Theo Jansen: The art of creating creatures

Dutch artist Theo Jansen demonstrates his amazingly lifelike kinetic sculptures, built from plastic tubes and lemonade bottles. His "Strandbeests" (Beach Creatures) are built to move and even survive on their own.

Google platform

Google platform
From Wikipedia

Google's first production server, circa 1999Google requires large computational resources in order to provide their service. This article describes the technological infrastructure behind Google's websites, as presented in the company's public announcements.

Network topology
Though the numbers are not known, some people estimate that Google maintains over 450,000 servers, arranged in racks located in clusters in cities around the world, with major centers in Mountain View, California; Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; Dublin, Ireland; and new facilities constructed in The Dalles, Oregon.[1] and Saint-Ghislain, Belgium [2]. In 2009 Google is planning one of its first sites in the upper midwest to open in Council Bluffs, Iowa close to abundant wind power resources for fulfilling green energy objectives and proximate to fiber optic communications links [3].
When an attempt to connect to Google is made, Google's DNS servers perform load balancing to allow the user to access Google's content most rapidly. This is done by sending the user the IP address of a cluster that is not under heavy load, and is geographically proximate to them. Each cluster has thousands of servers, and upon connection to a cluster further load balancing is performed by hardware in the cluster, in order to send the queries to the least loaded Web Server. This makes Google one of the biggest and most complex known Content Delivery Networks.
Racks are custom-made and contain 40 to 80 servers (20 to 40 1U servers on either side), while new servers are 2U Rackmount systems.[4] Each rack has a switch. Servers are connected via a 100 Mbit/s Ethernet link to the local switch. Switches are connected to core gigabit switch using one or two gigabit uplinks.[citation needed]

Main index
Since queries are composed of words, an inverted index of documents is required. Such an index allows obtaining a list of documents by a query word. The index is very large due to the number of documents stored in the servers.

Server types
Google's server infrastructure is divided in several types, each assigned to a different purpose:[4]

Google DNS Servers answer the DNS requests and serve as intelligent, worldwide load-balancers. They guess the data center nearest to the user to speed up all HTTP requests.
Google Web Servers coordinate the execution of queries sent by users, then format the result into an HTML page. The execution consists of sending queries to index servers, merging the results, computing their rank, retrieving a summary for each hit (using the document server), asking for suggestions from the spelling servers, and finally getting a list of advertisements from the ad server.
Data-gathering servers are permanently dedicated to spidering the Web. They update the index and document databases and apply Google's algorithms to assign ranks to pages.
Index servers each contain a set of index shards. They return a list of document IDs ("docid"), such that documents corresponding to a certain docid contain the query word. These servers need less disk space, but suffer the greatest CPU workload.
Document servers store documents. Each document is stored on dozens of document servers. When performing a search, a document server returns a summary for the document based on query words. They can also fetch the complete document when asked. These servers need more disk space.
Ad servers manage advertisements offered by services like AdWords and AdSense.
Spelling servers make suggestions about the spelling of queries.

Server hardware and software

Original hardware
The original hardware (ca. 1998) that was used by Google when it was located at Stanford University, included:[5]

Sun Ultra II with dual 200MHz processors, and 256MB of RAM. This was the main machine for the original Backrub system.
2 x 300 MHz Dual Pentium II Servers donated by Intel, they included 512MB of RAM and 9 x 9GB hard drives between the two. It was on these that the main search ran.
F50 IBM RS/6000 donated by IBM, included 4 processors, 512MB of memory and 8 x 9GB hard drives.
Two additional boxes included 3 x 9GB hard drives and 6 x 4GB hard drives respectively (the original storage for Backrub). These were attached to the Sun Ultra II.
IBM disk expansion box with another 8 x 9GB hard drives donated by IBM.
Homemade disk box which contained 10 x 9GB SCSI hard drives.

Current hardware
Servers are commodity-class x86 PCs running customized versions of Linux. Indeed, the goal is to purchase CPU generations that offer the best performance per unit of power, not absolute performance. Estimates of the power required for over 450,000 servers range upwards of 20 megawatts, which could cost on the order of US$2 million per month in electricity charges.

Over 450,000 servers[1] ranging from a 533 MHz Intel Celeron to a dual 1.4 GHz Intel Pentium III (as of 2005)
One or more 80GB hard disks per server (2003)
2–4 GiB of memory per machine (2004)
The exact size and whereabouts of the data centers Google uses are unknown, and official figures remain intentionally vague. In a 2000 estimate, Google's server farm consisted of 6000 processors, 12,000 common IDE disks (2 per machine, and one processor per machine), at four sites: two in Silicon Valley, California and two in Virginia.[6] Each site had an OC-48 (2488 Mbit/s) internet connection and an OC-12 (622 Mbit/s) connection to other Google sites. The connections are eventually routed down to 4 x 1 Gbit/s lines connecting up to 64 racks, each rack holding 80 machines and two ethernet switches.

Project 02
Main article: Project 02
Google is currently developing a supercomputer at a data center located in the town of The Dalles, Oregon, on the Columbia River, approximately 80 miles from Portland. The project, codenamed "Project 02",[7] is expected to substantially add to their current global network capable of processing billions of search queries per day and a growing repertoire of other services.[7] The new complex is approximately the size of two football fields with cooling towers four stories high.

Google Server Farm in Oregon

A view of both buildings on the construction site of Google's giant server facility in The Dalles, Ore., on June 28.

Google - How It Works

To provide sufficient service capacity, Google’s physical structure consists of clusters of computers situated around the world known as server farms. These server farms consist of a large number of commodity level computers running Linux based systems that operate with GFS, or the Google file system, with the largest of these farms have over 1000 storage nodes and over 300 TB of disk storage (Ghemawat, S., Gobioff, H., and Leung, S. T., 2003, pp 2).
It has been speculated that Google has the world’s largest computer. The estimate states Google as having up to:
• 899 racks
• 79,112 machines
• 158,224 CPUs
• 316,448 Ghz of processing power
• 158,224 Gb of RAM
• 6,180 Tb of Hard Drive space

How Google Handles Search Queries
When a user enters a query into the search box at, it is randomly sent to one of many Google clusters. The query will then be handled solely by that cluster. A load balancer that is monitoring the cluster then spreads the request out over the servers in the cluster to make sure the load on the hardware is even. The actual search takes place in 2 phases (Barroso, L. A., Dean, J., Hölzle, U., 2003, pp23).
In the first phase the words in the query are checked against a list in index servers that contain the details of matching documents. The PageRank system is employed in which a relevant set of documents are then identified by cross referencing the words, which will determine the score for each document, that in turn affects the position of the document on the results page (Barroso, L. A., Dean, J., Hölzle, U., 2003, pp23).
The results from the index servers are then sent to document servers in the form of document identifiers, or docids (Barroso, L. A., Dean, J., Hölzle, U., 2003, pp23). Residing in the document servers is a copy of the World Wide Web, from which the summary of the web page’s contents are then retrieved from the servers. The result is then processed and returned as a HTML document that can be displayed on the user’s browser as a webpage.

The PageRank System
PageRank, named after Larry Page, who came up with it, is one of the ways in which Google determines the importance of a page, which in turn decides where the page will turn up in the results list.
The exact PageRank algorithm as extracted from “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine� (Brin, S., Page, L., 2000) is as such:
We assume page A has pages T1...Tn which point to it (i.e., are citations). The parameter d is a damping factor which can be set between 0 and 1. We usually set d to 0.85. There are more details about d in the next section. Also C(A) is defined as the number of links going out of page A. The PageRank of a page A is given as follows

PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + ... + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))

Note that the PageRanks form a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all web pages' PageRanks will be one.

PageRank actually works on an “intuitive system�, which works as a model of a web surfer’s behaviour. It works on the probability that a web page will be randomly accessed by a web surfer. It also takes into consideration the pages that link to the page. Using Yahoo as an example, the justification of this is that if a page like Yahoo were to link directly to another page, it is very likely that the page is of high quality (Brin, S., Page, L., 2000).

