Monday, April 09, 2012

Reto Future

The Future is Now, well, no flying cars or jet packs but at leastno one dropped the "Big One"!

February 8th, 2012


Given the popularity of the recently released Star Trek film and how it's given a new lease of life to Gene Roddenberry's franchise, it may signal a revival of optimistic visions of the future is finally upon us. It's about time.

Roddenberry's egalitarian utopia was set in the 22nd century but its aspirations were firmly rooted in the issues of its time.  Every week, the protagonists altruistically battled the forces of militarism, sexism, racism and every other "ism" network executives would allow at the time.

The series debuted in 1966,  an auspicious year for another "ism": optimism. Popular culture scaled increasingly-bold peaks that year. The Scott Paper company began selling disposable paper dresses for a dollar. The Beatles'  psychedelic "Tomorrow Never Knows" introduced new sounds.Masters and Johnson released "Human Sexual Response," shattering sexual myths of the past.


The race to the Moon was accelerating in 1966. Feats in space fed a public anxious for change and hungry for fantasy. The sensory overload of the newly-emerging Information Age created a syndrome that Alvin Toffler later dubbed "Future Shock."

Stanley Kubrick was filming of 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1966. The movie anticipated the  discovery of extra-terrestrial life and artificial intelligence. It could happen by 2001…why not?

Art was imitating life in the future.  For the first time, photographs were sent back to Earth from the lunar surface by both the Russian and American space programs. The latter's Surveyor 1, launched on May 30, 1966, employed a TV camera that scanned the surface and transmitted the images of the lunar surface back to Earth.

The panoramas created by the combined images created fascinating fractal collages that were truly otherworldly.


Forty years later the shock and awe of 1966 might seem quaint. That's the way it ought to be. If we're going to progress beyond the drawing board of those creaky space age dreams (as depicted so amusingly on the cover of this week's New Yorker) it will take more successful re-imaginings of the future along the lines of Star Trek.

May they live long and prosper.

Murray MacNeill

Microbe Helps Convert Solar Power to Liquid Fuel

Microbe Helps Convert Solar Power to Liquid Fuel

(Sent from Readability)

Murray MacNeill