouring all that people had invested in.”
Sooner than later, the content industry made the decision to support legislation requiring licensing instead of a total ban on the products. But had it passed, the legislation would assuredly have driven up the cost of the devices so much that it would’ve ideally “banned” the devices anyway since the average consumer couldn’t afford one. Valenti continued in his address to Congress, “I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman home alone.”
He also insinuated that if Congress didn’t regulate VCRs, then movie producers might cut their production in half. Eventually, the debate made it to the courts, which ruled in favor of the VCR and related industries, and the ruling created a groundswell. It received overwhelming support from both the public and the media. By the late 1980s, the Sony Betamax and VCRs were flying off the shelves, with 2.3 million units being marketed worldwide.
With the content industry’s inability to regulate looking more and more like a foolish blunder, it conceded as well, as more and more Americans bought the technology. The problem was, and had always been, that Congress was always too quick to ban technologies that Americans don’t have access to yet. But not this time.
1 “Email Hurts the IQ More Than Pot”
According to a 2005 survey on the psychological effects of electronic communications media using alternate groups of five voluntary participants, the constant distraction of phone calls, text messages, and emails is a bigger threat to concentration and IQ scores than marijuana use. Participants reported suffering symptoms such as dizziness, inability to focus, and lethargy that rose to such heights during the survey. Some participants developed a drug-like addiction to their electronic habits, which seems odd.
Many of the participants reported that their minds were boggled as they faced new questions every time an email was delivered to their inboxes or a text popped into their phones. A psychologist from King’s College named Glenn Wilson, who had previously worked on 80 clinical trials for TNS research, stated that according to the survey results, the most damage had occurred due to a lack of discipline in the subjects’ mental handling of electronic communications. Ethical protocols were abandoned, with one in five participants leaving meals or social gatherings to write replies or answer the phone.
Nine out of ten participants fully agreed that responding to emails or texts during office conferences or face-to-face meetings was rude. To others, it felt like it had become an acceptable practice” and seen as a sign of diligence and efficiency,” which is somewhat reminiscent of the Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971. Yet all that these subjects were doing was using electronic communications. Strange indeed.