"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!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

6 February 2014

 Birthdays
Dane DeHaan b. 1987 (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Chronicle, True Blood)
Crystal Reed b. 1985 (Teen Wolf [TV], Skyline)
Alice Eve b. 1982 (Star Trek Into Darkness, Men in Black 3, The Raven)
Kim Poirier b. 1980 (Eureka, Dawn of the Dead)
Josh Stewart b. 1977 (Grimm, The Walking Dead, The Dark Knight Rises, No Ordinary Family)
David Hayter b. 1969 (writer, X-Men, XMen 2, Watchmen, The Scorpion King)
Rip Torn b. 1931 (Men in Black, RoboCop 3, Coma, Murder and the Android)
Mamie Van Doren b. 1931 (Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, The Navy vs. the Night Monsters)
Patrick Macnee b. 1922 (The Howling, Battlestar Galactica, The Avengers)
Zsa Zsa Gabor b. 1917 (Queen of Outer Space, Batman)

Big generational jump on today's birthday list and - wonder of wonders - everyone is still alive! The younger/older split goes from David Hayter, born when I was in high school, to Rip Torn, who is from my parents' generation. Last year this time, I hadn't done as much research as I have now and Rip Torn was the only birthday on the list, so obviously he got the Picture Slot. I would argue he's still the best known name on the list, but I gave the picture slot to Zsa Zsa Gabor because

1. Fabulous babe.
2. It's a wonder she's still alive with all that happened to her a few years back.
3. She was a Kardashian before we even used that word for "much more famous than talented".

Many happy returns to everyone on the list and here's hoping science can unlock the secrets in Zsa Zsa's DNA. If we can figure out what's keeping her ticking and duplicate it, humans as a species may out-survive the cockroach.


Predictor: Isaac Asimov in 1964, predicting 2014 in honor of the World's Fair in New York

Prediction: Schools will have to be oriented in [the direction of automation]. Part of the General Electric exhibit today consists of a school of the future in which such present realities as closed-circuit TV and programmed tapes aid the teaching process. It is not only the techniques of teaching that will advance, however, but also the subject matter that will change. All the high-school students will be taught the fundamentals of computer technology will become proficient in binary arithmetic and will be trained to perfection in the use of the computer languages that will have developed out of those like the contemporary "Fortran" (from "formula translation").

Reality: Fortran! Just reading the word sent me on a long trip down memory lane. Yes, the damn thing still exists and there are plans for an update in 2015. GO TO 2015!

As for the rest of it, closed-circuit TV and programmed tapes do exist, but getting all high school students hip to the binary has not come to pass yet. Some of New Math was based on this and I even saw a little of that in grade school before the parents brought out the torches and pitchforks and killed the beast. It should be noted that the current "hour of coding" fad is an attempt to play catch up on the world Asimov envisioned. From my point of view, it feels kind of like an update of Shop and Home Ec classes we used to have when I was a lad, though without the sexist split.

It should be noted that this is the next to last prediction of Asimov's, so after next Thursday, the only chance to see muttonchops will be from the 1893 Columbian Exposition predictions.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

The second of the Wired Long Bets.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

4 comments:

  1. Binary is still only given a cursory review in high school and as for becoming experts in various languages and coding, not so much. Computing has become so sophisticated that like learning to rebuild a carburetor in high school shop in 1964 sounded like the thing to do it does nothing to help troubleshoot a modern computer controlled fuel injection system.

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    1. You make an excellent point. I programmed for money in the 1980s and 1990s, but if I tried to jump back in now, I'd be a complete noobie, the languages have changed so much.

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  2. Hah. Did some FORTRAN in college. COBOL was for the business majors. I also did some BASIC and a tiny bit of ten-digit machine language.

    I don't miss any of it.

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  3. Oh, to relive the days of COMMON blocks!

    FORTRAN has survived partly because it's evolved so well. When I first learned the language, it looked a lot like BASIC. In the time I spent as an undergrad, it added things like 'while' and 'for' loops, so it started looking more like C.

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