Timothy Spall b. 1957
Many happy returns to a great British actor best known to genre fans as Wormtail in the Harry Potter films. He's done a lot of great work in a lot of interesting films. Two of my favorites are Topsy Turvy and The Damned United. As I do more research, I may find other people who share a birthday with Mr. Spall, but it will be hard for me not to make him the picture boy for 27 February, because All Sentient Beings Love Timothy Spall.
Prediction: Aerial War-Ships and Forts on Wheels.
Giant guns will shoot twenty-five miles or more, and will hurl anywhere within such a radius shells exploding and destroying whole cities. Such guns will be armed by aid of compasses when used on land or sea, and telescopes when directed from great heights. Fleets of air-ships, hiding themselves with dense, smoky mists, thrown off by themselves as they move, will float over cities, fortifications, camps or fleets. They will surprise foes below by hurling upon them deadly thunderbolts. These aerial war-ships will necessitate bomb-proof forts, protected by great steel plates over their tops as well as at their sides. Huge forts on wheels will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains of to-day. They will make what are now known as cavalry charges. Great automobile plows will dig deep entrenchments as fast as soldiers can occupy them. Rifles will use silent cartridges. Submarine boats submerged for days will be capable of wiping a whole navy off the face of the deep. Balloons and flying machines will carry telescopes of one-hundred-mile vision with camera attachments, photographing an enemy within that radius. These photographs as distinct and large as if taken from across the street, will be lowered to the commanding officer in charge of troops below.
Predictor: John Elfreth Watkins in the Ladies' Home Journal in 1900
Reality: Yep. That's pretty much modern warfare. Note that he used "balloons and flying machines" in a sentence. He's predicting heaver than air flight six years before Kitty Hawk. He figures out that tanks are going to make cavalry obsolete. Submarines already existed, but he figured out how they would be improved.
If someone wanted to nit pick, the silent cartridge is not used that much and automobile plows for trenches aren't widespread either. He doesn't mention atomic bombs, missiles and drones, but he's writing this stuff in 1900 and he is A Sensible Person. He extrapolates the trends of the day in a remarkably reasonable way.
As I have said before, I loves me some John Elfreth Watkins. He only has about 30 predictions so he'll only be holding down the Wednesday slot on the blog for about the first half of the year. I'm going to miss him when he's gone.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE! Arthur C. Clarke talks about the wonderful medical advances we might expect... in the year 2000!
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!