Still from Earth vs. Flying Saucers

Still from <i>Earth vs. Flying Saucers</i>
Still from Earth vs. Flying Saucers

Friday, March 14, 2014

14 March 2014

 Birthdays
Jamie Bell b. 1986 (The Fantastic Four [2015], Jumper, Snowpiercer, Jumper, King Kong [2005])
Mercedes McNab b. 1980 (Supernatural, Angel, Buffy, Escape from Atlantis, The Fantastic Four, The Addams Family, Harry and the Hendersons [TV])
Chris Klein b. 1979 (Rollerball [2002])
Daniel Gillies b. 1976 (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, True Blood, Spider-Man 2, Jeremiah, Cleopatra 2525, Young Hercules)
Grace Park b. 1974 (Battlestar Galactica, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Andromeda, Jake 2.0, Stargate SG-1, Dark Angel, The Immortal)
James Frain b. 1968 (Sleepy Hollow, Grimm, Tron Legacy, True Blood, FlashForward, Fringe, Invasion, Threshold, Loch Ness)
Kevin Williamson b. 1965 (writer, The Vampire Diaries, The Faculty)
Season Hubley b. 1951 (Humanoids From the Deep, The Twilight Zone [1985], Escape form New York)
Billy Crystal b. 1948 (The Princess Bride, Monsters, Inc. Monster’s U., Howl’s Moving Castle)
Wolfgang Petersen b. 1941 (director, The Neverending Story, Enemy Mine, Outbreak)
Eugene Cernan b. 1934 (astronaut)
Michael Caine b. 1933 (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Inception, Children of Men, The Prestige, Bewitched [2005], 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [1997], Jekyll & Hyde [TV], The Swarm, The Magus)
Albert Einstein b. 1979 died 18 April 1955 (physicist)

My rule in 2014: Astronauts are trump when it comes to selection for the Picture Slot. Gene Cernan walked on the moon and left his daughter's initials there. The many pretty girls on the list and the one movie star - Michael Caine - will get a chance next year.

Another possible choice for next year is Einstein. To be clear, I don't consider his work or Cernan's to be "fiction" in any way, but astronauts get included because space travel is so essential to the genre and Einstein is on the list for his thought experiments that revealed the very strange nature of light. At least in the public's mind, he is also the father of The Atomic Age, another idea vital to the genre.

Here's wishing many happy returns to all the living on our list and to Albert Einstein, thank you for your contributions to the understanding of the universe and the place of the public intellectual and citizen/scientist.


Predictor: Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, published 1968

Prediction: The population growth from 2 billion to 4 billion will take 37 years.

Reality: Multiple online sources agree these on the 2 billion threshold being met in 1927 and passing 4 billion took place in 1974. That is a span of 47 years, not 37.

Some might argue I'm just being a nitpicking math professor about this, but if we recall that 1927+37 = 1964, being off by ten years means 4 billion people would have happened four years before his book was published.

If Einstein is a positive role model for citizen/scientists, Ehrlich is about as bad as a citizen/scientist can do in the public sphere. He is pathetically sloppy when it comes to numbers and by overstating problems, he makes concern about those problems look like foolishness. While our new Thursday regular Lee de Forest made some very accurate forecasts in 1960, Ehrlich in 1968 will continue the horrible track record he has started with his first two clunkers.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Back to 1893, a time of optimism and facial hair.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!
 

4 comments:

  1. Looking from 2014, going to the moon seems once again like science fiction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cold facts, and getting colder.

      12 men walked on the moon.
      4 are dead.
      2 are younger than Cernan (Schmidt and Duke) and they both turn 80 next year.
      It is now 15,065 days since a man last stood on the moon... and counting.

      Delete
  2. There was a science fiction author who said he was overjoyed to see the first man walk on the moon in his lifetime but he never expected to see the LAST man to leave a footprint on the moon (Mr. Cernan) in his lifetime as well.

    As for iconic roles for next year, I think maybe the only one who *created* a truly iconic role (rather than being in a list of actors who played the role) was actually Billy Crystal as Miracle Max in The Princess Bride.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To quote Miracle Max. "Hmm, look who knows so much." ;^)

      Delete

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