Your Flying Car Awaits: Robot Butlers, Lunar Vacations, and Other Dead-Wrong Predictions of the Twentieth Century

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Talking dolphins . . . Underwater cities . . . Two-hundred-year life spans . . . Welcome to the present!

People have always imagined what life would be like in the future. Most of the time they've been wrong. Often they were really, really wrong. Your Flying Car Awaits looks at the most outrageous predictions from twentieth-century scientists, novelists, and social commentators, detailing the technologies and philosophies that led some great (and not so great)minds to think ...

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Your Flying Car Awaits: Robot Butlers, Lunar Vacations, and Other Dead-Wrong Predictions of the Twentieth Century

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Overview

Talking dolphins . . . Underwater cities . . . Two-hundred-year life spans . . . Welcome to the present!

People have always imagined what life would be like in the future. Most of the time they've been wrong. Often they were really, really wrong. Your Flying Car Awaits looks at the most outrageous predictions from twentieth-century scientists, novelists, and social commentators, detailing the technologies and philosophies that led some great (and not so great)minds to think the ridiculous was achievable. Includes phenomenally inaccurate predictions such as:

  1. Space tourism will be ubiquitous by the year 2000
  2. Nuclear explosives will be used for commercial demolition
  3. Engineered and man-made oceans will cover the planet
  4. Weather will be as predictable and controllable as a train schedule

An eye-opening, fascinating, and endlessly entertaining collection of truly boneheaded scientific predictions from the past hundred years, Your Flying Car Awaits shines an illuminating light on the people of the previous century by examining the ridiculous theories they envisioned about this one.

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Editorial Reviews

Steven Levingston
Imagine what the world would be like today if only a fraction of the wacky predictions over the centuries had come true. We'd be dodging each other in flying cars…Didn't quite work out that way—and maybe for the better. You get that sense after ripping through Your Flying Car Awaits, Paul Milo's wonderful treasury of faulty forecasts. And you come to a better understanding of how hope and imagination more often than not triumph over reality.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
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. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061724602
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Milo is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer. His freelance work has appeared on Beliefnet and in Editor and Publisher and Exit, an alternative weekly.

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