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"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Panoramic Viewer  
  Permits observation at a distance, as well as the projection of a holographic image.  

Rupert Boyce is a somewhat curious character," Rashaverak answered. "Professionally, he's in charge of animal welfare over an important section of the Main African Reservation. He's quite efficient, and interested in his work. Because he has to keep watch over several thousand square kilometres, he has one of the fifteen panoramic viewers we've so far issued on loan - with the usual safeguards, of course. It is, incidentilly, the only one with full projection facilities. He was able to make a good case for these, so we let him have them."

"What was his argument?"

"He wanted to appear to various wild animals so that they could get used to seeing him, and so wouldn't attack when he was physically present. The theory has worked out quite well with animals that rely on sight rather than smell- though he'll probably get killed eventually. And, of course, there was another reason why we let him have the apparatus."

"It made him more co-operative?"

"Precisely."

From Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Not Known in 1953
Additional resources -

Here's a bit more:

They had left Alaska three hours before, and should have remembered to adjust the cabin temperature accordingly.

"What a place to live!" gasped Jean. "I thought this climate was supposed to be controlled."

"So it is," replied George. "This was all desert once-and look at it now. Come on-it'll be all right indoors ! "

Rupert's voice, slightly larger than life, boomed cheerfully in their ears. Their host was standing beside the flyer, a glass in each hand, looking down at them with a roguish expression.

He looked down at them for the simple reason that he was about twelve feet tall: he was also semi-transparent. One could see right through him without much difficulty.

"This is a fine trick to play on your guests!" protested George. He grabbed at the drinks, which he could just reach. His hand, of course, went right through them. "I hope you've got something more substantial for us when we reach the house!"

"Don't worry!" laughed Rupert. "Just give your order now, and it'll be ready by the time you arrive."

"Two large beers, cooled in liquid air," said George promptly. We'll be right there."

Rupert nodded, put down one of his glasses on an invisible table, adjusted an equally invisible control, and promptly vanished from sight.

"Well!" said Jean. "That's the first time I've seen one of those gadgets in action. How did Rupert get hold of it? I thought only the Overlords had them."

"Have you ever known Rupert not to get anything he wanted?" replied George.

"That's just the toy for him. He can sit comfortably in his studio and go wandering round half of Africa. No heat, no bugs, no exertion-and the icebox always in reach. I wonder what Stanley and Livingstone would have thought?"

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Childhood's End
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to Childhood's End
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

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