The Jetsons

When I was a kid, two of my favorite cartoons were from Hanna-Barbera; The Flintsones and The Jetsons.

I particularly loved The Jetsons.

From Wikipedia:

the Jetsons live in a comical version of the future, with elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions.[3][4] The original series comprised 24 episodes and aired on Sunday nights on ABC beginning September 23, 1962, with primetime reruns continuing through September 22, 1963

In the last few weeks, I have been feeling that we are heading into a future that looks quite similar to The Jetsons.

I got a deck last week for an eVOTL company (which is not something we would invest in at USV) and shared it with a few colleagues and said “The Jetsons”.

The Jetson’s family robot Rosie is way better than Alexa but maybe in a decade or so, Alexa will be able to do all that Rosie did for the Jetsons.

George Jetson works for a company that is similar in many ways to SpaceX.

George’s boss is a robot. Maybe we will all be experiencing that too in time.

Anyway, I am going to figure out how to go back and watch all of the 24 original episodes.

I think sci-fi is as good of a crystal ball as we have to see into the future and the writers at Hannah-Barbera did an amazing job of that back in the early 60s.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    Save me a seat on the sofa.

  2. Anne Libby

    It’s hard to believe that there were only 24 episodes, the cartoons were so present and pervasive!

    1. Pointsandfigures

      Shocking that

      1. Anne Libby

        I’ve thought about Rocky and Bullwinkle, for some insight on cold war era thinking…

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          We own that on DVD. Was so over my head as a kid, but it’s a great re-watch as an adult. Relevant again! 😉

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Same. Made a strong impact.

  3. Pointsandfigures

    Hanna-Barbera had some great cartoons.

  4. Joe Marchese

    “In our industry, if you can imagine something, you can build it… And so the first step for each of us is to imagine fearlessly; to dream.” – Ray OzzieBTW: if they were to re-make The Jetsons as a live action program, they would ‘film’ it in Dubai.

  5. bfeld

    My entire investment thesis is based on what I learned as a kid watching The Jetsons.Rosie is coming to life –

    1. falicon

      LOVE the dream.Don’t love the price point or the ‘reality’ yet (though I would still love to get one to hack with and deconstruct myself).It sounds a lot like a slightly upgraded Cozmo at a much higher price point…still very cool, and nec. step, but doesn’t feel like a big enough step to me (even the basic bring your friends drinks example they showed is something you could do with an OmniBot way back in the 80s).I think the bigger problem with this space as a whole though…and what I experienced first hand with the Cozmo and my kids is that as the platform standardizes and becomes easy to develop for…you hit the “real” problem…what do you actually want a general purpose, but very physically limited, robot to do?It’s the empty google search box problem…you have to know what to search for.BTW, Alexa and other smart speakers also are struggling with this problem right now; they can do a million things, but you have to know what you want to do (and then how to ask it) before the magic happens.A combo of Misty with Alexa could be super interesting…but people will still need a lot of hand holding and examples to start…they’ll need lots of youtube videos of Misty doing really cool things that they would need/want a robot to do too….then, I think, it gets *really* exciting.

    2. fredwilson

      of course 🙂

  6. Knox North

    Whoa, whoa, whoa… it’s been 55 years since i watched it, but I don’t think Mr. Spacely (George’s boss) was a robot! Oops, i went and checked on wikipedia. I guess I don’t remember the episodes where Uniblab, a robot, became George’s supervisor.

    1. falicon

      Spacely was the owner and ultimate boss…now that you mention it, I do remember the Uniblab stuff, but more often than not, they focused on the Spacely/Jetson interaction.Also – they made Spacely Sprockets, which I don’t think are anything like SpaceX…A better fit might be…crypto is the ‘sprocket’ of the future 🙂

      1. Dominic Carrozza

        If I am remembering correctly, Uniblab was in only one episode, and George found a way to short-circuit him.

        1. falicon

          sounds right.

    2. Rob Underwood

      Anyone remember the crossover episode (episodes?) between the Jetsons and Flintstones.

    3. aneela

      thanks for clearing this up for me! can you believe in ALL my years of getting Fred’s newsletter, this is one of the first times I’m popping in to the comments because I felt this needed to be addressed! Mr. Spacely never felt robotic to me!

