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Your Flying Car Awaits: Robot Butlers, Lunar Vacations, and Other Dead-Wrong Predictions of the Twentieth Century
 
 
Author
Paul Milo.
Publisher Harper  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5 x 0.8 inches
ISBN 9780061724602
Pages/Publication Date 280/2009
Daedalus Item Code 31669
List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $4.98
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Description
People have always imagined what life would be like in the future, from living in underwater cities and enjoying 200-year life spans to controlling the weather and having conversations with dolphins. Most of the time they've been wrong, but even the most outrageous predictions often had some basis in the utopian desires, scientific understanding, or technological needs of the day. Here Paul Milo looks at some of the now-laughable predictions of 20th-century scientists, novelists, and social commentators, elucidating the thought that led to such wild ideas and why, at the time, they seemed to make sense.

"There was a time when people thought future generations would be living in cities topped by geodesic domes, and that all babies would be born in mechanical incubators, probably after having their DNA selected for better intelligence or physical attractiveness. Milo explains why these and dozens of other predictions never came to fruition in a wide-ranging survey that covers everything from atomic energy (which some scientists predicted would never work out) to Puerto Rican statehood. Sometimes the wrong guesses even contradict themselves: airplanes would never work, conventional wisdom once ran; once they'd proven successful, people believed they'd be fast enough to cover the globe in mere hours. Milo's tone is amiably conversational, filled with casual asides such as the discovery that the electric car was also the flavor of the month more than one hundred years ago. He delves into the work of some famous visionaries, from Paul Ehrlich to Hal Lindsey but refrains from mocking even those who were completely off the mark. Readers will come away with a smattering of historical information in several scientific and cultural fields, but it's presented in such a way that they'll feel like experts."Publishers Weekly

 
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