"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)

"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
September 19 is the last post for this blog. Thanks to all my readers!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

29 May 2013


Birthdays
Sebastian Shaw b. 1905 died 23 December 1994
Adam Brown b. 1980

Not particularly well known names on the birthday list today. Shaw was the actor who played Darth Vader unmasked in Return of the Jedi and then played the ghost of Anikin in the last scenes of Return of the Jedi. In the 2004 re-mastered edition - or as I prefer to call it, the "re-ruined edition" - Hayden Christensen plays the ghost of Anikin, just so the young people won't be confused.

Adam Brown plays Ori the dwarf in The Hobbit.


Up released 2009

I have to say that with all the special effects extravaganzas that bombard us from the screen, Pixar has generally done a very good job of keeping the story lines at the level of human interest and character development, making them some of the most watchable...

SQUIRREL!
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...

(On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog.)  

In the year 2000!

Prediction:  Hot and Cold Air from Spigots. Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished. Rising early to build the furnace fire will be a task of the olden times. Homes will have no chimneys, because no smoke will be created within their walls.

Predictor: John Elfreth Watkins in 1900, published in The Ladies' Home Journal

Reality: Watkins misses that the hot and cool air spigots will be machines run by electricity or gas and so a central plant is unnecessary, but other than that, once again he is on the money.

Comparing Watkins to the later predictors isn't exactly fair, but it's like Heinlein and Clarke are shooting from the free throw line and Watkins is out in three point territory, shooting a better percentage and making the sci-fi writers look awfully damn sad.

 I wonder if the later writers even knew about Watkins. After all, they didn't have a resource like the Internet and they probably wouldn't think to look for futurist speculation in The Ladies' Home Journal.  He wrote no fictional stories I can find, and his last day job was as a curator at the Smithsonian, his best known work as part of the team that restored the John Bull steam locomotive.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE! 

While later speculative fiction writers might never have heard of Watkins, it is almost certain that Watkins, Heinlein, Clarke and H.G. Wells and all the rest did know about the guy who gets introduced tomorrow. For on the 30th of May, 2000, this important writer's hero (and alter ego) Julian West awakens from a strange coma which began in 1887.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!
 

3 comments:

  1. I'd give him half points on the central plant. From the early part of the twentieth century, many cities had central plants that provided steam, at least through the urban cores, to all the buildings.

    In Milwaukee, the steam co-gen plants have been forced in recent days to give electrical credits to buildings that use the steam, since most of them have switched to more controllable sources, as well as adding cooling.

    But still. It's remarkable. The only prediction I can make for the year 2100 that I have any confidence in is the zombie apocalypse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ZR, you predicting the zombie apocalypse is like that guy from the pencil company in the 1956 edition of Amazing Stories. It's just buttering the bread. ;^)

      If I had thought a little more about radiators, which still existed in my lifetime, I would have given him more points. Carrier's large industrial air conditioning unit is still a few years away from Watkins' point of view and the portable air conditioner wouldn't exist until the 1940s. He makes a lot of great calls based on technology not yet in evidence.

      The week between Christmas and New Years will be reserved for the greatest of the predictions, either remarkably correct or culturally significant. I will run out of Watkins' predictions by mid July (and yes, I will be sad), but he has to have a curtain call in that last week.

      Delete
  2. ZR, you predicting the zombie apocalypse is like that guy from the pencil company in the 1956 edition of Amazing Stories. It's just buttering the bread.

    I prefer to work within my core competencies.

    ReplyDelete

Traveler! Have you news... FROM THE FUTURE?