  7. LD Eakman

    Humorous – We featured a Jetsons clip at our AGM last year! It’s a favorite office-wide over here.

    1. fredwilson


  8. gregglink

    Not to mention, one of the best theme songs ever.

    1. fredwilson


  9. DJL

    My entire investment thesis is based on the Flintstones.My favorite episode is when they visit the Grand Canyon and it is just a small stream trickling through some rock. Fred says to Barney “They say it will be amazing a few million years from now”. Classic.

  10. Rob Underwood

    I like the Jetsons a lot too — they were a stable of Channel 56 afternoon TV in Boston which we could get (barely) on UHF in southern Maine. In fact, I like the Jetsons almost as much as I like Phish, the Grateful Dead, Ultimate Frisbee, Cheetos, and skiing.

    1. karen_e

      Yes! Channels 38 and 56 were important for us kids, but so crackly!

  11. karen_e

    It’s nice to see a lighthearted post. The world can get so serious sometimes. Cheers!

    1. fredwilson

      i agree

  12. Randall Tinfow

    …and Tom Swift for me! Stoked the science interest.

  13. Dorian Benkoil

    The Jetsons! (“His boy, Elroy! … Jane, his wife!”) On another SciFi plane: I’m currently rereading Neuromancer, a brilliant pinnacle of the cyberpunk genre that predicts quite another future with equally plausible facets, extrapolating from today. Would love to hear others’ thoughts.

  14. Ronnie Rendel

    That the Jetsons was your favorite show is really no surprise.

    1. fredwilson

      i am glad that i am so transparent

  15. Mike Chan

    Yesterday I was chatting with a colleague about how Uber is working on flying cars and I mentioned The Jetsons. She’s a foreigner and too young to know about The Jetsons, so unfortunately it didn’t resonate. But it brought back memories!

    1. sigmaalgebra

      The Uber work on flying cars will never get past the first few smoking holes. As the history of aviation, and its many smoking holes showed with astounding clarity, to take off, fly, and land safely requires astoundingly good planning, engineering, care, etc. Just flying is plenty difficult; the planes that are any good at flying are DARNED expensive to buy, fly, and maintain, and need a pilot’s license, just for VFR, and a more difficult to get license for IFR. Well, a flying car, being both a car and an airplane will be more difficult to engineer. Airplanes take off and land on airports and fly mostly in the wide open skys with aid of air traffic control. Cars have just crowded streets. So, no way will someone drive down NYC 5th Avenue and suddenly take off and just fly to the Hamptons.Attempts at flying cars will result in smoking holes and truncated attempts. Especially from Uber.So, apparently Uber is after some publicity. The effort will be okay — not kill many or any people — as long as they don’t try to get off the ground or, better yet, don’t try to move at all.

      1. JLM

        .As a pilot, I was always taught that altitude is safety. If something goes wrong, you have the benefit of the altitude under your wings traded at “best glide slope” to either fix the problem, to glide to an airport, or to find a safe landing location.In the end, pilots are trained to make the best out of a bad situation, to crash skillfully.One of the most important elements of training is what is called the “turnback rule” which means if your engine fails on takeoff you have to land to the front and can’t turn back to the airport unless you have sufficient altitude to make a “lift killing” unpowered turn.The only way to keep your airplane flying is to point the nose down which eats altitude. It is also hard as hell to do even in training. It is totally counterintuitive and it feels like you are flying into the ground.In a Bonanza, the turnback rule is 1000′ AGL (above ground level). When you practice it in training, it is really a very tight maneuver. I mentally peg it at 1300′. Above 1300′, I would try to get back to the airport. Below 1300′, I would land to the front.The idea of flying cars does not seem realistic to me because of FAA control of the low flight levels which would have to be used.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          Instant upvote to any comment that mentions flying. Didn’t even have to read the rest.Anyway note also the dynamic that is going on with people in government. There is the halo effect whereby the most dangerous and ridiculous idea is entertained if it is proposed by some tech company (or person) with a halo around them. I lectured the other day about a similar concept re: ‘Why Warren gets deals you will not’. Then you add in ‘if you don’t let us do it we will go to another state with our (#jobs) so it’s your choice’.

