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August 2016

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stardreamer 2015-03-14: "Are you seriously suggesting that increased awareness of consent issues is a temporary moral panic, and that (say) 30 years from now, date rape and acquaintance rape will be back to 'business as usual'? Would you have said the same thing 30 years ago about child sexual abuse?"

Thirty years ago, child sexual abuse was taken much less seriously than it is now. My guess: thirty years from now, it'll be somewhere in between being routinely covered up, and it being a very bad idea to post a picture of your child taking a bath.

Consent issues: I don't think it will go all the way back to the way it used to be. (And I very much hope not.)

Just as the back and forth movement of attitudes on racial discrimination hasn't included a return to legal slavery. And has included the possibility of a Black being elected President. (A few decades ago, fictional Black Presidents didn't reach the White House by election; they were in the line of succession.)

***Lee Gold: " 'If you graduated from high school thirty years ago, don't take for granted that nothing has changed. Check.'

"Dan, let's start by discussing whom and what data sources you check with. Asking the nearest teenaged relative is probably not good enough."

I would begin by reading magazines for teens. They're an imperfect mirror; but they do show startling differences.

"'Places you haven't been to in a while have undergone change. In 1965, some Paris restaurants had hectographed menus in their windows; this is probably no longer the case.'

"I didn't see this in 1971. But maybe I was just looking at the wrong Paris restaurants." Or maybe copy machines had become more familiar in the meantime.

"'When "Jennifer" became the most popular girl-baby name in the US,


"1970-1984

" ' it was easy to predict that in a bit less than twenty years there would be a lot of college women named Jennifer.

"Or perhaps domr og yhrm eoulf [sic] have changed their names to Jenny and Jen."

One member of Twin Cities sf fandom is called Seven. She was the seventh Jennifer in her Star Trek club.

"'By the late 1980s, it should have been obvious that the Soviet Union was in no shape to successfully invade the US.

"As opposed to bombing it to a glowing nuclear wasteheap." Maybe. The Soviet Union was sufficiently badly organized that such orders might not have been carried out.

"'Take account of moral panic cycles.'

"I'd have thought that network TV shows fading in viewership and cable and web shows gaining and help start niche panic cycles gaining. So far I haven't heard of a TV / web medical or legal show favored by anti-vaxxers but I expect to do so eventually. (I am fervently pro-vaccination. That's not the point here.)"

Most niche Viewing With Alarm doesn't become mainstream (or large minority) moral panics most of the time.
Notes On Writing Future-Setting Fiction

-"Fiction always reflects the time in which it's written, not the time in which it's set. So what's the problem?"-

The same is true of Shakespearean criticism. But that's not what it's supposed to be about; it's supposed to be about Shakespeare in his own time and place. And it's true of historical nonfiction, academic or popular.

And: some people, including me, read fiction set in the future hoping to find something new. To us, "just like today" is no more satisfying than "They realize neither of them is interested in sex and both prefer to live alone" would be to most romance readers.

Not to mention that things might change before a story is published. For several months after the Soviet Union fell, "Soviets invade America" novels were still turning up in bookstores. There were probably others in the pipeline or being written which no one will get to read.

It's not possible to predict the future with total accuracy. But there are ways to cut down on bloopers.

1) If you graduated from high school thirty years ago, don't take for granted that nothing has changed. Check.

If you graduated last year, it still might be a good idea to check.

Yes, teenagers will still act like teenagers. But they won't wear the same clothing, listen to the same music, use the same slang. And for how long has it been possible for a lesbian couple to be elected Homecoming King and Queen? (See the March 2012 issue of Seventeen.)

Places you haven't been to in a while have undergone change. In 1965, some Paris restaurants had hectographed menus in their windows; this is probably no longer the case. (This wasn't mentioned in any guidebook I read. If you visit any place, and don't notice anything which isn't in guidebooks, I recommend an immediate medical checkup.)

2) Look at what's already happened which will have highly-predictable consequences.

When "Jennifer" became the most popular girl-baby name in the US, it was easy to predict that in a bit less than twenty years there would be a lot of college women named Jennifer.

It should have been obvious that the Baby Boom meant larger college classes down the road. I think most college administrators realized this around 1964, but it might have been later.

