Vakkotaur (vakkotaur) wrote,

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Making sense of bad cartoons with modern technology.

Even as a kid some things bugged me about some of the Saturday morning cartoons. The big, obvious departures from reality weren't a problem. Hey, these were cartoons and like Bugs Bunny says, "You can get away with nearly anything-- in an animated cartoon." It was the cartoons that tried to emulate reality that ran into trouble. One example was the Flintstones which I mentioned a few years ago. (Short version: Why didn't the rear axle fall out?) But recently I realized that a couple other dumb things I'd seen in some cartoons can now be explained.

One annoyance was that a tiny radio transmitter could be placed on a vehicle and and the vehicle then tracked. Tiny transmitter, sure. Tracking, sure. But at the time it would have required triangulation from at least two receiving sites, if conditions were ideal. But the cartoon (it was probably one of the many incarnation of Scooby Doo but I cannot say for sure) showed a single receiver, with a big display and showing a dot to follow. It might have even showed the local streets - clearly nonsense... at the time. Today it can be and is done. The tiny transmitter has a GPS receiver and the tracking receiver might as well have the data that a GPS navigation has.

Another annoyance was the home computer or terminal that a kid had (this was likely Clue Club or another, similar cartoon) or had ready access to, that could be used to look up nearly anything, and quickly. Sure, like the kid would even have outside access - that would tie up a phone line, if it happened at all, and then it'd just be to a BBS. And maybe 1200 baud. Maybe. This might have been the days of 300 baud (it's faster than 110, yay!) for the typical home/hobbyist modem. Of course we know that that changed. CPU speeds went up. Modem speeds went up, and then came broadband with DSL and cable. And then add real internet access, the web, search engines, and now "Google is your friend." The problem now is not getting access to information, but sorting it down to the useful pieces.

I'm sure there are other examples of modern technology making simplistic nonsense in old cartoons now an explicable or even expected thing. Those are just the two I recall bothering me, that can now be explained away as "being ahead of their time" rather than just being plot devices.

Tags: cartoons, television
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