        2. Lawrence Brass

          Not exactly a car, but I enjoyed Airbus E Fan project, a prototype two-seater electric aircraft. As a fan of the project I was sad when it was cancelled.Energy storage density and efficiency is the technological roadblock for now.

          1. JLM

            .There is some physical rule at work here — lift v weight of propulsion v weight of batteries.One hour is a very, very unsafe limitation.Unique little plane. Bet it is fun to fly because there is likely no vibration. Those fan engines are very innovative.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. Mike Chan

        You don’t think flying cars will ever happen?I’m sure people never thought an AI assistant can have a natural phone call with a human being and book an appointment without that human knowing it was a computer. But Google just demoed it yesterday.Self-driving cars, a computer that beats professional Go and poker players, etc.Even though flying cars are difficult to build, anything can happen.

        1. LE

          You don’t think flying cars will ever happen?You can name the far fetched idea if I can name the time period until it gets achieved. [1]Honestly? I could care less for anything if it doesn’t happen in my lifetime or that of my children (put in so I don’t sound totally self centered.)Even though flying cars are difficult to build, anything can happen.That is similar to when people push dubious homeopathic cures. If the cure doesn’t work they simply change the rhetoric and narrative to place the blame on something extrinsic. In this case ‘time’ is the factor that explains why it hasn’t happened and why it will happen.[1] A variation of ‘you can name the price if I can name the terms’.

        2. sigmaalgebra

          Never is a long time.Can build a flying car now. Might be practical in, say, a very sparsely populated area, maybe parts of Kansas or Nevada.For any real generality, not on the horizon due to cost and safety.

        3. JLM

          .The issue with flying cars is not the “car” itself but the melding of the infrastructure — roads & airfields — and the flight rules.The car is just a matter of balancing lift, weight, thrust, and drag.The bleeding edge wants that car to be flyable by persons with very limited training (or even without any pilot) while the current system requires substantial training and increasing levels of expertise — single engine land private pilot, instrument pilot, commercial pilot, high performance aircraft, multi-engine aircraft, jet aircraft, ATP and constant “currency”, demonstrable mental acuity, and physical exams.The FAA is consistently a decade or two behind the times. I recall with great bemusement how long it took the FAA to embrace GPS navigation and to construct GPS flight approaches (the directions, altitudes a plane flies in instrument weather when approaching a runway to land under limited visibility in bad weather).The big problem is going to be insurance. You cannot fly a private plane without insurance. You cannot drive a car without insurance.Some number of flying cars will fall from the sky — happens to commercial airliners also. The defense is insurance.The last thing is the mission — I can fly my Bonanza from Texas to Charleston, SC in a single jump, though I usually refuel in Natchez or Montgomery.What mission am I going to fly in a flying car and why?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Mike Chan

            Yes, there will be hurdles, no doubt. But they can be overcome with time and smart people. Believe that.

          2. JLM

            .Henry Ford built a one-seat plane in 1926. It was, by all accounts, a winner, but it crashed killing the pilot, thereby dooming the project.”Mark my word: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.” H Ford, 78 years ago in 1940The famous Aerocar was flown in 1949. It was designed and built by Molt Taylor, a “name” in aviation circles.The Civil Aviation Authority – precursor to the FAA — awarded a mass production authorization for the design, but it was never advanced.Forty years later, in 1989, they were still screwing with it.So, will there be a design? Yes.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Girish Mehta

            The only other person to ever fly Ford’s one-seater besides the pilot Harry Brooks who was killed ?Charles Lindbergh. He said it was one of the worst planes he ever flew.3-4 prototypes were built. It was called a “model T for the air”, and an “everyman’s aircraft”.It is at the Henry Ford museum.https://www.thehenryford.or

