If you're a little behind and missed it (like me), CNN recently released its list of the top 25 innovations of the past 25 years. The Internet finished first, barely beating out other top innovations like Velcro and the automatic lollipop turner.
Well, those didn't quite make the list, but to get a sampling of what did, check out the complete list and story here. While it's definitely hard to go wrong with the Internet being No. 1 (how would I have even been able to find that out, and what's more, how would you have been able to read this?), there are a couple of qualifications to be on the list.
First, these are all non-medical innovations. Second, they are supposed to be widely used technologies, although some, at least to this point, don't quite fit the description. The hybrid car finished 16th, and MEMS (Micro Electronic Mechanical Systems) placed 11th. I guess it depends on your definition of widely used, because as of 2004, there were only 100,000 of them on the road, according to the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. And MEMS technology does allow for more sophisticated functions in electronic processing, I doubt you'll hear random people at the bar very often proclaim, "Yep, I use that MEMS stuff every day."
Of course, maybe you don't hear people claiming to use the automatic lollipop turner frequently, but trust me, they're just embarrassed to admit it.