Tuesday, July 16, 2013
16 July 2013
Jerry Doyle b. 1956
Mr. Doyle has gone from actor to right/libertarian talk show host, probably not such a bad idea given how dodgy a career as a character actor can be. The blog wishes him many happy returns.
Inception released, 2010
I, Robot released 16 July 2004
In the Year 2000!
Prediction: A thousand miles an hour at a cent a mile will be commonplace; short hauls will be made in evacuated subways at extreme speed.
Predictor: Robert A. Heinlein in a 1950 list of predictions
Reality: Wow, I never knew the 16th of July was National Right Wing Bald Guy day. I guess I should read the memos more often.
This prediction comes in three parts.
1. A thousand miles an hour will be commonplace. Strike one. Supersonic travel is certainly possible but very rare indeed.
2. Traveling at a penny a mile. Okay, ignoring missing the speed of travel, a penny a mile is $1 for 100 miles, which would say cross country trips should be about $30. Not even close. In 1965, he amended this one to say a 1950 penny because he didn't realize how much inflation would be. The CPI of 2000 divided by the CPI of 1950 is about 7.2, so that would bring the price up to $216 one way from coast to coast. That's closer, but Southwest has it dirt cheap at $316 and shorter trips like San Francisco to Los Angeles have an even worse miss by percentage. It should be $27 by Heinlein's guess, actually $79 on Southwest's Wanna Get Away price. I'll call this a foul tip for strike two.
3. Short hauls will be made in evacuated subways at extreme speed. If Ridiculous Bob had added "in Japan and parts of Europe", he'd get some points, but I'm going to call this a swing and a miss for strike three.
If instead he had written "In the 21st Century, high speed rail will be seen as an evil liberal plot", that would have been a tape measure home run. It's ironic that high speed trains were so beloved by both Heinlein and Ayn Rand and are now so despised by people who share those writers' world view.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!
To be fair to Heinlein, tomorrow I'll trot out a prediction about transportation in the year 2000 from my man crush John Elfreth Watkins that is just as far off.
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!