          4. LE

            I don’t want to be like Watson who said that the world won’t need more than 100 computers however right now I am not seeing the market need at all for flying cars (given the hurdles that need to be overcome). In a way it’s a bit like bitcoin. It’s a solution in search of a problem. Now (similar to bitcoin or crypto) that doesn’t mean that other things won’t come out of the quest to build flying cars of course same as the cold war (and all wars) brought us gains, that can always happen. But that is not a reason to do things like this when you have things you need to spend time, money and brains on.Even with electric cars (the other boner of the tech crowd) nobody gives any thought to what happens when there are so many that you can’t charge yours when you need to. They just ignore or assume that there will be more charging locations that they will just appear and happen in exact accordance with demand. But in the real world with people and their shortcomings things like that aren’t planned out and don’t happen that way. And the guy at the top it’s not his aggravation at all. Just think about how nobody cares if you spend an hour on the phone with Verizon or Comcast trying to clear up some issue with your internet service.The big problem is going to be insurance. You cannot fly a private plane without insurance. You cannot drive a car without insurance.Oddly enough even though I agree I think this is actually on the dartboard to be solved. For one thing the government because they are in love and in bed with tech could easily pass laws to limit liability (similar to what happens with airlines and ships, right?). So this is a money issue and that can be handled. The other ‘hard’ issues can’t though.

          5. sigmaalgebra

            (1) I’m guessing that one dream is living in some nice community 100 miles from Wall Street and commuting via flying car to the roof of a parking garage just next door to the office in lower Manhattan.(2) Another dream image, very nicely done, was in one of the Star Wars movies where apparently millions of people were doing essentially 3D dense urban commuting, mostly following invisible roadways in the sky.For (1) or (2), now especially (1) massive collisions in the air. A traffic jam on 5th Avenue mostly just means the cars slow down or stop, but imagine a traffic jam of thousands of flying cars from all directions, on crisscrossing paths, all stuck and, thus, unless helicopters, just falling out of the sky.To make either (1) or (2) work would require one heck of a well done air traffic control system.But maybe a farmer has a big spread in Kansas. He drives, say, 80 miles to town but on his way back, in perfect weather, daylight, if he can find 200 yards of open road, takes off, flies direct to his spread, and lands on a nice flat field he has there.He doesn’t really want to fly TO the town because of the possibility of other air traffic, lack of good air traffic control, and, thus, the high risk of mid-air collisions. So, he drives TO the town, drives around in the town, drives out of the town, and, there, if he can find some empty road, takes off and flies home.

          6. JLM

            .Fair play to you, Sigma. Agree with everything you’ve said.Now, we’ve sold 473 plane-cars nationwide.What do we do with the rest of them?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. fredwilson

      mind meld

  16. kenberger

    Future/gadget boy as I am, sometimes I’d still swap all the future stuff to just know the Flintstones’ Great Gazoo:

  17. Jeremy Shatan

    It would be interesting to watch for clues to changes in human interaction and society due to all that technology, as that is one of our primary concerns today. There may be some astute points made in all those jokes. As is often said, many a truth is said in jest!

  18. Gustavo Melo

    I miss optimistic sci-fi. I still watch Star Trek TNG when I need my faith in humanity restored – it feels like William Gibson and Neal Stephenson are now much closer to reality than we all would have liked a decade or two ago.

    1. fredwilson

      me too!!!!!

    2. Girish Mehta

      Picard and Q.”Oh, I know Hamlet. And what he might say with irony, I say with conviction”.

  19. Andy Moss

    The sci fi books that really capture the world we’re rapidly approaching are the original Foundation Trilogy from Isaac Asimov. As described in Wikipedia, its about a scientist ” Hari Seldon, a mathematician and psychologist, has developed psychohistory, a new field of science and psychology that equates all possibilities in large societies to mathematics, allowing for the prediction of future events.” AI and data science in general are leading to broad predictive capabilities.

  20. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Some of the best shows for baby boomers during the 60’s. Because many of the baby boomers on AVC are within 50-60 years old and there are few who watched the programming at 2 years old and remembered it. Come on now!The following are some of the best programming of the 60’s.1. Gunsmoke2. Bonanza 3. Hogan’s Hereos4. Bewitched5. Adam’s Family6. Adam 127. Andy Griffin Show(Gave up Ron Howard-Oppie) 8. The Avengers (Sneed)9. Batman 10. The Beverly Hillbillies11. Dragnet12. F Troop13. Get Smart14. Gilligan’s Island (Can’t believe we included this buffoonery) 15. Green Acres16. Hawaii 5’017. The Honeymooners18. I dream of Jennie (Loved her)19. I love Lucy20. Mission ImpossibleCan’t believe we omitted21. Lost in Space (Robinson Family) Reboot is currently on TV22. Twilight Zone (Rod Sterling was what JJ Abrams is today)We can go on and on. Just shows the great programming in the 60!Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

    1. sigmaalgebra

      I vote for the woman on Bewitched!!!! Then there is the old movie Forbidden Planet with Ann Francis!

