This one merited a special posting. Alerted by the inimitable Jamais Cascio...
David, here's an item to add to your prediction hit list from EARTH...or, at least, a very near-miss:
"A quarter-century ago, American rocket scientists proposed the "Star Wars" defense system to knockout Soviet missiles with laser beams. They are now aiming their lasers at another airborne threat: the mosquito. In a Seattle lab, researchers watched a glass box of bugs. Every few seconds, a contraption 100 feet away shot a beam that hit buzzing mosquitoes, one by one, with a spot of red light. This particular test used a non-lethal laser. But the Cold War missile-defense strategy will soon be reborn as a WMD: Weapon of Mosquito Destruction. [...] Technology might one day draw a laser barrier around a house or village that could kill or blind the bugs...."
Ahem... is that exactly what I portrayed in that 1989 novel? In fact, some fans have set up a couple of sites to keep a running record of my successful forecasts. Along with the text of a speech I gave, concerning the art of prediction. In fact, I devote a large portion of my web site to the topic.
(See also http://www.technovelgy.com/ which tracks modern events/trends that were first mentioned in science fiction.)
Now, if only any folks in positions of influence were actually tracking the most important kind of "intelligence data" of all. How we need a basic scoring system, simply to keep track of who is right more often! (How do you think almost the entire clade of bonus-swilling CEO and hedge-funders would do?)
===== Misc other matters =====
From Mike Gannis: > ... under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute. Merchants, thrift stores, and booksellers may be at risk if they sell older volumes, or even give them away, without first subjecting them to testing -- at prohibitive expense. Many used-book sellers, consignment stores, Goodwill outlets, and the like have accordingly begun to refuse new donations of pre-1985 volumes, yank existing ones off their shelves, and in some cases discard them en masse. If you ask me, it's all a government conspiracy to keep kids from being exposed to Heinlein juveniles.
==== And with tax season coming ====
Just a month after the birth of my first child*, I began a yearly practice that I recommend to all Americans, who both love their country and want to see the next generation less-burdened by the wastefulness of ours. Beyond honestly and carefully paying whatever taxes that I owe, I also send a small and entirely separate donation to the U.S. Treasury, to be applied against the National Debt. It isn’t much - a gesture - but it seems a good way to express not only faith and commitment, but also rejection of the Cult of Selfishness that got us into this mess. If you feel as I do, then look for the address and instructions, below.
If interested in helping promote this tradition, send your check (made out to US Treasury) to the Treasure Dept: Bureau of Public Debt, PO Box 2188, Parkersburg WV, 26106-2188. Send enough so that their time logging it and sending a thank you note isn’t a net loss to our kids, okay? And feel free to use this, next time some ranting flag-waver fool tries to “out-patriot” you. (Of course, tutoring at a homework club accomplishes much more...)
* In fact I began the practice long before 1992, stretching back to the 1970s. But there were gaps and my records only prove it starting in 1992.