What 1969 Thought the Office of the Future Looked Like

Wesley / Stringer / Getty Images
Wesley / Stringer / Getty Images

On April 16, 1969, the BBC show Tomorrow's World showed James Burke's vision for the office of the future. In the short film, Burke's office is computerized, "quiet, cool, very efficient." There's no telephone, but there is a "BJ-39" computer on wheels, ready to provide messages, distractions, and a form of FOMO. Also, Burke is the only man in the building, surrounded by women. Hmm.

Overall, it's a surprisingly prescient vision. Burke's office contains automated single-serving coffee, video messaging, computerized cameras, voice-to-text transcription, and a distracting executive desk toy. But more than the technology, Burke nails the anxiety of the lonely workplace. He demonstrates that the biggest obstacle to solo work is not technology, but a distracted inner monologue wondering what to work on next, what's going on outside, and what might be lying around to fiddle with. His attitude is spot-on for the modern urge to refresh social media and news, particularly for remote workers.

Tune in, and try to spot yourself in this. Be aware that the Burke segment only lasts until about 3:30 in the video below; the rest is an unrelated segment on Ray Davis Jr.'s neutrino research (he would eventually win a Nobel Prize for it!) and very early LED manufacturing.

If you enjoyed that, you'll love Burke's TV series Connections.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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13 Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions

Would you fly in this?
Would you fly in this?

As it turns out, being destroyed by the very thing you create is not only applicable to the sentient machines and laboratory monsters of science fiction.

In this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy takes us on a sometimes tragic, always fascinating journey through the history of invention, highlighting 13 unfortunate innovators whose brilliant schemes brought about their own demise. Along the way, you’ll meet Henry Winstanley, who constructed a lighthouse in the English Channel that was swept out to sea during a storm … with its maker inside. You’ll also hear about stuntman Karel Soucek, who was pushed from the roof of the Houston Astrodome in a custom-designed barrel that landed off-target, fatally injuring its occupant.

And by the end of the episode, you just might be second-guessing your secret plan to quit your day job and become the world’s most daredevilish inventor.

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