"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!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

15 April 2014

Maisie Williams b. 1997 (Game of Thrones)
Emma Watson b. 1990 (Harry Potter, This is the End)
Alice Braga b. 1983 (I Am Legend, Elysium, Predators, Repo Men, Blindness)
Seth Rogen b. 1982 (This is the End, Paul, The Green Hornet, Donnie Darko)
Luke Evans b. 1979 (The Hobbit, Dracula Untold, Immortals, Clash of the Titans [2010])
Richard Whiteside b. 1968 (The Hobbit, Avatar)
Kamala Lopez b. 1964 (Star Trek: Voyager, Lois & Clark, Total Recall)
Thomas F. Wilson b. 1959 (Back to the Future, Zoom, Lois & Clark, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch)
Emma Thompson b. 1959 (Men in Black 3, Harry Potter, Nanny McPhee, I am Legend)
Glenn Shadix b. 1952 died 7 September 2010 (Carnivale, Planet of the Apes [2001], Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Multiplicity, Demolition Man, Beetlejuice)
Sam McMurray b. 1952 (Lake Placid 2, The Tick, Addams Family Values, Hard Time on Planet Earth, C.H.U.D.)
Robert Walker Jr. b. 1940 (The Six Million Dollar Man, Beware! The Blob, Death in Space, The Invaders, The Time Tunnel, Star Trek)
Elizabeth Montgomery b. 1933 died 18 May 1995 (Bewitched, Twilight Zone)
Jean Willes b. 1923 died 3 January 1989 (The Munsters, Twilight Zone, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Adventures of Superman, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars)
Michael Ansara b. 1922 died 31 July 2013 (Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, I Dream of Jeannie, Land of the Giants, Star Trek, The Time Tunnel, Bewitched, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Outer Limits)
Hans Conried b. 1917 died 5 January 1982 (The Cat from Outer Space, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Lost in Space, The Monster That Challenged the Word, The Twonky, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.)
John Williams b. 1903 died 5 May 1983 (Battlestar Galactica, Twilight Zone, Visit to a Small Planet)

Let me clear up one thing early. John Williams, the actor born in 1903, is not John Williams the composer, who is very much alive. Williams the actor was a tall distinguished Englishman with a lovely moustache whose best known work is in non-genre films like Sabrina and Dial M for Murder.

As for the Picture Slot... iconic much? The people I count for iconic genre roles on this list are Michael Ansara, Elizabeth Montgomery, Robert Walker Jr. for Star Trek, Emma Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson as Biff in Back to the Future, Emma Watson and the actual person in the Picture Slot, Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones. I put this picture of her with Sophie Turner who plays her older sister Sansa to point out an interesting tidbit. These two actresses are one year apart in age, Maisie now 17 and Sophie just turned 18 in February. The characters are supposed to be several years apart.

Many happy returns of the day to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.
Predictor: Ray Kurzweil in The Age of Spiritual Machines, published 1999

Prediction: By 2009, there is increasing interest in massively parallel neural nets, genetic algorithms and other forms of "chaotic" or complexity theory computing.

Reality: It's hard to call this one true or false because it predicts "increasing interest". There has been interest in the field since the 1980s. Going online, I see a hell of a lot of scholarly papers from journals and damn little advertising from companies actually implementing a massively parallel neural net.

The biggest problem I see here is managing the software project that makes this thing work. Once technology becomes the engine of a hugely profitable industry sector, the evolutionary steps tend to be incremental instead of drastic like this one.

This is the last prediction from Kurzweil's book I'll be using. Regular readers will get the distinct impression that I consider Kurzweil a prat, to use a mildly offensive British slang term. Regular reader Lockwood gave a link to a story about futurologists printed in The New Statesman. In it, we discover that Kurzweil got a job at Google based on his books.

I wonder if it would make sense to write a sci-fi story about a planet being run by con men, top to bottom on the food chain. It might read too much like the business section of the newspaper, and competing with newspapers does not sound like the way to make a buck these days.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

T. Baron Russell is back, baby.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!


  1. I wonder if it would make sense to write a sci-fi story about a planet being run by con men, top to bottom on the food chain

    Yeah, I have to think it would be difficult to make that fictional.

    Might, perhaps, be able to make a satire out of it....

    1. It's not sci-fi, but the story should run along the lines of the WKRP in Cincinnati where Herb Tarlek deals with a guy who runs a stereo store played by Hamilton Camp.

      Loved that episode.

    2. I loved the clumsy union tech who kept breaking expensive equipment. Eventually, a crash would be heard off-camera, and they could identify the equipment by the sound of the crash.

      The first season is on Hulu. I keep waiting for the rest of the episodes.


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