Re: tech miracles of the year 2000 as seen from 1950

From: John Marlow (
Date: Wed May 16 2001 - 01:24:19 MDT

On 16 May 2001, at 10:16, Eugene.Leitl@lrz.uni-muenchen wrote:

> wrote:
> Star Dreck technology? A curious mix of magic physics and retro.

> Instances of magic physics: forcefield, traktor beam, superluminal
> drive, transporter.

Tsktsk. Give us time. The transporter may be possible, or so says
Wired. Unless they were having us on...

 Hints that apparent limitations of physical
> laws are just applicable to beginner civilizations (superciv
> trickster figure Q).

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from
magic." How would we appear to those a mere few hundred years gone?

> Diagnosis: not a technology forecast but just space opera
> for monkeys. Doing lots of harm by scrambling (especially
> young) people's expectations of what is physically possible,
> and what is not, what is easy, and what is hard.

"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and
reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against
which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily
in high schools." - 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert
Goddard's revolutionary rocket work.
"Space travel is utter bilge!" -Sir Richard Van Der Riet Wolley,
"Space travel is bunk" -Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of
Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik
"This foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the
absurd lengths to which vicious specialisation will carry
scientists." -A.W. Bickerton, physicist, NZ, 1926
"We choose to go to the moon not because it easy, but because it is
hard." --John F. Kennedy

"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever
be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered
at will." -- Albert Einstein, 1932
"The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science
 have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established
that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of
 new discoveries is exceedingly remote.... Our future discoveries must
be looked for in the sixth place of decimals."
- physicist Albert. A. Michelson, 1894

Who's to say what is not possible?
I for one am not so bold. We have seen so little of what's out there.
To begin with space is big. I mean really, really big--oh wait,
you've heard this...


May his Towel be with him.

This is the basis of progress:

"The strength to change what I can,
the inability to accept what I can't,
and the incapacity the tell the difference."


> Recommendation: Producers of the series to be the first
> to be put up against the wall, come the revolution.

John Marlow

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