Time Magazine has posted a list of the "50 Best Inventions of 2008." My initial thought as I shuttled through the top 15 or so was to be gentle; after all, it is a general interest publication. But really, some of these are just plain silly. For example, here's a selection from the top 10:
No. 2, the Tesla Roadster -- an electric car. A barely-there electric car.
No. 3, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter -- still on the ground. Let's see if it orbits and reconnoiters lunarly before we salute it.
No. 4, Hulu.com -- Video! Over the Internet! That Has a Relationship With Time-Warner! What a Concept!
No. 5, the Large Hadron Collider -- it broke. Besides which if it really worked, we'd all be living much closer together. Much, much closer.
No. 7, the Chevy Volt -- a re-jiggered hybrid, not due until 2010 (that is, if GM is still here in 2010).
No. 8, Raytheon's Active Protection System -- sort of a Star Wars defense system, but in the desert. It's still being developed and is by no means ready for the Big Show.
No. 9, the Orbital Internet -- neither orbiting nor Interneting.
Most of these would be better placed in Time's former sister publication, Popular Science, which regularly touts these sorts of developments but generally has the good sense not to call them "inventions" when it's doing so. Perhaps I'm being too snarky, but features like this don't help the average person appreciate what an invention truly is.