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All Our Yesterday's Tomorrows
July 3, 2003 6:07 AM   Subscribe

Miracles You Will See In The Next 50 Years From Popular Mechanics, February 1950, Page 112. Ah, yes, I remember Yesterday's Tomorrows. Hey! Where's my robot slave? Why, I oughta... I'll Futurama you! Hey everybody--let's all sing There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow! Mmm... The Future In Song
posted by y2karl (34 comments total)

 
As seen in your first link, I'm still waiting for someone (you know...just some random stranger who happens to walk by my house) to install drains in the floors of all of my rooms so I can hose off all my furniture.
posted by iconomy at 6:24 AM on July 3, 2003


I especially enjoyed the first & last of these fine links. From the former, my mind was set reeling by this little gem: Discarded paper table "linen" and rayon underwear are bought by chemical factories to be converted into candy.
posted by misteraitch at 6:34 AM on July 3, 2003


Beat me to it, misteraitch. I promise to stop bitching about my lack of rocket cars, as long as no one makes me eat underwear candy.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:40 AM on July 3, 2003 [1 favorite]


I want a small, disciplined army of specialized insects which will emerge at 4 a.m. while I'm sleeping to scour my house clean of all stray organic debris (food crumbs, spills, stray blobs of food on the counter, skin flakes, hair, etc.) for approx. one hour - until 5 am, when they will retire to their special lair in the basement. Then the geckos will come out to round up any rebellious strays. Meanwhile, the robotic servant will then activate, clean up stray clothes and clutter, and serve me coffee in bed along with a fresh printout of recent news, Metafilter and elsewhere. [ /domestic fantasy ]

Just as long as the bugs don't decide that I'm food.


Meanwhile, here's what PC Magazine thinks is coming down the pipeline ("Top 10 technologies of the future").
posted by troutfishing at 6:43 AM on July 3, 2003


Mmm, just what I want to do: wipe the hair off my face.

I can't think of any problems with that.
posted by jon_kill at 6:47 AM on July 3, 2003


"Here at home we'll play in the city
Powered by the sun
Perfect weather for a streamlined world
There'll be spandex jackets one for everyone"


-Donald Fagen, "I.G.Y." (International Geophysical Year)
[Fagen constructed "I.G.Y." as a theme album written as if from the viewpoint of a young, middle class, forward-looking white male growing up in Baltimore of the 1950's. "I.G.Y." refers to the "International Geophysical Year", the first attempt to bring together information from all of the emerging Earth Sciences to form the first comprehensive survey in known history of the Earth and it's various systems - both living and non-living, organic and inorganic, weather systems, geological processes, and so on. ]
posted by troutfishing at 6:52 AM on July 3, 2003


Cooking as an art is only a memory in the minds of old people. A few die-hards still broil a chicken or roast a leg of lamb but the experts have developed ways of deep-freezing partially baked cuts of meat.

In eight seconds a half-grilled frozen steak is thawed; in two minutes more it is ready to serve.

Nobody in 2000 sees any sense in building a house that will last a century.

Businessmen have television conferences.

In fact, Jane Dobson does much of her shopping by television.

Corporation presidents, bankers, ambassadors and rich people in a hurry use the 1000-mile-an-hour rocket planes and think nothing of paying a fare of $5000 between Chicago and Paris. The Dobsons take the cheaper jet planes.

It takes no more than a minute to transmit and receive in facsimile a five-page letter on paper of the usual business size.

Men and women of 70 in A.D. 2000 look as if they were 40. Wrinkles, sagging cheeks, leathery skins are curiosities or signs of neglect.

Cancer is not yet curable in 2000.

posted by widdershins at 6:54 AM on July 3, 2003


troutfishing, I lived in an apartment once where I had those bugs in my kitchen - ewwww.

Great post, y2karl! Very fun. If only...It is a cheap house. With all its furnishings, Joe Dobson paid only $5000 for it.

...and I think this might have occurred already
Discarded paper table "linen" and rayon underwear are bought by chemical factories to be converted into candy.


Interesting to see that in the first post, Jane's future did not include a career - she is seen hosing down sheets and furniture, melting plasticene dinner plates in the sink, spending a half hour preparing frozen foods and shopping for fabrics and groceries by tv.

Here's another fun site to add to your collection: Victorian Visions of the Year 2000 as depicted in postcard art.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:04 AM on July 3, 2003


There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow!

Oh dear god no! Was there anything lamer than Disney's Carousel of Progress?...just everything in Epcot Center.
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:14 AM on July 3, 2003


mjjj: I was thinking in reading that description of the house, prefab, not intended to last more than a quarter century, that they were basically describing manufactured housing/mobile homes. Which are owned by many people. I've lived in one myself, in less palmy days. And $5000 in 1950 is equivalent to about $36,000 today, which will indeed get you a double-wide mobile home.

You still can't hose off the furniture, but otherwise, maybe not that bad a prediction.

The 'rocket plane' that will get you from NYC to SF in two hours was approximated by the Concorde. It just couldn't fly over continents because of the sonic booms, and ultimately wasn't found to be practical enough to continue.

You're right about Jane and her 'career'. I think that changes in politics, attitudes, social mores, and the like are probably the hardest to predict. Maybe because we don't really want to. That's the part of the future we find the most threatening. We imagine that in the future everything will be different — except us.

Wrong.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:22 AM on July 3, 2003


But really, has all that much changed? Technology has changed how we live our lives, but not as drastic as in the first article.