    2. Salt Shaker

      My very first trip to LA I stayed w/ family friends. They lived in The Marina. Their next door neighbor was Ginger from Gilligan’s Island. Years later, of course. Let’s just say I wouldn’t have recognized her w/ out a name tag or guidance.

  21. LIAD

    Talking about living in the future this clip from yesterday where Sundar Pichai present Google Assistant conducting full-on phone conversations is madness

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Not to be a buzzkill, but I’m feeling a little cynical about the hair salon call. No hair salon answers the phone, “Hello. Can I help you?” It goes something more like, “Good afternoon. Evolution Salon. Please hold.”Makes me wonder about the authenticity of the presentation, I’m afraid. And I want to believe.

  22. Bipper Media

    You can watch all 4 seasons of The Jetsons on Amazon with a Boomerang subscription which is $4.99 per month after a 7 day trial. here’s the link >>

    1. fredwilson

      i predicted to a friend that a great suggestion would be made in the comments. thank you.

      1. Bipper Media

        you are welcome, sir!

    2. falicon

      …plus many episodes of Scooby Doo, Wacky Races, and other greats…

      1. Bipper Media

        Youtube was my first stop after reading what you wrote “….I am going to figure out how to go back and watch all of the 24 original episodes”.But there was so many different results in Youtube, I wasn’t 100% confident that I was actually looking at legitimate episodes or playlists (if that makes sense).So I defaulted to Amazon and figured a paid subscription to Boomerang was pretty legit…I was actually hoping / expecting to see my Amazon Prime membership would be sufficient to access the episodes – was honestly a bit disappointed that an additional subscription to Boomerang was required.I’m assuming that would have to do with the license agreement between Amazon and Boomerang.

  23. awaldstein

    Yup–The Jetsons, Twilight Zone and Ray Bradbury were as close to religion as it got in my house growing up.

    1. fredwilson

      oooh. fun household

      1. LE

        I DVR’d a few Twilight Zone, The Fugitive, and Night Gallery. I started to watch one night. I had remembered that I really liked them. What happened? They don’t even come close to today’s entertainment. Ditto (I had mentioned this) for some classic movies on Netflix. “Casino” for example. It’s on Netflix now. I loved that movie when it came out. But compared to some of the series along the same lines it doesn’t even come close. The current day productions are so much better. I literally am not even interested in finishing it. Things have changed.

  24. Vendita Auto

    “I think sci-fi is as good of a crystal ball as we have to see into the future”The best read for me since Asimov was the second book in the Cixin Liu trilogy “Three Body Problem” “The Dark Forest” good to be reminded ones imagination holds no bounds………..

  25. sigmaalgebra

    > I particularly loved The Jetsons.From that cartoon, so do I!!!!!The woman is REALLY pretty and the girl, REALLY cute. The dog looks GREAT! Then the husband looks like a total loser. SOOOOOOO, if such a loser could have such a good wife, daughter, and dog, there is hope for the rest of us!!!!!For the AI stuff, in NYC vernacular, F’GET about it. The bottleneck is that we don’t know how to write the code, and for that we’re apparently no closer than in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.From all I’ve seen in AI, including when I was publishing peer-reviewed research in it, e.g., when I gave a talk at the Stanford AAAI IAAI conference, so far nothing but NOTHING being done is even as much as a weak little hollow hoot of a tiny start on AI, and essentially all the currently popular AI is, for real AI, just junk, not a start, not a foundation, not even relevant.From all I’ve seen or heard about, so far we have no hope of having the agility of a cockroach, the basic problem solving ability of an octopus, the fast learning ability of a kitten, the shockingly high “intelligence” of a beaver, and are not even within a light year of humans.I have an idea from about 50,000 feet up for the core cognitive part of “real AI”, but no way will I take focus from my startup to pursue that idea.We came out of the most recent AI winter. Then we had the spring of new hope. How we are in the hot summer of hype. Too soon we will be in the fall of failure and then a long, cold AI winter. It’s just the usual: The AI people want their story told; the media very much want a story to tell; and both are willing enough for plenty of hype.

