Centuries ago, the Romans drank water from lead pipes. They thought this was a great idea. Lead must have seemed like such a good metal, easy to work with, relatively strong, cheap enough to use in as many aqueducts as were needed.

Today, we look back at the Romans and their lead pipes and laugh a little. “Those silly Romans,” we say. “No idea how toxic lead is.”

We don’t use lead pipes anymore. We have iron, copper, plastic… materials that won’t poison our water supply. After 2,000 years, we’ve learned so much from science, and our lives are so much healthier for it.

But I wonder. In the year 4011, what will people laugh at us for? What stupid thing are we doing today that future generations will mock us for? What ubiquitous thing in our era is our version of lead pipes?

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