A small clip from Real Time With Bill Maher in which Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about the budget problems at NASA:
Found over at Atheist Media Blog.
My earliest memories are from the 1970’s — being born in 1967 it took a few years before I could remember much of anything — and I can recall there was still a little bit of that desire to dream about tomorrow hanging around when I was young. Shows and magazine articles about the future did become less frequent as time went on and more often than not were foreign produced instead of home grown. For example, I can remember a TV show airing on The Discovery Channel back in the early 1980s called Beyond 2000 that I used to watch all the time. It was produced in Australia (all the hosts had the most awesome accents) and it covered up and coming technologies and advancements.
I couldn’t tell you why, but as I kid I was very keen on futurism and the promises and advances that new technology would bring with it. I’ve been ready for my self-piloting flying car and self-cleaning push-button kitchen since I was a little kid and saw reruns of the old 50’s and 60’s promotions from companies like GE and General Motors. I can remember the day when I realized that I was going to see the turn of the century and actually live in what a lot of people used to consider “the future.” My love of science fiction is tied into all of this as well. Do you realize that we’re just four years away from the high-tech future depicted in Back to the Future II? When Doc and Marty go into the future to save Marty’s kids they arrive on October 21st, 2015. Some of the stuff depicted in those scenes is already here. Specifically stuff like the huge flat screen television set on which Marty’s son launches a dozen channels at the same time. My AT&T U-Verse cable TV allows me to watch multiple news/sports/kids channels at once. I don’t use that service, but it’s there and it’s not unique to AT&T. Still waiting on that 5 second food rehydrator that they used in the kitchen though. Or, for that matter, my own personal Mr. Fusion. I’m so future-oriented in fact that my biggest disappointment with the BTTF sequels is that so little of them takes place in the future. I was so unhappy that the third movie took place mostly in 1885.
So yeah, now that I think about it it does seem like we don’t really spend much time thinking about a better future. Most of our really popular science fiction these days depicts it as dystopian and bleak. More often than not the advances of tomorrow in our popular culture are depicted as being our downfall. I can’t really think of a recent show that promotes the idea of dreaming about what good things the future will bring. Perhaps it’s a side effect of living in an age where new technologies comes at such a rapid pace that it’s no longer amazing to us. We carry phones in our pockets that make the communicators on Star Trek pale in comparison in terms of what they can do and they have more computing power than the computers that ran the Space Shuttles. We can connect with almost anyone anywhere on the planet at a moments notice through any of a host of mediums from a telephone call to an email to an instant message to a social network. Most of us carry a music collection around with us that would amount to literally hundreds to thousands of vinyl albums from years past. Our cars, while not flying, are still some of the most highly technologically advanced things we own, safer than they’ve ever been, and only getting smarter with each new model year. And with this simple blog post I will reach more people at one time than any non-celebrity/non-politician/Average Joe of the past could have ever hoped to.
You’d think I’d have something more profound to say.