The Googlebot
Google’s servers are populated by Google’s web crawler the Googlebot, which moves from site to site on the internet, downloading copies of web pages and saves them in the Google index (also known as the cache) for future reference (Google Guide, 2003).
The Googlebot itself resides on many computers that simultaneously access thousands of web pages. It emulates a browser, so most webmasters will find that when it visits, it leaves a mark in the “browser� section of the web site’s log rather than the “spider� section that most web crawlers register as (Sullivan, R., 2004).
There are 2 methods that the Googlebot uses to find a web page, either it reaches the webpage after “crawling� through links, or it goes the page after it has been submitted by the webmaster (Google Guide, 2003). By submitting the base link, for example,, the Googlebot will go through all links in the index page and every subsequent page, until the entire site has been indexed.

Google File System
The Google file system is a propriety file management system developed by Sanjay Ghemawat, Shun-Tak Leung and Urs Holzle for Google as a means to handle the massive number of requests over a large number of server clusters.
The system was designed like most other distributed files systems for maximum performance, to handle the large number of users, scalability, to be able to handle inevitable expansions, reliability, to ensure maximum uptime and availability, to ensure computers are available to handle queries (Ghemawat, S., Gobioff, H., and Leung, S. T., 2003).
Because of Google’s decision to use a large number of commodity level computers instead of a smaller number of server type systems, the Google File System had to be designed to handle system failures, which resulted in it being designed to effect constant monitoring, of systems, error detection, fault tolerance and automatic recovery (Ghemawat, S., Gobioff, H., and Leung, S. T., 2003). That meant that clusters would have to hold multiple replicas of the information created by Google’s web crawlers. This is especially relevant with Google’s newly implemented GMail, where user’s personal email must be backed up to prevent loss of information.
Because of the size of the Google database, the system had to be designed to handle huge multi-gigabyte sized files totalling many terabytes in size. It was designed as such due to the fact that storing files in kilobytes would mean having billions of files, which would prove unwieldy to manage (Ghemawat, S., Gobioff, H., and Leung, S. T., 2003). Another method employed to handle huge file sizes is that changes (also known as mutations) are appended rather than having files overwritten, which minimizes file access times.

GS being a proprietary system means that software applications can be custom built around it (Ghemawat, S., Gobioff, H., and Leung, S. T., 2003), ensuring that Google has maximum control over the system, at the same time allowing the system to stay flexible.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page: Inside the Google machine TED | Talks

"Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin offer a peek inside the Google machine, sharing tidbits about international search patterns and the philanthropic Google Foundation project (which soon became They talk about how their shared Montessori background led to the company's '20 Percent Time' policy, which is directly responsible for success stories such as Google News and AdSense. Google's dedication to innovative thinking and employee happiness is behind everything from the offices' specially soundproofed projectors (which make it much easier to follow what's being said in meetings) to the company's thematically rotating logo. "

The World According To Google

A short documentary from the BBC Money Programme about Google.

Google Documentary

Google Documentary
46 min 57 sec - Jul 19, 2006
A look inside Google, The Machine

Google Factory Tour

Google Factory Tour
5 hr 39 min 41 sec - May 19, 2005
Google Factory Tour event on 5/19/05 at Google's Mountain View headquarters.

"The Google Story" - David Vise

"The Google Story" - David Vise speaks at Google
55 min 33 sec - Mar 20, 2006
Not since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press more than 500 years ago, making books and scientific tomes affordable and widely ... all » available to the masses, has any new invention empowered individuals or transformed access to information as profoundly as Google. I first became aware of this while covering Google as a beat reporter for The Washington Post. What galvanized my deep interest in the company was its unconventional initial public offering in August 2004 when the firm thumbed its nose at Wall Street by doing the first and only multi-billion dollar IPO using computers, rather than Wall Street bankers, to allocate its hot shares of stock.

A few months later, in the fall of 2004, I decided to write the first biography of Google, tracing its short history from the time founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page met at Stanford in 1995 until the present. In my view, this is the hottest business, media and technology success of our time, with a stock market value of $110 billion, more than the combined value of Disney, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Ford and General Motors.

Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai

Burj Al Arab -World's only seven star hotel located in the hub of business in the middle east--Dubai

The World - Dubai

The World Islands, are a collection of man-made islands shaped into the continents of the world, located off the coast of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It will consist of 300 small private artificial islands divided into four categories - private homes, estate homes, dream resorts, and community islands.

Behold the server farm! Glorious temple of the information age!

They're ugly. They require a small city's worth of electricity. And they're where the web happens. Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and others are spending billions to build them as fast as they can.

