Last night I went to see the movie 'Elysium' and, apart from all the head-whirling action and natty technological advances, the one thing that nagged me pretty much all the way through was that the whole premise reminded me of a blog I read on Digg earlier in the week, written by Nathan Curry, detailing how things have changed over the last half-decade or so.
So, for the purposes of disseminating this information, I would like to re-tweet his blog - 're-bleet', if you will :-)
You see, if one lazy afternoon you happened upon a stray Tardis where, in a fit of distraction, Doctor Who had left his keys in the door, and were able to work the swishy, up-and-down, light shiny, knob turny bits, and actually bring yourself back to the 1950s (the decade of the first Back to the Future no less), you would be surprised to discover that:
The moon looks 2 metres-ish closer to Earth, and the continents of Europe and North America are 1.2 metres closer together - 'no biggie,' I hear you say but, as an opener, it's a good indication how the universe never stands still.
In daily life (keeping in mind this is a good decade or so before Reaganism, and two before Thatcherism, and the subsequent de-regulation of financial institutions) you'd notice some of the impacts from the West's post-war economic boom and the 'Great Leap Forward' in the East:
• Lasers are moving from Science Fiction to becoming a reality.
• Bar codes are seeping into everyday usage.
• Contraceptives are easily manufactured and available.
• The hydrogen bomb can destroy an area 867 times the size of Hiroshima.
• We see the first burgeoning of microchips, credit cards, and synthesizers.
• Superglue has been invented.
• Girls can get their first Barbie doll.
• Pharmaceutical companies are becoming the most powerful corporations on the planet.
• Factory farming is becoming the way of the future.
... And whilst, to some, this might all look like a species embracing its potential, there is also the distressing statistics that:
• There are also two-thirds fewer - I'll say that again 'two thirds fewer' - humans living on the planet than in 2013.
• Over a million - again I'll repeat 'over a million' - different species of plants and animals exist that have since gone extinct.
• There are 90% more fish in our lakes, rivers, and oceans.
• There is 1 billion fewer tons of plastic in everyday life, landfills, and caught up in ocean currents.
• There is also 40% more phytoplankton in the oceans (for those of you who don't know the importance of this - phytoplankton are the producers of half the planet's oxygen).
• There are twice as many trees covering the land (a 50% loss in my own life-time) and about three times more drinking water available from ancient aquifers (yes we are down to just 33% of what we had in the 1950s).
• There is about 80% more ice covering the northern pole during the summer season.
• There is 30% less carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere.
Alarming as these statistics are, they but a tiny fraction of a very long list and we are - I was going to say 'rapidly closing on over-populated oblivion' here, but I don't think it does service - where we are is teetering on the edge, the 'rapidly closing on' happened thirty years ago.
Apart from the arguments of climate change, deforestation, and melting ice-caps - we have the major question of feeding the upsurge in population (that's disregarding the inevitable territory wars) ... an example being, the year I was born (1963) there were 3.2 billion people on the planet, now 7.2 billion, by the mid 2050s the population of earth will reach 10 billion and over and, as I fully expect to be here in 2050 and, I don't know about you guys, but that scares the bejasus out of me.
Some say GM foods are the panacea - but does it really help 3rd world farmers - indeed all farmers - to buy non-germinating seed only from a single global corporation who own the rights to plants and animals - or water for that matter?
Anyway, I could go on for hours about un-nutritional food and consumer dependency, but I'll leave it to your good-selves to make of this data what you will - maybe you will research further, maybe you won't - I'm just saying is all ...
Have a terrific week,
Amazon Bestselling Author of The Silver Mist
Information about Martin and his novels can be found at: