Predictions of the Year 2000 from 1900
> Strawberries as large as apples will be eaten
They seemed to have a thing for large fruits and vegetables.
> Rats and mice will have been exterminated
Overall interesting. I don't know what common theme to pull out of it.
son of parnas
April 19th, 2007 10:27am
Black, Blue and Green Roses.
They are still shotting at the blue roses. Apparently it's pretty damned hard.
April 19th, 2007 10:43am
I thought they made blue roses recently? They were quite lovely.
son of parnas
April 19th, 2007 10:44am
There seems to be a pretty common theme of exploit, exploit, exploit. Bugs will be exterminated entirely; rats and mice, too. Every river, stream, and waterfall will be harnessed for electricity. Swamp lands will be dried up and filled in. Water will be chemically treated to kill microbes and pests. Etc etc etc.
April 19th, 2007 10:50am
Why, you are correct madame.
The wiki entry for blue roses says that one was genetically engineered in 2004.
April 19th, 2007 10:54am
Some of those are pretty astute *and* true.
April 19th, 2007 10:55am
And I do remember a plan a few years ago to exterminate all mosquitoes.
April 19th, 2007 10:57am
Yeah, the ensuing insecticide clouds are partially to blame for the large contingent of Bush voters.
April 19th, 2007 10:58am
There's a surprising number of predications I'd classify as "true, but doesn't matter".
April 19th, 2007 11:00am
>> He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present <<
Wow, 35? By that standard, I'm already a geezer.
>> The trip from suburban home to office will require a few minutes only. <<
Whoops. Try closer to an hour.
>> Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. <<
Well, she got the Wii right. But so wrong on exercise in schools -- thanks to President No-Child-Left-Behind, phys-ed was one of the first programs cut.
>> Vegetables Grown by Electricity. <<
Wow. Electro-Veggies. No more need for AA batteries, when a squash will do just as well. Just plug in the electrodes.
April 19th, 2007 11:07am
Yes, they did pretty well. A little too enthusiastic in some cases ("no one who can't walk 10 miles will be regarded as a weakling"), and underestimated in others ('the average age will go from 35 to 50').
A combination of pragmatic extensions on the current technology ("We will be able to telephone to China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn.") and bizarrely inspired idealism ("There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. ").
> Fast-flying refrigerators on land and sea will bring delicious fruits from the tropics and southern temperate zone within a few days.
I think the food and flower emphasis is because it's the Ladies Home Journal (hey, they didn't predict the end of chauvinism!). In their area of expertise, home economics, the ladies did pretty well. I'm surprised there wasn't mention of bigger and better vibrators though ("Implantable devices will make us woo with pleasure at our leisure while men's balls grow smaller with neglect").
> Food animals will be bred to expend practically all of their life energy in producing meat, milk, wool and other by-products. Horns, bones, muscles and lungs will have been neglected.
More prescient than HG Wells.
April 19th, 2007 11:15am
Well, in all fairness I think he'd READ H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.
Things they didn't have:
Airplanes (1903). Sulfa drugs (1932). Penicillin (1945). World Wars (WW-I and II). Ecological understanding.
Communication satellites. Computers. Fast food. X-rays.
Things they DID have:
Oil, coal, kerosene. Cars (huge!). Air conditioning. Radio, Telegraph, Telephones. Smallpox vaccine.
It's fascinating to look at what they did and did not know, compared to what they got right and what they got wrong.
April 19th, 2007 11:26am
I'm not sure I buy it. Were there "suburbs" in 1900?
April 19th, 2007 12:23pm
No. Suburbs came with the motorcar.
April 19th, 2007 12:25pm
Yup, 1887. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streetcar_suburb
And it also makes sense that his most optimistic forecasts were to elaborate on what he percieved to be the latest and greatest technology of the day -- electricity, refrigeration, trolley cars.
April 19th, 2007 12:27pm
The lifespan prediction is pretty meaningless because life expectancy figures are buggered up by infant mortality rates.
April 20th, 2007 7:20am
AND Sulfa drugs, AND penicillin.
April 20th, 2007 10:02am