Some More Found Future Ideas


I'm interested in the human aspects that will stay the same - buying food, getting a job, listening to the news -- so here are some ideas along those lines:

Grocery Store Receipt: What everyday products will have been invented\produced\marketed? How much will products we have now cost? How will new items fit into\complement existing products?

Job Listings: What new jobs will be created? What will the job requirements be? What jobs that we have now will still be around? What new requirements will be added to existing jobs?

News Podcast: NPR podcast from the future - what will be the headlines? What headlines will be the same, only re-shaped in a future context? What other news delivery systems will exist in the future? How will news-addiction be treated? Will there people who bet on when major news events occur, and where? How will events happening now be referred to as history? What can we extrapolate from current events? What will the stock market be doing, and how will it respond to those events?

With these items perhaps a dystopic view of the future can be painted in a more subtle way.

FWIW, Nathan

Professor Schwan's Gastrofantasmapromenautomaton


Category: Huh?

In small-town USA, a new wind stirs. Signs have appeared all around this simple village; portents of an approaching phenomenon. Wheatpasted on barns and five-and-dimes are announcements of an inbound traveler, one Professor Schwan, and his "AMAZING!" "STUPENDOUS!" "MUST-BE-SEEN-TO-BE-BELIEVED (AND MAYBE NOT EVEN THEN)!!!" mystery: the Gastrofantasmapromenautomaton.

Rumors flow and excitement builds throughout the shire until one day, lumbering down the main thoroughfare, is the Professor himself. He manages to cut a handsome figure in his slightly disheveled, lace-trimmed three piece suit, bow tie, and velvet top hat. He kicks up dirt with a showy canter. Behind him is a massive mechanical beast: an ornate, mysterious trolley like the luxury rail cars of old. Pipes and vents of every description belch odors both pungent and delicious. Brass and woodwork is splayed in the organic swirls of pastry decorations.

As curious onlookers approach, the silver-haired Professor barks his call to one and all. To the residents of this fine hamlet he offers all of the wonders the eyes, nose, and stomach can behold: the Gastrofantasmapromenautomaton! In this horseless locomotive, he waxes, is more than just the kitchen of the future, more than just the finest victuals ever devoured, more than the speed of the space age and the power of the atomic age. At the core of the Gastrofantasmapromenautomaton is the greatest culinary motherbrain ever assembled of circuits and vacuum tubes ...

One by one the townspeople are led aboard the trolley. Inside they bear witness to the Professor's claims: it is a mechanized masterpiece of which Mr. Wonka would be proud. Machines of alien appearance chop and cook and mash and peel and boil and bake foodstuffs of every description. In automated symphony and before their very eyes, metal hands knead dough, roll a crust, assemble cherry filling, and bake a pie to Rockwellian golden-brown. A dozen other down-home staples are similarly and artfully prepared, all at the Professor's theatric pull of oversized levers. With each new meal the onlookers' eyes and stomachs grow. With every forkful, they are further convinced of the Professor's magic.

But one resident remains dubious. Ethel, the unofficial matriarch, has mastered her culinary craft through the toil of her eighty-some years. Her biscuits are known in three counties. Her sweet potato pie is blue ribbon. She naturally finds such automation preposterous, and wears her distaste in a suspicious squint.

The Professor politely accepts the praise of his happily stuffed guests and focuses his attention on his lone unsatisfied customer. To her, he admits that the machine's motherbrain, the Deep Blue of deep fry, is a parlor trick.

"You see, my dear", confides the Professor, "these recipes are the real magic. I have traveled to every corner of this fine land, and visited a great many towns such as yours. In each town, I've met a remarkable woman such as yourself -- proud, skilled, a master of her craft. And each woman, in realizing the twilight of her life, was eager to share with me her greatest accomplishment -- her secret family recipe."

