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Entries in children (6)

Friday
Aug192011

This future was made in a facility that also processes peanuts (1982)

I've never thought of my allergies as a big deal. Sure, my peanut allergy has caused an emergency room visit here and there, and my dad used to pick me up from sleepovers because of my emphysema-like wheezing around cats. No big thing, right? But a few years back it seemed about time I went to see an allergy specialist and get a comprehensive list of the things my body hates.

I found myself shirtless, laying on my stomach in the doctor's exam room with twenty pricks in my back (which isn't nearly as scandalous as it sounds). A constant tingle ran through my body, but all I could think about was how comically small the exam room table appeared under my enormous body. I am most certainly not allergic to pizza and beer.

To administer an allergy test a nurse needs to prick your back with an assortment of allergens. Different types of trees, animal dander, molds and grasses were all made to come into contact with my delicate, nature-hating skin. After the pricks, it's a waiting game to see if your torso turns into a red, puffy Braille haiku. 

About twenty minutes later the nurse knocked on the door. I couldn't see the expression on her face, given my vulnerable position facing the corner like the bad kid being punished. But her inflection said it all. 

"Oh myyy!" the nurse said in that heavy Minnesota accent most Minnesotans don't think they have. "Well," she said with a pause, "you're allergic to everything!"

"Everything?" I ask, worried less about the consequences of allergies and more about the cocky "told you so" attitude my girlfriend at the time was sure to have upon hearing the news.

"Well, maybe not the... yes, yes, you're allergic to grass too."

I kind of guessed that one. My parents love to tell the story of when I was a kid and had just started to crawl. My dad spent a summer building a deck behind our house and he was able to leave me relatively unsupervised, as long as I was surrounded by grass. Sitting on a pastel pink blanket, I was content as all get-out not to traverse that sea of green, spiky irritants laid out before me. I've always been confused when someone appears pleasant while barefoot. I guess that's why I sometimes empathize with the wide-eyed technological visions of the 1950s. Their promise was one of control, of harnessing nature rather than being one with it. Domed cities, meal pills --science will have the answers.

And science did have the answers in the 1982 kids book World of Tomorrow: Health and Medicine by Neil Ardley. Ardley's book is filled with predictions about the future of health care, with an emphasis on self-assessement via computer. If WebMD and the rise of home genetic testing kits count, I'd say that this was a pretty accurate vision of the future.

Well, at least it was more accurate than the people who imagined hospitals in space.

 

By checking the genetic codes of parents and by caring for unborn babies, the children of tomorrow should be born in perfect health. A long life is lkely to lie ahead of them. But to remain healthy, everyone will have to look after themselves. As now, this will mean taking exercise, keeping clean and behaving sensibly to avoid danger. However, the world of tomorrow will bring other ways in which you can help to prevent yourself from getting ill.

Many people fall ill because they have an allergy. Something they eat or drink disagrees with them, or perhaps something in the air upsets them. Tiny particles of pollen blown by the wind give some people hay fever, for example. Others cannot eat food made from flour or shellfish without feeling ill. Often these people suffer for years before they find out what is wrong.

In the future you will be able to go to the doctor or a health complex to prepare yourself for a healthy life. Machines will take samples such as blood, saliva, hair and body wastes. They will measure them to find out exactly how your body reacts to food and drink and to substances in air and water. Then a computer will take the measurements and work out which things are likely to cause problems for you. It will produce a personal list of things to do and to avoid if you want to stay healthy and feel alert and full of energy. It is certain, for example to insist that you should never smoke. It may even recommend certain rules for making the best of your memory and intelligence. Following a list of rules might seem to make life a lot less fun. However, it would probably be no more trouble than taking care when crossing the road, for example.

Sunday
Feb072010

Big Change in Houses by Year 2000 (1972)

The May 4, 1972 Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI) predicted that by the year 2000 the "long-haired culture" would dramatically influence mainstream Americans through the normalization of communal living. Some of the article's predictions are bullet-pointed below. You can read the article in its entirety here.

  • Commune nurseries will be built where each of the adults, male and female, will work with all of the commune children one day a week.
  • The kitchen will be large to accommodate large numbers in meal preparation and cleanup. The dining room, furnished with picnic-type tables and benches, will have few decorations.
  • Ecology and "current youth values" which de-emphasize material goods will mean homes are sparsely furnished.
  • Showers will replace bathtubs to better conserve water.
  • Computer-programmed delivery of goods will decrease dependence on the family car.
  • The "self-sufficient home" will have its own power source, with all waste being recycled into usable food and household objects.

 

1972 May 4 Oshkosh Daily Northwestern - Oshkosh WI paleofuture

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Sep052009

Solar Cars, Electric Guitars and Bionic Arms (1977)

The Journal News of Hamilton, OH devoted much of its February 27, 1977 edition to "Our Third 100 Years." Harding Junior High student James Schmidt wrote a piece for the newspaper, imagining what life might look like in the 21st century. James describes 13-year-old kids driving solar-powered cars, futuristic electric guitars and his father's bionic arm. Sounds about right.

