Re: miracles of the next 50 years

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sun Jul 06 2003 - 00:19:04 MDT

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    Some good calls among the dross (and stuff that could have happened if
    people had chosen them)

    Men and women of 70 in A.D. 2000 look as if they were 40. Wrinkles, sagging
    cheeks, leathery skins are curiosities or signs of neglect. The span of
    life has been lengthened to 85. [no one would have believed it, but there
    it is]

    Cancer is not yet curable in 2000. But physicians optimistically predict
    that the time is not far off when it will be cured

    If old Mrs.Underwood, who lives around the corner from the Dobsons and who
    was born in 1920 insists on sleeping under an old-fashioned comforter
    instead of an aerogel blanket of glass puffed with air so that it is as
    light as thistledown she must expect people to talk about her "queerness."

    [that's rather like what Aussies call a `doona'; more to the point, if Mrs.
    Underwood had slept under Mrs. Dobson, people would talk about her
    queerness with a great deal more candor and less opprobrium than in 1950]

    Of course the Dobsons have a television set. But it is connected with the
    telephones as well as with the radio receiver [almost gets the Internet, as
    does:] a combination of calculating machine and forecaster. The calculator
    solves thousands of separate equations in a minute; the automatic
    forecaster carries out the computer's instructions and predicts the weather
    from hour to hour. In 1950, meteorologists had no time to deal with the
    50-odd variables that should have been mathematically handled to predict
    the weather 24 hours in advance.

    It is a crime to burn raw coal and pollute air with smoke and soot. [we're
    getting there]

    Jane Dobson has one of these electronic stoves. In eight seconds a
    half-grilled frozen steak is thawed; in two minutes more it is ready to
    serve. [forget the steak--nuke that pizza!]

    By 2000, supersonic planes cover a thousand miles an hour, but the
    consumption of fuel is such that high fares have to be charged. In one of
    these supersonic planes the Atlantic is crossed in three hours. [spot on,
    but closed down a few years later]

    Nobody has yet circumnavigated the moon in a rocket space ship, but the
    idea is not laughed down.

    [no, what's laughed down is the idea of going back there]

    Damien Broderick

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