Friday, March 30, 2007

Century 21: Space Needle Designs (1962)

In a way, Seattle has a permanent piece of the paleo-future.

The always amazing blog BibliOdyssey has a great post titled Century 21 Exposition. It features proposed designs for the Space Needle and the fairgrounds for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (also known as the Century 21 Exposition).

For an amusing film following teenagers through the expo be sure to check out Century 21 Calling.

See also:
Expo '92
To The Fair! (1965)
Walt Disney Explaining the Carousel of Progress to General Electric (1964)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)

Olympic Games on the Moon in 2020 (1979)

For those of you who can't get enough of the book Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century, here are the Olympic Games of the year 2020 which, of course, will be on the moon.

After a Moon city is established the 'Moonies' will "want the prestige of holding a major world event." Their idea is the Olympic Games of 2020, complete with a stadium covered by a huge plexiglass dome where "the visitors from Earth will have a fine view of their home world."

Stay tuned for a great illustration of the "Lunar high jump" coming next week.

See also:
Sea City 2000 (1979)
Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century (1979)
Ristos (1979)
The Future World of Transportation

Nuclear War Revisited (2006)

In case a flyer wasn't clear enough, the House of Yahweh posted video of their September 12, 2006 nuclear war prophecy.

"Prophecy shows that nuclear war will start September the 12th, 2006. A third part of the people will be killed over a fourth part of the earth. If you live this long you are going to see this take place. We're in the last three and a half years of prophecy that shows that mankind will almost totally destroy himself before this thing is over."

See also:
Nucelar War to Start September 12, 2006
The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon

Is Futurism Dead? (New York Times, 1982)

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about the postmodern paleo-future here's an excerpt from the March 14, 1982 New York Times article, "Now and Then, Congress Also Ponders the Future."

....activity in the field [of futurism] has slowed to the point of stopping. "Actually, [futurism] died somewhere in the 1970's," said Michael Marien, the editor of "Futures Survey," a monthly abstract published by the World Future Society. "Nobody announced its death, but it happened." Mr. Marien, who has been monitoring futures literature for the past dozen years, said the flood of books on trends and forecasts is down to a trickle.

If you have a TimeSelect subscription you can read the entire article here.

See also:
Postmodern Paleo-Future

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Road Ahead: Future of Police Work (1995)

Now that we've seen what the classroom of the future and the home of the future look like, let's take a look at police investigations of the future. The video below is from the CD-ROM included in the 1995 Bill Gates book The Road Ahead.

With video monitors in cars and wireless "wallet PCs" the most hilariously paleo-futuristic thing about this video is the huge audio recording device he plops down on the desk.

See also:
The Road Ahead: Future Classroom (1995)
The Road Ahead: Future Homes (1995)
Bill Gates on Charlie Rose (1996)
Jet Flying Belt is Devised to Carry Man for Miles (New York Times, 1968)

Sport in Space Colonies (1977)

This 1977 illustration by Rick Guidice is from the book Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future.

"Scientists have long known that exercise will be especially important for denizens of space colonies, since there is no gravity to give the body a natural workout. One wonders, however, whether this image of suburban jogging and tennis may prove to be more nostalgic than accurate."

Rick Guidice also did the illustrations featured in this post from February.

See also:
Space Colonies by Don Davis
More Space Colony Art (1970s)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century (1979)

Postmodern Paleo-Future

Lately, I've been trying to organize my thoughts around this idea of the postmodern paleo-future. That is to say, when did a certain level of self-awareness about futurism outweigh the sincere, optimistic brand of futurism?

I might suggest that the first great postmodern paleo-futuristic film was Woody Allen's Sleeper from 1973. Allen was not so much reflecting present-day anxieties and dreams of the future but rather those of generations before him.

In a world of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Meet the Robinsons, and the Futurama TV show, (not the General Motors exhibit from the 1939 World's Fair), where do we go from here?

Is a return to sincerity the answer? Is such a thing even possible, let alone desirable?

Despite what some may have argued at the time, irony did not die on September 11, 2001. In fact, it was the only way Americans knew how to deal with tragedy. Yet, there continue to be moments when a sincere reverence for the future and its possibility poke through, as though asking if it's safe to come out and play.

As usual, your thoughts on this topic are more than welcome.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nuclear War to Start September 12, 2006

You have to admire a man with the "cahones" to put a date on his prophecies even if that means becoming a laughingstock.

Excerpted from the House of Yahweh newsletter found in late August of 2006 near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds:

"My Dear Friends, We must warn the world of nuclear wars that will start no later than September 12, 2006. You need to take part in this Last Days Work of Yahweh."

According to their website the House of Yahweh now claims that a "nuclear baby was conceived September 12, 2006 and will be born June 12, 2007," which is an interesting revision of their original claim.

See also:
The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon

Sea City 2000 (1979)

Today we have more from the great book Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century.

The Sea City 2000 shows some great paleo-future technology such as the dish-shaped antenna that "beams microwave energy, generated by solar cells, to a receiver on the nearby coast."

The bottom right corner shows a Buckminster Fuller design for a floating community. His design includes shops, schools and homes for 5,000 people.

See also:
The Future World of Transportation
Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century
Ristos (1979)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Call a Serviceman (Chicago Tribune, 1959)

In the September 13, 1959 edition of the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine Evelyn Zemke wrote an amusing piece about her vision for housewives of the future. Below is an excerpt from the first part of her story.

"Call a service man," my husband always says when one of our appliances refuses to function.

Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Well, it is. At the very worst, probably only the washer, dryer, dishwasher, and TV would give up one day. But what about the housewife of the future - say of the year 2000, when the electronic era will be at its peak?

I can just picture myself in her place - ready to start another care-free day sitting around reading a science fiction thriller while the gadgets do all the work. Already the electronic brain in my kitchen is busy preparing and serving breakfast.

My husband, arriving at the table exclaims, "Pizza? For breakfast?"

"I pushed the button labeled BACON AND EGGS, but-"

"There's a wire crossed somewhere. Call a service man."

After doing so, I dispose of the garbage in the electronic disposal unit and pile the dishes in the ultra-sonic dishwasher. Then, After pushing the button which starts the electronic vacuum cleaner, I go out to the garage to set the timer for our radar controled lawnmower.

"Ki-yi-yi!" Sounds like Fifi, our pet poodle.

My daughter, standing in the doorway, calls, "Mom! The cleaner is vacuuming Fifi!"

See also:
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Magico Ano 2000 (2007)

YouTuber Esquadrao Atari has a rather beautiful yet depressing video collage/mashup titled Magico Ano 2000 that seems to illustrate the frustration of paleo-futurism and the present day.

From the video description:
"Back in the 60's, human beings had an optmistic view of what the year 2000 would be like. Space stations, clean fuel, intelligent computers. Now it's the year 2007, and reality is not very different from the Dark Ages..."

Walt Disney Explaining the Carousel of Progress to General Electric (1964)

Disney produced attractions for many companies during the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. One of these attractions was the Carousel of Progress for the General Electric Pavilion showing, "how life has changed through electrical energy." Below is a clip from a short promotional film Disney produced.

The film was not intended for the public but rather General Electric, who had not yet heard the featured song of the attraction, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow."

Also, unconfirmed rumors are circulating that Carousel of Progress will be entering the Smithsonian in 2009 along with the Enchanted Tiki Room but you didn't hear it from me.

See also:
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967) 19 March 2007

In 1980 Americans Will Eat Less Beef (1926)

I just finished Warren Belasco's book Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food and it is truly astounding how many people believed that humans would be vegetarians by necessity at the end of the twentieth century. Looking at this prediction from 1926, it is interesting to see that per capita pork consumption declined while beef consumption rose drastically.

"Alonzo Taylor, director of Stanford University's Food Research Institute, represented mainstream nutritional opinion in 1926 when he projected a U.S. population of 175 million in 1980 (actual: 226 million) and forecast a likely reduction of per capita beef consumption from 68 pounds in 1926 to 50 in 1980 (actual: 95), and a reduction of pork consumption from 90 lbs to 64 (actual 55). While such intakes were more than adequate, he concluded, even further livestock reductions would be required if the U.S. population ever reached an unimaginable 200 million."

See also:
The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970) 12 March 2007
The Population Bomb: Scenario 2 (1970) 21 March 2007
A Glimpse of the Year 2000 (New York Times, 1982) 26 Feb 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

No One Will Walk - All Will Have Wheels (Brown County Democrat, 1900)

And you thought the Segway was a new idea! This image ran in the Brown County Democrat (De Pere, Wisconsin) newspaper on December 28, 1900.

There were all kinds of predictions in 1900 of what the 20th century would bring. The "Footomobile" manufactured by the "Electric Monroe Co." appears to be just one such idea. Check out the two guys in the background running into each other. Who said the paleo-future didn't have a sense of humor?