By Stephanie N. Mehta, Fortune Magazine
August 1 2006: 12:22 PM EDT

FORTUNE Magazine) -- Margie Backaus is standing on a 17-acre plot outside Secaucus, N.J., shaking her head in disbelief. Garbage bags and broken glass litter the ground, and weeds have taken over the parts of the land that aren't bald. At least the view is nice, if you like power lines, shipping containers, and the New Jersey Turnpike. Backaus, a chatty, petite blond, doesn't say a word, but you can tell what she's thinking: This looks like a place where Tony Soprano would dump a body.
Only Backaus isn't scouting locations for a TV shoot. She's chief business officer for Equinix (Charts), a company that operates huge data centers for corporations and Internet companies, and she's looking for someplace to build another facility, Equinix's third new center in the past several years.
A colleague tries to explain why the site they're visiting on this hot May afternoon might work: It's big enough to accommodate a 750,000-square-foot complex--equivalent to seven Costco (Charts) stores and three times the size of the megacenter Equinix is building in phases in the Chicago suburbs. And those unsightly wires overhead are actually a plus: The company could tap them to build its own electrical substation to power the facility.
But Backaus just doesn't like it. More troubling to her than the Superfund-site vibe is the amount of time it would take to construct a new building and get it up and running. "I have to wait two years till it's done?" she says, surveying the detritus. "I'm out."
Backaus's impatience is understandable. Equinix, a small but fast-growing publicly traded company whose clients include Google (Charts), Yahoo (Charts), MySpace, and other Internet powers, is bursting at the seams, as are data centers operated by the likes of AT&T (Charts) and IBM (Charts).
Competition for real estate, even ugly scraps of land such as the Secaucus acreage, is so fierce that Equinix's brokers began cold-calling landlords in northern Jersey when it became apparent the company would need to expand in the New York area.
Most people don't think of it this way, but the Information Age is being built on an infrastructure as imposing as the factories and mills of yore. Think of all the things people have been using the Internet for--all the e-mails, blogs, photos, videogames, movies, TV shows.
None of those bits and bytes simply float off into the ether, magically arriving at their assigned destinations. Storing, processing, and moving them all is heavy, heavy lifting. And the work is performed by tens of millions of computers known as servers, all packed into data centers around the world.
The industry term for the vast rooms full of humming, blinking computers inside each of these complexes is "server farms," but "work camps" would be more accurate. Consider that every time you conduct a web search on one of Yahoo's sites, for example, you activate roughly 7,000 or more computers--and that doesn't count at least 15,000 others that support every query by constantly poking around the Net for updates.
"When you go to certain parts of a data center, it looks much more like a factory than something high-tech," says Urs Hölzle, a senior vice president of operations at Google.
The Great Planting of these server farms has only begun, thanks to a revolution currently taking place in the $120 billion software industry. Software is becoming webified: Computer programs that traditionally have been installed on personal computers--from simple word processing and e-mail to heavy-duty applications that help companies manage payroll--are going online. (Bye-bye to CD-ROMs and 300-page installation manuals.)
Google in June released an online spreadsheet and earlier this year acquired the maker of a web-based word-processing program called Writely. The true sign of the times: Microsoft, a company that has become synonymous with desktop software, has pledged to move a big swath of its applications to the online world.
To handle this change, Internet companies are building their own centers, though none of them is all that eager to talk about it. Microsoft has been the most open--it recently broke ground on a 1.4-million-square-foot campus in Quincy, Wash., close to hydroelectric power. Company officials acknowledge that centers in the South and Europe will come afterward.
Yahoo, meanwhile, also has purchased 50 acres in Quincy for a server farm. Google, which enjoys discussing its data centers about as much as the NSA enjoys discussing its code-breaking techniques, hasn't been able to conceal a two-building complex under construction on 30 acres of former farmland in Oregon.
The Google facility will contain some of the estimated half-million to one million (only Google knows for sure) servers that the company operates to handle 2.7 billion online searches a month, its Gmail service, and other applications. Experts figure such a project easily could run north of $150 million; Google, of course, isn't saying. Analysts expect that the three companies combined will devote roughly $4.7 billion to capital expenditures this year, double 2005 levels.
Then there's the enormous cost of operating these things. New and improved microchips that can process more data mean that standard-sized servers can do a lot more than their ancestors did, but the newest gear also throws off more heat. And that means cranking up the air conditioning to make sure the computers don't literally melt themselves into slag.
Vericenter, an operator of data centers, says a rack of "blade" servers can get as hot as a seven-foot tower of toaster ovens. It gets hot enough that for every dollar a company spends to power a typical server, it spends another dollar on a/c to keep it cool. No wonder Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft all are building their server farms in the Pacific Northwest, near hydroelectric power plants selling cheap electricity.
"If I saved just $10 in the operation of each of those servers, that's $10 million per year," says Greg Papadopolous, chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems. "So how much would you be willing to invest in order to save $10 per server? This is exactly the discussion companies had around the time of the Industrial Revolution."
All this talk of plants and equipment must come as a shock to some Internet investors, who surely thought they were buying shares in elegant, money-printing intellectual-property companies, not some dirty, noisy, capital-intensive industry.
When Microsoft in April signaled that it would need to pour at least $2 billion more than analysts expected into cap ex in the coming year, the stock sank 11% in a day. No, Internet companies aren't spewing Ma Bell levels of capital spending (yet): North American phone companies will spend about $60 billion on cap ex this year, ten times what the five largest Internet companies will cough up. But there's no question that we're seeing a change in web economics.
No company feels this more acutely than Microsoft, which is making a shift from a traditional software model, with its low capital costs and robust margins, to the software-as-services model embraced by smaller companies such as
The transition is fraught with challenges: Instead of collecting big upfront payments for software, for example, services companies subsist on subscription revenue that trickles in slowly over a longer period of time. But the biggest challenge lies in building and maintaining the kind of physical infrastructure needed to distribute software, games, and other content--plus storage--via the Net.
Despite the financial unknowns, Microsoft is forging ahead. To build and operate its share of the new web, it has turned to Debra Chrapaty, a feisty technologist who, in all earnestness, says things like, "I'm a woman who loves data centers. I love how you walk near a rack of servers and it's really hot, and how it's cool in other spots." (She's actually part of a lively sorority: As I traveled the country checking out data centers, I found a surprising number of women in charge--and they all seem to keep an extra sweater in their office.)
Chrapaty's team handles the infrastructure for anything at Microsoft that a customer might access over the Internet--from Xbox Live multiplayer games to Hotmail--a huge job that is only going to get bigger.
Today the company operates a handful of facilities worldwide that occupy as much space as 12 Madison Square Gardens. Quincy, Wash., which will be home to Microsoft's newest data center, showed up on the company's radar eight or nine months ago partly because of its cheap power, which Microsoft reportedly will be able to purchase for as little as two cents a kilowatt-hour. (In comparison, engineers say utilities in California routinely charge 11 cents a kilowatt-hour.)
"A couple of years ago I would measure a data center in square footage," Chrapaty says. "Now I look at megawatts of power. It is a new way of measuring technology."
So what do these data centers look like? They're a weird mash-up of high tech (state-of-the-art three-quarter-inch blade servers) and heavy industry (row after row of diesel generators) wrapped in the architectural charm of a maximum-security prison.
To enter AT&T's data center in Ashburn, Va., for example, you have to pass through a "mantrap," a revolving-doorlike contraption connected to a special scanner that literally reads your palm before releasing you into the heart of the facility.
Once inside, it's hard to see what all the fuss is about. The main computing area looks a little like a mainframe storage room circa 1960. Everything is painted dull beige, adding to the Cold War-era feel.
I almost expect to look up at the balcony-like observation area AT&T maintains for customers and see Ernst Blofeld or some other Bond villain surveying the blinking lights of those magical machines called computers.
But there's nothing retro (or, as best I can tell, overtly villainous) about the transactions taking place on those computers. The machines humming along in concert are processing your urgent e-mail messages or your company's website or--critically--your kid's online game activity.
And that dull roar in the background isn't the sound of servers serving but of air-conditioning units cranking away to keep the temperature in the computer room wine-cellar cool. (AT&T operates four enormous "chillers" in Ashburn that continuously pump 13.5 million gallons of water a day.)
It may come as a surprise, but municipalities aren't necessarily prostrating themselves to host data centers. It isn't as if these facilities generate tons of jobs--a center such as Google's megaplex in Oregon is expected to add 50 to 100 jobs to the local economy, according to press reports--and most communities simply can't cope with the infrastructure demands of a massive server farm.
"You go to a local utility and tell them that you want 30 megawatts of power, and they're just catatonic," Janice Fetzer, who heads up data-center construction for Equinix, says drily. "They don't have the resources to build a city within their city." (This is part of what is driving Microsoft and others to resource-rich areas like eastern Washington; remote locations aren't an option for Equinix and AT&T, which have multiple customers using their facilities.)
Fetzer is a bit like a general contractor: Part of her job is helping scope out real estate for future data centers, but she also coordinates a small group of mechanical and electrical engineers and architects who design Equinix's huge facilities. And Fetzer and her team are always looking at cheaper ways to keep the server farms cool.
One approach involves special racks that use chilled water at the source of the heat--the computers themselves--to keep the racks from spewing hot air into the room. This is more radical than it sounds. "Computers and water don't really mix," Fetzer remarks. "It's a very emotional subject."
Remember, we're talking serious cooling here. In fact, the underappreciated science of air conditioning has become a hot topic in the technology world, with everyone from server makers to disk-drive designers keenly focused on ways to build cooler computers.
"The duality of heating and cooling is the greatest challenge to electromechanical engineering in the last 30 years," says Kfir Godrich, director of technology development for EYP Mission Critical Facilities, a Manhattan-based engineering firm that helps design fail-safe facilities. Even the companies whose microchips go into servers are thinking cool.
Advanced Micro Devices, for example, is pushing its Opteron chips as an energy-efficient solution for data centers; the company has even launched a major marketing campaign with billboards in Times Square and Silicon Valley trumpeting itself as an environmentally friendly company.
Opteron puts two lower-power processors on a single chip, reducing the electricity needs of servers that use it. Opteron's edge, claims Marty Seyer, an AMD senior vice president, is that it helps data centers expand their computing power without having to add real estate or draw a lot more energy.
For Equinix, though, needing to add real estate is a good problem to have: It means the Internet is growing and demand for its state-of-the-art data centers is robust. In a few weeks the company expects to disclose the location of its newest facility in New Jersey. The details, like so many things in a data center, are top secret, but if you're ever driving around Secaucus and see a bunch of two-megawatt generators and seven-foot-high electrical switches sitting around waiting to be installed, you'll know what they're for.

Last Words

The deathbed can lead people to speak with great honesty and, in many cases, humor.

1. Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.
Said by: Queen Marie Antoinette after she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner as she went to the guillotine.

2. I can’t sleep
Said by: J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan

3. I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
Said by: Humphrey Bogart

4. I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.
Said by: Dominique Bouhours, famous French grammarian

5. I live!
Said by: Roman Emperor, as he was being murdered by his own soldiers.

6. Dammit…Don’t you dare ask God to help me.
Said by: Joan Crawford to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud.

7. I am perplexed. Satan Get Out
Said by: Aleister Crowley - famous occultist

8. Now why did I do that?
Said by: General William Erskine, after he jumped from a window in Lisbon, Portugal in 1813.

9. Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!
Said by: James French, a convicted murderer, was sentenced to the electric chair. He shouted these words to members of the press who were to witness his execution.

10. Bugger Bognor.
Said by: King George V whose physician had suggested that he relax at his seaside palace in Bognor Regis.

11. It’s stopped.
Said by: Joseph Henry Green, upon checking his own pulse.

12. LSD, 100 micrograms I.M.
Said by: Aldous Huxley (Author) to his wife. She obliged and he was injected twice before his death.

13. You have won, O Galilean
Said by: Emperor Julian, having attempted to reverse the official endorsement of Christianity by the Roman Empire.

14. No, you certainly can’t.
Said by: John F. Kennedy in reply to Nellie Connally, wife of Governor John Connelly, commenting “You certainly can’t say that the people of Dallas haven’t given you a nice welcome, Mr. President.

15. I feel ill. Call the doctors.
Said by: Mao Zedong (Chairman of China)

16. Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here
Said by: Nostradamus

17. Hurry up, you Hoosier bastard, I could kill ten men while you’re fooling around!
Said by: Carl Panzram, serial killer, shortly before he was executed by hanging.

18. Put out the bloody cigarette!!
Said by: Saki, to a fellow officer while in a trench during World War One, for fear the smoke would give away their positions. He was then shot by a German sniper who had heard the remark.

19. Please don’t let me fall.
Said by: Mary Surratt, before being hanged for her part in the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. She was the first woman executed by the United States federal government.

20. Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.
Said by: Voltaire when asked by a priest to renounce Satan.

Asteroid 99942 Apophis, April 13, 2029

April 13, 2029
Asteroid 99942 Apophis will pass 21,557 miles from Earth—5,000 miles closer than most weather satellites. It will be visible to the naked eye. At that time, Earth's gravity may perturb the 820-foot asteroid's motion and magnify its chance of returning to hit us on April 13, 2036.

Induced out-of-body experiences

Science has just published two short papers where researchers induced a touch sensation that that seemed to be felt in a 'fake' body that appeared to be several metres in front - similar to an 'out-of-body-experience'.
The two studies were developed independently but both involved the same idea. In one study, the person was filmed from behind while they had their back stroked. They also wore a special head-mounted display that showed them what the video camera saw.
In other words, they saw their back being stroked as if they were sitting behind themselves and their body was in front of them. After a while, the sensation seemed to be move from their own back to be located in the projected body in front.
Neurophilosopher has found a fantastic video of Prof Olaf Blanke explaining the experiment, which is a wonderful introduction.
The other study did something very similar but used touches to the chest.
While these two studies have demonstrated the effect in a most striking way, the effect isn't new, as it's often been demonstrated with the 'rubber hand illusion'.
In fact, you can do something similar at home, and make touch sensations seem as if they are located in inanimate objects:
Sit at a table with a friend at your side. Put one hand on your knee, out of sight under the table. Your friend’s job is to tap, touch, and stoke your hidden hand and—with identical movements using her other hand—to tap the top of the table directly above. Do this for a couple of minutes. It helps if you concentrate on the table where your friend is touching, and it's important you don't get hints of how your friend is touching your hidden hand. The more irregular the pattern and the better synchronized the movements on your hand and on the table, the greater the chance this will work for you. About 50% of people begin to feel as if the tapping sensation is arising from the table, where they can see the tapping happening before their very eyes. If you're lucky, the simultaneous touching and visual input have led the table to be incorporated into your body image.
All of these experiments synchronise the touch with visual movement, but put these perceptions in conflict with visual information about where the synchronisation is happening.
The brain attempts to resolve this conflict by prioritising the visual system, which is relatively information rich in comparison to our other senses.
Notably, these new studies are the first to demonstrate something akin to an 'out-of-body-experience'.

Mind Hacks: Induced out-of-body experiences: Do try this at home

Paintjam Dan Dunn, Amazing painter

The Wow! signal

The Wow! signal was a strong, narrowband radio signal detected by Dr. Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977 while working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of Ohio State University. The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-solar system origin. It lasted for 72 seconds, the full duration Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again. It has been the focus of attention in the mainstream media when talking about SETI results. Amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used, Ehman circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment 'Wow!' on its side. This comment became the name of the signal.

It has been speculated that interstellar scintillation of a weaker continuous signal — similar, in effect, to atmospheric twinkling—could be a possible explanation, although this still would not exclude the possibility of the signal being artificial in its nature. However, even by using the significantly more sensitive Very Large Array, such a signal could not be detected, and the probability that a signal below the Very Large Array level could be detected by the Big Ear radio telescope due to interstellar scintillation is low.Other speculations include a rotating lighthouse-like source or a signal sweeping in frequency.
Ehman has stated his doubts that the signal is of intelligent extraterrestrial origin: "We should have seen it again when we looked for it 50 times. Something suggests it was an Earth-sourced signal that simply got reflected off a piece of space debris."
He later recanted his skepticism somewhat after further research scientifically relegated an Earth-bound signal to be astronomically unlikely, due to the requirements of a space-borne reflector being bound to certain unrealistic requirements to sufficiently explain the nature of the signal. Also, the 1420 MHz signal is problematic in itself in that it is "protected spectrum" or bandwidth in which terrestrial transmitters are forbidden to transmit. In his most recent writings, Ehman resists "drawing vast conclusions from half-vast data."

Wow! signal - Wikipedia:

Voyager Golden Record

The Voyager Golden Record is a phonograph record included in the two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. It contains sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. It is intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or far future humans, that may find it.

Super Typhoon Sepat, Taiwan, 18th August 2007

Hurricane Katrina: extreme videos

1896 - Food of the Future

This article from the January 1, 1896 Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) describes the synthetic food of the future.
When the food of the future is once in vogue, the food dispensary, licensed by the government, will long since have supplanted the butcher shop and the grocery store. We'll breakfast and lunch and dine by prescription at a cost of 10 or 15 cents per day per capita. Doubtless our houses won't be heated and supplied with power from a Keely motor at a penny a day additional, but the chemical or artificial food of the future is already a moral certainty. For does not Flammarion describe it in "Omega," and has not Bertholot, its chief apostle, been elevated from the laboratory to the foreign office of France?
Given the formula for our food, says Berthelot, the father of the artificial food idea, and why not prescribe it from the chemist's? Surely the nitrogen and carbon of the beefsteak may not be as grateful to the palate if absorbed from a capsule or masticated in a tiny tablet, but the bones and the blood, the flesh and the sinews will be just as well supplied with their essential material, their own special foods, provided always the prescription is right in proportion, and, after all, the pleasures of the table have ages on end been absorbing too much of the time and inclination of man and woman. When the area of chemical food comes, we shall have done with symposia and supper parties, Welsh rabbits and golden bucks.
There are certain elementary food which a man can't do without. He must absorb, or eat and drink, if you please, carbon and nitrogen and calcium for his bones. Without going too much into dry detail, he must absorb or receive each day, to repair the waste of his tissues, calcium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and sodium. There are other trifling chemicals like phosphorous, which is an awful thing to burn oneself with, which the well fed man needs. But he could get along without it. He could get along without sodium, were it not for the fact that salt is chloride of sodium, and nobody can get along without salt. It isn't a simple, an element, but it is absolutely indispensable. When the era of the chemical food sets in, we'll all be in the habit of stopping morning and evening at our favorite dispensaries for a bracer of salt.

Paleo-Future: Food of the Future (Indiana Progress, 1896)

