Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Aliens R Us

Inspired by Chuck's recent post, I was checking out what Google searches were leading people to my blog.  One searcher from Norway who retrieved my post Who Are These Aliens Anyway? had used the search terms Colleen and aliens.  Could it be that my thoughts on 50s science fiction had risen to fame-level?!

Perhaps.  Or maybe The Norwegian was looking for this Colleen.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mechanix Monday

Here's another craft idea, this one actually sounds good to me.  The word handikinks is not in the dictionary.  However, one figuative use of the word kink is " An odd but clever method of doing something; a ‘dodge’, ‘wrinkle," as in "1889 Anthony's Photogr. Bull. II. 110 The hundred and one recent valuable wrinkles, dodges and kinks that float through the photographic press."*

*OED Online

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mechanix Monday

Modern Mechanix and Inventions wasn't just for scientists;  hobbyists liked it too.  I can see Martha Stewart doing these projects.
Just a reminder; this is the August 1933 issue.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Risks of Prediction

I know there have been many grumpy books and articles about the wonderful future that never happened. ( For instance, Where’s my jetpack? : a guide to the amazing science fiction future that never arrived / Daniel H. Wilson ; illustrated by Richard Horne. New York : Bloomsbury USA : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, c2007)  But I like to think I was in the vanguard, since I mounted a display back in 2000 about the many unrealized predictions for that year.  I limited my material to respectable academics and think tanks, though I did use a few pictures from old science fiction pulps.  Here's a future chronology I used from The Book of predictions / [compiled] by David Wallechinsky, Amy Wallace, Irving Wallace.  New York : Morrow, 1980, c1981

A Chronology of the Future

 People work a 4-day, 32-hour week.

 The U.S. legalizes marijuana.

 The first human being is cloned.

 Weather forecasting achieves accuracy for 30-day periods.

 Daily body checkups by computer provide ample warning of any impending illness

 The first human is brought back to life after being frozen and thawed.

 After a stock market crash and major depression, the U.S. ceases to be a great power.  The Soviet Union dominates most of the world.

 First tourist service to outer space.

 Cocaine is legalized in the U.S.
 A shortage of oil starts a large-scale migration of people from cold to warmer parts of the world.
 50,000people are living and working in space.
 The first children are born off the Earth.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mechanix Monday

This was Modern Mechanix and Inventions's version of Ripley's Believe It Or Not, though these things are considerably less unbelieveable.  I couldn't find out anything about Nic Sprank, but it is interesting to note that the current fad for spelling variations in common names is not entirely new.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Office Bloom

Finally the Morning Glory on my office window ledge produces a bloom!

Monday, August 09, 2010

OK, That's Enough

In the name of nostalgia, I watched some old episodes of The Prisoner.  How could I have forgotten so much of this show?  I love it in the opening when number 6's disembodied head comes barreling out at you, as though it were going to smash into your face, but the jail doors slam closed, and you're safe.  Then there were the groovy interiors (number 6 has an orange lava lamp next to his bed) contrasted with the olde-time charm of the exteriors. 

I had forgotten that The Village was patrolled by a gigantic balloon and that the ladies had smashing striped capes.

However, pretty soon I tired of seeing number 6 triumph over number 2 again and again, so I dropped it.  Here's the only bit that had stuck with me before I renewed my acquaintence with The Prisoner:

Mechanix Monday

Bim Gump was a character from The Gumps comic strip.  Bim was the Gumps' rich uncle and, evidently, an enthusiastic smoker.
And now for something completely different: a clock-comb.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet. I'm Hunting Wabbits!

Except that these might be Hares.

Maybe they are Eastern Cottontails.

OK, some of my readers will think wild hares (rabbits, cottontails)  are a big ho-hum.  But in the 31 years I've lived in Cambridge, I've never before seen wild hares (rabbits, cottontails) in urban areas.  Now suddenly there are two just between Lamont and Houghton Libraries.  I also spotted one on the lawn of a church near my home.

The Houghton people call the grown-up the Houghton Bunny and the baby Artie, after Arthur Houghton.  However, there is already a movement at  Lamont to sue for custody.

Leporidae (cohort Glires, order Lagomorpha)

The family that includes the rabbits, cottontails, and hares. These are lagomorphs in which the tail is reduced, the hind legs are modified for jumping, and the ears are usually long. Rabbits are adapted for burrowing, and their young are born in burrows, naked and blind. Hares are born above ground, their eyes open, and fully furred. Cottontails do not burrow, but may use burrows dug by other animals. There are eight genera. They are distributed widely throughout the Holarctic region, where they are highly successful (there are more than 30 species), but are less common in Africa (about eight species) and S. America (two species).

How to cite this entry:
"Leporidae"  A Dictionary of Zoology. Ed. Michael Allaby. Oxford University Press 2009. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Harvard University Library.  3 August 2010  

Mechanix Monday

Page 37 features some interesting inventions...

The most interesting to us futurologists is the early version of the audiobook.