'Tis the season to Crave: Leslie Katz's picks

Another Crave contributor shares five tech-related wishes for the holidays.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
Leslie Katz
3 min read

Editor's note: From now through the end of December, various Crave contributors will be sharing their top five (mostly) tech-related wishes for the holiday season. See what we crave, and maybe you'll get some ideas!

Light syringe
I want this novel light syringe to work now. University of St Andrews

1. Implementation of cancer-killing light saber. Reports that scientists in Scotland were working on a promising light saber-like device to treat cancer couldn't have come at a more relevant time. My dear friend's husband has just been diagnosed with a hard-to-treat form of the disease, and everyone close to him is reeling from the news.

The technology would involve firing a laser beam accurate enough to pump chemotherapy drugs directly into cancer cells. The researchers believe hard-to-reach cancers, such as that of the pancreas--and hopefully, in my friend's case, the liver--would especially benefit. This holiday season, I wish this treatment were already widely in use, so that it could zap the life out of every last cancer cell in this amazing man's body.

2. Motherboard menorah. I love the idea of gathering around the table to sing Hanukkah songs and light the recycled motherboard. This innovative take on the traditional candelabrum also features nine LED lights, which would help me cut down on those 15 grams of carbon dioxide allegedly produced by every lit candle that burns completely. Plus, this menorah uniquely combines two aspects of my identity: my Jewish heritage and my job in technology.

Pininfarina B0
The Pininfarina B0: who said we couldn't include big-ticket items on our wish list? CBS Interactive

3. Pininfarina BO electric car. One day, my trusty 1994 Integra hand-me-down will go to Acura heaven--and given the odd screeching sounds it's been emitting lately, that day is likely coming soon. When the old car does retire, I'd like to replace it with a sleeker, greener model.

The graceful little B0, a collaboration between Italian designer Pininfarina and Bollore, uses a lithium metal polymer battery pack on the undercarriage, with an electric motor driving the front wheels. Solar panels on the roof and hood help recharge the electrical power reserves. Yes, it takes 6.3 seconds to accelerate from zero to 37 mph (Bollore, a consortium of companies with expertise in batteries and capacitors, hasn't released a zero-to-60 time yet). But hopefully when and if this great-looking little auto goes into production in late 2009, it will pick up speed. And can I just say that I'm really ready for a built-in MP3 player to replace my current cassette/CD combo?

4. USB-powered heated slippers. Staying cozy is a pressing matter for those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area given the unseasonable freeze that's currently turning us all into a bunch of whiners. Go ahead and make fun of us, East Coast and Midwest readers. With temps in the 30s and 40s, we Northern California wimps might as well be living in Siberia--wearing shorts!

5. My very own Mad Men DVDs. Getting up to date on this marvelous AMC series via Netflix has been fine, but then I have to return the discs, which is really incompatible with my new addiction. What if I have a sudden urge to behold the multi-textured acting brilliance of Vincent Kartheiser or January Jones? I need to be able to immerse myself in the strange and fascinating culture of 1960s Madison Avenue on demand. Sure, there's TiVo, but fast-forwarding tends to interrupt the dramatic flow.

PREVIOUS CRAVE HOLIDAY LISTS: Sharon Vaknin, Anne Dujmovic, Erica Ogg, Dan Ackerman, Matt Hickey