Thanks for the comments about the Element of Crime post. Erdmöbel: "earth-furniture?" Since I am also a big fan of Prefab Sprout, I will be going straight to the store to buy some Erdmöbel.
But now, to the GWOW. I was spending a normal Saturday morning pursuing one of my favorite hobbies: watching documentaries about advanced weapons systems.
A U.S. Marine engineer described the possibility of encasing torpedos and perhaps entire submarines in a giant air bubble. This would allow them to slide through the sea-depths as fast as air bubbles themselves; that is, with practically no resistance at all. One day, we might see submarines that move almost as quickly as airplanes. However, the German voice-over cautioned, this idea remains pure Zukunftsmusik (futuremusic).
dict.leo.org, as helpful as it is stodgy and unimaginative, defines Zukunftsmusik as "dreams of the future." (Titanic magazine regularly features surreal and dystopian paintings by the artist Nic Schulz entitled Zukunftsmusic, with a "c" at the end. Creeping Anglicization of the German language, or irony?).
OK, nice, now we understand the basic idea. But there is a much better English term for this notion, I think. In fact, there are two. "Pie-in-the-sky" (adj) and "pipe dream" (noun). Both of these terms describe a worthwhile, idealistic — but ultimately unrealizable — vision. The ideas discussed in this essay, perhaps, strike me as being in that genre. But perhaps Zukunftsmusik really means something that is realizable; that will arrive in a few decades, if we only work at it. A new idea or invention that so close we can almost perceive it — like far-off music…