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Entries in government (7)

Tuesday
Apr052011

Marriage 100 Years From Now (1933)

In the year 1933 physician Ira S. Wile made some wild predictions about what marriage would look like 100 years in the future. And although it's not yet 2033, we can still be thankful that his predictions for our world just 22 years from now were wildly off the mark.

Dr. Wile imagined a bureau of records under government control that would begin monitoring people the day they were born. He predicted that everything about a person would be recorded; from someone's physical and mental defects at birth to the subjective progress and imperfections of that person throughout their life. Then, when someone wished to be married, they would be assessed by bureaucrats and found a suitable mate based upon case cards that have been cross-indexed against members of the opposite sex. These assessments would be made based on class and desirable physical and mental traits. I don't know about you guys, but after reading the words "case cards" and "cross-indexed" I'm gonna have to take a long, cold shower. Reproduction by committee gets me so hot...

Just three years earlier the 1930 movie Just Imagine looked at this very same issue. Set in the high-tech dystopian world of 1980, the musical sci-fi film (yes, I said musical science fiction) follows the forbidden love of two people that the government's marriage tribunal won't allow to marry. At least in Wile's future it sounds like people can conceive their children the fun old-fashioned messy way rather than just popping two bits into a vending machine.

The entire article, published in the June 25, 1933 Oakland Tribune, appears below.

1933 June 25 Oakland Tribune

While it might be somehow easier -- though still repugnant -- to understand State controlled sexual reproduction and marriage in a pre-WWII era, we must remember that human eugenics didn't die with Nazism, as you can see in this clip from 1967.

 

Sunday
May172009

Predictions for 1993 (1893)

The March 25, 1893 Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, OH) ran predictions of what the world of 1993 would look like. Excerpts from each of the four journalists (George Alfred Townson, Kate Field, Nym Crinkle, and John Swinton) appear below. The entire article is embedded below, or you can read it here.

Substitute the word "blog" for "book" in the last prediction and it could have easily been written today.

  • Where will be our greatest city? In all probability Chicago. There will be wonderful cities in the west, none more beautiful and extensive than Salt Lake City; but unless all signs fail Chicago will take precedence.
  • So called temperance legislation is a temporary aberration of well meaning but narrow minded men and women with whom sentimentality supplants reason, and who actually thinks morals are an affair of legislation. One hundred years hence personal liberty will be more than a phrase. When it is a fact sumptuary laws will be as impossible as witch burning is now.
  • The encyclopedic man, who makes a show of knowing all things, will give way to the specialist, who makes an effort to know one thing and know it well.
  • They will have more leisure to think. The present rate of headlong material activity cannot be kept up for another hundred years.
  • While I am writing this the statesmen of the country are asking themselves if it is not time to make laws which shall restrict if they do not put a stop to immigration.
  • In 100 years Denver will be as big as New York and in the center of a vast population.
  • If the republic remains politically compact and doesn't fall apart at the Mississippi river, Canada will be either part of it or an independent sovereignty, and the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico will be the Riviera of the western continent.
  • I guess that there will be great political and social changes in our country before the year 1993, and that these changes will be advantageous to the community at large. I guess that before the next century shall end the functions and powers of our government will be greatly enlarged; that railroads, telegraphs and many other things now held as private spoil will be public property; that law, medicine and theology will be more reasonable than they now are; that the inventions and discoveries will be greater than we have ever yet had, and that the welfare of mankind will be higher than it is in this age of confusion.
  • Every person of fairly good education and of restless mind writes a book. As a rule, it is a superficial book, but it swells the bulk and it indicated the cerebral unrest that is trying to express itself. We have arrived at a condition in which more books are printed than the world can read. This is true not only of books that are not worth reading, but it is true of the books that are. All this I take to be the result of an intellectual affranchisement that is new, and of a dissemination of knowledge instead of concentration of culture. Everybody wants to say something. But it is slowly growing upon the world that everybody has not got something to say. Therefore one may even at this moment detect the causes which will produce reaction. In 100 years there will not be so many books printed, but there will be more said. That seems to me to be inevitable.

