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Today's young generation too stupid to fix gadgets or mend broken objects, laments professor


Modern youth
(NaturalNews) A British professor has warned that young people in her country -- and, by default, the world over -- are becoming a lost generation that lacks the capability to fix gadgets and appliances because they have been born and raised to merely dispose of goods instead.

Danielle George, a professor of Radio Frequency Engineering at the University of Manchester, claimed during the annual Royal Institution Christmas lectures that people under 40 believe that everything should "just work" and thus have no knowledge of how to respond or repair them when things don't function properly.

As reported by Britain's Telegraph newspaper:

Unlike previous generations who would 'make do and mend' now young people will just chuck out their faulty appliances and buy new ones.

But Prof George claims that many broken or outdated gadgets could be fixed or repurposed with only a brief knowledge of engineering and electronics.


"We've got a lost generation"

The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures this year were called "Sparks Will Fly: How to Hack Your Home." George said she hopes they will inspire people to think about options when it comes to dealing with common household items.

Her ideas included the use of a magnifying glass and shoe box to transform a mobile phone into a crude projector, how to utilize tin foil to make batteries that are otherwise too small fit correctly, and turning a bottle of water into a lamp.

"We've got a lost generation that has grown up with factory electronics that just work all of the time," George said. "All of these things in our home do seem to work most of the time and because they don't break we just get used to them. They have almost become like Black Boxes which never die. And when they do we throw them away and buy something new.

"But there is now a big maker community who are thinking hard about what we do with all of these gadgets. They are remaking and repurposing things," she continued, according to the Telegraph. "I talked to someone who had used some LEDs on his bike so that he could put up a message as he was cycling."

The first lecture was broadcast on Dec. 29. It was inspired by Newcastle inventor Joseph Swan, who developed the first functioning light bulb in 1878. During the lecture, George attempted to play a computer game reflected onto the windows of a skyscraper by using hundreds of light bulbs.

Also, George demonstrated how to send wireless messages via a barbeque, how to control a fireworks display using a laptop computer, how to use a flashlight to browse the Internet, how to transform a smart phone into a microscope, how to use a washing machine as a wind turbine, and how Lego could solve a Rubik's Cube.

A tradition since 1825

The Telegraph noted that scores of websites in recent years have popped up where users can post ideas about home electronics and hacks.

"I want young people to realise that that they have the power to change the world right from their bedroom, kitchen table or garden shed," George said.

"Today's generation of young people are in a truly unique position. The technology we use and depend on every day is expanding and developing at a phenomenal rate and so our society has never been more equipped to be creative and innovative," she added, according to the Telegraph.

"When I was eight years old I was given a telescope by my parents and I was fascinated - I would get up in the middle of the night to watch lunar eclipses," she went on. "It was the first time I realised how mathematics and physics could be used in a practical and useful way and I knew immediately that this kind of hands-on investigation was what I wanted to do in life."

The Royal Institutes Christmas Lectures began in 1825.

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

http://makezine.com

http://www.radiotimes.com

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