THE SCOOTER FORMERLY KNOWN AS GINGER

The “Segway Human Transporter” is out in the open now – Dean Kamen’s battery-powered, highly balanced scooter that caused a hubbub when some high-tech folks gushed enthusiastic and it leaked into the press. I kind of like the looks of it (here’s The New York Times article about it). The Register’s summary seems about right.

So, will it revolutionize urban life as the press-hype surrounding its initial disclosure dared predict? Probably not.

First off, it’s expensive. On top of that, it weighs 65 lbs, making it a real monster to drag home on an empty battery. But then again, it’s not so heavy that it can’t easily be grabbed and tossed into the back of someone else’s pickup truck.

And anyway, they’ll be banned from municipal sidewalks the split second some 18-month-old toddler gets crushed and paralyzed for life. Teenagers will re-jigger them, make them go very fast, and break their necks in Extreme Ginger exhibitions in front of admiring babes, leading to further restrictions by official killjoys. Small children will ride them down stairs, to very bad outcomes. And dogs will chase them relentlessly.

For dogs, surely, Ginger is proof of God’s infinite love and generosity. For the rest of us, it’s an amusing novelty, possibly a fad, but we don’t quite see, as Steve Jobs reportedly did, cities being designed around it.