“Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” – Physicist and mathematician Lord Kelvin – President of the British Royal Society, 1895.
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899.
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” IBM’s Thomas Watson, 1943.
“Landing and moving around on the moon offer so many serious problems for human beings that it may take science another 200 years to lick them.” – Science Digest, August 1948
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olsen, Digital Equipment Corp, 1977.
Can I just say how much I love science fiction and have done for a very long time? These quotes are applicable in so many situations and no more so than here. I’m not terribly old and I’ve seen most of these quotes proven wrong. Each quote has been predicated in science fiction long before they actually came to fruition.
Let’s take the first quote about flying machines not being possible dated from 1895. This one’s a bit challenging and I haven’t been able to find a reference in science fiction to flight earlier than Around The World In 80 Days by Jules Verne which was published in 1873 whereas the first hot air balloon flight has been logged as 1783, in Paris, France made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes in a hot air balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers. Now, hot air balloons are not generally considered to be a flying machine. Here is where I ask my readers to help me with this problem. I know HG Wells in considered to be the father of science fiction and Jules Verne was also a pioneer of the genre, but I’d like to know if there is anyone else who wrote before this. Post your comment here for the next 14 days or after that email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inventions. It’s going to be so hard to specify a book or short story as there are so many. You could look at Isaac Asimov’s Robots series where he had robots who could move or think independently and looked very much like humans. In 2008 I went to see ASIMO, a robot who looks incredibly much like humans and is able to walk, run, climb stairs and interact with people – not independently as yet, but it’s coming. Then’s there’s TOPIO who can play table tennis against a human unveiled in 2005. Well, this is long after the short story Robot AL-76 Goes Astray published in Isaac Asimov in 1941.
Murray Leinster’s 1946 short story “A Logic Named Joe” contains one of the first descriptions of a computer (called a “logic”) in fiction. In the story, Leinster was decades ahead of his time in imagining the Internet. He envisioned logics in every home, linked through a distributed system of servers (called “tanks”), to provide communications, entertainment, data access, and commerce; one character says that “logics are civilization.”
I love the quotes by Thomas Watson and Ken Olsen. While I haven’t found the names of stories or books to predicate these they’re just so wrong and out-of-touch with the way things have gone it’s beyond funny. Yes, there are homes where computers aren’t almost built-in and I have many friends still without them but so many of us have more than one. If you read the Tom Clancy series of Net Force Explorers they have computers in their homes, chips in their heads so they can tune into these computers just by sitting in the right chair, and they also have mobile phones attached to their wrists. I seriously love the ideas contained within this series, don’t wait to have a young adult available to read them with just read them now.
I won’t bore you with any more details whether I have them or not as I think this is long enough already.
I admit to being embarrassed to blog at the moment. I’m in the process of creating a new blog and hoping to implement a lot of the changes I picked up at the Problogger event last week. Until then I’m going to take a break from blogging.
I’m sure you want to be kept up-to-date on all of this with the new url to ensure you’re the first people to see the new blog please click on the link below and follow the instructions.
I happened to pick up a couple of New Idea from 1977 for a Twitter friend, Jen as I know she’s collecting them and I won’t tell you what she does with them, maybe she’ll explain on her own blog or write me another article about the issue. I happened to glance inside and noticed many differences to the current New Idea so I had a squiz at a new one as well and collated the results.
The current is one actually from last year but it’s current enough. The first thing I noticed is that it’s all in colour while the one from 1977 is mostly in black and white with a few ads in colours, I bet those colour ads cost the earth. In 2009 there were nine articles about famous people and each one was fairly lengthy, going into great detail about what they do, why they’re famous and why they’re in this issue while 1977 only had three articles and some of the articles were about multiple people. Each one only had one article on ordinary people and Mere Male was prevalent in both. Four pages of mindgames in 2009 with none in 1977, four pages of recipes in 2009 and only three in 1977, one page of letters in each issue. Two beauty article in 2009 and only one in 1977. 2009 there were two articles about animals and seven miscellaneous articles while in 1977 there was one article about plants, two craft articles, one about medical issues, one fiction story and an eight page liftout about baby care.
I noticed 1977 has a lot more variety and their word count looks to be higher per article than 2009. They have few pictures and lots of words while 2009 has a large picture with most articles. The articles are also far more people friendly and less sensationalist. In 1977 there was an article about a Federal Minister’s wife balancing her budget which was fairly quiet in tone and very much in the times of a woman being in the home looking after the family while 2009 has an article on a family which has 11 kids under the age of seven, it does mention the size of their shopping list, it’s also very much in today’s language I wouldn’t say the language is sensationalist but it isn’t as laid back as the one from 1977.
It’s very interesting to sit down and read the articles about the famous people. Today’s magazines tend to be a little sensationalist and tend to not put in as much detail as they have so many photos.
It’d be very interesting to have an expert take a magazine or two from each decade and make a proper study of them to see how much things have change. I do think some of the articles from 1977 were much better than today.
In some circles I’m known as The Boots Lady, those who know me will be quite puzzled about this as I’m not known for my clothes sense, in fact I’m known far more for wanting to shave my hair off than for my clothes sense. I just don’t have much interest in the way clothes look, function is a different matter but fashion and me are not good bedfellows.
So, “How come you’re known as The Boots Lady I hear you ask”. What a good question and I’m so glad you asked that one.
I was in the middle of a business conference and we were doing a workshop on writing our FAQs. We had to take a piece of paper, write as few words as possible about our business and pass it on to the next person who then had to write three questions and pass it on to the next person who then had to write three more questions and so on until we were told to hand them back to the original person. We then had to look at our papers and were asked what we’d found out. My voice rang out “I need to do something about my writing”. That got a nice laugh and when I explained the poor lady who’d misread my writing was mortified. I’d written “I sell books online” and my writing was so bad it looked like boots so she’d asked me questions about selling boots.
There you go, most people know me as The Books Lady, but some people know me as The Boots Lady. I’m sure there’s a moral in that story but there’s a reason I learnt to type. In some places I’m known as The Badge Lady, but that’s another story entirely and will need photos.
Speaking of typing, I know I wasn’t really but I am now. I managed to secure myself a seat Tuesday this week in a fabulous training session run by the ever-lovely Darren Rowse. When he sent out the initial query asking if there was interest he was looking at a 20 person training session and ended up with upwards of 100 people. I now need to wear reading glasses when working on the computer or reading a book…or writing…so I took my laptop as it’s a real pain to look at the presentation with one pair of glasses then have to change to write something down and I generally only get a fraction of what I need. I was lucky enough to sit in the back row right near the powerpoint so I was able to type the whole day. I certainly typed…a lot, I’ve got a 26 page Word document which is fairly closely spaced. I sent these notes to Darren last night and we’ll see what happens.
I went to this session so I could learn how to make my blog work better, look better and give me more confidence about the whole process. I was already in the process of designing a new blog layout with a new url linked to my website and this session given me all the information I need to design the right blog. It won’t happen for a few weeks as I’m not really html savvy, I just know enough to be dangerous, but it will happen and I’ll announce it here first and give you all the url before I do the final switchover. Stay tuned to this Bat Channel for more information.
Born in Nantes, Western France in 1828. Jules Verne was an author extraordinaire. Along with H. G. Wells he was considered the founding father of science fiction despite neither of them actually attempting to claim that title. Some people claim Hugo Gernsback and Edgar Allan Poe should share that same title. This cartoon stands, or rather, swims for itself.
I know this has nothing to do with books but I unearthed it on the weekend and felt it’d be perfect to share with you.
The notes down the bottom read:
1. This is a special calendar which has been developed for handling rush jobs.
All rush jobs are wanted yesterday. With this calendar a client can order his work on the 7th and have it delivered on the 3rd.
2. Everyone wants his job on Friday, so there are three Fridays in every week.
3. There are eight new days at the end of the month for those end-of-the-month jobs.
4. There is no first of the month – so there can’t be late delivery of end-of-the-month jobs on the 1st.
5. A “Blue Monday” or “Monday morning hangover” can’t happen, as all Mondays have been eliminated.
6. There are no bothersome non-productive Saturdays and Sundays.
7. With no 15th, 30, or 31st, no “time-off” is necessary for cashing salary cheques or paying bills.
8. “MIR DAY” – A special day each week for performing miracles.
Life at G. J. Coles
The buzzer rings, the panic starts,
Grab cash in bags and go
Throw the money in the till
Get ready for the show
The streaming population
Start crowding through the door
When you’re in the middle of
Mopping up the floor
You ring your little bell all day.
You’re on the floor Men’s Back,
You dare to make a sally.
And then you get the sack.
Joanie Rose, so sweet and kind,
Saturday is her day,
Purdew let’s them in at 12,
Then Joanie has her say.
Her voice is heard for miles around
“Serve the B’s yourself”
And things begin to rattle
Even on the highest shelf
Poor old Cooney works so hard,
Each day he travels miles
His wages can’t be chicken feed,
He must be making “piles”!
Our storeman, Ian, happy chap
He rants and raves all day,
We really need a referee,
To settle every fray.
Gillie’s not a bad old stick,
He has a nifty car,
He loves to pass me on the tram
One day, he’ll go too far.
The lean and lanky lad
With rooster strut and air,
Reacts to our tinkling little bells
With a rather vacant stare
With many thanks to my friend, Peggy, who has shared another poem with me. She wrote this one in Camberwell in 1951 when she worked for G. J. Coles, now called Coles Myer.
It’s been coming up a lot lately for me and I’m really annoyed by the whole idea. They’ve taken childhood classics and revised them to bring them into the modern world. They’ve done this with Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and The Three Investigators and are about to do the same with the Famous Five books.
With the Famous Five books they’re taking out all the old phrases such as, ‘mercy me’ and ‘awful’ swotter’. You can see the article Lashings of editing jolly bad for Blyton books and get more details for yourselves. I don’t understand why everything has to be revised and dumbed down. I think it would be better for the child’s understanding of the world to have them exposed to as much as possible and then explain to them what it used to mean and then relate it to a phrase in today’s language rather than just changing the book. I know they want more money and if they can publish another series of books then that equates to a lot of sales, but my personal belief is that it’s better to publish them as they were. I wouldn’t mind if they proofread them properly and edited out the few typos that are there, though.
The Bible is the world’s most read book. I’m sure therefore it is the world’s most discussed book (that is discussed not disgusted, although if a book could speak it might tell us it was disgusted but that’s another story). Squid Ink seems to have the water and the fish, but is missing the loaves. Does it matter if Squid Ink is missing the loaves, does Squid Ink eat bread? I will have to ask the artist.