"Now, I knew I hadn't the skill to recreate their delicacies myself, so I used the skills I do have to build the Gastrofantasmapromenautomaton to make them for me. So really, that was Mrs. Kelley's cherry pie you had. And Mrs. Lundgren's pot roast. And what about Mrs. Albert's corn casserole? Delicious, don't you think? And though Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Lundgren and Mrs. Albert are no longer with us, bless their souls, fine people in towns just like yours can still enjoy their master works, for ever and ever. All thanks to their generous hearts and my wondrous machine."

With a twist of his mustache, the Professor leans in to whisper.

"So, my dear Ethel, tell me about this sweet potato pie I've heard so much about?"

Registration for National Film Challenge Opens Sept. 1


From the 48hr newsletter:
On Oct. 19-22, the National Film Challenge returns. The challenge, which is run by KDHX Community Media, is the sister competition to the 48 Hour Film Project. As with the 48HFP, National Film Challenge contestants have just one weekend to make a short film. But rather than attending a local kickoff to obtain their genre and required elements, teams will receive their marching orders by logging into a secure Web site with a password on Friday at 7 p.m. (their local time). Completed films must be at the local U.S. Postal Service or FedEx office by close of business on Monday. The best films will be screened at theaters, released on a DVD, and possibly air on television. While any filmmaker anywhere in the world can compete, only 300 slots exist and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration for the National Film Challenge opens Sept. 1 and closes Oct. 18. Register by Sept. 20 to qualify for the early registration fee of $110; the regular registration fee is $125. For more information on the challenge or to register, click to

Movie Idea

Time: Present day. Three years ago, a human was cloned in secrecy. All birth documents were forged through a cooperative rogue nurse. Facing old age and health problems, the lead scientist who created the child is about to die. He and his small team reveal the now three year old child to the world. The news spark public outrage, which quickly turns to violence and leads to deaths. Opinion is fervently divided. Some say the child has a soul and should live, others insist this un-godly creation should be destroyed.

Possible endings:
In a dream sequence we see the young boy building a sand castle. The shot widens to reveal an identical boy next to him building an identical sand castle. The child darts up from sleep. Is the waking child a clone? The original boy? Are there two of him or was it a dream? He gets out of bed, goes to the kitchen and eats:
a. computer parts
b. a live frog
c. his thumb...and grows another!

2. Abortion clinics across the nation are bombed. It is later revealed the boy is not in fact a clone. So called proponents of life have bombed and killed hundreds. For what I ask you? For what?!!?!?!?

3. The boy is shot. Is there another of him out there?

Unbelievably cool


digital image technology

Minnesota hurricane


Just some current events...

Since the national media is more wrapped up with hurricane Dean many people are not aware of how bad things are here. Our home has registered about 12-17 inches of rain since Saturday (most of it coming in 24 hrs). I'm not sure of the total because our rain gauge overflowed. By comparison, south Texas is expecting 5-10 with pockets up to 20 when Dean hits. We essentially had a hurricane without the wind.

My family is ok, but I actually know one of the confirmed dead. My wife's drive to work may very well be about 1-2 hours now (instead of 20 minutes) because so many bridges and roads are out (and by out I mean no longer existing). Nearly everyone I know has some sort of damage to their home or property (including us). The pics I took (link below) may not be as pretty as the STL ice shine pics, but they sure do remind me that even the ground under my feet gets taken for granted too often.

Do me a favor and give someone a hug today... I'm going to try to get more photos tomorrow. The National Guard won't let people into the worst areas, so I'll try to work around that. Hopefully you downstreamers don't bear any ill effects due to all of our hydration.

Future Artifacts: Checkpoint Bravo


Last evening I was joined by LabRats bendango and underscore for some follow-up on our future artifacts discussion. A few new ideas surfaced, and we returned to themes of media, eco-corporate sponsors (reforesting huge swaths in a logo shape visible from space, reconfiguring natural waterfalls [vid above]), and medicine (mosquitoes that vaccinate, anti-cancer deodorant).

