Saturday, February 22, 2014
22 February 2014 - updated with Ragnarök!
Bryce Hodgson b. 1989 (The Tomorrow People, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, X-Men 2, Stargate SG-1)
Dichen Lachman b. 1982 (Being Human, Torchwood, The Guild, Dollhouse, Tyrannosaurus Azteca, Aquamarine)
Drew Barrymore b. 1975 (Donnie Darko, Batman Forever, Cat’s Eye, Firestarter, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Altered States)
Thomas Jane b. 1969 (The Punisher, Mutant Chronicles, Dreamcatcher, Deep Blue Sea, The Crow: City of Angels, Buffy the Vampire Slayer [movie], She-Wolf of London)
Jeri Ryan b. 1968 (Helix, Warehouse 13, Star Trek: Voyager, Dracula 2000, Dark Skies, Time Trax)
Steve Spiers b. 1965 (Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, Inkheart, Eragon, Doctor Who, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Star Wars: Episode I)
Kyle MacLachlan b, 1959 (Believe, Mysterious Island, Timecode, The Invisible Man [TV], Roswell, Dune)
Nigel Planer b. 1953 (Hogfather, Brazil)
Ellen Greene b. 1951 (The Walking Dead, Heroes, The X-Files, Little Shop of Horrors)
Julie Walters b. 1950 (Harry Potter, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood)
Joanna Russ b. 1937 died 29 April 2011 (author, Alyx series, The Female Man)
James Hong b. 1929 (R.I.P.D., The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Big Bang Theory, Charmed, Blade Runner, The X-Files, Tank Girl, Lois & Clark, The Shadow, Merlin, War of the Worlds [TV], Big Trouble in Little China, Manimal, Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, Colossus: The Forbin Project, The Outer Limits, Godzilla )
Paul Dooley b. 1928 (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Edward Gorey b. 1925 died 15 April 2000 (illustrator)
Dwight Frye b. 1899 died 7 November 1943 (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, The Ghost of Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Vampire Bat, Frankenstein, Dracula)
Last year, before I had done as much research, Jeri Ryan was the Picture Slot. She would still be a perfectly good choice this year, both for being iconic and a fabulous babe. As a huge Whedonverse nerd, I could have gone with Dichen Lachman, also fabulous. The biggest career on the list is probably Drew Barrymore, and a picture from E.T or Firestarter would have been immediately recognizable to much of the nerd community, but I was in an Oh That Guy mood. Dwight Frye was a great Oh That Guy way back in the day, playing Renfield in the original Dracula and the assistant Fritz in the original talkie version of Frankenstein. But folks in the know will recognize James Hong, who has been around forever, going all the way back to voiceover work in the original Godzilla.
Many happy returns to all the living on the list, and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.
Predictor: Clarence W. Van Tilburg, contest winner for predictions of the 21st Century is the April 1956 issue of Amazing Stories, the magazine's 30th anniversary.
Explanation: This magazine was a great find last year, and thanks to my pal Alan Ponder for letting me rummage through his collection. As you can see on the cover, they got predictions from all kinds of people, not only Heinlein but Sid Caesar, Salvador Dali and pitcher Herb Score. I'm reprinting the predictions of Clarence W. Van Tilburg, with the realities in the parentheses.
1. Great strides in mental therapy. "Psi" professions operating on solid premises. (This is arguable, but anti-depressant drugs have been a great step forward)
2. Banking of human organs; artificial culture of tissues; universal extension of preventative medicine. (Good calls here.)
3. Life expectancy 88 for women 80 for men in US and many other countries, world average 70. (A little high on all, and the male/female split has shrunk down quite a bit.)
1. The big four: USA, USSR, China, India, India leader of the Asian Commonwealth from Iran to Malaya (I'd say it's USA, China and the Eurozone as the big three. Russia or India aren't bad choices for fourth place, but not at the same level.)
2. All Central America coalesced into a single political unit. (No.)
Science, Industry, Technology
1. Maximum work week in US and Canada: 20 hours (Oh, don't we wish!)
2. Top industry: Leisure (Close, but still behind petroleum.)
3. US and USSR have manned satellites and have reached the Moon. (He didn't guess the end of the USSR, but we do have manned stations and the US reached the moon. This was very sci-fi in 1956.)
4. Seas mined in earnest for rare elements and food. (Mainly, we drill for oil, but we do get a lot of fish from the sea.)
5. Desalted sea water used for irrigation and industrial purposes. (Costs still make this impractical.)
6. Direct conversion of sunlight into power and synthesis of food on commercial scales (Solar power yes; synthesis of food... well, it depends on how you feel about seaweed and tofu.)
7. Atomic power in world-wide use (We use much more than we did in 1956, but Three Mile Island and Chernobyl flattened out the growth curve quite a bit.)
8. Long-distance travel almost entirely by air at supersonic speeds (No. Just under supersonic is pretty much the industry standard.)
9. Privately owned helicopters commonly used, heliports on every large building (It's not quite the helicopter paradise envisioned by Van Tilburg, but they do get used regularly.)
10. Plastic glass and light metals common in building construction. (Absolutely true.)
11. Moving sidewalks common. (So sci-fi! So not true.)
12. Shortwave cooking common. (Microwaves, absolutely.)
13. Great increase in telescope range, boundaries of universe still unknown. (Completely so.)
Bonus prediction: Ragnarök!
Predictor: Norse mythology, kind of
Reality: Legend has it that three freezing winters in a row with no summers in between is the sign that the final battle of the gods will be fought, and the smart money is not betting on the gods. Of course, here in California we haven't had three freezing winters and we definitely had summers in 2013 and 2012, but in York, England they think their weather qualifies, so there you go.
York, England, your bloody whining has brought on the end of the universe. We hope you're happy with yourselves.
As for me, I'm still grading papers and preparing for midterms, so you know my general opinion of the situation.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!
We've had a few interruptions in the regular schedule on Sundays, but tomorrow it's another fun romp thinking about the nuclear wars we've avoided.
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!