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Thursday, December 13, 2007

What may happen in the retro-future

I found this excellent turn-of-the-(previous)-century article from The Ladies Home Journal using stumble upon. It's easy to laugh at this kind of thing... so let's go ahead:

"There will be no C, X or Q"

... because they are useless. Actually, we seem to like useless things, and have preserved most of them, while inventing new useless things of our own. I predict that in 100 years we will have merged pictograms into English :-( .

"No Mosquitoes or Flies"

Whoa - I'm not even sure we want to get rid of flies, even if we could. I'm sure they do something useful.

"Grand opera will be telephoned to private homes"

As a form of futuristic torture no doubt.

"England in less than two days"

On hydrofoils with air-enveloped skids that convert to submarines during bad weather. Fricken' AWESOME.

Curiously, right after the (obviously accurate) prediction that automobiles will be everywhere and used for everything horses were, we get:

"Everybody will walk ten miles... Any man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling".

The predictions of television-like devices, and telegraphed photos both include the example of watching battles in the orient. I guess watching Chinese fight was how nerds got their jollies back then too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pteranodon sternbergi

Pteranodon sternbergi, a 6-8m wingspanned pterosaur from Late Creataceous North America soars over a choppy sea - generating lift from wind over the waves, just like an albatross.

Monday, December 10, 2007

But we ARE monkeys.

I have often been irritated by hearing "sceptics", when arguing with creationists, say that we did not evolve from apes or monkeys, but rather merely share a a common ancestor with them - like this is somehow supposed to score a blow against creationist incredulity.

This argument is tosh, and should be avoided at all costs. First off, it's flat wrong, as Mike Keesey nicely demonstrates here. We are apes, which are monkeys. Secondly, even if the argument were true, it's pointlessly pedantic. We have evolved from something people would call and ape, which evolved from something people would call a monkey. No point getting mealy-mouthed about it.

We're clever monkeys, that's just what we are .