The image was found in the book Yesterday's Future: The Twentieth Century Begins.

See also:
Back to the Future: Part II (1989)

Bill Gates on Charlie Rose (1996)

Remember Interactive Television? Neither do I.

I found a great 1996 Charlie Rose interview with Bill Gates. In 1996 they were already talking about the failure of interactive TV. You can cut to that part of the interview here.

On a related note, while the Apple TV looks pretty cool, it's still a ways off from a product I'd be willing to pay $300 for and is nowhere near interactive. Where's the backwards compatibility? Why can't I sit in bed watching cable news or HBO on my laptop? These fundamentals need to be worked on before I invest in television again.

See also:
The Road Ahead: Future Homes (1995) 15 March 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Aluminum from Canada (1958)

This 1958 advertisement for aluminum from Canada was featured in the book The Golden Age of Advertising - The 50s.

Animal Life on Mars (1957)

In the 1957 Disneyland TV program and subsequent theatrical release of the film, Mars and Beyond speculated what astronauts would eventually find on the red planet. There were some interesting predictions of what animals future humans could find.

You can view a clip of the program here and you can find this program on the DVD set Walt Disney Treasures - Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond.

See also:
Plant Life on Mars (1957) 15 March 2007
Mars and Beyond (1957) 28 Feb 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Population Bomb: Scenario 2 (1970)

Continuing our look into the future as presented by Paul Ehrlichin in his 1968 book The Population Bomb, today we examine his second scenario. Due to what Ehrlich believed to be over-population and inevitable famine the world has digressed into utter chaos. Again, this is excerpted from the 1970 edition of the book.

"In 1979 the last non-Communist government in Latin America, that of Mexico, is replaced by a Chinese-supported military junta."

"Only the outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of bubonic plague killing 65% of the starving Egyptian population had averted a direct Soviet-American clash in the Mediterranean."

"The third Los Angeles killer smog in two years has wiped out 90,000 people....The President's Environmental Advisory Board has reported a measurable rise in the sea level due to melting polar ice caps. [The Board] recommends the immediate compulsory restriction of births to one per couple, and compulsory sterilization of all persons with I.Q. scores under 90."

"Pollution and pesticide poisonings have supplanted cardio-vascular disease as the number one killer of Americans."

"[In early 1980] general thermonuclear war ensues. Particularly devastating are the high altitude 'flash' devices designed to set fire to all flammable materials over huge areas. At one point 15 monster fires rage in the Northern Hemisphere. Each covers an average area of 400,000 square miles - four times the area of Colorado."

"[Radiation levels] make two-thirds of the Earth uninhabitable. Pollution of the sea is vastly increased. Small pockets of Homo sapiens hold on for a while in the Southern Hemisphere, but slowly die out as social systems break down, radiation poisoning takes effect, climatic changes kill crops, livestock dies off, and various man-made plagues spread. The most intelligent creatures ultimately surviving this period are cockroaches."

See also:
The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970) 12 March 2007

Russian Paleo-Future (circa 1900)

BoingBoing has a link to the blog Dark Roasted Blend and some great Russian paleo-futurism. While I take issue with Blend's contention that these are, "...probably one of the very first truly 'Futuristic/Urban' series of images ever published," it is an amazing set of images.

See also:
Unrealized Moscow (1930s to 1950s) 7 March 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Feminine Beauty (New York Times, 1909)

"Most interesting of [Jules Bois's] predictions, perhaps, is that the present ideal of feminine beauty will have ceased to be held by the majority of the Caucasian race. Physical weakness, extreme delicacy of physiognomy, and acquiescence in a mere secondary position in the social organization will have given palce to a type in which beauty and muscular development will be combined."

"Strange to say, the Paris press has not yet pointed its arrows of ridicule at the prophet. Perhaps it is because the average Frenchman has no deep-seated objection to woman doing a large share of the world's work, such as the American man appears to have."

If you have a TimeSelect subscription you can read the entire article here.

See also:
A Hundred Years From Now. (New York Times, 1909) 14 March 2007

100 Miles per Gallon! (1992)

The end of the article says it all:

"...sometime in the near future, you will be able to go to your local dealer and buy a car that incorporates much of what you see here. And it will get 100 miles per gallon."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)

Lately, there have been a lot of posts on different blogs about the Monsanto House of the Future. The house of the future featured the great conveniences of 1986. Opened in 1957 in Disneyland and closed ten years later it has become the house of the paleo-future. Above, I've linked to video of this incredible, paleo-futuristic house.