  26. LE

    Note to young people. When this was on TV in the 60’s it was in black and white.The relatively small amount of network color programming, combined with the high cost of color television sets, meant that as late as 1964 only 3.1 percent of television households in the U.S. had a color set.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I watched it in black and white in a tube TV with a wooden housing. I still remember the brand, it was a Belmont. Made in the USA. I fixed that box and actually used it in the nineties.Fun memories.

      1. LE

        Back when I was growing up my dad made money on the side doing electrical work and electronics repair. He had a tube tester the tv’s had tubes. I remember the wooden sets and remember when the first remote control came out as well. I was able to sell his tube tester on ebay a few years ago. This was back when to occupy time you took things apart and put them back together. Take apart the lawn mower, take apart some machine or electronics and try to put back together again.

        1. Salt Shaker

          My grandparents had a remote control (b&w set) connected by a long cord. Had to be 1st gen remote. You could control volume and channel selection. The TV was framed in an absolutely beautiful wooden cabinet. I stored it for years somewhere but finally dumped it. Too much of a hassle. It would be so retro today.

          1. JLM

            .I was the remote control for a while.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. LE

            Hah! A big Ed McMahon ‘hiyo’ to that.

        2. sigmaalgebra

          Naw: For the lawn mower, drive, get a ride, or ride bicycle downtown to an industrial supply house that has chains, sprockets, etc. of wide variety. Fabricate this and that, get some wheels, and make a lawn mower engine powered “go cart”!Mine was a 2 x 12″ board with a rear engine. It had three wheels, one in the back and two in the front. The back wheel was the drive wheel in a slot in the 2 x 12″. The front wheels were on an axle with steering by rotating about a vertical axis in the center. The riding position had one foot on either end of the axle — so, steering was with the feet. I got the gearing about right; the speed was faster than walking, maybe 6 MPH.It worked. I drove it around the neighborhood. Safe? No. Fun? YES! I never got hurt.But, you are correct: I did take apart some lawn mower engines; that was good, basic education!A few years ago, my lawn mower engine quit. So, I knew how to take it apart!What happened was goofy: The cam shaft, amazingly enough, actually hard plastic, for the exhaust valve broke! Why? Well, there is “valve clearance”, that is, when the valve is closed there is maybe 0.010″ space between the valve stem and the cam follower, valve lifter. With no clearance, the valve might not fully close. With too much clearance, the cam follower HITS the valve stem instead of just pushing on it.Well, the clearance was about 0.200″. So, when the cam follower hit the valve stem, it hit HARD and cracked the cam.So, how did the clearance get to be so darned large? Well, looking carefully at the exhaust valve and its seat, the seat was covered with a layer of hard, burned carbon about 0.200″ thick. What the heck? Where’d all that carbon come from?California, that’s where it came from. Right, I’m in NYS, but still it came from California.Here’s how: When the piston goes down, it compresses the air below the piston in the crankcase. So, the crankcase needs a breather, a little tube to the outside so that air can get in and out of the crankcase.Well, in California, the smoking funny stuff people, the Greenies, the tree huggers, Governor Moonbeam, the bugs, bunnies, and bees people, etc. are terrified of whatever might come out of a crankcase breather. So, to please the Moonbeamers, the engine builder ran the crankcase breather into the carburetor. And, to save money, they eliminated the crankcase oil drain plug.So, my engine oil got a little dirty, and the breather tube ran that dirty oil into the carburetor where it burned on the seat of the exhaust valve which raised the exhaust valve from its closed position and caused the 0.200″ or so clearance in the valve train. Bummer. Busted plastic cam shaft. Ruined engine.Solution: Buy a new lawn mower and right away leave the breather tube open to the air like it’s been since the Model T, plug up the hole in the carburetor, keep the oil clean, and to change it do just turn the mower nearly upside down to let the old oil drain out, give a Rockefeller Salute to the Moonbeamers, shout victory, observe that the engine is still fine after several seasons, mow the grass, and celebrate with a quart of lemonade! Just did that!Same song, second verse: The lawn mower people were excited to be selling me a “mulching” mower!!!! So, I’m going to use the mower to make 100% all-natural, healthy, life-giving, earth renewing, lawn fertilizing, grass “mulch”. Gee, when I was a teenager mowing grass for some spending money, the mowers threw the cut grass about 6 feet to one side. But a mulching mower tries just to cut the grass over and over, mulch it, probably another California thingy, and not throw it.That might work for some near putting green when mow the grass whenever it has grown 1/2″. My grass is lucky if it gets mowed when it has grown 1/2 foot! What I just mowed, some of the stalks were knee high! One time I waited too long, and the tallest stalks were waist high. The worst so far was when the tallest stalks were shoulder high, my shoulder, and I’m about 6-3.So, I want the cut grass THROWN, 6 feet is okay, 10 feet is better! And the grass might be damp, sticky, and hard to throw.So, on tall, wet grass, a mulching mower bogs down, gets clogged up with wet grass goo, and doesn’t throw hardly 1 foot. Bummer.So, I tweaked the carburetor governor and got the engine going faster and the grass throwing farther. Burned noticeably more gasoline per hour!And too soon, the engine quit. Why? Well, it’s an air cooled engine, and as engine designers have long known if try to get too much power out of an air cooled engine it will overheat — water cooling permits higher power levels. For powerful air cooled engines, it helps to be at 30,000 feet up in -60 F air moving at about 350 MPH!So, the engine block is aluminum. Well, then, the valve seats are some hard iron rings that are thermal shrink fitted into the aluminum. Overheat the exhaust valve, and the iron ring valve seat can come loose. It did. On more than one engine.Finally I made sure I stayed far away from “mulching”; I keep the cut grass exhaust chute open, leave the engine governor at stock, make sure the oil looks clean, and enjoy watching the latest engine go several seasons!So, gotta stay away from “mulching”. And gotta get rid of that Moonbeam nonsense with breather tubes. Now that have set aside two nasty cases of insanity and are back to rationality, the engine runs fine!