1893 March 25 Newark Daily Advocate - Newark OH Pa Leo Future

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Monday
Apr062009

U.S. Senate Monorail (1912)

1912 Senate Monorail (Library of Congress)

From 1912-61 tunnels below the U.S. Senate building were filled with monorail cars carrying senators on the "shortest and most exclusive railway in the world.” A short history about the monorail system appears on the Senate.gov website and is excerpted below.

I'm fascinated with early ideas of what "the monorail" was to become and even more fascinated with the transportation systems that (as in this case) were actually tried. These black and white photographs can be found at the Library of Congress in high-resolution formats. The color image below comes from clouse.org.

1912 Construction of the Monorail (Library of Congress)

The U.S. Senate website goes into detail about the monorail system:

The distance between the old Senate Office Building and the Capitol was only a fifth of a mile, but senators needed to traverse it multiple times on a typical legislative day. Had the Capitol been a skyscraper, elevators would have whisked members from their offices on different floors to the chamber. Instead, the office building and Capitol were linked by a horizontal elevator: a subway. Initially, transportation in the subway tunnel was provided by battery-powered yellow Studebaker coaches. Ten passengers could ride in each car, facing each other on benches. The buses ran along a concrete roadway at a maximum speed of 12 miles an hour. Rather than turn around at each terminus, they backed up for the return trip. Running backwards made them more difficult to steer, raising fears that someday the two cars might collide in the curved tunnel. In 1912 the Senate authorized installation of a double-line electric monorail system that ran on fixed tracks. Built by the Columbia Construction Company, the trains held up to 18 passengers each, in rows of wicker seats. Senators received priority in boarding the cars, and the front seats were reserved for them at all times. One operator commented that he never waited for other passengers when there was a senator aboard, “unless it’s the Vice President.” Senators summoned the trains by ringing a bell three times (the same signal also alerted elevator operators). During Senate votes, the trains would shuttle back and forth furiously, a one-way trip taking 45 seconds. Each car made an average of 225 trips per day when the Senate was in session. The press dubbed this Senate subway the “shortest and most exclusive railway in the world.”

After the subway was extended to the new office building, a new tunnel and rail system was constructed for the original office building. The first subway tunnel was converted into storage space, offices and facilities for the Senate Recording Studio. The old cars made their last run in 1961, and were captured on film by the Hollywood movie Advise and Consent, shot during the trains’ final weeks in service. The new cars featured upholstered seats and a plastic shield to protect passengers’ hair from becoming windblown. Not everyone appreciated the improved services. Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright lamented the closing of the old line, which he described as “soothing to jangled nerves.” Senator Fulbright argued that the quaint old cars had put senators “in a friendly and amiable frame of mind as they arrive to do battle over the nation’s business.”

Image of a monorail car from clouse.org

1912 Senate Monorail (Library of Congress)

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Monday
Feb112008

James B. Utt on Space Travel (1963)

California congressman James B. Utt wrote a short piece for the time capsule book 2063 A.D., which was buried in 1963.

The honorable James B. Utt first says that he could not even make an uneducated guess as to the future of space travel but then, in true politician form, makes one anyway. His contribution appears in full below.

The Honorable James B. Utt
Congress of the United States

 

Your request with reference to a prophecy for your space capsule, I can only say that I do not have a Buck Rogers imaginative mind and could not even make an uneducated guess. The cost of escaping gravity will probably always curtail any commercial space travel, but the time will come when the scientists will be able to change the molecular body system and reduce the weight to zero and reconstruct the molecular system at any place and any time. Travel will then be as rapid as the mind can conceive. Personally, I do not look forward to this with any sense of enjoyment


You can find the book 2063 A.D. listed here on Amazon but I wouldn't count on copies becoming available anytime soon. Only 200 copies were printed and distributed to various universities.