Check out what people have to say at Disney Blog, Stuff From the Park, Yesterland, Daveland's construction post and a comprehensive year-by-year page from Daveland.

See also:
The Road Ahead: Future Homes (1995) 15 March 2007

Westinghouse (1964)

This ad for Westinghouse from 1964 is featured in the book The Golden Age of Advertising - The 60s.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hoverboards Are Real! (1989)

Paleo-Future reader Chris mentioned that as a 13-year-old he watched a "Making of" documentary for Back to the Future: Part II. In it the director, Robert Zemeckis, claimed that hoverboards were real. I tracked down the clip. (And to be honest, I can see how a 13-year-old might believe that the hoverboard was real. I mean, the man on the television told me so!)

See also:
Back to the Future: Part II (1989) 12 March 2007

Jet Flying Belt is Devised to Carry Man for Miles (New York Times, 1968)

The New York Times article from 1968 titled, "Jet Flying Belt is Devised to Carry Man for Miles," describes the device pictured above as a Buck Rogers flying belt. Oh, how close to the future New York Times readers must have felt on June 28, 1968. Little did they realize that jetpacks would be relegated to the paleo-future.

"....the police might use the belts for riot control, for setting up roadblocks in a hurry, for inspecting rooftops for snipers, burglars or others escaping from the scene of a crime."

If you have a TimeSelect subscription you can read the entire article here.

See also:
Jet Pack Video (1966) 21 Feb 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Road Ahead: Future Homes (1995)

We already saw what the classroom of the future would look like. Let's take a look into the home of the future. The 1995 book The Road Ahead by Bill Gates included a CD-ROM with video of just such a look.

"The interactive hit, Jurassic Park 6.1" may be my favorite line of the entire video.

See also:
The Road Ahead: Future Classroom (1995) 13 March 2007

Flying Car Patent (1991)

An excerpt from the patent abstract:
"The combustion engine is also geared to vertically oriented ducted fans (40) and a horizontally oriented ducted fan or propeller (76) for providing the vehicle with the capability of travel through the air. Pressure jets (62), supplied with compressed air from a compressor (66) driven by the combustion engine, augment the lift of the ducted fans and provide steering for the vehicle."

You can see United States patent 5,141,173 here.

See also:
The Future World of Transportation 13 Feb 2007

Plant Life on Mars (1957)

We looked at how Disney portrayed humans living on Mars in the 1957 Disneyland TV show "Mars and Beyond" but the depiction of possible plants on Mars may be even more imaginative.

According to Steven Watts in his book The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life (p. 309):
"[Mars and Beyond] was the most speculative program [and] it veered near the realm of science fiction with its imaginative description of possible life forms on the planet, [and] Martian weather conditions..."

You can view a clip of the program here and you can find this program in its entirety on the DVD set Walt Disney Treasures - Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond.

See also:
Mars and Beyond (1957) 28 Feb 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Hundred Years From Now. (New York Times, 1909)

"Mr. Bois believes that motor cars will in a hundred years be things of the past, and that a kind of flying bicycle will have been invented which will enable everybody to traverse the air at will, far from the earth. Pneumatic railways and flying cars and many other means of quick transit will be so developed that the question of time will enter but little into one's choice of a home."

If you have a TimeSelect subscription you can read the entire article here.

See also:
The Future World of Transportation 13 Feb 2007

Motorola Television Revisited (1961-1963)

Today we have more Motorola television ads from illustrator Charles Schridde. If you recall, this series ran in Life Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post from 1961 until 1963 and was immensely popular for its elegant, futuristic look.

According to the book Window to the Future by Steve Kosareff the ad pictured on the right was the very first and "public response was so great that Motorola asked Schridde (even after he left the ad agency that Motorola had hired) to continue with a series of similar illustrations for its home electronics advertisements."

See also:
Motorola Television (1961-1963) 22 Feb 2007

Westcot (1991)

In 1991 the Walt Disney Company announced plans for a 470-acre expansion of its presence in California. This expansion was to include an "EPCOT West" or Westcot. The proposal is interesting if only for its ambition. Westcot was to be a "World's fair-type attraction in Anaheim," with the featured attraction being a 300-foot-tall Spacestation Earth, modeled after the 180-foot-tall Spaceship Earth in Florida's Epcot Center.

