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SkyFitsJeff

Science Fiction Predictions gone awry

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In the news today Europe is struggling to deal with their financial crisis and the Euro continues to loose ground against other currencies. It made me think of a SciFi story I recently read where they would only accept Euros, because the US dollar had become worthless. We certainly aren't seeing that happen. That made me think of other scientific predictions which writers had made that didn't pan out.

In the 20th Century, stories about overpopulation and the inevitable famine were common--Soylent Green being one of the most popular. Yet today it isn't too little food that's a problem but too much food--governments are even trying to legislate the obesity.

This year we have seen record COLD temperatures around the world. Even advocates of Global Warming and Global Cooling, who are embarrassed by the latest scandal (Climategate--the made up data used to support this theory) and the lack of evidence, have renamed their theory Climate Change, the third change so far but probably not the last.

What can we learn from all of these examples? It seems that whenever a writer relies on progressive or liberal ideas, the predictions don't pan out. Maybe it's time to STUDY history instead of trying to invent it.

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Comments

  1. Galactic News's Avatar
    Well, one of the things I have done when creating my own sci-fi idea, the 24th century newspaper Galactic Echo, was think about what might really happen in the future rather than what films, stories etc suggest.

    A real can of worms as you can imagine, and the first thing to realise is that we don't always move forward. For example, back in the late-1960s, people making predictions about what we might be doing in the 21st century would have quite easily imagined that by then, man would have gone to Mars.

    And twenty years ago, who could possibly have imagined that the Concorde would be obsolete and no longer in use, and travel in the 21st century has gone slower.

    The situation about famine in one part of the world and obesity in another is a terrible failure on the part of humans as a collective whole. I think it is really sad, and underlines fundamental problems about human nature of greed and power; there is huge wealth in the world, but the weathly nations don't really care about helping a poorer relation; and when they do, the people who really need the help don't receive it; just think about how much aid has gone to the third world from the richer countries, yet the average inhabitant in that country is still as poor as he was before the aid got there.

    Incidentally, as far as climate change is concerned, the evidence seems to suggest that overall the planet is warming up; but what seems to be happening is that amongst all this we are getting extreme weather events such as very hot days and very cold days; but overall the pattern seems to suggest the temperatue as a whole is increasing. To think that the amount of CO2 we as humans are putting into the atmosphere compared to what happens naturally, doesn't have an effect, has got to be naive thinking.
  2. SkyFitsJeff's Avatar
    I'm glad you brought up overall temperature and CO2. History has shown the Earth has been much warmer than it is now just a thousand years ago with no adverse effects. The data also shows that CO2 contributes only about 3% to the greenhouse effect--methane seems to be the main culprit. Also as the CO2 levels increase, the less water plants need to grow and the better they seem to thrive. Assuming that increased CO2 is bad and ignoring data and science seems a bit naive to me.
  3. Galactic News's Avatar
    Hmm, well a real can of worms indeed! I assume that over in the gol ol' US of A they have been talking about 'climate change' as much as over here in England.
    It does seem like the whole issue of climate change is a real source of debate; without going into the main issues on here (that would make for a very long document!).
    Bottom line is that the whole issue is really complicated, which is further added to with various scientists coming up with different research, along with political agendas getting in the way; in the developed world, for example, to limit carbon emissions means we have to rethink a lot about the way we do things.
    And of course to make accurate predictions means we need long term data sets which we don't have, of course.
    You do mention that the Earth has had extreme temperature changes; but what seems to have happened in the current climate is that the rate of change, ie the speed by which the average temps have changed has never been seen before; so wildlife and the natural world, etc don't have the time to adapt to changing conditions. In the past, the temperature increased/decreased over centuries, whereas in the current time, it has happened over a decade or so.
  4. Jon Sprunk's Avatar
    I leave scientific matters to the scientists. But here in the US we have a lot of politicians who think they know more than the people (several times smarter than they are) actually doing the research. That's not a recipe for success (except politically).