"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!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

24 September 2013

Jessica Lucas b.1985 (Cloverfield)
Marc Guggenheim b. 1970 (writer, Green Lantern, Arrow, Percy Jackson)
John Logan b. 1961 (writer, Hugo, Star Trek:Nemesis)

Kevin Sorbo b. 1958 (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Andromeda)
Brad Bird b. 1957 (director, The Incredibles, The Iron Giant)
Ian Stewart b. 1945 (writer, The Science of Discworld)
Jim Henson b. 1936 died 16 May 1990 (The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth)
John Brunner b. 1934 died 26 August 1995 (won 1969 Hugo for Stand on Zanzibar)
Horace Walpole b. 24 September 1717 died 2 March 1797 (The Castle of Otranto)

Most days the birthday list is dominated by actors, but today writers and directors take up most of the positions, including the late Jim Henson in the Picture Slot. I included Horace Walpole because The Castle of Otranto is considered the first Gothic novel.

Many happy returns to the living on this list.

Movies released
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga-Hoole released, 2010

Predictor: Isaac Asimov, making predictions in 1964 about 2014

Prediction:Windows need be no more than an archaic touch, and even when present will be polarized to block out the harsh sunlight. The degree of opacity of the glass may even be made to alter automatically in accordance with the intensity of the light falling upon it.

Reality: Uh, no. We are seeing a little of the nerd boy "Ooh! Ick! Nature!" side shining from old Isaac here, but the idea that architecture would divorce itself from windows is just crazy talk. Everywhere I've worked, a windowless office is seen as a punishment and a house or apartment without a window is very rare indeed.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

T. Baron Russell gives us his view of the 21st Century from his vantage point in Edwardian England.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!


  1. [rubbing hands together, putting down a soapbox]

    Gosh. I feel a little hesitant taking on Asimov. But here goes.

    There WERE many instances of apartments without windows, especially in east coast cities with massive immigrant populations. They were called tenements, and the conditions were so appalling and created so many health problems that building codes were created mandating light and ventilation requirements. In fact, it is only recently that these have been relaxed to recognize mechanical ventilation and artificial light, but the use is relatively limited. Asimov gets 1/2 point as I see it, because he was looking at the technological ability, but missed the human need for connection to natural light and air. Also, "harsh sunlight"? OK, 1/4 point.

    The cases where I've used the mechanical ventilation option have always been industrial adaptive reuse projects, where apartments are deeper and exterior wall space is limited. But the size of the original windows (in one project the window openings were 10' tall and 16' wide!) serves to provide adequate light and ventilation for the entire unit, even if the bedroom might not have a direct window.

    And you are right, an entire apartment without windows is so rare that I might say it is non-existent. Wait. I knew a photographer who converted the balcony of a theater into his loft, and there were no windows in that, although he did install a camera obscura. Offices are more likely to be windowless, but as you point out, it's not considered desirable.

    in fact, recent technological innovations in glass and window technology is going the exact opposite direction. Modern windows have solved most of the problems that arose from the corporate glass box construction, and it is not unusual to see massive amounts of glazing on buildings. External sunshades have in fact become common. I have a project for market-rate apartments under construction, where the window openings in the units are 9' square.

    One place he gets a point, though; the adjustable opacity window is indeed a thing: http://www.smartglassinternational.com/electric-switchable-glass/

    But in general, blinds, sunshades, and good old fashioned shade trees are just as effective.

    wheee! that was fun!

    1. Hi, ZR! I knew this one was right up your alley. Next week, Asimov takes another architectural guess that isn't very accurate, based on his "Sunlight! BOO!" hypothesis.

      As you well know, I mock Heinlein mercilessly and take a few potshots at Arthur C. Clarke as well, but these guys weren't idiots and neither was Asimov. They are addicts for technology and a little crazy in love with space travel, but not idiots.

      I have to wonder if Asimov had some vision problems that made him particularly photophobic and if the hypothetical problem was not well diagnosed. I'm about as much of an indoor nerd as is possible, but I still like to get outside in the 'nice' weather, which in Oakland is about 345-355 days a year to my tastes.

    2. to be fair, if we keep screwing up our UV-protective atmospheric layers, sunlight may in fact develop into a hazard that humans will want to avoid.

  2. People seem to have largely forgotten Brunner, who was a leader in the "experimental" approach to Sci Fi as literature. I recommend Stand on Zanzibar to young friends frequently, but I haven't been able to find a copy myself for a long time. I remember enjoying Shockwave Rider as well, though I don't really remember what its about. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only reader who still recalls this author.

    1. I started my author list with all the Hugo and Nebula winners of Best Novel, so Brunner got on the list that way. Some lazy day in the near future, I'll get all the novella or short novel winners as well.

  3. Uh, Brunner died during the 1995 (Glasgow) WorldCon; (I believe at the Worldcon; his daughter was a vendor there, and I learned from her that her father had died.) Date should be noted.

    There are Kindle editions of and Stand on Zanzibar, per Amazon.


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