Him Peter Nowak. Him write book. You read after smite enemy, eat meat and make sex.
The CBC News Online senior science and technology reporter’s book, Sex, Bombs and Burgers: How War, Porn and Fast Food Created Technology As We Know It, is a decidedly more erudite tome than any caveman could express, but the argument is as primal as it is compelling.
Humanity makes the most advances when it engages the basest of instincts — fighting, having sex and finding easier ways to eat. Nowak documents how major technological breakthroughs over the past 60 years have been achieved through the billion-dollar military, pornographic and fast food industries.
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Nowak’s epiphany for the book came from an unlikely source, namely the Paris Hilton sex clip making its rounds online some six years ago.
While other viewers watched the video for its high drama and thrilling climax, Nowak paid attention to the footage characteristics — filmed with the same green-hued night-vision technology used during Operation Desert Storm.
“I remember looking at that thinking, ‘Where have I seen this before?’” says Nowak.
“And it occurred to me that it was when the U.S. tried to liberate Kuwait from Iraq, watching missiles getting fired off in night vision. And it sort of crystallized for me there, that this was a pretty good link from military to consumer technology. And then I started looking into other things. Military technology comes up with something, and a few years later, we’re all using it.”
Look no further than items you use everyday for more examples of gadgets rooted in military application.
A component of the earliest microwave was first used in the creation of a nation-wide radar system that defended Britain against German air attacks in the Second World War.
What we now know as the Internet can trace part of its origins as a means of quick, easy communication for soldiers in the battlefield, then perfected by the porn industry with the dissemination of online videos and promotions.
Spam (the food product), along with flash-frozen potatoes (the kind you might find in instant mash mixes or French fries at fast food outlets) were ideal foods for war efforts, as they were cheap, travelled well and didn’t spoil easily. Such foods, though not the healthiest, revolutionized processing techniques that we still use today.
We’re also building better robots through our lechery, Nowak argues. The porn industry, more eager to embrace new, untried means of entertainment than Hollywood, is at the forefront of technology.