We agreed to mutual fascination with the clumsily named "awkward intermediate step" of cultural evolution, in which we will remain perpetually nestled as long as technology develops rapidly and non-heuristically. [An example and potential execution done been posted a while back.]

It seems that many of our ideas favor the "continuation" scenario category, in that there needn't be a particularly dramatic or improbable trajectory change for them to come about. A commonly anticipated characteristic of that category is "crass commercialization", as Jake notes. Our ideas with a commerce angle have merit here (fwiw, I particularly like the sponsored teleportation scenario, wherein you sell forehead adspace for the duration of your trip. It also works nicely considering Hawaii as a tourist destination. Execution would be a cinch: normal holiday snaps, with pshopped forehead tats). Teleportation, though a somewhat tired concept, also plays nicely into Hawaii's island identity.

So, I'm picking out some favorites of my own -- what about y'all? Which ideas / scenarios do you think would stimulate you enough to actually execute some manifestation of them?



drinkspiller notes: we need a creative collaborative space. I'm apt to agree with him. A local watering hole or duderoom is a reasonable option, but let's shoot the moon. What about a neutral environment that can be both isolated and connected, stimulating and still, with resources for spur-of-the-moment creative generation and capture. Any ideas of where we might squat for free? Could we strike up a deal to use some meeting area at the city museum?

And what if we were flowing fat funds? What would the ideal space look like?

Future Artifacts: Checkpoint Alpha

Last evening I was joined by LabRats drinkspiller, defective guru, digital cowboy, hebchop, bendango, and heavy artillery for ruminations on the future (The future, Conan?). After the loosest possible rundown of futures studies and the endeavor at hand, we explored in equally loose form the categories of future experiences and how artifacts might manifest themselves. In suppository form.

Above is the video referenced by choppers. Following are the scribbles in my moleskine, which I hope serve to remind you of their context. We were all over the place, and the notes reflect it. Please add any additional info and afterthought to the comments thread.

  • mortality - extracting segments of worm dna, "life savings" >> pay in years of life, pass down longevity to children, trade longevity for luxury, carbon credits

  • tech food - hpepsico, gm/monsanto, rewiring brain to interpret vegetables as sugary-sweet, "trick-or-meat!"

  • population - human bumper, "twins!" headline

  • health / medical - custom medication (the Skye pill, with coating to inhibit consumption by anyone else)

  • authenticity - on Antiques Roadshow they ask "is it real?" ... what items from today / tomorrow will be similarly scrutinized in the future? (plastics? products wont last forever, and are made from a diminishing resource. hair? buttons?)

  • enviro-commerce - tree farms, fifty year investment in rare woods. ethanol equivalent from sap (instead of whole plant, provides constant drip of fuel).

  • valued resources - plastic wedding rings, wood replicas

  • biological evolution - four fingers, thumblessness (yaay!), hairlessness

  • entertainment - Disneymoon

  • space - Earth's "ring" of space debris, satellite traffic

  • transportation - teleportation (first object - "pure" element in flawless shape, pile of oopsie goo, biomass layover, v1 teleporters make you stink!, punch card teleporting - fiji and cleveland similarly accessible, brand-sponsored travel applies tattoo advertisement on forehead for duration of travel, "imma be all up in your brainstem!")

  • wtf - willy wonka meets william gibson, fight the nsa through your web browser

  • ecology / environment - hawaii is paradise (because it's an ice floe)

  • bionics - software crashes result in blindness

  • politics - first pres elected because he "knows" every constituent's name (500+mil), vote instantly and remotely

  • nationalism - with weapons / resources reach can claim personal sovereignty to nations

I've invited you all to the collaborative Google Doc that more formally outlines the project and some initial ideas. Email me if you haven't received access.

Let's reconvene next Tuesday at 6pm to isolate a few themes, align them within the context of the project, and set some execution plans. Specifics forthcoming.