April 27, 2007

Futuristic homework somehow manages to make my homework seem even worse

Here I am, up late on a Friday night doing homework, and I must say, it is not nearly as much fun as it looks in this future-depicting illustration from the 80's. No floating cars, no hologram phones, and no hilarious orange homework machines. I am very disappointed in you, "scientists." The page says that "homework of the future will be more like playing an electronic game than studying with books." Um, if your idea of "an electronic game" is Mathematica.

I've been looking for an excuse to credit Paleo-Future with something for a while. They write about all manner of old-fashioned visions of the future belonging to the categories: (a) Predictions That Were Hilariously Wrong, (b) Predictions That We All Wish Had Already Come True And Are Pretty Sad About Not Fulfilling Yet, and (c) Predictions That Look Really Neat. I considered reviewing this extremely prescient list about what may change in the 100 years following 1900, but didn't get around to it before all the really "cool" blogs noticed it, so I didn't want to seem like one of those posers who just reposts whatever they saw on BoingBoing that morning ("Knit Cthulhu cup-holders? The world must know!"). In most of those mentions, people seemed to generally be making fun of the list, printed in that famed Periodical of Record, The Ladies Home Journal, which I found somewhat astonishing. Although they use sort of imprecise language they foresee the instant transmission of photographs all over the world, increase in average height, refrigerated food and ready-made meals, the population (if there had been no World Wars), automobiles instead of horses, wireless telephones, Major news events "brought within focus of cameras connected electronically, with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span." Plus a lot of things we would take for granted now, but which would be practically unthinkable then, like frequent transportation of tropical fruits to cold climates, financial aid at universities for poor people (mostly true), little study of Latin (unfortunately true), music transmitted into people's homes, and air conditioning. A few things are off, but not in a way that would be idiotic if you actually bothered to put yourself in the context of that time. They are looking one hundred years into the future, and the worst predictions they make are that "airships," though they will exist, will not be used for everyday travel and freight; Pneumatic tubes will be used extensively; and C, X and Q will no longer be in the alphabet. "Airships" hadn't even been invented, pneumatic tubes should be used extensively, and the letter C sucks big time. There is some stuff we really could do too if we wanted, like grow gigantic fruit, but when you actually look over what they have, it is pretty impressive, and parts of it just sound silly because they are using the vernacular of the world they are accustomed too, and don't have words like "television." I'd give it an A-, I don't think many of us could do better.


Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog