Alternet recently did a clever thing—they revisited a bunch of predictions made by science fiction writers back in 1987 as to what the world would look like in 2012. So, are science fiction writers any better than anyone else at predicting the future? Maybe, although some, like William Gibson, have given up entirely. Gibson believes the pace of change is too great to be able to accurately predict much of anything.
He’s got a point. When you think about it, the vast majority of sf these days—good and bad—is space opera stuff, or stuff that takes place after some great event—most dystopian SF is of this sort—or fantasy, although anyone following this field knows it’s become pretty broad. But SF about the next 20-30 years, where the writer specifically sets out to deal with some current trend in terms of its near term implications, is actually, if not hard to find, then at least less popular than other genres. Continue reading →
Earlier this year, as the Man of the People® Tour rolled around the nation in search of new constituencies to offend, it became apparent that presumptive GOP nominee Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney is the sort of man who sometimes doesn’t think things through all the way. Which is bad for him, but fun for the political theater fans amongst us. Chevy Chase probably has his agent on the phone with Lorne Michaels right now. After what Chase did to the Gerald Ford campaign, it boggles the mind imagining what he’d do with Mitt.
- Achieving nuclear disarmament protest requires more than the baby steps that arms control advocates seem content to take today.
As Focal Points readers no doubt have heard, on July 29, three peace activists, representing a modern-day version of the original Plowshares peace group founded by the Berrigan brothers, penetrated the highest-security area of the Y-12 nuclear weapons facility for uranium storage and nuclear modernization in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The New York Times reported:
Inside the complex, the three graying pacifists painted “Woe to the empire of blood” and “the fruit of justice is peace” on the exterior of Y-12’s Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility, and splashed what they said was human blood.
… But despite what appears to have been a slow crawl through the defenses (the three had bolt cutters, hammers, flashlights and cans of spray paint, and went under the fences), they did not draw a prompt response. Continue reading →
In part one, I offered an overview of why I think the time has come to partition America – shake hands, go our separate ways, and let two (at least) groups of people follow their own paths according to their very different values. Today I want to briefly tackle the hard part and present some initial thoughts on key details – where the lines are drawn, how the divorce might be effected, etc. By no means do I regard this post as being definitive. The issues are complex and, like many divorces, the process of separating is likely to incite as much in the way of negative passion as the end stages of the marriage itself did. At best, perhaps I can provide a framework for discussion and begin a productive conversation that leads us all to a better understanding of what we’re facing.
First: The partition should comprise a five-year, free-passage transition.Continue reading →