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Inspiration from the Past

Today, some photos taken at Area 51 in 1963 became declassified. (Check them out at National Geographic.)

We've all seen 1960s movies and TV shows, with strange designs and viewpoints of what "future" looks like. While Hollywood was busy fashioning coffee canisters, vacuum cleaners, and Slinkys into spaceships and the skyscrapers of tomorrow, the US government was working on actual crafts that rival today's in modernism.

Doesn't it make you wonder what secret projects are currently occupying our national scientists and engineers?

Think of how greatly technology has advanced:

- Even a "small" computer in the '60s was probably 100 times the size of today's average laptop.

- Satellite manipulation is common, and its resulting data (Google maps, for instance) is easy to access. Imagine that in the '60s.

- Cameras and audio equipment can be had at such small sizes, they are virtually unnoticeable.

- Communication--between people, between devices--is impossibly fast.

- With technological advancements, people's capacity to imagine and implement acceleration of the future is greater. (It took Granny a long time to "get" the concept of email, but Baby will know it as a baseline law of the world and spend time and brain power on other things.)

Beside whatever development secretly goes on behind the curtain of national security, the film industry still has a stranglehold on gestating visual representations of the future... and in my opinion, it's not a wide range of possibility. Nearly every future-set movie presents vehicles, cities, and concepts in the same way. My guess is that they're just as far off about our future as they were about the future of the '60s.

With this in mind, I think it would be fun to start a group for people interested in outlook forecasting to share ideas and musings--even sketches--as a comparison to what will surely be declassified by the government 50 years from now. At the least, this might be a great exercise to get the brain going and create some new technology or products for today.

Any takers?

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