Monday, January 13, 2014
13 January 2014
Liam Hemsworth b. 1990 (The Hunger Games, Knowing)
Orlando Bloom b. 1977 (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Pirates of the Caribbean)
Patrick Dempsey b. 1966 (Transformers, Enchanted, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea , Outbreak)
Bill Bailey b. 1965 (Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Spaced, Nanny McPhee)
Richard Moll b. 1943 (Smallville, Galaxis, Babylon 5, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Highlander [TV], Wicked Stepmother, House , Caveman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century)
William B. Davis b. 1938 (Continuum, Caprica, Supernatural, Stargate SG-1, The X-Files, Smallville, Andromeda, It (TV Mini-series))
Billy Gray b. 1938 (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Navy vs. the Night Monsters)
Ron Goulart b. 1933 (writer, Flash Gordon, TekWar, Vampirella)
Gregory Walcott b. 1928 (Plan 9 from Outer Space)
Osa Massen b. 1916 died 2 January 2006 (Rocketship X-M, Cry of the Werewolf)
Jeff Morrow b. 1907 died 26 December 1993 (Twilight Zone, Octaman, This Island Earth, The Giant Claw, Kronos, The Creature Walks Among Us)
Clark Ashton Smith b. 1893 died 14 August 1961 (author, Hyperborea, The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis)
Plenty of choices for the Picture Slot today, but I don't have to justify using The Smoking Man this year. He's plenty iconic.
Explanation of a few names is in order. Poor Gregory Walcott had a long career mainly in Westerns, but he is top bill in Plan 9 from Outer Space, so he's here. Lovely Osa Massen only did two genre roles, but one of them was immortalized on Mystery Science Theater 3000 with one of my favorite riffs from Joel Hodgson "Well, thank you, Mister White Male Reality!" Bill Bailey is a British comedian, Richard Moll was Bull Shannon on Night Court, Billy Gray was Bud on Father Knows Best, Jeff Morrow got stuck in multiple 1950s monster movies, Ron Goulart is the ghost writer of William Shatner's TekWar, and Clark Ashton Smith, who was an artist and sculptor as well as a writer, is considered one of the "big three" of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, along with H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.
Many happy returns to all the living on the list, and to the dead, please don't rise from the grave, and yes, I'm talking to you, Clark Ashton Smith!
Prediction: By 1994, perfection of the room-temperature superconducting chip will make possible the first wristwatch computer with a larger capacity than a 64K memory. The device will be able to handle all the computing functions of a tabletop home microcomputers. Instead of depending on typed input or a video screen, the device will accept and impart information through vocal instructions in English.
Reality: I've been running into a lot of predictions about wearable technology in my research, but this one thought it would be here much earlier than most. (I'm not counting Dick Tracy, since we didn't get exact dates.) Of course, we now have ads for wrist phones playing on TV nearly non-stop, so this prediction is off by two decades.
I did have to smile at "a larger capacity than a 64K memory". And I'm personally holding out for a phone that accepts instructions in Klingon. I don't want just any goofball hacking into it.
Back to reality for a moment, the wrist phones look cool in the ads, but what is their actual advantage over the phones available now? It's obvious the screen is way smaller and where exactly is the input? I'm now a grumpy old fart and no longer an early adopter, but I'm smelling the faintest whiff of Segway on this latest tech wave. I've been wrong before, but we will see a year from now whether the wrist phones and Google glass and the other first generation "wearable tech" really catches on or this is "ooh, virtual reality!" all over again.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!
Tuesdays for the next few months will belong to predictions about 2009 from Ray Kurzweil's 1999 book The Age of Spiritual Machines.
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!