Spaceport America

Spaceport America Design Unveiled
September 04, 2007

LAS CRUCES, NM – A team of U.S. and British architects and designers, accompanied by officials from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) and Virgin Galactic, will unveil the design renderings of Spaceport America at a press conference Tuesday, September 4, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Construction on the 100,000 square-foot hangar and terminal facility is scheduled to begin in 2008.
The design is from a U.S.-British team, consisting of URS Corporation and Foster + Partners. They created a low-lying, striking design that uses natural earth as a berm, and relies on passive energy for heating and cooling, with photovoltaic panels for electricity and water recycling capabilities. A rolling concrete shell acts as a roof with massive windows opening to a stunning view of the runway and spacecraft.
A prominent United Kingdom architectural firm, Foster + Partners has extensive experience in designing airport buildings. They are well known for constructing many high-profile, high-tech glass and steel buildings worldwide. Company founder Lord Foster said, "We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the dynamic team chosen to design the world’s first space terminal. This technically complex building will not only provide a dramatic experience for the astronauts and visitors, but will set an ecologically sound model for future Spaceport facilities."
The world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport is designed to convey the thrill of space travel while making a minimal impact on the environment. The low-lying, organic shape resembles a rise in the landscape, and will use local materials and regional construction techniques. A careful balance between accessibility and privacy is achieved, as visitors and astronauts enter the building through a deep channel cut in the landscape. The walls will form an exhibition area leading to a galleried level above the hangar that houses the spacecraft and on through to the terminal building. Natural light enters via skylights, with a glazed façade reserved for the terminal building, establishing a platform for spectacular views onto the runway.
Kelly O’Donnell, Chair of the NMSA, is pleased with the design of the hangar and terminal facility. “The design created by the URS/Foster team is outstanding in the way it blends in with the environment, creating a shape that is both distinctive and functional while complementing the landscape,” O’Donnell said.
Working together with Foster + Partners on the project, URS Corporation is one the largest engineering and design firms in the world, and a prominent contractor for the United States government. With offices in the Americas, Asia-Pacific region, and Europe, URS is a full-service, global organization providing architectural and design services in 20 nations. "The URS team is very pleased to have been selected for this breakthrough project,” said Jens Deichmann, vice president of URS Corporation. “Our team of New Mexico, regional, and international talent is excited to help the State of New Mexico and Virgin Galactic advance their goals of commercial space travel and scientific and engineering education." Designed to have minimal embodied carbon and few additional energy requirements, the spaceport has been planned to achieve the prestigious LEED Platinum accreditation. The low-lying form is dug into the landscape to exploit the thermal mass, which buffers the building from the extremes of the New Mexico climate as well as catching the westerly winds for ventilation.
The terminal and hangar facility are projected to cost about $31 million, and will provide a destination experience for visitors to Spaceport America. It will include Virgin Galactic’s pre-flight and post-flight training facilities and lounges, as well as the maintenance hangar for two White Knight 2 and five Spaceship 2 aircraft. The building will also be home to the NMSA, and provide a destination experience for visitors.
Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic said, “I am delighted that New Mexico has chosen this excellent team to design Spaceport America. Their track record is exciting enough, but the vision for the world’s first purpose-built private spaceport is truly out of this world.” Looking to the future, Branson said, “Next year will see the first test flights of Spaceship 2 and it is fantastic that we will now have a permanent home to go to, which will be every bit as inspiring for the astronauts of the future as Burt Rutan’s groundbreaking technology.”
NMSA is currently finalizing contract negotiations with URS and Foster + Partners. The team will then begin working with the NMSA and Virgin Galactic to finalize the design of the facility, and the NMSA expects to put the construction of the facility out for bids in the first half of 2008. Meanwhile, the other elements of the spaceport, including roadways, runway, security, water, power and communication systems, are currently being designed by DMJM: AECOM and will be put out for construction bids later this year. Construction of Spaceport America will begin in 2008, immediately after the FAA issues the site operator’s license to the NMSA. Completion is expected in late 2009 or early 2010.

Spaceport America :: Press Releases

Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a flier to combat myths about the flu vaccine. It recited various commonly held views and labeled them either "true" or "false." Among those identified as false were statements such as "The side effects are worse than the flu" and "Only older people need flu vaccine."
When University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwarz had volunteers read the CDC flier, however, he found that within 30 minutes, older people misremembered 28 percent of the false statements as true. Three days later, they remembered 40 percent of the myths as factual.
Younger people did better at first, but three days later they made as many errors as older people did after 30 minutes. Most troubling was that people of all ages now felt that the source of their false beliefs was the respected CDC.
The psychological insights yielded by the research, which has been confirmed in a number of peer-reviewed laboratory experiments, have broad implications for public policy. The conventional response to myths and urban legends is to counter bad information with accurate information. But the new psychological studies show that denials and clarifications, for all their intuitive appeal, can paradoxically contribute to the resiliency of popular myths.
This phenomenon may help explain why large numbers of Americans incorrectly think that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in planning the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and that most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi. While these beliefs likely arose because Bush administration officials have repeatedly tried to connect Iraq with Sept. 11, the experiments suggest that intelligence reports and other efforts to debunk this account may in fact help keep it alive.
Similarly, many in the Arab world are convinced that the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 was not the work of Arab terrorists but was a controlled demolition; that 4,000 Jews working there had been warned to stay home that day; and that the Pentagon was struck by a missile rather than a plane.
Those notions remain widespread even though the federal government now runs Web sites in seven languages to challenge them. Karen Hughes, who runs the Bush administration's campaign to win hearts and minds in the fight against terrorism, recently painted a glowing report of the "digital outreach" teams working to counter misinformation and myths by challenging those ideas on Arabic blogs.
A report last year by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, however, found that the number of Muslims worldwide who do not believe that Arabs carried out the Sept. 11 attacks is soaring -- to 59 percent of Turks and Egyptians, 65 percent of Indonesians, 53 percent of Jordanians, 41 percent of Pakistanis and even 56 percent of British Muslims.
Research on the difficulty of debunking myths has not been specifically tested on beliefs about Sept. 11 conspiracies or the Iraq war. But because the experiments illuminate basic properties of the human mind, psychologists such as Schwarz say the same phenomenon is probably implicated in the spread and persistence of a variety of political and social myths.
The research does not absolve those who are responsible for promoting myths in the first place. What the psychological studies highlight, however, is the potential paradox in trying to fight bad information with good information.
Schwarz's study was published this year in the journal Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, but the roots of the research go back decades. As early as 1945, psychologists Floyd Allport and Milton Lepkin found that the more often people heard false wartime rumors, the more likely they were to believe them.
The research is painting a broad new understanding of how the mind works. Contrary to the conventional notion that people absorb information in a deliberate manner, the studies show that the brain uses subconscious "rules of thumb" that can bias it into thinking that false information is true. Clever manipulators can take advantage of this tendency.
The experiments also highlight the difference between asking people whether they still believe a falsehood immediately after giving them the correct information, and asking them a few days later. Long-term memories matter most in public health campaigns or political ones, and they are the most susceptible to the bias of thinking that well-recalled false information is true.
The experiments do not show that denials are completely useless; if that were true, everyone would believe the myths. But the mind's bias does affect many people, especially those who want to believe the myth for their own reasons, or those who are only peripherally interested and are less likely to invest the time and effort needed to firmly grasp the facts.
The research also highlights the disturbing reality that once an idea has been implanted in people's minds, it can be difficult to dislodge. Denials inherently require repeating the bad information, which may be one reason they can paradoxically reinforce it.
Indeed, repetition seems to be a key culprit. Things that are repeated often become more accessible in memory, and one of the brain's subconscious rules of thumb is that easily recalled things are true.
Many easily remembered things, in fact, such as one's birthday or a pet's name, are indeed true. But someone trying to manipulate public opinion can take advantage of this aspect of brain functioning. In politics and elsewhere, this means that whoever makes the first assertion about something has a large advantage over everyone who denies it later.
Furthermore, a new experiment by Kimberlee Weaver at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and others shows that hearing the same thing over and over again from one source can have the same effect as hearing that thing from many different people -- the brain gets tricked into thinking it has heard a piece of information from multiple, independent sources, even when it has not. Weaver's study was published this year in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The experiments by Weaver, Schwarz and others illustrate another basic property of the mind -- it is not good at remembering when and where a person first learned something. People are not good at keeping track of which information came from credible sources and which came from less trustworthy ones, or even remembering that some information came from the same untrustworthy source over and over again. Even if a person recognizes which sources are credible and which are not, repeated assertions and denials can have the effect of making the information more accessible in memory and thereby making it feel true, said Schwarz.
Experiments by Ruth Mayo, a cognitive social psychologist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, also found that for a substantial chunk of people, the "negation tag" of a denial falls off with time. Mayo's findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in 2004.

"If someone says, 'I did not harass her,' I associate the idea of harassment with this person," said Mayo, explaining why people who are accused of something but are later proved innocent find their reputations remain tarnished. "Even if he is innocent, this is what is activated when I hear this person's name again.

"If you think 9/11 and Iraq, this is your association, this is what comes in your mind," she added. "Even if you say it is not true, you will eventually have this connection with Saddam Hussein and 9/11."
Mayo found that rather than deny a false claim, it is better to make a completely new assertion that makes no reference to the original myth. Rather than say, as Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) recently did during a marathon congressional debate, that "Saddam Hussein did not attack the United States; Osama bin Laden did," Mayo said it would be better to say something like, "Osama bin Laden was the only person responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks" -- and not mention Hussein at all.
The psychologist acknowledged that such a statement might not be entirely accurate -- issuing a denial or keeping silent are sometimes the only real options.
So is silence the best way to deal with myths? Unfortunately, the answer to that question also seems to be no.
Another recent study found that when accusations or assertions are met with silence, they are more likely to feel true, said Peter Kim, an organizational psychologist at the University of Southern California. He published his study in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Myth-busters, in other words, have the odds against them

Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach -

Nepal Airlines Goats sacrificed to fix jet

Nepal's state-run airline has confirmed that it sacrificed two goats to appease a Hindu god, following technical problems with one of its aircraft.
Nepal Airlines said the animals were slaughtered in front of the plane - a Boeing 757 - at Kathmandu airport.
The offering was made to Akash Bhairab, the Hindu god of sky protection, whose symbol is seen on the company's planes.
The airline said that after Sunday's ceremony the plane successfully completed a flight to Hong Kong.
"The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights," senior airline official Raju KC was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Nepal Airlines has two Boeing aircraft in its fleet.
The persistent faults with one of the planes had led to the postponement of a number of flights in recent weeks.
The company has not said what the problem was, but reports in local media have blamed an electrical fault.

