The Future, and Where We Stand in 2010

Today’s topic of the future was chosen by ChanAn D at UT Austin. Merry Christmas Eve everyone, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHANAN!

Woops, wrong holiday…

ChanAn:

Could you blog about your future home? (details necessary). Where will you be? Who will you be? etc.

That is a really interesting question. I still have no idea what I want to be and no idea what kind of home I will be living in.

If I could choose, it would be a modern home, perhaps postmodern. It must be unconventional. It should be like a creative work of art. It can’t have plain old squares or cubes. (Okay, a few are acceptable.) It needs to be interesting, unpredictable.

A walk through the house should feel like a walk through this:

Okay, well maybe not THAT crazy. But you see the point.

Where and who will I be? Again, I am totally unsure. I would love to be a novelist, writing stories in a fairly isolated place. Or a professor. Probably a professor, teacher, or some academic. Somewhere.

The Future

At the beginning of this year I wrote a post called 2010s: The Decade of Solutions. In this decade, I thought, we would have to start solving the political and environmental dangers that accumulated throughout most of the late twentieth century and which we avoided in the first decade of the twenty-first.

This year, 2010, has been a rough start. Looking at the New York Times’ Year in Pictures, I saw political violence and tensions still strained as high as ever; North Korea’s bombardment of South Korea, even if minor and short-lived, posed the possibility of a horrible future. Natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake continued to take their toll. Indeed, this year’s album is quite a depressing one.

To the Earth, what 2010 will be remembered for, and what we should try to learn from, is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

It showed how something that we had never really thought about before could become an enormous problem. A problem that would, after many unexpected delays and difficulties, take many months to solve. And had terrible environmental consequences.

This disaster should be interpreted as a warning. It doesn’t mean 2010 was a complete failure. As I said earlier, it was a rough start. But not too rough. We had the successful Chilean miner rescue. Meanwhile, digital technology continued to flourish. Facebook expanded from 350 million to near 600 million users. In the United States, at least, we are transforming from a society of this:

…into a society of this:

In that image, the white parts lines show ties between Facebook users. America is quite covered.

Let us end optimistically by looking at what was perhaps the most amazing scientific discovery of the year:

That is arsenic life. [wiki]

While 2010 might overall have been a downer, there is certainly hope for the future. 2010 has been wrapped up, its contents bundled away to be stored in the attic and not under the Christmas tree. The present we should instead wish for is that 2011 be a better year than 2010.

Let us see if ol’ Santa delivers.

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