3) Certain predictions keep being made, and keep being wrong. "In a few years, everyone will have at least one flying car." "Once this law is passed, the problem will be solved forever." (If you want to write alternate history in which ground cars became obsolete in 1960, and Prohibition resulted in all Americans giving up alcohol, that's another matter.)

4) Check to make sure you know what's really happening now that will affect the future. By the late 1980s, it should have been obvious that the Soviet Union was in no shape to successfully invade the US.

5) Take account of moral panic cycles. Right now, nonconsenting sex is A Big Problem: in US colleges, in science fiction fandom, in religious organizations. Drunken driving is also seen as more of a problem than used to be the case. Such jokes as "If you drink, don't park. Accidents cause people" are no longer as acceptable as they once were.

Tobacco use has become much more restrictive. And there are no longer ads like "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet."

Conversely, marijuana has become acceptable enough to be legal in several US states; and various other countries (Portugal, for example) have decriminalized it.

And there are reciprocal cycles. In certain times, even clueless hard drug users realize that heroin is Bad News. Many turn to nice, safe cocaine. Later, such people realize that cocaine is Bad News and turn to nice, safe heroin. (Any resemblance to political cycles is left to your imagination.)

6) Eating habits will change. Once, most Americans had never tasted pizza. Pasties weren't always a Finnish-American dish in the Upper Midwest.
For a while after the Soviet Union fell, "USSR invades America" novels were still appearing in bookstores. I doubt they sold well. As for the ones almost ready for submission....

On the other hand, some Warsaw businesspeople used their new freedom to sell an exotic American delicacy -- bagels.

It pays to keep track of trends which might affect your product. A couple of suggested sources:
http://sciencedaily.com
http://politicalwire.com
reprinted from freelancersunion.org, Twin Cities After Hours Hive
Saturday May 17, 2014 Frost warning last night. Today I wore sandals.

I saw one college-age man who was shirtless. (But no shirtless women.)

***Comments of Comment:

Keith Lynch 5/17/14: "Charles ?@NONPROGRAMMABLE 10 Technologies You Will be Witnessing In The Near Future
http://zite.to/1nwB9ig"

10. Artificial Gills
Fish can only get by because they need much less oxygen than mammals.

Also, some water has very little oxygen. Especially water that's comfortably warm. Will this thing give some kind of low-oxygen warning? Does it have an air tank as a backup?

Speaking of air, breathing pure oxygen is dangerous, especially underwater where the pressure is higher. Does this thing also extract appropriate amounts of nitrogen from the water?

8. Sunscreen Pills
The idea of sunscreen is to stop the UV before it hits and damages your skin. How can anything inside you possibly do that?

7. Paper-Thin, Flexible Computers and Phones
Pads, sure, but how would you hold a paper-thin phone? If it's flexible, wouldn't it crumple up? And if it isn't flexible, wouldn't it cut you?

6. Tooth Regeneration
Better than implants only if it's cheaper than implants.

4. Real-Time Google Earth
including real-time Google Street View? :-)

What's the resolution of the thing? Unless it's impossibly high, how would you zoom in? Wouldn't you need a separate camera for each simultaneous user?

If it's to be mounted on ISS, as is suggested, what happens when ISS is deorbited? Last I heard, plans were to do so in about a decade. Possibly much sooner if the Russians take their marbles and go home, as they're threatening to.

3. Wireless Electricity
Tesla had that. Too bad it has such low efficiency, and that it jams the whole radio spectrum and screws with pacemakers, etc.

2. Ultra-High Speed Tube Trains
Maglev, at 4000 miles per hour? Pikers. Make it 18,000 miles per hour and they won't need maglev. You'd be in orbit at ground level.

If weightlessness tends to bother passengers, bring back the maglev and speed it up to 25,000 miles per hour. They'd experience 1G again. And could watch the scenery going by upside down.

Just don't let terrorists anywhere near the thing. If someone breaks the vacuum, the train will burn up like a meteor.

1. Sustainable Fusion Reactor
Thirty years away, just as it always has been.

"ProPublica A haunting #longreads about a heroine addict struggling to get clean:"

I'm not addicted to heroines. Nor to heroes. I can give those novels up anytime I want.

"Top 10 Baby Names for 2013 Source: Social Security Administration Boys Noah ..."

That's disturbing. Maybe I'd better get one of those artificial gills just in case.

Jette Goldie 5/17/14: I dunno what you guys have against those poor wee birdies. What did a Snipe ever do to you that you have to hunt it? ;-)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snipe

***From Twitter:

Dan Goodman ‏@dsgood: Hello. My name is Harry Potter. You killed my parents. Prepare to die. #MASHUP

Dan Goodman ‏@dsgood: Harry, I am your parents.

Science fiction ‏@Scienfiction: These Were The First Female Astronauts In Science Fiction - io9 http://dlvr.it/5hsmlY
Monday March 24, 2014 Started drafting a future. One I would find plausible long enough to set stories there.

Some of my assumptions: 1) There isn't going to be "the end of history" -- a time when society is properly organized and everyone is rational. There won't be an end to wars and other waste motion.

2) Cosmology and physics will not achieve The Final Theory That Explains Everything.

3) There will be unexpected social and technological changes. But things which are obviously going to change won't.

4) Spaceships are not going to be run just like sailing ships.

***From sciencedaily.com:

Electric 'thinking cap' controls learning speed
Date: March 23, 2014
Source: Vanderbilt University
Summary: Caffeine-fueled cram sessions are routine occurrences on any college campus. But what if there was a better, safer way to learn new or difficult material more quickly? What if "thinking caps" were real? Scientists have now shown that it is possible to selectively manipulate our ability to learn through the application of a mild electrical current to the brain, and that this effect can be enhanced or depressed depending on the direction of the current.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140323171904.htm
Thursday December 5, 2013 Cold!

Adult Children Anonymous meeting.

***From Twitter:

Hari Kunzru ‏@harikunzru
I remember the 'Hang #Mandela' young Conservative crowd at Oxford in 89. Now in govt. I know some have genuinely changed their minds 1/2
Retweeted by William Gibson

Hari Kunzru ‏@harikunzru
2/2 but I've never heard anyone say they're ashamed of being part of that. Tonight they're all on social media writing #Mandela homilies.
Retweeted by William Gibson

***Comments of comment:
don_fitch (don_fitch) 11/30: "'On the Net, someone asked: Given an Earthlike, mostly-rural colony
planet, what weapon would be used to hunt wild turkeys?

"'My response: Depends muchly on the level of technology.

"'And a warning against use of atomic grenades, which wouldn't leave the meat in condition to be cooked and eaten.'

"Ummm... yes, hunting turkey would probably depend largely on the level of technology... unless there were a Ritual element involved. Using net traps might well be considered best -- I remember all too well the 'watch out for the bird-shot' admonition regarding the turkey, duck, and pheasant at Thanksgiving Dinner up at Aunt Peggy & Uncle George's farm near Adrian, Michigan, in the '30s & '40s. Fortunately, it was a baby-tooth I cracked, but even so.... Mind you, the Domesticated Turkeys we have nowadays are a world away from the wild ones of my childhood, and I miss the duck, goose, pheasant, and venison. Hey, for that, you need A Big Family Gathering -- I settled, this year, for a package of turkey necks for stock, and a pair of thighs for meat."

Lady Sheherazahde Lachesis (sheherazahde) 12/03

"I love reading old futurist Sci-fi, it says so much about the culture it comes from. I have a very old copy of Bellamy's 'Looking Backward 2000-1887' and a matching copy of a story called 'Looking Forward: A Dream of the United States of the Americas in 1999' by Arthur Bird. They are two very different visions. I also have Mack Reynolds retelling of 'Looking Backward'.

"But even 'Erehwon' is an interesting exercise in social [commentary].

"Science fiction may take place in the future but but one is a fool to think it is about the future."

Some of it is intended to be.

The writer might be certain about what the future is going to be like. (I don't recall any story in this category which got the future right.)

Like historical novels intended to be about the pasts in which they're set, fiction in this category which is mostly present-oriented is at least a partial failure.

Or might intend to speculate on what might happen. Murray Leinster's 1946 story "A Logic Named Joe" is the most successful I can think of in this category. Leinster got the Internet a whole lot closer to right than anyone managed in the 1980s. (And closer than most in the 1990s.)

Some sf authors write about the way things have always been, and always will be. Oddly enough, their futures become outdated as quickly as anyone else's.

And some intend to write about the present.

But often, fiction set in the future is about the past rather than either future or present. This might be inadvertent: the author hasn't noticed changes which have already happened. The rock you listened to in the 1970s isn't the dominant popular music of the future -- or even the present! Italians aren't the latest immigrant group in New York City! California politics has changed in the last few decades!

Sometimes it's deliberate. Spaceships will not only be run like sailing ships; they will have sails.
Wednesday November 27, 2013 Thanksgiving Eve

On the Net, someone asked: Given an Earthlike, mostly-rural colony planet, what weapon would be used to hunt wild turkeys?

My response: Depends muchly on the level of technology.

And a warning against use of atomic grenades, which wouldn't leave the meat in condition to be cooked and eaten.

***Comments on "Wrong Futures: James Blish, 'Beep'"

Andre Guirard, 11/26: "Of course, for most people the point of science fiction isn't prediction -- it's story."

Dan Goodman @Andre Guirard, 11/27: Probably true. However, some people like accuracy; and if an sf writer makes inaccurate guesses about the future, that part of the readership can become annoyed -- years, decades, centuries, or millenia before the time in which the story is set.

I remember seeing new "USSR invades America" novels in bookstores for a while after the fall of the Soviet Union. I suspect their reprint value is relatively low.

Jordan 179 11/27: "You're assuming that the current Third World countries will _retain_ their independence. I would not take this for granted, given the high number of failed Third World states and the increasing danger this poses the Great Powers due to improved international communications. I will grant that the _Netherlands_ re-colonizing Indonesia is unlikely for various reasons, but I could easily see Indonesia winding up under the domination of Australia, or China."

I don't think Indonesia is among the most likely to be re-colonized. But one never knows.

"The popularity of smoking has historically waxed and waned. (If you don't believe me, note the original 17th century reaction to the first tobacco-smoking)"

Slight correction -- first outside the Americas.

As happens with various other drugs. Moral panic cycles: A behavior is considered something to joke about and otherwise taken lightly at certain points in the cycle. Then it becomes regarded as A Major Menace.

Apparently, cocaine and heroin have reciprocal cycles. Sometimes cocaine is seen as a relatively safe drug; and there are experts saying it's not really addictive, etc. Not like that horrible drug heroin. Then cocaine becomes The Big Menace -- and at least some druggies turn to nice, safe heroin.

Harry Turtledove's story "The King of All" is set in an alternate world where caffeine is the Big Bad Drug.

"The medical issue might be trivial by the end of the 21st century ('Oh darn, I have lung cancer. Gotta go down to the doctor for a shot to clear that up!').

"I agree with you on the unlikelihood of an extensive interstellar empire by the end of the 21st century. Too many critical energy and social thresholds to cross. In fact this prediction is unlikely even from a c. 1950 point of view.

"I certainly _hope_ that women continue to enjoy the equality with men that they do in the modern Western world, but there are already strong counter-trends, most notably from the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. As to whether or not _America_ still dominates the world of the late 21st century, that's up for grabs. Depending what happens over the ensuing decades, our global leadership might be greater, less or about the same as it is today. America is certainly the country most likely to become the Universal State of the West -- our main rival in that regard would currently be China.

"I don't think 'dumb-paper' newspapers will be that important centuries from now, but people may still want print-outs or other highly-portable displays on surfaces larger than pocket-sized. Though I suspect the information will be projected directly into their retinas, or even brains.

"We're all very lucky that the Soviet Union collapsed without a full-scale World War. It very pleasantly surprised _me_, when it happened. I think it surprised a _lot_ of people."
About the future of science fiction, I can make one surefire prediction. Writers will make wrong predictions. And the kinds of mistakes they'll make can be predicted by reading old sf stories.

James Blish's short story "Beep" was published in 1954. It begins centuries in the future, jumps back to 2089 or 2090, then returns to the far future.

Here is the late 21st century heroine: "Dana Lje -- her father had been a Hollander, her mother born in the Celebes...The conqueror Resident who had given the girl her entirely European name had been paid in kind, for his daughter's beauty had nothing fair and Dutch about it."

The Netherlands acknowledged Indonesia's independence in 1949. Dutch colonial officials were probably scarce for a while before that. In the last years of the 21st century, Dana is a bit old to be called a girl.

1949 was before 1954. The author missed social and political changes which had already happened.