But if you ask me, it's just the same old shit. It seems like technology is used more nowadays to do the same things faster or more efficient, not necessarily completely new things.
posted by angry modem at 7:39 AM on July 3, 2003


Any marked departure from what Joe Dobson and his fellow citizens wear and eat and how they amuse themselves will arouse comment.
posted by gimonca at 7:45 AM on July 3, 2003


if you were on my #mefi swaplist, you'd already be living in the future.
posted by crunchland at 7:51 AM on July 3, 2003





posted by crunchland at 8:11 AM on July 3, 2003


Personal helicopter? Check. Futurist Bel Geddes car and carplane? Chronicle of the Future to 2050? Check. (Rich List 2049) Uh huh. The Future We Were Promised: A.C. Radebaugh Oh, yeah...
posted by y2karl at 8:15 AM on July 3, 2003


As seen in your first link, I'm still waiting for someone (you know...just some random stranger who happens to walk by my house) to install drains in the floors of all of my rooms so I can hose off all my furniture.

This will be particularly helpful to those of us who gut deer in our living rooms. Show of hands?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:25 AM on July 3, 2003


I so want melting dishes.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:26 AM on July 3, 2003


By 2000, a vast amount of research has be conducted to exploit principles that were embryonic in the first quarter of the 20th century. Thus sawdust and wood pulp are converted into sugary foods. Discarded paper table "linen" and rayon underwear are bought by chemical factories to be converted into candy.

"We have discovered edible panties technology!!!" -UCB
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:44 AM on July 3, 2003


I so want melting dishes.

I pry unidentifiable melted things off of the coils of my dishwasher on a weekly basis. I'll save them for you ;)
posted by iconomy at 8:47 AM on July 3, 2003


Mmm, just what I want to do: wipe the hair off my face.

A little off-topic, but if you had told me just ten years ago that I would no longer dread the severe pain-in-the-ass of shaving every morning, I would have thought you were as crazy as this cream-shave idea. But the Mach 3 made me a believer.

The great joke, though, is that now Gillette has launched an ad campaign, "Aren't Mondays Rough Enough Already?" (or some such - I can't find an example on the web but have seen many of these on buses) to convince men that they need to change their expensive Mach 3 blades more often (I use them until the first cut, which is usually more than three weeks). In other words, in creating the perfect shave, Gillette forgot a crucial business element: Planned obsolescence! So maybe the future is here, after all.
posted by soyjoy at 9:05 AM on July 3, 2003


And hey, those flying cars we were promised are already here.
posted by majikwah at 10:38 AM on July 3, 2003


I see that sexism is still alive in 2000, as Jane is still just a housewife.

This whole paragraph was almost spot on- "Of course the Dobsons have a television set. But it is connected with the telephones as well as with the radio receiver, so that when Joe Dobson and a friend in a distant city talk over the telephone they also see each other. Businessmen have television conferences. Each man is surrounded by half a dozen television screens on which he sees those taking part in the discussion. Documents are held up for examination; samples of goods are displayed. In fact, Jane Dobson does much of her shopping by television. Department stores obligingly hold up for her inspection bolts of fabric or show her new styles of clothing."

The world he predicated sounds pretty awful.
posted by aacheson at 10:44 AM on July 3, 2003


I really love this modern lifestyle stuff - even though it is obviously the future of the past. Of course, modernism is still a very accepted and innovative form in architecture. And it most likely will be for some time to come.

After all, who would have imagined that we would still be building houses with doric columns?

Here's another fun site with well researched links.
posted by jazzkat11 at 11:03 AM on July 3, 2003


I wonder if this will ever go over to "talkies"
posted by clavdivs at 11:08 AM on July 3, 2003


Mmm, just what I want to do: wipe the hair off my face.

Have you considered new ultrapostmodern Vaniqa? With new Vaniqa, there's never any hair to wipe off. And think of the sculptural possibilities in your hair style ...
posted by y2karl at 11:13 AM on July 3, 2003


With new Vaniqa, there's never any hair to wipe off.

Oh, the promises of the future, with nair-y a hitch!
posted by jazzkat11 at 11:19 AM on July 3, 2003


Inches-deep lake on roof already cools Southern homes and may become important air-conditioning method.

Almost had this right, there is a current system with pipes circulating water through a home. Think it starts beneath the home too.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:51 AM on July 3, 2003


My favorite:

Before (a hurricane) has a chance to gather much strength and speed as it travels westward toward Florida, oil is spread over the sea and ignited. There is an updraft.
posted by Fat Elvis at 12:10 PM on July 3, 2003


Streamlining the Moderne. Then there is massurrealism...
posted by y2karl at 12:23 PM on July 3, 2003


I believe one's nightmare may be a future's solution or an invention.
During my teen years had this one recurring nightmare, then when I realized how it could work in a real life application, read about this soon afterwards. Basically my nightmare; in the back seat of the car dressing because I was late, yet the car was driving itself. The scarry part was I had to gain the car's control before I thought it would crash from the back seat. Having one leg in my pants the other one stuck half way on pinning me from being able to get up front. Yet I always arrived safely to school on time.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:12 PM on July 3, 2003


My prediction is that in the future someone will get a Nobel prize for inventing a machine that allows you to scream for hours at a time without stopping.
posted by Hildago at 2:25 PM on July 3, 2003


Where's my robot slave? - try here.
posted by thijsk at 3:20 PM on July 3, 2003


I had something else in mid.
posted by y2karl at 3:32 PM on July 3, 2003


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