Friday, March 7, 2014
7 March 2014
Tobias Menzies b. 1974 (Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, The Deep [TV])
Jolie Jenkins b. 1974 (The X-Files, Psycho Beach Party)
Larry Bagby b. 1974 (Age of the Dragons, Buffy, Invasion Earth: The Aliens are Here)
Peter Sarsgaard b. 1971 (Green Lantern)
Matthew Vaughn b. 1971 (director, X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, Stardust)
Rachel Weisz b. 1970 (Oz the Great and Powerful, The Mummy, Chain Reaction, Death Machine)
Jonathan Del Arco b. 1966 (Dollhouse, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Donna Murphy b. 1959 (Spider-Man 2, The Astronaut’s Wife, Star Trek: Insurrection)
Nick Searcy b. 1959 (From the Earth to the Moon, American Gothic, Seven Days)
Bryan Cranston b. 1955 (Godzilla , Total Recall. John Carter, Contagion, Fallen, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, The X-Files, From the Earth to the Moon, Babylon 5, The Flash, The Return of the Six-Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman)
John Heard b. 1945 (Sharknado, Battlestar Galactica, C.H.U.D., Cat People)
Elizabeth Moon b. 1945 (won 2004 Nebula for The Speed of Dark)
Daniel J. Travanti b. 1940 (Poltergiest: The Legacy, The Wasp Woman [TV], Lost in Space, Captain Nice)
Gray Morrow b. 1934 died 6 November 2001 (illustrator)
James Broderick b. 1927 died 1 November 1982 (Twilight Zone)
Interesting birthday list today. Instead of being coy, I will cut to the chase. Why Rachel Weisz in the Picture Slot? Who says no to a pretty girl with flying monkeys?
Still, there was a chase. Last year I had Donna Murphy in her role on Star Trek in the Picture Slot. As a Game of Thrones nerd, Tobias Menzies was an option. As a Whedonverse nerd, Larry Bagby could have been featured. Two big surprises for me were the careers of Bryan Cranston, whose best known work before Breaking Bad was almost all in comedy, and Daniel J. Travanti, who needed to pay the bills recently and ended up in The Wasp Woman and early in his career played Space Hippie on Lost in Space. (Those kinds of roles must look so good on the C.V.)
And John Heard was in Sharknado? Acting is a hard gig.
Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.
Prediction: By 1970, nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world’s death rate.
Reality: Allow me to introduce Dr. Paul Ehrlich, a professor at Stanford, whose 1968 book The Population Bomb made quite a splash. As you can see here, it even got published in paperback. Predictions from this book will be our regular Friday feature for the next few months.
Also, get used to this reality. Ehrlich was pulling numbers out of... well, let's just say they don't smell nice. This one in particular was completely against the trend as the UN reported it.
1960-1965 15.5 per 1,000
1965-1970 13.2 per 1,000
1970-1975 11.4 per 1,000
1975-1980 10.7 per 1,000
While these numbers are called "the crude death rates" and not all sources agree on them, there is general agreement on the trend. Death rates have been falling since at least 1950 and continue to do so, though they are falling less steeply now than they did back in the day.
Overpopulation and nuclear war are two of the great terrors of science fiction and futurists, but we've avoided a second nuclear war since 1945 and the food supply - while not perfect - is actually doing better now when we have seven billion than it did when we only had three billion. Dr. Ehrlich was convinced that a hellish, nigh apocalyptic world was just around the corner.
Predicting that everything is going to be skittles and beer does not get your paperback printed. But as for Dr. Ehrlich and his job at Stanford and his still strong reputation, let me just say two words.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!
Back to 1893 for a cheerier view of the road ahead.
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!