🤔 electro-temporal refrigeration, a brief introduction

On June 23, 2028, Roger Chen, an engineer at United Imports and Electronics Limited accidentally invented a time machine.

Now, mind you, it wasn’t what most people at the time would have thought of as a “time machine”, but it was. This one just happened to only go... forward.

It was a fancy box, you would put something inside, turn it on, and then depending on how much electricity you juiced it with, time would pass more or less slowly for the object inside than the rest of the world outside. Neat!

This was nothing particularly shocking; every grade-schooler knows that such a thing was possible in theory: you just needed to take the box, strap it to a rocket and take it on a near-lightspeed romp around the galaxy. But to be able to do it in your home? Without burning a geologic epoch worth of rocket fuel? That changes everything.

How electrostasis works exactly, I can’t tell you. Physics was never my thing. What do I look like? A goddamn popular science journalist? ...but anyway, I know it works, because I’ve done it. And, depending on the future that you’re reading this in – as you sip last week’s tea, still warm and perfectly steeped – all of this may of course be of no surprise to you either. But if you are surprised, or at least, mildly confused as to why you’re still eating a soggy slice of yesterday’s pizza, needlessly reheated in a microwave (although, I do personally think soggy pizza has a certain allure, but that’s probably just me) — then read on my friend, have I got a story for you...

United's technology took the refrigeration industry by storm, replacing classical thermodynamic refrigerators almost overnight, and in a similar time frame, making Chen a trillionaire (in 2047 dollars).

Gone were the days of spoiled milk, stale bread and reheated-mystery-meat-induced-diarrhea.

The physics of the thing, as I’m told, limited the size of the refrigeration pod to that of a sandwich sized tupperware container. You certainly couldn’t fit a whole turkey, but you could chop it up (some things are worth comprising for). Of course, it was easy enough to put a whole array of electrostasis pods together into a classic refrigerator sized unit, and then the engineers down in marketing just had to come up with some way to help you tell which pod you put your ham sandwich in and not confuse it for that monstrosity of a meal that is your roommate’s tuna sandwich. 

I personally liked the pods that took a holo of your food and then displayed it on the door of the pod, along with a running count of how much time had passed on the inside and a way to tweak the dilation ratio (I may be aging myself here; I think new units don’t even bother with the timer or the ratio setting anymore; you used to be able to set a lower ratio to save some money, but I – like everyone else I imagine –  just left it on the default. Then, once basement fusion cores became a staple — you can read about it in my piece in last month’s update — electricity costs stopped being a concern). From the outside, the display made it seem like you were almost peering through a glass door into what was inside – perfectly still, un-aging and attractively lit – a perfect cherry pie, waiting patiently to be consumed – but, to be clear... it was just a static holo, not a video of the inside (again, I’m told this was due to the physics. Once a pod is turned on, no light escapes… so, even if they could make the door out of glass, it would just be black inside; similarly, they can’t capture video; something to do with photons and causality). No matter, really, because by the time the third-generation pods rolled around, you stopped caring how long you left things inside. As explained in one of the ads for the new units: you could bake a batch of your famous banana-bread cupcakes and then leave them in the will for one of your great grandchildren to enjoy on their 10th birthday, just as fresh as when they came out of the oven — because, they actually were!

It was a good time to be a foodie.

Anywhoo… as is with most good things, we were not satisfied. 

The engineers at Stasis (nee United Imports and Electronics Limited) kept pushing the technology further, making it cheaper to build, cheaper to run… but the size issue wouldn’t budge. Physics is a fickle mistress. Stasis apparently threw billions of dollars at it, hiring the brightest minds in electrostasis, but the problem remained.

Until it didn’t.

As irony would have it, it wasn’t anyone at Stasis who figured it out (which you probably realized yourself anyway, as you’ve likely never heard of Stasis; now a mere trillion-dollar footnote in history) — it was, instead, some “punk kids” (as Steve Bahn, then-CEO of Stasis, put it) at the University of Nairobi who made a breakthrough and decided to “stupidly start their own company instead of selling us the IP and becoming trillionaires” (again, Steve Bahn). They became trillionaires anyway.

Tomorrow Labs’ new jumbo-size electrostasis refrigerator could actually fit a whole pizza in a pod! (Tomorrow Lab’s used their Series C funding to spin off their own online pizza chain that delivered pod-fresh pizzas straight from Sicily). 

...and then in later generations, those madmen made it fit a whole turkey! 

...and then: an entire dinner for 4! 

...and then: a human being.