How long would it take you to invent the LCD screen?

Updated

I can’t deny that I would not have been able to explain how a liquid crystal display works before watching the above video - this despite the fact that I spend the morning looking at one, come in to work and put my head in front of two of them and then go home and watch another one with a smaller one in my lap. It’s actually kind of embarrassing that I’ve had no idea what I’ve been looking at. Even now, though I could probably recite this explanation, I’m not sure I entirely understand the helix part.

Did you ever hear Joe Rogan’s stand-up comedy routine about the devolution of humans after all the smart people die? (Joe Rogan the UFC guy was/is actually a comedian.) I think of that bit almost daily as I encounter and come to rely on technology I don’t really understand. Rogan poses the question, “If I left you in the woods wtih a hatchet, how long before you could send me an e-mail?” His point is that somewhere in the world are smart people who understand how e-mail works and can invent stuff like that and the rest of us just stumble around in the world of their creation, wondering at the magic of it all. Part of the joke he’s making is that we need to take care of our geeks and make sure they’re reproducing before we’re left at the mercy of our own ignorance.

If I left you in the woods with a hatchet, how long before you could make an LCD screen on which to read your e-mail?

Link to the Rogan thing after the jump…

Ok, here’s the link to the Joe Rogan routine. But hey, headphones alert! I put this after the jump so no one would casually click it.

I mean seriously NOTE: HEADPHONES ALERT - by which I mean, he’s a modern comic, so he curses like a sailor. And on top of that, part of his joke is about evolution and reproduction, which means vulgar references to sex. So while the video is just a guy on a stage, the audio is NSF listening out loud at work or near kids or in front of your mother or at church…

Ok, I feel like I’ve done my part to alert you. Here’s the link.

How long would it take you to invent the LCD screen?

Updated