Stephen Collins b. 1947 (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Richard Corben b. 1940 (Illustrator)
Richard Harris b. 1930 died 10/25/2002 (Harry Potter)
A short list of birthdays today, but we get both a Star Trek and a Harry Potter hit. No disrespect to Mr. Collins, but when I saw the first Star Trek, I knew the new characters were just going to be in the way, no matter how pretty they were.
Many happy returns to Mr. Collins and Mr. Corben, and may Richard Harris never be forgotten.
Predictor: Isaac Asimov, predicting life in 2014 as part of the 1964 World's Fair in New York
Prediction: There is an underground house at the fair which is a sign of the future. if its windows are not polarized, they can nevertheless alter the "scenery" by changes in lighting.
Suburban houses underground, with easily controlled temperature, free from the vicissitudes of weather, with air cleaned and light controlled, should be fairly common. At the New York World's Fair of 2014, General Motors' "Futurama" may well display vistas of underground cities complete with light- forced vegetable gardens. The surface, G.M. will argue, will be given over to large-scale agriculture, grazing and parklands, with less space wasted on actual human occupancy.
Reality: Subterranean suburbia is not the world we live in. Here in California, it's something of a rarity for new housing structures to even have basements.
The fear of overpopulation was a major sci-fi theme in the mid 20th Century. When we had three billion people on earth, even trying to think about seven billion felt overwhelming. Now we are over seven billion and if you are the sort of person who has time to read a silly science fiction blog each day (and thank you for doing so), our fears of overcrowding and deprivation haven't come true. In the United States and other developed nations, we made decisions such that our air and water quality are somewhat better than they were in the 1960s.
But we are the species that burns the world to stay warm, and in the 20th Century, we became so clever that we could burn the world to stay cool as well. The billions of more people are not faced with mass starvation as a constant threat, but instead the most scientifically plausible problem we face today is that we are changing the climate with our addiction to petroleum.
Maybe our worst fears for the future will not be as bad as we think. I certainly hope that's the case. But among the reasons that a planet with seven billion people is not a Soylent Green hellhole is that politicians from across the ideological spectrum came together to clean the environment. In the United States, that's not possible with the new version of the Republican Party, a weird mutant mixture of avarice and intolerance and fear, with each of those character flaws seen as the highest virtues.
This month's splash illustration
Every month, I change the small picture at the top of the blog. This month I took a slice of the atomic blimp picture from the 1956 Mechanix Illustrated that I used as a prediction back in August.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!
Wednesday means more predictions from T. Baron Russell.
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!