Dana smokes incessantly, in other people's offices. Today's smoking restrictions weren't in place; but by 1954 there were medical studies which showed smoking caused lung cancer. Tighter rules on smoking could have easily been foreseen.

Technology, Blish overestimated and underestimated.

Overestimation: An extensive interstellar empire by the end of our century is unlikely. In the implausible future we inhabit, even Mars hasn't been settled yet.

By the way, Earth and its empire are run almost entirely by American men. The only female government employee shown is a secretary.

Underestimation: When the viewpoint character of several hundred years later is introduced, he's hiding behind a newspaper. A printed newspaper.

Print newspapers have gotten thinner, and include pointers to material only available on the Web. I do not expect them to be common centuries from now.

"Jo hailed a hopper." The hopper is apparently a flying taxi. Its driver -- male, of course -- is a hoppy.

Self-driving cars are becoming practical now. I expect human-piloted cabs to be very scarce in the far future.

Would readers have found anything implausible about this future? Perhaps the absence of the Red Menace. It was obvious to the meanest intelligence that the Soviet Union would still be strong at the end of the 21st century.
Deep-fried Sashimi 10/05/13 Dan Goodman, 1720 Como Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414. dsgood at iphouse.com or at gmail.com. 612-298-2354

Saturday October 5, 2013 It’s clear that Bryce was conceived in Dallas. But Jocelyn and Paige were conceived in New York City (in the borough of Manhattan). However, neither of those place names seemed to work as baby names, so Ron and Cheryl [Howard] went with the name of the swanky hotel where the twins were conceived: The Carlyle. Using that logic, Reed’s middle name should have been Volvo, but that car brand didn’t work as a baby name either, so the Howards went with the name of the quiet street on which the Volvo was parked in Greenwich, Connecticut: Cross Street. (If you’ve never heard of that "celebrity lovers’ lane" before, you’re not alone.)
http://babynamesinthenews.com/2013/09/19/names-that-reflect-where-the-baby-was-conceived/

Via tweet from Bruce Lansky.

Note: Subscribing to baby name Twitter accounts got me suggestions of pregnancy and baby supplies accounts.

***From Twitter:
wwwtxt (1988–94) ‏@wwwtxt
If the Apple II ever dies, I'd be really surprised. Nearly one out of every ten Apple computers in the world is a IIgs. 89MAR

Future Crimes ‏@FutureCrimes
“@mbgrinberg: Predictive Policing: The Role of Crime Forecasting in LE Operations http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR233.html#.UlBNJiCTBVM.twitter … via @RANDCorporation
Prediction 1: Three months from now, the weather will be exactly the same as it is today -- all over the world.

Prediction 2: Twenty years from now, human society will be exactly the same as it is today. Take the United States, for example. Americans will have the same political beliefs, consider the same matters most important, have the same sexual mores, listen to the same kinds of music (if not the exact same music you like now.)

The first prediction is more likely to be accurate.

Two hundred years from now: The United States will probably remain the most powerful country in North America. It's unlikely to still be the world's most powerful country. (I do think it's likely the US won't be among the weakest nations. The country which exported frankfurters to Frankfurt, hamburgers to Hamburg, and bagels to Warsaw is adaptable.)

If the current major parties survive, they'll be very different from what they now are.

Any music which survives from our time will almost certainly be played rather differently than it is now.

Two thousand years from now: English, like every other living language, will be changed enough so if you were brought forward into that time you'd need to relearn it. Any cities which remain from our time will be much changed.
My Neighborhood, 50 Years On

At last census, fiftytwo percent of SE Como's residents were college age. The local big institution is the University of Minnesota.

If distance learning really takes off, that percentage will drop drastically. Which would mean changes in local stores, bars, coffee houses, and restaurants.

Also much less change at the end of semesters, fewer beer cans among the litter, etc.

More certain changes? Signs saying "Free Wi-Fi" will be as quaint as motel signs advertising television are now.

There will be less paper litter. And unwanted telephone directories will be very, very rare.

The ethnic composition will change. There might be significant numbers of North Korean immigrants, for example.
Question for members of organized religions: In a future year, there are one thousand of your co-religionists on Mars. How would they be organized?
The music of the future will be either 1970s rock or 1930s/1940s Tin Pan Alley.

