Future history is the sine qua non of science fiction. Far term future history is fairly easy — say over the span of 600 years. Example — we have spaceflight to other planets, warp drives, transporter beams. Midterm, over the course of 5-50 years, is more difficult, although Stargate SG-1 comes close. The real challenge is to project from current technologies, political philosophies, and current events to short term events in the near future — 1 to 5 years. William Gibson (“Neuromancer”, “Count Zero”, “Johnny Mneumonic”) was able to successfully extrapolate trends and Neal Stephenson (“Snow Crash”, “Diamond Age”, “Cryptonomicon”) has had some success (if he could only learn how to end a book).
The following is a segment of the 12 Angry Men Blog dedicated to taking our philosophical biases and projecting our rants into a short term future history. Disclaimer: Any resemblance to persons living or dead, is entirely intentional.
Tehran President Barack Obama met today with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Accompanying him were Secretary of State Biden and National Security Advisor Robert Wexler. In a two hour meeting, Iran pledged to stop increasing the number of its uranium separation centrifuges, currently estimated to be over 10,000, asserting that their production levels were now sufficient to meet their specified goals. Iran has been attempting to make itself energy independent, a goal which President Obama sympathized with. US average gasoline prices fell to $7.43/gallon on news of the reduction of tension with Iran. President Obama reiterated his conditions that any meaniful dialogue with the United States requires Iran to take an essentially neutral position with respect with Iraq. “The long and difficult struggle between the Iran and the previous Iraq state cannot be viewed as other than an inherent interest in the outcome of the current political process. The withdrawal of the United States from Iraq serves as a indication of our committment to allow the Iraqi people to decide their own fate without outside interference.” said Obama. President Obama further stated that “Iranian intervention would exacerbate an already intractable problem for the Iraqi people.”
National Security Advisor Wexler, in a later press release, declined to speculate on the probable outcome of the Iraqi civil war. Mr. Wexler did assert that it appeared likely that the most current shipments of weapons bearing Iranian issue markings were hijacked by rebel Shiite insurrectionists and that Iran should not be held responsible.
New York The Dow Jones Industrial Average today topped 3000 for the first time in 24 months signaling what analysts believe to be an end to the current bear market. Gainers favored losers by over a 3 to 1 margin. Financial analyst Coty Dubrowski from Bear-Sterns-Citi-Stanley(NYSE:BSCS) speaking at a dinner for independent analysts in New York, noted “The elimination of the uncertainity in corporate tax, income tax and government fiscal policy has allowed corporations for the first time in years to look ahead with some degree of confidence. The current marginal tax rates of 68% on individuals and 50% on corporations, while not conducive to growth, have allowed both individuals and corporations to plan for the future.” The S&P 200 fell slightly during after-hours trading from 151.35 to 151.2 off 9/100 of a basis point.
Springfield, IL Speaking from his Chicago office, Governor Rod Blagojovich, announced that he would remove upwards of $100 million from the proposed budget of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The IBHE is responsible for the channeling of State money to the flagship educational institutions of the State including the University of Illinois. In addition, Governor Blagojovich indicated that the conditions of the State budget were so dire that it would be impossible to approve a capital spending bill for the state’s decaying infrastructure. From the University of Illinois, The Chancellor Richard Herman, speaking from the steps of Lincoln Hall, decried the Governor’s actions indicating that Lincoln Hall has been on the list of needed capital improvements for over ten years. Lisa Madigan, who was in attendance, noted that her priorities had to include the rebuilding of the I-74 bridges over the Mackinaw river and over the Illinois River at Peoria. Speaking from the crowd, Madigan reposted Herman saying “While higher education is an important element of Illinois’ future, I-74 is responsible for shipment of food across the state and must enjoy a higher priority.” Madigan has been endorsed by the Illinois Teamsters Union.
Author’s Note. This was written July 16th, prior to Senator Obama’s selection of Biden as his running mate. Apparently, Obama decided that he needed a VP with foreign policy experience more than a Secretary of State.