1977 Feb 27 Journal News - Hamilton OH Paleo-future

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Saturday
Jul042009

Letters by 4th Graders to the Year 2000 (1976)

The July 4, 1976 Grand Prairie Daily News (Grand Prairie, TX) published letters written by 4th graders, addressed to people of the year 2000. Just as the newspaper did, I've left the spelling and grammatical errors. Because if we've learned anything at the Paleo-Future blog, it's that kids are stupid.

We'll begin by looking at letters by young Laurie Smith, Yolanda Tejeda, and R.C. Brown. These kids really hit all the major futurism topics of the 20th century: robot maids, moving sidewalks, flying cars, meal pills, push button everything, education through television, socialism, and candy. Lots of candy.

 

Dear Janice,

In the year 2000 I think that cars can fly in the air as fast as they want to without using gas. You can get whatever you want, including candy. Houses will be way up in the sky. You can have robots to do the housework for the mothers. Instead of walking, the the sidewalks will move for you.

Your friend,

Laurie Smith

 

Dear John,

In the year 2000 I think thay kids will be taught at home on their T.V. The army will be using lazor guns. Cars will be like spaceships and the strreetlights will be on long tall poles. Another means of transportation will be push buttons. Select where you want to go, push a button, step through a door, and you'll be where you wanted to be.

Food will be in tablet form, put on water on the tablet and your food will be on your plate.

Sincerely yours,

R.C. Brown

 

Dear Laurie,

I think in the year 2000 the earth will be much more polluted than it is.

I also think that we will have no more school, and cars can go as fast as they want without getting a ticket.

The government will pay every person as much as they want without them having to work. I also think we will be out of energy for stores or anything that uses fuel in the year 2000.

Sincerely,

Yolanda Tejeda

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Tuesday
Apr072009

Stupid Kids Imagine the Year 2075 (1975)

You know what's almost as fun as looking at past predictions of the future? Looking at what stupid kids thought the future would be like. Now, you may take issue with me calling these kids stupid, but this article is from 1975 and all these kids are in their mid-40s now. So take that kid-40-year-olds! Seriously though, the writer openly mocks these kids for their predictions. Stupid kids and their stupid visions of the future.

(Remember that the harsh commentary in parentheses is the author's, and not mine. Stupid kids.)

Kids' Letters Picture Life in Year 2075

By Patricia McCromack (UPI Education Editor)

The fifth grader pursed his lips and read once more a letter he'd just written to his great-great-grandchildren - whom he'll have little chance of seeing unless he lives to be 110.

The 10-year-old, writing to his descendants who will be going to school in 2075, reached in his pocket and pulled out a picture. He pasted it on the letter, picked up his pen and added:

"I know this is funny, but here is a picture of your great-great-grand dog. His name is Casey."

The letter-writing assignment at St. Vito's School, Mamaroneck, N.Y., was a creative writing project. Fourth and fifth graders, ages 9 to 11, participated.

An analysis of the letters shows what's on the pint-sized set's mind these days:

  • "I think in 100 years the world will be beautiful. The prices will be lower." (This child's got inflation on the mind and he's an optimist).
  • "You probably have a train that goes 2,000 miles an hour and gets from Mrs (sic) to Jupiter in hours. Boy, do I wish I was there." (This student better study his stars again. Or - maybe he knows something we don't know).
  • "You probably have automatic sidewalks everywhere. All you do is stand and the sidewalk moves. We have to walk back here in 1975 and boy is it boring." (This ungrateful child forgot to mention times mother drives her).
  • "You know, you are pretty lucky. You may have automatic tennis rackets that never miss the ball. We have to aim at the ball and then swing the racket. It's a pain when you miss the ball." (Penned, undoubtedly, by a student who just had a bad tennis lesson).

Many letters expressed concern for the happiness and well-being of those to follow. Consider these greetings:

  • "Have a good life. Take care of your mother and father and your sisters and brothers and grandmother."
  • "I am nine years old and I love you. And when I am dead, I want you to be good and love your mother."

These letters, written on cotton fiber paper so they'll last 100 years, aren't being put in a time capsule to be opened with great ceremony in the community in the year 2075.

They have been placed in the custody of the parents - for safekeeping and passing along.

They'll probably make it to their destination. You know how mothers hate to discard anything this precious.

From the August 2, 1975 Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI).

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Wednesday
May072008

Delayed Education in the Year 2000 (1937)

The July 8, 1937 San Antonio Light (San Antonio, TX) ran a blurb about predictions for the year 2000. Apparently, children won't attend school until they reach ten years of age. The entire blurb appears below.

A Columbia university educator, addressing students at the University of California at Los Angeles, predicted that "by the year 2000, we won't send children to school until they are 10 years old." He said that "while they are young, we will keep them busy building healthy bodies in the fresh air". Evidently, he doesn't know the mammas. They want to get their children into school as early as possible. One of the reasons for the development of the kindergarten is to hasten the time when even devoted mothers can get a little freedom from the demands of their children. But the year 2000 is a long way in the future.


See also:
French Prints Show the Year 2000 (1910)