The Soviet Union will last for centuries.

No major buildings will be constructed or demolished in Manhattan over the next thousand years.

There will be human cities on Mars by 1970.

Tobacco will never cause health problems -- at least, for humans.

Computers will always use vacuum tubes.

The first Black US President will not originally be elected to that office. He (or she) will have been in the line of succession.
What do you expect your country's politics to be like in 50 years?
In 200 years?
Friday July 5, 2013. Realized that my synesthesias include feeling "auras." Not for everyone. And the perceptions aren't always reliable -- some people I feel as asexual are sexual addicts, and others are sanely enthusiastic about sex. ["Auras" in quotes because I'm a non-mystic.]

***Comment I made in the Speculative Writers Community on Google+:
For the nearish future in the US, there will be mostly names common now; mixed with new names, revived old names, and who-knows. Some common names might become unpopular -- like Adolf. Some names now male will become female, as happened to Beverly and Shirley.

Later, the mix will change. A thousand years from now, the mix will be noticeably different. Five thousand years, really different.

For information on names, I recommend:
The American Name Society http://www.wtsn.binghamton.edu/ans/
The Jewish Genealogical Society http://www.jewishgen.org

***From Google News:
"Wall Street Journal
Poll: Parents Still Don't Want Children Going Into Politics

"Don't send my boy to Congress,"
The weeping mother said.
"Don't make him run for office,
"I'd rather see him dead."

***Paul Krugman - New York Times Blog
July 5, 2013,
Crib Sheet: How I Work (Self-indulgent)

Charlie Stross — who is, sad to say, my favorite living science-fiction author now that Iain Banks has died — has been writing a series of “crib sheets” on his blog: explanations of how his various novels came to be written. (Have I mentioned that Neptune’s Brood — which is, among other things, about interstellar monetary economics — is one of his best yet?) I, at least, find this kind of thing fascinating....
http://preview.tinyurl.com/m8qrmta

***From Twitter:
Mark Ames ‏@MarkAmesExiled
Speaking of secrecy, I'd forgotten that Assange made WikiLeaks members sign non-disclosure secrecy contract http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/12/wikileaks-confidentiality-agreement-julian-assange
Retweeted by Matt Novak

***In my ISP's spam bucket: "Popular Cell Phones" <info@crookfridays.biz>
Friday May 31, 2013 YOUR URGENT RESPONDS IS HIGHLY NEEDED,IF YOU ARE STILL LIVING.

I was tempted to reply that I'm a zombie.

***foreignaffairs.com

Essay - May/June 2013
Africa's Economic Boom
Shantayanan Devarajan and Wolfgang Fengler

Sub-Saharan Africa's GDP has grown five percent a year since 2000 and is expected to grow even faster in the future. Although pessimists are quick to point out that this growth has followed increases in commodities prices, the success of recent political reforms and the increased openness of African societies give the region a good chance of sustaining its boom for years to come. http://tinyurl.com/kdgxvnp

Snapshot
Africa's Accidental Advancement
Morten Jerven

The GDPs of many African countries appear to be soaring, which is partly a statistical fluke due to recent corrections of decades of bad data. African countries now face the challenge of rewriting their poorly recorded economic histories and adopting up-to-date statistical measures that will capture the continent's future growth. http://tinyurl.com/l378l4w
Tuesday May 21, 2013 From Twitter: Peace Corps ‏@PeaceCorps
Proud to announce we'll begin accepting Volunteer apps from same-sex domestic partners who want to serve together http://1.usa.gov/16McG2M
Retweeted by rivenhomewood

***From Twitter: Media Matters ‏@mmfa
NRA lists the 'coolest gun movies': http://bit.ly/10SdID9 Flashback: NRA blames mass shootings on movies http://mm4a.org/UkYROn
Retweeted by Dan Savage

***Shopping: The Wedge Coop. Steeple People Thrift Store, where I found a couple of things I needed.

On to the Dollar Store on Franklin Avenue, and the nearby Aldi grocery.

***"DARE [Dictionary of American Regional English] has received a grant from NEH to do a pilot study in Wisconsin to
test a new Questionnaire and a new methodology for a second round of nationwide fieldwork.