          1. LE

            Yep and you can learn a great deal by tinkering with machines. All without reading or having it explained to you. Just reverse engineer the action and the reason why something occurs. I remember when I figured out what a heat sink did (‘what are those ridges, hmmm’). Or a cam eccentric (that was on printing machinery actually). Most important and what people don’t realize today (since there are tutorials on everything a-z) is the importance of learning concepts (that can be applied in other places) instead of specifics.My stepdaughter was in the office today helping with invoices. When the invoices came out of the laser printer they are very hot. I asked if she knew why that was. She didn’t so I explained how toner is fused to the paper otherwise it would scatter all over the place. I also explained how I designed the entire invoice myself from scratch (and it’s a really nice invoice btw.) No stock cookie cutter bullshit no way. I said the advantage is if I want to change something I can do it myself w/o depending on anyone else. That is the advantage of understanding a process and how it’s done (and it also allows you to manage others obviously). Stuff as many things in your head of practical value as possible.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            There can be big advantages in DIY for, say, equipment repairs instead of hiring maintenance or junking the equipment and buying new.DIY takes time, but so do hiring or buying.A huge advantage in DIY is cutting out what is a huge fraction of the whole US economy and funding of government, that is overhead: So if hire or buy, then have to pay for the vendor’s office space, business insurance, unemployment insurance, legal costs, supplies, training, transportation, and TAXES. It’s expensive even if all they do for you is provide a pencil or turn a screw 1/4 turn.When you DIY, you likely learn, can take notes, and then can do the work faster and better the next time.Yes, the learning does take time, and can limit how much of DIY one can do, but with the Internet there’re now lots of learning resources. Nearly all of learning is now much easier than before.

  27. jason wright

    Play SchoolJackanoryBlue Peter…the ‘best’ the BBC had to offer British children when i was growing up. Not much ‘future’ involved. The British state doesn’t feel comfortable with ideas of change. It likes the safety of the ever ending never ending, of monarchy, stability, class, ….et.c.Fred received nothing when he tried to raise money in London. No surprise at all.

