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"If we're going to be consistent and advocate freedom of speech we have to advocate freedom of encrypted speech too. The genie is out of the bottle, cryptologically."
- Neal Stephenson

Hovercraft  
  A vehicle that moves about on a cushion of air.  

Obviously, Gibson did not invent the hovercraft; but I like his description.

Feeling entirely dislocated now, Komiko watched as Sally made a survey of available vehicles, quickly bribed a uniformed dispatcher, intimidated three other prospective fares, and chivied Komiko into a pockmarked, slabsided hover craft, painted in diagonal bands of yellow and black. The passenger compartment was barren and remarkably uncomfortable-looking. The driver, if there was one, was invisible beyond a scrawled bulkhead of plastic armor. The nub of a video camera protruded where the bulkhead met the roof, and someone had drawn a crude figure there.
From Mona Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson.
Published by Bantam in 1988
Additional resources -

The first known design for vehicle using an air cushion was by the Swedish designer and philosopher, Emmanual Swedenborg, in 1716. The craft looked like a small boat turned upside down. The operator of this vehicle would "flap" a pair of oar-like air scoops, forcing compressed air beneath the hull. However, the inventor soon realized that the energy requirements were greater than a person could provide.

The name and concept of hovercraft were created by Sir Christopher Cockrell; the first working hovercraft was built by him in 1959. Hovercraft are today in common use; however, dreams of hovercars and other vehicles never came to fruition, owing to the excessive power requirements of getting a vehicle to "hover" on anything but the smoothest surface. Read more at The Hovercraft History and Hovercraft Museum.

For an amusing look at an intelligent (?) hovercraft, see the entry for hover-limo - hovercraft for hire from Steel Beach by John Varley.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Mona Lisa Overdrive
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Mona Lisa Overdrive
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

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