According to a New York Times article from December 13, 1991:

"The heart of the new resort will be Westcot, with Spacestation Earth at its center and, fanning outward, pavilions named the Wonders of Living, the Wonders of Earth and the Wonders of Space, along with cultural exhibits. 'Westcot is expected to draw 10 million visitors in its first year,' said Kerry Hunnewell, vice president for the Anaheim Project."

According to the New York Times, the head of the Westcot project resigned in December of 1993 without any reason given.

Many Disney-related blogs including Jim Hill Media, 2719 Hyperion, and Mickey News have covered this story if you're looking for more information.

See also:
EPCOT's Horizons 19 Feb 2007
The Simpson's go to EPCOT 14 Feb 2007
Astuter Computer Revue 8 Feb 2007

The Road Ahead: Future Classroom (1995)

The 1995 book The Road Ahead by Bill Gates included a CD-ROM with video of what the classroom of the future would look like.

The paleo-future of 1995 is filled with ethnically diverse students academically engaged by the high-tech presentations of their fellow classmates. The teacher brings the class to attention by telling them to "get off the net." Every child has a diverse array of technology at their disposal. The keyboard Mr. Ballard uses is the most confusing of the supposed advances we see in the video.

(Is it just me or was "Mr. Ballard's" presentation completely devoid of useful information?)

A special thanks to Valleywag, who inspired the search for this paleo-futuristic video.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dancing on the Moon (1935)

The 1935 Fleischer Brothers cartoon Dancing on the Moon gave audiences a peek at the wondrous age of space travel, still decades from becoming a reality. It is difficult to imagine the world of 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression, watching a cartoon like Dancing on the Moon with such optimism. I picture Cecilia, (Mia Farrow) in the Purple Rose of Cairo, escaping her unbearable life through the images on screen.

The experimental nature of using a combination of models and animation for Dancing on the Moon is the most strikingly original aspect of this cartoon classic. The space rockets of today are clearly different from those depicted in the short but the notion of space tourism, (an idea that's been around for quite some time), was clearly an exciting concept for the tired masses of 1935. Check out the short cartoon here.

See also:
All's Fair at the Fair (1938) 21 Feb 2007

The New Christy Minstrels (1966)

I came across this New Christy Minstrels album cover in the Retro Records Flickr Group. Clothes of the paleo-future are often impractical but I really don't mind what this woman is wearing. The bug-eyed helmet is the only thing that seems absurdly unnecessary. Otherwise, it seems like pretty standard 1960's mod fashion.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970)

Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich, author of the 1968 book The Population Bomb, had some crazy ideas about the future. Ehrlich, so concerned about what he saw as a population explosion, wanted forced birth control, child lotteries and the "spiking of foreign food aid with antifertility drugs."

I recently found a 1970 edition of his book and now offer you excerpts from his bizarrely specific "Scenario 1" (of which there were three) featured in the second chapter.

Ehrlich stipulated that, "...none of [the scenarios] will come true as stated, but they describe the kinds of disasters that will occur as mankind slips into the famine decades."

"In 1972 news of the war in Thailand occupies the headlines of the United States, China has catastrophic floods, a breakdown of communications, and massive famines. Increasingly serious food riots in China, India, and Brazil are a matter of great concern to the Central Intelligence Agency."

"In early January, 1973, large numbers of Chinese troops move into the Thai conflict for the first time. They receive tactical air support from bases in North Vietnam."

"After an unheeded warning, tactical nuclear weapons are used in strikes on selected Chinese air bases, supply complexes, and staging areas in North Vietnam, Thailand, and southern China. With the connivance of the Russians a preemptive strike is also launched against China's nuclear facilities. Unfortunately, our defenses are not sufficient to prevent five 'dirty' Chinese thermo-nuclear devices, transported in submarines, from being detonated in the sea off our West Coast. Fallout results in more than 100 million American deaths."

If you thought Scenario 1 was incredible stay tuned for Scenarios 2 and 3.

Back to the Future: Part II (1989)

While the most common rhetorical question of paleo-futurism seems to be, "Where's my flying car?" I am personally frustrated with the absence of a much more fun, futuristic innovation. The hoverboard.
In 1989, Back to the Future: Part II gave us a glimpse of 2015 and the next generation of personal, recreational transportation. I remember playing on a skateboard and imagining that in just a few years we'd all be whipping around like Michael J. Fox.

Sony has patented a "Segway-sans-the-handlebars" device, but it appears that we have quite a ways to go before we're hovering. Although, the geniuses at Mythbusters are certainly helping us along.