  28. JLM

    .Much of what was envisioned in the “flying car” is currently embodied in the helicopter.It deals with the melding of the road and the airport. Helicopters can fly legally 1000′ over populated areas which is typically below what ATC radar can pick up reliably.Helicopters fly primarily under VFR (visual flight rules) wherein the pilot, not ATC, is responsible for clearing his own airspace.Theoretically, if a helicopter loses power, it can auto-rotate to the ground safely. I have personally tested that theory when in the military. Not something one would like to do if they could avoid it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. LE

      Helicopters though (as you know) are really way more complex than a fixed wing aircraft and a great deal more can go wrong with less margin (imo) for error and correction. The auto rotate is a good feature of course. Back (as I have mentioned a zillion times) when I flew gas rc choppers it became apparent how fragile things were. If you landed wrong (which a beginner does in order to learn w/o the electronics that they have now) the plane absolutely chewed itself up. Whack whack whack as the blades hit the ground. And everything needs to be balanced correctly. The chopper I flew (the model not – the real thing) had a metal frame. 60 size engine. One time I didn’t have the blades balanced correctly. The metal frame split in two from the very minor and high speed vibrations caused by lack of balancing correctly (over time). Right in mid flight. On a cheap piece of chinese shit that I bought off Amazon in the last few years that was electric I had a crash because it was constructed with plastic gears and a tooth was missing (I took it apart to figure out the cause of the accident).After my experience with only models I don’t think I would ever want a real helicopter.Separately this is the type of thing that kids today probably don’t learn as they have other things that they occupy their time with. I am sure they never spent a Saturday bored and seeing how many holes they could make in a piece of wood in the garage.

  29. Richard

    Fred, we might be only a few years from the jetsons, but that also may mean we are closer to the flintstones!” Originally, the Jetsons planned to use Elroy’s time machine go to the 25th century, instead of the distant past. However, Elroy clearly didn’t think this through, because in his machine, the only thing that differentiates the “future” from the “past” is those two words on the levers. Also, when they selected “future,” they ended up in Flintstone time, making them think the machine was glitched, and that they had actually ended up in the past.Of course, as we know by now, the machine took them exactly where they wanted to go. It’s just that the future was so jarring, and so unlike what anybody could have predicted, that they naturally thought they had ended up in the Stone Age. They did: the Modern Stone Age.”

  30. Brian Frank

    https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…Images I use in my decks all the time talking about how ‘automation comes to the food system’. even though they have a robot that can basically do anything (Rosie), they have a device that personalizes food to each person’s tastes.We’re basically talking about the ‘replicator’ from Star Trek, and we’re getting closer to that reality – any food, whenever we want it, delivered to our table.

  31. Salt Shaker

    “Spacely’s Sprockets.” Competitor was “Cogswell’s Cogs.” Sort of like fb and GOOG. Mr. Spacely, George’s boss, was kind of an ass, if I recall correctly.

  32. Peter Sorgenfrei

    @fredwilson:disqus I went flying in one on Tuesday (video here):…and my (American wife) wrote: Meet George Jetson – had to look that up 🙂

  33. Mac

    Ba-Deep, Ba-Deep, Ba-Deep. That’s all folks!! Ruh-Roh!

  34. Vasudev Ram

    Wow, seeing that Jetsons image in the post, reminds me of my Aircar idea that I had as a kid. I probably got the idea because I used to read the Jetsons comics (not TV shows) at a time when we were living in a multi-storey building, and the hassle of going down in the lift, going somewhere by bike, car or walking, and doing your work and coming back home. So I got the idea of a small “car” (not really a car, more like a cross between a submarine and a kayak – in appearance only) which would be parked in your living room, say, and you would get into it, it would rise vertically up to the level of the window, then fly outside the room, fly anywhere you wanted, like to the market or to school or to friends’ places, spend time there, fly back home, and fly back in through the window and land on the floor.Later as an adult (some years ago) I read about the Moller M400 Skycar, which was very roughly similar to my Aircar idea:…But apparently it has not worked out.