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What if 'the man who declared war on gravity' had won?

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io9 examines what would happen if entrepreneur Roger Babson had successfully developed the anti-gravity device he sought for much of his life.

Roger Babson Monument WIKIMEDIA
Roger Babson Monument WIKIMEDIA

Like many other wealthy businessmen, early Twentieth Century entrepreneur Roger Babson wanted to use his fortune to help eradicate social ills. Unfortunately for him, the ill in question was gravity. Babson carried a passionate hatred of the force, explaining in the 1948 tract "Gravity: Our Enemy Number One" that his drowned sister "was unable to fight Gravity which came up and seized her like a dragon and brought her to the bottom... Gradually I found that 'old man Gravity' is not only directly responsible for millions of deaths each year, but also for millions of accidents." Soon after, Babson established the "Gravity Research Foundation," which distributed grants for the purpose of developing a "semi-insulator" to selectively disable gravity. Babson died in 1967, having failed to develop his gravity shield.

But what if he had? io9 examines what would have come to pass if his anti-gravity device had been used as he wanted: to remove the forces of gravity on planes, rivers, and hazardous public places. On the bright side, air travel would possibly be "cheaper and more ecological," because planes could simply float to their destinations. Unfortunately, the shield wouldn't have saved Babson's sister from drowning, though. "If someone's swimming pool suddenly lost its gravity and big wodges of it started sailing through the air," for example, "a person could drown with most of their body on land and their head in a patch of water that they couldn't clear away." Head over to the source to read about the dangerous, useless, and fantastic things we could do in a world where gravity was optional.