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Goats sacrificed to fix Nepal jet

Kardashev scale, our future

Kardashev scale
From Wikipedia

Kardashev scale projections ranging from 1900 to 2100.The Kardashev scale is a general method of classifying how technologically advanced a civilization is, first proposed in 1964 by the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev. It had three categories, based on the amount of usable energy a civilization has at its disposal and increasing logarithmically:

Type I — A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available on a single planet, approximately 1016 W. The actual figure is quite variable; Earth specifically has an available power of 1.74×1017 W (174 petawatts). Kardashev's original definition was 4×1012 W. (Kardashev had originally defined Type I as a "technological level close to the level presently attained on earth", "presently" meaning 1964.)
Type II — A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single star, approximately 1026 W. Again, this figure is variable; the Sun outputs approximately 3.86×1026 W. Kardashev's original definition was 4×1026 W.
Type III — A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single galaxy, approximately 1036 W. This figure is extremely variable, since galaxies vary widely in size. Kardashev's original definition was 4×1037 W.
All such civilizations are purely hypothetical at this point. However, the Kardashev scale is of use to SETI researchers, science fiction authors, and futurists as a theoretical framework.
To put the amount of energy conjectured by this scale into perspective, consider that the ten-second-long burst of neutrinos that follows a supernova releases roughly 1046 joules (100 foes).[1] This is roughly equivalent to 1,000 times the amount of energy that Kardashev speculated would be harnessed in a year by a Type III civilization.

An image of Kardashev scale projections ranging from 1900 to 2100. The projections are off by 0.1 on the kardashev scale. This is graphed against the supportable population and given growth against the supposed technology growth associated the kardashev scale. Projections are made by different ratios of energy production technology growth for a given level of energy (and technology) against predicted population growth, and new technology production and new energy production needed to support a given population, and the growth of such population. In some projections, if energy production is unable to keep up with population growth, technology levels fall. In some projections, as population growth slows, supposedly increased technology can be produced via the lower amount of energy needed to sustain population growth.

Usage and examples
Human civilization is currently somewhere below Type I, as it is able to harness only a portion of the energy that is available on Earth. The current state of human civilization has thus been named Type 0. Although intermediate values were not discussed in Kardashev's original proposal, Carl Sagan argued that they could easily be defined by interpolating and extrapolating the values given above.

A possible method by which Earth can advance to a Type I civilization is to begin the heavy use of ocean thermal energy conversion, wind turbines and tidal power to obtain the energy received by Earth's oceans from the Sun. However, there is no known way to successfully utilize the full potential of Earth's energy production without complete coating of the surface with man made structures. In the near and medium future, this is an impossibility given the current lifestyle of humanity. Currently, we are already "harnessing" Earth's production through our dependence upon ecosystem services, which may prove more efficient and sustainable than our own technology well into the future. If we choose never to fully substitute synthetics for nature's services on this planet, we may still achieve a Type I civilization by assuring that Earth's ecosystem services are maximally functional. A simpler and far less intrusive method would be to place solar collectors with sufficient surface area into orbit.
A hypothetical Type II civilization might employ a Dyson sphere or other similar construct in order to utilize all of the energy output by a star, or perhaps more exotic means such as feeding stellar mass into a black hole to generate usable energy. Alternatively, it may occupy a large number of solar systems, absorbing a small but significant fraction of the output of each individual star. A Type III civilization might use the same techniques employed by a Type II civilization, applied to all of the stars of one or more galaxies individually, or perhaps might use other mechanisms not yet proposed.

Kardashev scale - Wikipedia

Theo Jansen, movement artist

"Theo Jansen, artist, studied science at the University of Delft Holland. The first seven years being a artist he just made paintings. Then he starts a project with a big flying saucer, which could really fly. It flew over the town of Delft in 1980 and brought the people in the street and the police in commotion. Since about ten years he is occupied with the making of a new nature. Not pollen or seeds but plastic yellow tubes are used as the basic matierial of this new nature. He makes skeletons which are able to walk on the wind. Eventualy he wants to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives."

Theo Jansen @ ArtFutura05

BMW South Africa Advertising

1896 New York Fire Department alarm

Brighton Beach 1896

Montreal Fire Dept. - 1901

The Montreal Fire Department off to a fire in the middle of winter. 1901

EPIC 2014

A prediction of the Future - EPIC 2014. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Welcome to EPIC, the Evolving Personalized Information Construct by GoogleZone. 2014 Museum of Media History - Special Projects Division

1901 Women boxing, The Thomas Edison Company

Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1903-1904

Short films of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, or 1904 World's Fair, held in St. Louis, Mo. Includes President Theodore Roosevelt at the Dedication Ceremonies, Opening Ceremonies, Asia in America, Princess Rajah Dance, and Parade of Floats. Films are by the Selig Polyscope Company, American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, and Thomas A. Edison, Inc.

Coney Island 1903-1904

Three short films of Coney Island: Children in the Surf, Shooting the Shoots in Luna Park, and Part 1 of Rube and Mandy at Coney Island, showing their adventures in Steeplechase Park. Films by Thomas A. Edison, Inc. and American Mutoscope and Biograph Co., 1903-1904.

1901 - Electrocution of Leon Czolgosz

Leon Frank Czolgosz (1873 -- October 29, 1901) was the assassin of U.S. President William McKinley.

New York City, 1901- 23rd Street,

Captured by Thomas Edison.

What Is a Corporation? (ca. 1949)

1949 school film that covers the basics of what a corporation is.

1949 Ford Motor Co.- Design and Testing

Design and testing of the new 1949 Ford automobile.

1956 - Design for Dreaming

Set at the 1956 General Motors Motorama, this is one of the key Populuxe films of the 1950s, showing futuristic dream cars and Frigidaire's "Kitchen of the Future."

1930 Future Fashion Predictions for 2000

Amusing predictions by american fashion designers from the 1930s of what the well-dressed man and woman would be wearing in the year 2000.

1901 - In the Twentieth Century (Newark Daily Advocate)

The piece ran on the first page of the January 1, 1901 Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio).

The second to last sentence beautifully expresses humanity's fascination with futurism: Now, candidly, wouldn't you like to know what sayers will be saying, thinkers thinking, writers writing, doers doing and plotters plotting at the end of the next hundred years?
Will lovely woman do the proposing?
Will woman bosses run [politics?] as they now run the home?
Will the housemaid be a houseman?
Will horses be exhibited as curiosities?
Will politics be run on a philanthropic basis?
Will the Boston woman discover the north pole?
Will airships be provided for messenger boys?
Will men wear frilled shirt waists and women trousers?
Will the [unreadable] Mrs. Grundy be driven into a convent?
Will the college girl carry a cane and smoke a pipe?
Will there be free lunch stands for women?
Will men go to church evenings instead of to the club?
Will the wife kiss her husband goodby before starting off to business?
Will squirrels want just a quarter of a second longer to make faces at the hunter?
Will rich noblemen marry poor American girls?
Will hornets and other stinging things arbitrate instead of fight when their nests are pulled?
Will the grain be extracted from the head of wheat and other cereals by a magnet and save the labor of harvesting straw?
Will there be a law compelling [unreadable] remain silent?
Will cows come home at milking time as eagerly as field hands come to supper?
And will those same cows semioccasionally turn grass into butter instead of milk?
Will there be any escape from the [coon?] song save suicide?
Will every busy man wear an illuminated collar button?
Will mind reading [unreadable] a key to the intentions of hens as to their duties and villainies?
Will the automatic principle be adjusted to taxes so that they pay themselves?
Will there be a society for the extermination of noisy milkmen which will really [unreadable]?
Will pounds be pounds and quarts be quarts in weight as well in price?
Will women be compelled to flatten their pompadours at the theater so that men may see the play?
Will all consumers of [unreadable] have the common sense to lay in their winter stock in midsummer at any sacrifice?
Will the creatures that build guano mountains at the equator occasionally fly over the impoverished farms of North America?
Will our beloved country still be going to the "demnition bowwows" and political orators howling for votes to save it?
Now, candidly, wouldn't you like to know what sayers will be saying, thinkers thinking, writers writing, doers doing and plotters plotting at the end of the next hundred years?
Will the century be ten years [unreadable] . . . library?

