Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Every now and then, a science fiction writer makes a prediction and gets it right. Sometimes this is from extrapolation, sometimes a lucky guess. Sometimes, it's because some budding engineer or scientist reads the piece and decides to create the toy, thus life imitates art.
Waldoes, anyone? Telstar?
There are folks called "futurists" out there who claim ability to predict the future. I have to laugh when I read them or hear them speak. These are techno-scryers, pretending to something they don't have. (I've used them in fiction myself, but the truth is, the butterfly effect really screws such things up pretty well.)
Case in point. Yesterday, the weather forecasters were telling us that today would be like yesterday: Hot -- triple-digit, fondly-Fahrenheit temperatures, dry as a fifty-year-old bone in the Sahara.
And what do we have? At eleven a.m., a still-thick layer of marine clouds and seventy-seven muggy degrees. If it is going to hit a hundred here today, Apollo is going to have to work his ass off.
These guys have satellites that can see into the ultra- and infra- spectrums; radar; Doppler and computer models out the wazoo, Ph.D's in meteorology -- and they can't predict the weather from one day to the next, much less a week in advance.
I got your future right here ...