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Future of Leisure That Never Arrived (New York Times, 2007)

In yesterday's article by Hal R. Varian, (a professor of business, economics, and information at UC-Berkeley), we see that over the last 100 years, society has been convinced technological and social progress would bring about vast amounts of leisure time.

"When you account for the much longer time in school, the more or less constant amount of time spent on housework, and make a few other adjustments, hours spent on purely enjoyable activities haven’t changed that much in the last century. Keynes may have been right that future generations will have a lot of time on their hands, but I wouldn’t bet on that happening anytime soon."

See also:
What to do with all this leisure time? (1966) 22 Feb 2007

Picturephone as the perpetual technology of the future

As a follow-up to Wednesday's post about the Picturephone, I encourage you to read Frederic D. Schwarz's piece in Invention & Technology magazine.

"Unlike car phones, Picturephone never had long lists of people waiting to sign up. And periodic attempts to revive the concept with modern technology have never taken off. AT&T's color VideoPhone flopped in 1992, as did a wireless version launched in 2000. Even today, with transmission of voice and images over the Internet becoming routine, services that combine the two, while popular among homesick expatriates in Silicon Valley, remain a niche product at best."

"Most people simply don't want to see or be seen by the person they're talking to...."

Duck Dodgers in the 24th and 1/2 Century

The animated short film "Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century" is classic Daffy Duck. Much like the Jetsons, this film presents a world of flying cars and ultra-modern design. In an odd way, by examining comedic films you're able to most accurately take the pulse of the nation. The world of 1953 was certainly obsessed with space travel.

Duck Dodgers was rated 4th in the 1994 list of the 50 greatest cartoons of all time.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Taiwan Has Abandonment Issues

I recently came across yet another abandoned Taiwanese development that Flickrtarian Airman 19_19 claims is a futuristic-looking hotel.

"The land it's built on is reserved by the government for public works/purposes/use only, which hotels do not fall under. It's easy to get building permits for almost anything, but you need a separate permit to actually operate such things. Apparently several decades ago it was common practice to get the building permit, build your hotel, and then bribe an official into giving you the operator's permit. Unfortunately, this hotel was built just as the government began cracking down on such corruption, and as such was never given permission to open."

See also:
Desolation Row (16 Feb 2007)
Desolation Row in Color (22 Feb 2007)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Face-to-Face Telephones on the Way (New York Times, 1968)

This New York Times article from 1968 quotes the chairman of AT&T and his expectations about the future of Picturephones.

"'I think for example that Picturephone service will be in very considerable use within less than ten years,' Mr. Romnes said. 'By this I mean person-to-person connections, over a switched network and similar connections between people and computers, with the output of the computers shown on the Picturephone screen.'"

Picture-phones have been the promise of many generations now. (As we saw with the 1993 AT&T ads from last week.) When it really comes down to it, will the picture-phone ever seem practical given our mobile lifestyles? Is it time to put the picturephone in the permanent collection of the Paleo-Future Museum?

If you have a TimesSelect subscription you can read the entire article here.

Unrealized Moscow (1930s to 1950s)

The drawing above is of the proposed Palace of Technology in Moscow. There was a competition in 1933 to design the palace but alas, it was never built.

The drawing below is of the Building of the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry. It was rendered in 1934 but it too was never built.

You can see more of unrealized Moscow here.

(via Flickrtarian Judgmentalist and the Flickr Paleo-Future Group.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Mobile Phone Prototypes (1973)

Invention and Technology magazine has a great piece in their Winter 2007 issue about the development of the mobile phone. The pictures below are prototypes developed by Motorola. The "banana" model second from the right intrigues me most. The world would be a very interesting place if mobile phones had never gotten any smaller.

To The Fair! (1965)

With the same type of optimism presented in 1939's All's Fair at the Fair this 1965 film of the World's Fair in New York gives the impression that people can come together and bask in the beauty of our ever-improving world. The sincerity of the narrator is incredible, "A suspended theater with a film on the joy of living!"

The second half of the film provides a great look at the General Motors Futurama II exhibit. This, along with the cheeky narrative told through the eyes of lost boy scouts and hormonal teenagers is pure paleo-future fun.

(The YouTube video above has both parts compiled into one film but if you'd like the source video you can find them at the Internet Archive in two parts here and here.)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Expo '92

Paleo-Future reader Scott Andress sent in links to photos he recently took in Sevilla, Spain. Sevilla was one of the two sites for Expo '92, which doesn't have much of an English language web presence to speak of.

You can check out Scott's podcast here. Listen to episodes 20 and 23.