This month, a New York magazine cover story, 00s: The World Did Not End (but pretty much everything else did), noted that artifacts from everyday life in the 20th century are rapidly becoming things of the past. Many hit landfill as victims of ever-changing technology. Here is a list of "Rust in Peace" objects that have all but vanished during the last decade:
Answering machine: telephones went electronic, so messages are delivered through digital voice mail, email and texting.
Lickable stamps: most mail is sent with self-adhesive postage stamps, though philatelic societies around the world prefer the old versions for stamp collections. Snail mail is dwindling, too.
Foldable road maps: GPS (Global Positioning Systems) have rendered the old-fashioned map obsolete. Google gives directions on iPhones, Snoop Dogg and Homer Simpson announce the next exit on TomTom devices.
Cathode ray tube television: flat screen LCD screens and plasma televisions outsell CRTs as state-of-the-art TVs. Will they be turned off in another ten years?
Incandescent light bulbs: Banned in Europe, phasing out elsewhere. The switch to LEDs (light emitting mission diodes) may make CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) outmoded.
Smoking in bars: Stubbed out in many locales in 2004, though not without a fight. The air is clearer inside while steaming smokers take their leave outside.
Fax machines: a technology on the wane with the emailing of PDF files and scanned documents, though curiously, faxing is big in Japan, the fax capital of the world.
Cassette tapes: Miss rewinding? Considered the ruin of recording industry in the 1980s (until downloading), sales dropped from 442 million in 1990 to 274 thousand in 2007.
French Franc: Bid adieu, arrivederci, adios, and auf wiedersehen to national printed money in 16 countries and counting in the European Union, exchanged for €, the Euro.
Floppy disc: CD-Rs and flash/thumb drives replaced the not-so floppy portable file holder. Archaic storage capacity was 1.5 MB, half the size of an MP3.
Phone books: a large waste of paper, considering mobile phones are not listed, and information is accessible online, plus more.
Polaroid film: cell phones snap photos and digital cameras zip off images over the internet. But don't scrap it yet - Polaroid is bringing them back in 2010.
Rolodex: digitized address books are handier and more flexible than bulky wheels of business card-sized info.
Subway/Underground/Metro tokens: swipe readable and dispensable cards to enter turnstiles. Out-of-commission coins gain new life as jewelry and novelty items.
Bank deposit slips: as transactions go online and ATMs read checks, the paper trail disappears - along with some banks this year, too.