Showing posts with label futurity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label futurity. Show all posts

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Women of the future will make the Moon a cleaner place to live."

Well, someone's got to scrub those habitat modules.

(Thanx: BB.)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Threat Of Private Mechanical Police

I'd like to see a hobbyist somewhere actually build one of these things . . .

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A-Blasts Propel the Atomic Pulse Rocket Into Space (1960)

"This is the Atomic Pulse Rocket, a pot-bellied ship nearly the size of the Empire State Building, propelled by a series of atomic blasts." Sure, it sounds like a bad idea now but back then it was on the cutting edge: it only needed "a thousand atomic blasts -- each equal to 1,000 tons of TNT" to push the 75,000 ton behemoth out of Earth's atmosphere. Once transit speed was reached, things went green: power was then provided by "solar batteries plating the wing and body surfaces."

This is essentially the craft envisioned by Project Orion -- which wouldn't, incidentally, use nuclear blasts within Earth's atmosphere.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Now this is more like it . . .

A Fleet of Atomic-Electric Space Ships Embark For Mars, 1957

The spaceships (conceptualized by Ernst Stuhlinger and Werner von Braun) were 500 feet in diameter and powered by electricity generated by the atomic reactor carried in the tail. This meant they could operate continuously over a period of years. Each carried a small landing craft for descent to the Martian surface, and had quarters for 20 men (in 1957, there was no mention of female astronauts).

Thursday, May 08, 2008

More fascinating Soviet space illustration here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

If there's anything better than retro images of tri-finned rocketships it can only be the unexpected discovery of paleo-transhumanism.

Take a look:

Streamlined Humans (1934)

This article from the July 29, 1934 Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT) imagines the streamlined human of the future. In the piece, Count Sakhnoffsky proposes the alteration of humans to fit the new, fast-paced society of the future.

While I admit to a special affinity for the alien/UFO meme, this image is not without some Fortean relevance. After all, what are the ubiquitous "Grays" of UFO lore if not streamlined humans, spared the clumsy encumbrances that distinguish people from their extraterrestrial counterparts?

The Grays, real or imagined, represent an audacious feat of minimalism -- to the point that some researchers (convinced of their objective reality) have posited they they're literally fetal, the attempt of a truly alien intelligence to interact with us by using a recognizable -- if grotesque -- human template.

Ten thousand years from now (but 25 would do)

The modern icon of the flying saucer didn't actually penetrate our culture until 1947, when amid much confusion the term was publicized in relation to UFO sightings (the term UFO itself would take some more years to come by).

There were some examples and reports of discoidal flying objects before that seminal year, some even used the iconic expression. But there was no concept (much less mass sightings) of flying saucers as a kind of Universal design for alien spaceships. Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers used rockets. Alien Flying Saucers, that's a post-1947 cultural icon.

That's why depictions of discoidal aircrafts and spaceships before 1947 are of special interest. They are not that rare, actually, but each one of them should make you say wow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Groovy, man:

Your Very Own Meditator (Nov, 1970)

This project was conceived to make it easier for all of us to satisfy our need for occasional moments of private contemplation. Enter the Meditator and surround yourself with the graphics which cover its walls, and something begins to happen to you almost at once.

It's difficult to predict, but you may find the sensation akin to that mystical communion with nature that you experience when alone in a forest -- or the sense of peace you feel in an empty cathedral. Or you may develop sudden insights as you study the picture-fragments of your world -- and be swept by the conviction that you're "getting it all together" at last.

(Via Boing Boing.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Scientists Visualize the REAL Flying Saucer Men (Jun, 1951)

The only thing funnier than the illustrations (dig the Venusian "beast man") is the name of the article's author, one "I. B. Neer."

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Once again we encounter the inevitable pairing of robot and housewife, a staple of retro-futuristic media purporting to herald the Next Big Thing.

Is it just me or is there a certain veiled eroticism at work here?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Vintage Syd Mead. Click "View as slideshow," sit back and enjoy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Machine Vends Roasted Coffee (Sep, 1949)

When you get your coffee out of this machine, you're sure it's fresh -- roasted right before your eyes while you wait. The Infra Roast holds 150 pounds of green coffee and dispenses it, freshly roasted, at the rate of a pound a minute.

Shades of the much-hyped Clover machine.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A future-sexy Brigitte Bardot becomes entranced by the miasmic "cybernetic art" of the late Nicolas Schöffer:

And just in case you missed Raquel Welch strutting her stuff in mock-astronaut garb, click here. Like crazy, man!

(Hat tip to Dark Roasted Blend.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Get Ready For Antigravity! And Other Pieces of Sadly Incorrect Futurism

This piece from the 1930s shows scientists trying to come up with antigravity -- now it's more than 50 years later and we're still waiting on hoverpads and floating grav-lifts. This poster is part of a series of eight that all showcase futures we should have had by now, like fish bowl swimming pools, flapwing flycars, and mining on the moon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A gem from Dark Roasted Blend:

Barbarella & Other Ladies in Space

A woman may have been created from Adam's rib down on planet Earth, but her charms will certainly follow man into outer space, making her the most utterly irresistible creature in this Galaxy and beyond (some alien monstrosities may disagree).

With lots of pictures!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Psychology at Depth

Originally published by Science and Mechanics, in November 1931, the depthscraper was proposed as a residential engineering solution for surviving earthquakes in Japan.

The structure, "whose frame resembles that of a 35-story skyscraper of the type familiar in American large cities," would actually be constructed "in a mammoth excavation beneath the ground."

Friday, February 01, 2008

Click here for a complete, full-color scan of "The Usborne Book of the Future." No gritty "Blade Runner" verisimilitude here; the Usborne future is pervaded by industrial-grade optimism.

It's enough to make you sick.

Update: I was wrong! There is dystopia and bleakness to be found in "The Usborne Book of the Future." For a horrifyingly familiar depiction of a "dying world" of the early 21st century, be sure to click here and here.

(Thanks: BB.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cuban taser glove of 1935

More punch than can be found in a box-glove is contained in a new electric glove invented by Cirilo Diaz of Cuba for use by police while handling rough characters or in quelling riots. Persons contacted by an officer wearing the glove receive a 1,500-volt shock, sufficient to remove all traces of fight. A half-pound battery worn on the belt supplies the power, all wiring being concealed beneath the coat.

(Via Boing Boing.)

Perhaps the first thing I'd do upon donning the taser-glove in 1935 is fly to some remote island populated by some primitive tribe. As a display of my divine prowess, I'd tase a few of the village's alpha males, then proceed to encourage unconditional worship. (Dissenters, of course, would find themselves mercilessly tased.)

Attended by the community's choicest women, I'd rule my corner of the globe with an electric fist . . .

. . . until the batteries ran out.

I couldn't resist.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Drat! The fiendish squad at Boing Boing has beaten me to this psychedelic video of Raquel Welch in faux-astronaut attire! But I'm willing to settle for leftovers.