"This time we won't be using Word Wagons--instead, the survey will be conducted online. We are working with the University of Wisconsin Survey Center to develop the method, and we will include a recorded telephone interview to collect phonological data for comparison with the original DARE recordings.

"We plan to omit questions for practices that are now obsolete (farming with oxen, kinds of sleigh, etc) and add questions that reflect changes in our society over the last 50 years."

And what questions will they be asking 50 years from now?
Tuesday May 14, 2013. Four days ago: sleet in the morning. Today: Over 90 degrees F.

***Read: Ken MacLeod, The Human Front. Alternate history, beginning in 1963 with the news of Stalin's death.

Very good use of the author's childhood memories (adapted for the story, of course.)

In my opinion, the protagonist's political beliefs are junk magic. But they're close to MacLeod's own views, which can be a great advantage in writing a character.

Note: The point of divergence is something which never actually happened, happening differently than the conspiracy theories say it did. This might offend purists.

Skimmed: Victoria Blake (ed.), Cyberpunk: stories of hardware, software, wetware, revolution and evolution. I was struck by how old-fashioned these stories seemed, including the recent ones.

***"Your Membership Has Been APPROVED
dsgood@iphouse.com

"The nations largest professional women's network has selected you to join their private group.

"Women who join, have secured their financial futures by gaining access to powerful resources & benefits very few American women have."

***Comment I made on Facebook: If we're living in the future, where are the flying cars which were supposed to completely replace groundcars right after WW II? We were supposed to have cities well-established on Mars by 1970! Where are the British and Soviet interstellar empires?
Saturday May 4, 2013

Ye knowe eek that in forme of speche is chaunge
With-inne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho
That hadden prys, now wonder nyce and straunge
Us thinketh hem, and yet thei spake hem so,
And spedde as wel in love as men now do
(Chaucer, circa 1385)

On the American Dialect Society mailing list, I had asked:

I'm looking for writings on the future of the English language. I own _Predicting New Words_.

Presumably, there's other material more recent than L. Sprague De Camp's 1938 essay "Language for Time Travelers."

And more useful than "The Internet/crystal radio/texting/___ is destroying our language!"

In response, Neal Whitman recommended http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/jbr/futurese.html

http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/jbr has much more of linguistic and/or science-fictional interest. Recommended for anyone writing sf. (Probably also good for game designers; but I don't know enough about that process to say.)

For the near future, I recommend: Allan Metcalf, _Predicting New Words: the secrets of their success_; Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

***From Twitter:
Ray Radlein ‏@Radlein 3m
RT @davewiner: RT @morningmoneyben: I hate how the media just covers the Derby as a horse race and ignores the substantive issues.
Ask me for a prediction; ten years or more in the future.
"Have you heard about Vatican III? The bishops are bringing their wives."

"Have you heard about Vatican IV? The bishops are bringing their husbands."

It's a joke, of course. But I consider it likely that Vatican III will make surprising changes. And, following the precedents of Vaticans I and II, result in at least one schism.

What changes? It's become easier for Anglicans in the UK and US to become Catholics; and they get to keep some of the Anglican liturgy. It probably won't take Vatican III to extend this to Anglicans elsewhere.

But perhaps Vatican III will see something of this kind for other branches of Protestantism. (Within limits; I don't expect there to be a Quaker Rite.)

The role(s) of women will probably be enchanced, though I don't expect women to be admitted to priesthood.

When will Vatican III take place? I would expect it some time in the second half of this century.
[Link]
Culturomics 2.0: Forecasting large-scale human behavior using global news media tone in time and spa
http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3663/3040 (via shareaholic)
Culturomics 2.0' forecasts human behavior by supercomputing global news

CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS, September 6 – A paper published yesterday in the peer-reviewed journal First Monday combines advanced supercomputing with a quarter-century of worldwide news to forecast and visualize human behavior, from civil unrest to the movement of individuals. The paper, titled "Culturomics 2.0: Forecasting Large-Scale Human Behavior Using Global News Media Tone in Time and Space," uses the tone and location of news coverage from across the world to forecast country stability (including retroactively predicting the recent Arab Spring), estimate Osama Bin Laden's final location as a 200-kilometer radius around Abbottabad, and uncover the six world civilizations of the global news media. The research also demonstrates that the news is indeed becoming more negative and even visualizes global human societal conflict and cooperation over the last quarter century.