What is the Largest Advancement in Non-Electric Technology Over the Last 10 Years?

From the hilarious Seinfeld episode “The Face Painter”:

George: We discussed toilet paper.

Jerry: Toilet paper?

George: Yeah, I told her how toilet paper hasn’t changed in my lifetime, and probably wouldn’t change in the next fifty thousand years and she was fascinated, fascinated!

Jerry: What are you talking about?

Elaine: Yeah.

Jerry: Toilet paper’s changed.

Elaine: Yeah.

Jerry: It’s softer.

Elaine: Softer.

Jerry: More sheets per roll

Elaine: Sheets.

Jerry: Comes in a wide variety of colors.

Elaine: Colors.

George: Ok, ok, fine! It’s changed, it’s not really the point. Anyway, I’m thinking of making a big move.

It is obvious that computers have improved over the last ten years. Similarly, pretty much everything electric contains a tiny computer chip and has made tremendous strides. But what are the largest advancements made to non-electric technology? The boring items that you (like George) thought never improved?

My answer is protein powder. It was exactly 10 years ago I started taking it for the first time, and boy was it disgusting! No matter what flavor you had (limited to just chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry) it had a similar chalky taste. Even worse was the consistency – when mixed with water the powder would remain in chunks and practically require chewing on the way down.

Today, only 10 years later, protein powder is a delicacy. The taste is comparable to any fast food milk shake, but somehow with only one gram of sugar. The powder dissolves in water with only a light shaking – 10 years ago you couldn’t even achieve these results with a powerful blender. Simply shocking advances! What would you point to as the largest non-electric technology advancement over the last 10 years?

Want some ideas? How about an iron? Maybe golf balls? Yo-yos?

The same but different – what non-electric items will never change and are the best they will ever be?

7 thoughts on “What is the Largest Advancement in Non-Electric Technology Over the Last 10 Years?

  1. Scott H says:

    First of all, I totally am with you on the protein powder. It is much better than it used to be. I just started taking it again after a 10 year hiatus and man was I shocked!

    My submission has to be shoes. I don’t know of you have tried the Vibram toe shoes or the Nike freerunners but the difference is immediately noticeable and much more ergonomically designed to work with our feet rather than against them (to say nothing about our knees and backs).

    • Skinner says:

      Yes, yes, yes, very much agree. I am a big advocate for the Vibrams – I’m such a gimp I’m convinced I can’t run in real shoes anymore and expect to be pain free the next day. I’ll let you know how the new Nike free running shoes are because I am about to make a purchase …

  2. T-shirts are (can be) so much softer than they were back in the day. Even more impressive I would say is dri-fit and other workout gear like that. The whole moisture wicking thing is incredibly impressive.

    Something I feel that should have gotten exponentially better but is still pretty much the same – deodorant. How can they not make a deodorant that doesn’t leave you wet and/or doesn’t rub off on your shirt instantly. Come on science.

    • Dri-fit is pretty impressive. Generally fabric technology is making large gains.

      I notice a trend that all our answers revolve around sports. A different crowd would probably we talking about the advancements in make-up…

  3. Eric says:

    Yeah, I was going to say hockey sticks… sooo… skinner’s point is strong here.

    what might be interesting is to note how much technology has ENABLED the non-tech advances. I’d wager, a whole lot.

    • Skinner says:

      I had no idea the advancement in hockey sticks over the last ten year. One question for you, how good would Wayne Gretzky have been with today’s hockey sticks?

      I absolutely agree that hidden technology exists in many of these items. But out of sight, out of mind!

      • Eric says:

        first, yes, hockey sticks have advanced extraordinary amounts in the last 10-20 years. in the early 90’s it was all wood. then aluminum shafts with wood blades came about… soon there were carbon fiber shafts with wood blade inserts, but now most players (even at my level) use one-piece carbon fiber sticks with specific flex strengths/points and blade patterns. Thanks, China!

        Gretzky was known for his vision more than anything, so not sure he would have been any significant amount better. probably some marginal % of shots that were a bit faster would have gone in… passes unlikely to be any different. however, you never know.

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