4 Ways 'Futurama' Is Becoming a Reality


Millions of fans are shedding soggy Slurm-flavored tears over the news that Futurama has been cancelled (again), rendering the season that will premiere this June its very last.

Once again, television audiences will be left with a dearth of quality Hypnotoad-related programming. But good news, everyone! While the TV show may be gone, you are already living it. Well, some aspects of the show, anyway!

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One day, God willing.

Tube Transport

One of Futurama's most iconic images is that of New New York's citizens zipping through the sky in pneumatic tubes. In fact, these tubes are one of the first things we see upon tuning in to an episode.

4 Ways 'Futurama' Is Becoming a Reality

Meanwhile, in the Present:

Meet the ET3.

4 Ways 'Futurama' Is Becoming a Reality

Finally, public transit gets some dignity.

The ET3 -- which stands for Evacuated Tube Transport, because its creators alarmingly don't understand how acronyms or numbers work -- is an experimental pressurized air system designed to carry passengers at a speed of 4,000 miles per hour. At that rate, a trip from Los Angeles to New York would take under an hour -- hopefully the ET3 will include a scenic detour to the Grand Canyon so passengers can soak up its brown, blurry grandeur for five seconds.

The ET3 doesn't carry unprotected individual passengers -- which would obviously be dangerous -- so it instead pushes six-person cars through its frictionless vacuum. The creators of the ET3 say the system could be up and running within the next decade, although there are some certain grisly safety problems builders need to get around, namely not turning vacationers into bloody Rorschach blots during emergency stops.

Fuel from Beer

On Futurama, everyone loves Bender, the cigar-chomping, beer-swilling, felonious robot buddy of the Planet Express crew. In the 1999 episode "I, Roommate," we learn that Bender isn't just a degenerate barfly -- hooch is actually the fuel that keeps him running and robbing. How dipsomaniacally wacky!


Meanwhile, in the Present:

It's not that wacky at all: There are tons of fuel sources based on alcohol. One such compound is ethanol, a component of gasoline that is typically made from corn. In fact, a company called E-Fuel has teamed up with the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company to create the E-Fuel100 MicroFueler, a machine that takes in leftover beer yeast from brewing and spits out ethanol.

4 Ways 'Futurama' Is Becoming a Reality
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"Bite my shiny metal ass!"

Should this device catch on, it might not be long before our cars start taking us on joyrides to strip clubs, casinos, and automobile whorehouses, which we're just going to assume are Avis rental centers.

The Anchovy Shortage

In the episode "A Fishful of Dollars," Fry learns that the interest from his bank account from 1999 -- which hasn't been touched in 1,000 years -- has made him a billionaire. He immediately reacts by buying as many ridiculous things as he can, such as the world's last can of extinct anchovies, which goes for thousands of dollars.

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We imagine anchovies would be mourned just a hair more than mosquitoes or rapebeetles.

Meanwhile, in the Present:

There is totally a shortage of anchovies, and it's happening right now. Yes, despite the fact that only grandparents ever seem to enjoy them, anchovies -- which are also used as bait fish -- have been overfished to the point that the fishing industry is losing millions of dollars.

4 Ways 'Futurama' Is Becoming a Reality
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The demand for joke toppings to gross out your friends is incredibly robust.

This also has the potential to wreak havoc on ocean ecosystems, as basically every other damn marine animal eats them. So while you may not enjoy anchovies, penguins and dolphins certainly do. (So by the by, you should really investigate whether or not your grandfather is actually a porpoise.)

Micro-Organisms That Make You Smarter

Finally, we have the 2001 episode "Parasites Lost," wherein Fry eats a sandwich from a vending machine that is contaminated with parasites. While Professor Farnsworth prepares to dive in, Fantastic Voyage style, to clear the infection, Fry isn't sure that he even wants to be cured, as the parasite has a side effect of making everything about him considerably more cromulent.

4 Ways 'Futurama' Is Becoming a Reality

This was one of the episodes that really embiggened our respect for the series.

Meanwhile, in the Present:

While we wouldn't advise skipping around the park shoving dirt down your gullet, scientists in 2010 discovered that mice who were fed a common soil bacterium known as Mycobacterium vaccae were twice as fast at navigating mazes compared to those non-bacteria-munching mice. Additionally, exposure to M. vaccae seemed to facilitate a euphoric state of mind in the test mice.

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"Y'know what? This is a good day."

So if you ever find yourself trapped in a hedge maze for days and you're rapidly running out of wits and sustenance, you could do far worse than hork down a mud pie before the Garden Minotaur gets you. It's a solution most Zoidbergian.

You can follow Amanda Mannen on Twitter, where she is frequently amazed by things she sees on TV.

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