1907 - Blondes to be Extinct

A number of major news outlets got burned in 2002 on a fake story about blondes going extinct. The idea that blondes will soon be non-existent is not a new one, as you can see by reading the story below. "Blondes to be Extinct" ran in the March 7, 1907 New Oxford Item (New Oxford, Pennsylvania).
Another man has come forward to declare that the woman with the golden tesses is doomed, says the New York American. This does not mean that she is to be absent next summer from the beaches, when her bathing suit is of the proper color, or that she is not to be found the next Winter, wearing a white veil to accentuate the head of hair nature or a chemist designed for her.
But in about six hundred years the blonde will be a curiosity. She is to join the horse with five toes and the dodo. The leading lady doing Ophelia in a play by Shakespeare will not be able to wear her own hair unless she violates tradition. The color will predominate in the department stores around Christmas time and still be a favorite for dolls.

1906 - Aerial Navigation Will Never Be Popular

The August 14, 1906 Lake County Times (Hammond, Indiana) ran an article by Sir Hiram Maxim titled, "Aerial Navigation Will Never Be Popular." An excerpt, as well as the original article in its entirety, appears below.
But I do not think the flying machine will ever be used for ordinary traffic and for what may be called "popular" purposes. People who write about the conditions under which the business and pleasure of the world will be carried on in another hundred years generally make flying machines take the place of railways and steamers, but that such will ever be the case I very much doubt.

Paleo-Future: Aerial Navigation Will Never Be Popular (1906)

1901 - 600 miles per hour

The September 27, 1901 Lincoln Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) included a short story and illustration of the elevated train of the future. At a speed of 600 miles an hour, it would have been quite impressive. Below is the entire article.

The object figured in the accompanying illustration may be termed either an aerial automobile or a terrestrial aeroplane, for, while it derives its means of propulsion from gigantic air screws, or propellers, it travels along a double set of rails. It has an inclosing aeroplane, or horizontal shield to maintain its equilibrium and support in the air. It is cigar shaped, made of aluminum, hardwood and glass. Electricity will drive the propellers and it is expected that the frightful speed of 600 miles an hour will be attained. The car, which is inclosed, is capable of carrying 23 passengers. The speed at which it is intended to propel this aerial train is great enough to make a passenger's breath away, and, while the problem of propulsion has been a great one that of bringing the train to a stop without smashing everything into smithereens is still greater. The result of the trial trip is looked forward to with great interest but the inventor, Dr. Adolph Broadback, declares that his "artificial bird" will have no more trouble in stopping than the eagle or the swallow, which he is to emulate and, if possible, surpass. Of course, earlier inventors equally confident have been obliged to acknowledge failure, but the enthusiastic doctor in this case will not even admit that there is a doubt of success.

1882 - Going to the Opera in the Year 2000

This lithograph from 1882 depicts the fanciful world of 2000; flying buses, towering restaurants, and of course, 1880's French attire. Albert Robida is less well-known than Jules Verne but contributed just as much to the collective imagination through his amazing illustrations.

Paleo-Future: Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 (1882)

1883 - Evening Fashions of the Year 1952

This illustration is from a beautiful 1981 edition of the 1883 Albert Robida book Le vingtième siècle. La vie électrique. The edition I've linked to is in French and doesn't include any color pictures such as the one above.

Paleo-Future: Evening Fashions of the Year 1952 (1883)

1900 - What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years ?

The Ladies Home Journal from December 1900, which contained a fascinating article by John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years”.

Mr. Watkins wrote: “These prophecies will seem strange, almost impossible. Yet, they have come from the most learned and conservative minds in America. To the wisest and most careful men in our greatest institutions of science and learning I have gone, asking each in his turn to forecast for me what, in his opinion, will have been wrought in his own field of investigation before the dawn of 2001 - a century from now. These opinions I have carefully transcribed.”

During the Year 2000, we included Mr. Watkins research in our feature articles. We invite you to comment on these predictions, whether they have been realized in some way or how they can never be accomplished! In any event, we know you’ll enjoy these entries.

Prediction #1: There will probably be from 350,000,000 to 500,000,000 people in America and its possessions by the lapse of another century. Nicaragua will ask for admission to our Union after the completion of the great canal. Mexico will be next. Europe, seeking more territory to the south of us, will cause many of the South and Central American republics to be voted into the Union by their own people.”

Prediction #2: The American will be taller by from one to two inches. His increase of stature will result from better health, due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics. He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present – for he will reside in the suburbs. The city house will practically be no more. Building in blocks will be illegal. The trip from suburban home to office will require a few minutes only. A penny will pay the fare.

Prediction #3: Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school, college and community will have a complete gymnasium. All cities will have public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.

Prediction #4: There Will Be No Street Cars in Our Large Cities. All hurry traffic will be below or high above ground when brought within city limits. In most cities it will be confined to broad subways or tunnels, well lighted and well ventilated, or to high trestles with “moving-sidewalk” stairways leading to the top. These underground or overhead streets will teem with capacious automobile passenger coaches and freight with cushioned wheels. Subways or trestles will be reserved for express trains. Cities, therefore, will be free from all noises.

Prediction #5: Trains will run two miles a minute, normally; express trains one hundred and fifty miles an hour. To go from New York to San Francisco will take a day and a night by fast express. There will be cigar-shaped electric locomotives hauling long trains of cars. Cars will, like houses, be artificially cooled. Along the railroads there will be no smoke, no cinders, because coal will neither be carried nor burned. There will be no stops for water. Passengers will travel through hot or dusty country regions with windows down.

Prediction #6: Automobiles will be cheaper than horses are today. Farmers will own automobile hay-wagons, automobile truck-wagons, plows, harrows and hay-rakes. A one-pound motor in one of these vehicles will do the work of a pair of horses or more. Children will ride in automobile sleighs in winter. Automobiles will have been substituted for every horse vehicle now known. There will be, as already exist today, automobile hearses, automobile police patrols, automobile ambulances, automobile street sweepers. The horse in harness will be as scarce, if, indeed, not even scarcer, then as the yoked ox is today.

Prediction #7: There will be air-ships, but they will not successfully compete with surface cars and water vessels for passenger or freight traffic. They will be maintained as deadly war-vessels by all military nations. Some will transport men and goods. Others will be used by scientists making observations at great heights above the earth.

Prediction #8: Aerial War-Ships and Forts on Wheels. Giant guns will shoot twenty-five miles or more, and will hurl anywhere within such a radius shells exploding and destroying whole cities. Such guns will be armed by aid of compasses when used on land or sea, and telescopes when directed from great heights. Fleets of air-ships, hiding themselves with dense, smoky mists, thrown off by themselves as they move, will float over cities, fortifications, camps or fleets. They will surprise foes below by hurling upon them deadly thunderbolts. These aerial war-ships will necessitate bomb-proof forts, protected by great steel plates over their tops as well as at their sides. Huge forts on wheels will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains of to-day. They will make what are now known as cavalry charges. Great automobile plows will dig deep entrenchments as fast as soldiers can occupy them. Rifles will use silent cartridges. Submarine boats submerged for days will be capable of wiping a whole navy off the face of the deep. Balloons and flying machines will carry telescopes of one-hundred-mile vision with camera attachments, photographing an enemy within that radius. These photographs as distinct and large as if taken from across the street, will be lowered to the commanding officer in charge of troops below.

Prediction #9: Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later. Even to-day photographs are being telegraphed over short distances. Photographs will reproduce all of Nature’s colors.

Prediction #10: Man will See Around the World. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span. American audiences in their theatres will view upon huge curtains before them the coronations of kings in Europe or the progress of battles in the Orient. The instrument bringing these distant scenes to the very doors of people will be connected with a giant telephone apparatus transmitting each incidental sound in its appropriate place. Thus the guns of a distant battle will be heard to boom when seen to blaze, and thus the lips of a remote actor or singer will be heard to utter words or music when seen to move.