 

See also:
General Dynamics Astronautics Time Capsule (1963)
Broken Time Capsule (1963-1997)
Lyndon B. Johnson on 2063 A.D. (1963)
Edmund G. Brown's Californifuture (1963)

Wednesday
Nov142007

Edmund G. Brown's Californifuture (1963)

Today we continue our look into the time capsule and booklet titled 2063 A.D. Buried by General Dynamics Astronautics in 1963, there is some question as to where it may now reside, as the General Dynamics Astronautics building has been torn down. Some guessed that it would be at the San Diego Air & Space Museum but my last trip to that city turned up nothing. Hopefully, this time capsule hasn't been lost forever.

The piece below by California Governor Edmund G. Brown appears on page six of the time capsule booklet.

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown
Governor, State of California

I have been asked by those responsible for placing this "space" capsule to write down my guesses about the state of man's space efforts one hundred years from this date when, hopefully, this capsule will be opened.

Most of my life has been spent as a politician. Politicians generally know very little about rockets, satellites and the other trappings of outer space.

It is their task to be concerned about inner space, the still undiscovered space of the mind and the spirit, and about whether the institutions of men on this planet create for the men they are supposed to serve the atmosphere, the psychological spaciousness, in which they can grow to fulfill their human potential.

This is the "space" about which I am concerned in 1963 as I write this statement. Even here, on ground that is much more familiar to me than is outer space, I have few predictions, but many hopes, about life on earth one hundred years from now.

My chief hope is that by the time men will have truly grasped the overriding necessity of freedom as a condition of man's continued existence: freedom from the necessity to hate as well as freedom from oppression of the mind, the spirit and the body.

I hope too that, having grasped this imperative, man, one hundred years from 1963, will have transformed his institutions into guarantors of that freedom.


See also:
General Dynamics Astronautics Time Capsule (1963)
Broken Time Capsule (1963-1997)
Lyndon B. Johnson on 2063 A.D. (1963)

Tuesday
Jul312007

2000 A.D. Radio Documentary (1966)

The 1966 radio documentary 2000 A.D.: A documentary on life in the universe in the 21st century, hosted by Chet Huntley, covers some very interesting topics. Government, energy use, leisure time, electronics, use of the oceans, and private enterprise were among the many issues discussed by Mr. Huntley and those he interviewed.

You can listen to the introduction here. A transcript of the program's introduction appears below.

Year 2000!

Now, here is Chet Huntley.

We'll be celebrating a special New Year's Eve. Bells will ring, orchestras will play "Auld Lang Syne," boys and girls will embrace and the new century will be upon us.

It will be the year 2000. Or, if you prefer twenty-hundred. But what shall we call it? Two-triple-oh, perhaps.

A baby born tonight could not be president of the United States in the year 2000. He would have not yet attained the constitutional age of thirty-five years.

Statistics indicate that about three-fourths of the people listening to me at this moment will live to see that year, which is no further in the future than the election of Franklin Roosevelt is in the past.

What do we know about year 2000? Well, ecologists tell us that in that year we will have run very nearly out of food, that half the world's population will be on a starvation diet. We can project the so-called electronic revolution and predict that the number of workers engaged in actual production will drop to only 18 percent of the workforce. At the same time, the number of people in all the various service occupations will almost double.

Experts tell us that we will cluster more than ever into cities, drive electrically powered cars, work less, and retire earlier. But what about these things? What will they mean to you and me, to the average worker and to his family?

See also:
Closer Than We Think! Monoline Express (1961)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 2 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 3 (1970)

Thursday
Mar082007

Taiwan Has Abandonment Issues

I recently came across yet another abandoned Taiwanese development that Flickrtarian Airman 19_19 claims is a futuristic-looking hotel.

"The land it's built on is reserved by the government for public works/purposes/use only, which hotels do not fall under. It's easy to get building permits for almost anything, but you need a separate permit to actually operate such things. Apparently several decades ago it was common practice to get the building permit, build your hotel, and then bribe an official into giving you the operator's permit. Unfortunately, this hotel was built just as the government began cracking down on such corruption, and as such was never given permission to open."

See also:
Desolation Row (16 Feb 2007)
Desolation Row in Color (22 Feb 2007)