Prediction #11: No Mosquitoes nor Flies. Insect screens will be unnecessary. Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been practically exterminated. Boards of health will have destroyed all mosquito haunts and breeding-grounds, drained all stagnant pools, filled in all swamp-lands, and chemically treated all still-water streams. The extermination of the horse and its stable will reduce the house-fly.

Prediction #12: Peas as Large as Beets. Peas and beans will be as large as beets are to-day. Sugar cane will produce twice as much sugar as the sugar beet now does. Cane will once more be the chief source of our sugar supply. The milkweed will have been developed into a rubber plant. Cheap native rubber will be harvested by machinery all over this country. Plants will be made proof against disease microbes just as readily as man is to-day against smallpox. The soil will be kept enriched by plants which take their nutrition from the air and give fertility to the earth.

Prediction #13: Strawberries as Large as Apples will be eaten by our great-great-grandchildren for their Christmas dinners a hundred years hence. Raspberries and blackberries will be as large. One will suffice for the fruit course of each person. Strawberries and cranberries will be grown upon tall bushes. Cranberries, gooseberries and currants will be as large as oranges. One cantaloupe will supply an entire family. Melons, cherries, grapes, plums, apples, pears, peaches and all berries will be seedless. Figs will be cultivated over the entire United States.

Prediction #14: Black, Blue and Green Roses. Roses will be as large as cabbage heads. Violets will grow to the size of orchids. A pansy will be as large in diameter as a sunflower. A century ago the pansy measured but half an inch across its face. There will be black, blue and green roses. It will be possible to grow any flower in any color and to transfer the perfume of a scented flower to another which is odorless. Then may the pansy be given the perfume of the violet.

Prediction #15: No Foods will be Exposed. Storekeepers who expose food to air breathed out by patrons or to the atmosphere of the busy streets will be arrested with those who sell stale or adulterated produce. Liquid-air refrigerators will keep great quantities of food fresh for long intervals.

Prediction #16: There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas, and will be more extensively spoken than any other. Russian will rank second.

Prediction #17: How Children will be Taught. A university education will be free to every man and woman. Several great national universities will have been established. Children will study a simple English grammar adapted to simplified English, and not copied after the Latin. Time will be saved by grouping like studies. Poor students will be given free board, free clothing and free books if ambitious and actually unable to meet their school and college expenses. Medical inspectors regularly visiting the public schools will furnish poor children free eyeglasses, free dentistry and free medical attention of every kind. The very poor will, when necessary, get free rides to and from school and free lunches between sessions. In vacation time poor children will be taken on trips to various parts of the world. Etiquette and housekeeping will be important studies in the public schools.

Prediction #18: Telephones Around the World. Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. We will be able to telephone to China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn. By an automatic signal they will connect with any circuit in their locality without the intervention of a “hello girl”.

Prediction #19: Grand Opera will be telephoned to private homes, and will sound as harmonious as though enjoyed from a theatre box. Automatic instruments reproducing original airs exactly will bring the best music to the families of the untalented. Great musicians gathered in one enclosure in New York will, by manipulating electric keys, produce at the same time music from instruments arranged in theatres or halls in San Francisco or New Orleans, for instance. Thus will great bands and orchestras give long-distance concerts. In great cities there will be public opera-houses whose singers and musicians are paid from funds endowed by philanthropists and by the government. The piano will be capable of changing its tone from cheerful to sad. Many devises will add to the emotional effect of music.

Prediction #20: Coal will not be used for heating or cooking. It will be scarce, but not entirely exhausted. The earth’s hard coal will last until the year 2050 or 2100; its soft-coal mines until 2200 or 2300. Meanwhile both kinds of coal will have become more and more expensive. Man will have found electricity manufactured by waterpower to be much cheaper. Every river or creek with any suitable fall will be equipped with water-motors, turning dynamos, making electricity. Along the seacoast will be numerous reservoirs continually filled by waves and tides washing in. Out of these the water will be constantly falling over revolving wheels. All of our restless waters, fresh and salt, will thus be harnessed to do the work which Niagara is doing today: making electricity for heat, light and fuel.

Prediction #21: Hot and Cold Air from Spigots. Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished. Rising early to build the furnace fire will be a task of the olden times. Homes will have no chimneys, because no smoke will be created within their walls.

Prediction #22: Store Purchases by Tube. Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles. These tubes will collect, deliver and transport mail over certain distances, perhaps for hundreds of miles. They will at first connect with the private houses of the wealthy; then with all homes. Great business establishments will extend them to stations, similar to our branch post-offices of today, whence fast automobile vehicles will distribute purchases from house to house.

Prediction #23: Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today. They will purchase materials in tremendous wholesale quantities and sell the cooked foods at a price much lower than the cost of individual cooking. Food will be served hot or cold to private houses in pneumatic tubes or automobile wagons. The meal being over, the dishes used will be packed and returned to the cooking establishments where they will be washed. Such wholesale cookery will be done in electric laboratories rather than in kitchens. These laboratories will be equipped with electric stoves, and all sorts of electric devices, such as coffee-grinders, egg-beaters, stirrers, shakers, parers, meat-choppers, meat-saws, potato-mashers, lemon-squeezers, dish-washers, dish-dryers and the like. All such utensils will be washed in chemicals fatal to disease microbes. Having one’s own cook and purchasing one’s own food will be an extravagance.

Prediction #24: Vegetables Grown by Electricity. Winter will be turned into summer and night into day by the farmer. In cold weather he will place heat-conducting electric wires under the soil of his garden and thus warm his growing plants. He will also grow large gardens under glass. At night his vegetables will be bathed in powerful electric light, serving, like sunlight, to hasten their growth. Electric currents applied to the soil will make valuable plants grow larger and faster, and will kill troublesome weeds. Rays of colored light will hasten the growth of many plants. Electricity applied to garden seeds will make them sprout and develop unusually early.

Prediction #25: Oranges will grow in Philadelphia. Fast-flying refrigerators on land and sea will bring delicious fruits from the tropics and southern temperate zone within a few days. The farmers of South America, South Africa, Australia and the South Sea Islands, whose seasons are directly opposite to ours, will thus supply us in winter with fresh summer foods, which cannot be grown here. Scientist will have discovered how to raise here many fruits now confined to much hotter or colder climates. Delicious oranges will be grown in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Cantaloupes and other summer fruits will be of such a hardy nature that they can be stored through the winter as potatoes are now.

Prediction #26: Strawberries as large as apples will be eaten by our great great grandchildren for their Christmas dinners a hundred years hence. Raspberries and blackberries will be as large. One will suffice for the fruit course of each person. Strawberries and cranberries will be grown upon tall bushes. Cranberries, gooseberries and currants will be as large as oranges. One cantaloupe will supply an entire family. Melons, cherries, grapes, plums, apples, pears, peaches and all berries will be seedless. Figs will be cultivated over the entire United States.

Prediction #27: Few drugs will be swallowed or taken into the stomach unless needed for the direct treatment of that organ itself. Drugs needed by the lungs, for instance, will be applied directly to those organs through the skin and flesh. They will be carried with the electric current applied without pain to the outside skin of the body. Microscopes will lay bare the vital organs, through the living flesh, of men and animals. The living body will to all medical purposes be transparent. Not only will it be possible for a physician to actually see a living, throbbing heart inside the chest, but he will be able to magnify and photograph any part of it. This work will be done with rays of invisible light.

Prediction #28: There will be no wild animals except in menageries. Rats and mice will have been exterminated. The horse will have become practically extinct. A few of high breed will be kept by the rich for racing, hunting and exercise. The automobile will have driven out the horse. Cattle and sheep will have no horns. They will be unable to run faster than the fattened hog of today. A century ago the wild hog could outrun a horse. Food animals will be bred to expend practically all of their life energy in producing meat, milk, wool and other by-products. Horns, bones, muscles and lungs will have been neglected.

Prediction #29: To England in Two Days. Fast electric ships, crossing the ocean at more than a mile a minute, will go from New York to Liverpool in two days. The bodies of these ships will be built above the waves. They will be supported upon runners, somewhat like those of the sleigh. These runners will be very buoyant. Upon their under sides will be apertures expelling jets of air. In this way a film of air will be kept between them and the water’s surface. This film, together with the small surface of the runners, will reduce friction against the waves to the smallest possible degree. Propellers turned by electricity will screw themselves through both the water beneath and the air above. Ships with cabins artificially cooled will be entirely fireproof. In storm they will dive below the water and there await fair weather.

Paleo-Future: ladies home journal