No comments | Friday, May 03, 2013
1865 Jules Verne Predicted the Moon Landing
Verne's perscient novels from the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon featured a spaceship called the Columbiad, which blasted off from a launchpad in Florida and carried three astronauts into space. After impressively completing a trip to the moon, the ship crash-landed in the Pacific Ocean. Sound familiar? That's because it almost precisely describes the first US moon mission, Apollo 8, which took place more than 100 years later, in December 1968. Interestingly, NASA named its Apollo 11 command module the Columbia, inspired by Verne's famous fictional vessel.

1898 Mark Twain Predicted the Internet
The Sardonic scribe forecast the internet a century before its birth. In this short story "From the 'London Times' of 1904," Twain described an invention based on the Telectroscope, a never-produced 19th century device that was intended to use an enormous network of phone lines to connect the world.

1953 Ray Bradbury Predicted Flat-Screen TVs
In his novel Fahrenheit 451, the science-fiction master writes that members of his futuristic society are obsessed with large, flat-screen televisions (which didn't hit the market until 1997): "How long you figure before was save up and get the fourth wall torn out and a fourth-wall TV put in? It's only two thousand dollars," says character Mildred to her husband. Incidentally, Bradbury wasn't too far off on the price tag either.

1966 Star Trek Predicted Bluetooth
Crew members of the starship Enterprise were the first to use a Bluetooth-like device, a hands free communication tool that wouldn't be created until 1994, when it paved the way for mobile phones. Thankfully, the crew was exempt from roaming fees. 

1968 James Berry Predicted Online Shopping
This sci-fi writer described click-and-buy home shopping in the November 1968 issue of Mechanix Illustrated. "Instead of being jostled by crowds, shoppers electronically browse through the merchandise of any number of stores," he speculated about today's consumer trend, which debuted in 1995.

1990 Total Recall Predicted Full-Body Scanners
The (US) Transportation Security Administration captured headlines in 2010 with airports controversial use of full-body scanners which are eerily similar to the one that sees through Arnold Schwarzenegger's skin in this futuristic 1990 flick.

1991 Francis Ford Coppola Predicted YouTube
In an interview for the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, the director says, "Suddenly, one day some little girl in Ohio is gonna be the new Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father's little camera-corder and for once, this whole professionalism about movies will be destroyed, forever and it will really become an art form." YouTube arrived 14 years later.

1995 The Simpsons Predicted a Food-Processing Trend
Soya food sales quintupled between 1996 and 2011. But who could have known about their jump in popularity in 1995? In the sixth season of The Simpsons, an episode called "Lisa's Wedding" flash-forwards to the far-off year of 2010, where no home could be complete without satellite dishes, motion-controlled video games and stacks of soya snacks.

They got it wrong (or are still to arrive in the future?)
A shortened workday
Prediction: "The average work day is about four hours. But the extra time isn't totally free. A jobholder's spare time is used in keeping up with new developments- on the average, about two hours of home study a day."
Reality: The average workday is eight hours. And many employees work after hours. And many employees work after hours. Worse, many employees regulary check their e-mail and do work while on vacation.

Climate controlled cities
Prediction: "You whiz past a string of cities, many of them that keep them covered by the keepered by the new domes that keep them eventually climatized year-round.
Reality: Global warming has caused the Earth's temperature and sea levels to rise, resulting in extreme weather conditions and more severe storms. Dome-closed cities? Let's hope they're on the horizon.

Automated Doctors' visits
Prediction: "Medical examinations are a matter of sitting in a diagnostic chair for a minute or two, then receiving a full health report."
Reality: "We wish it were that easy. Waiting times at the clinic can be frustratingly long- even longer at public hospitals. And exam time can be added to that.

[Source: Reader's Digest]
No comments | Thursday, May 02, 2013
First printed books
Books were printed in China in the 8th Century using woodblocks, and in 14th-century China and Korea using movable type.
First books printed in English
In 1474 William Caxton printed the first book in English, Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye. It was printed in Bruges, Flanders. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales was probably the first book in English to be printed in England, in about 1477.
First books printed in America
Massachusetts Bay colony: The Oath of a Free-Man (1638) and An Almanack for the Year of Our Lord (1639) are the first two books known to have been printed in the new American colonies.
Longest novel
A science-fiction novel by French writer Georges-Jean Arnaud, La Compagne des Glaces (1980-92) runs to 62 volumes and has about 11,000 pages.
First sequel
Daniel Defoe wrote The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe in 1719, after the success of Robinson Crusoe earlier that year.
First American novel
The power of sympathy (1789) was the first novel published in America. It was published anonymously, but is believed to have been written by William Hill Brown.
First detective story
first booksMurders in the Rue Morgue, by American author Edgar Allan Poe, was first published in Grahame's Magazine in 1841.
Smallest book
This was produced by a German typographer Josua Rechert and called The World's Smallest Book. It measures 2.4 x 2.9mm - the size of a match head.
Largest book
The largest ever book was published in 2003. It is a collection of photographs called Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Kingdom. When opened out it measures 2.1 x 1.5m - almost the size of a table-tennis. It costs $10,000 a copy.
Electronic books
Electronic books, or ebooks, have been around for over 20 years. The earliest ones could not store much information and had tiny screens that were difficult to read, such as an electronic Bible (1991) that could display four lines at a time. The latest electronic books are small, light and hold huge volumes of data that can be downloaded from the Internet.

Largest libraries:
A library is a collection of books and other printed material. The word library can also be used to describe the building where a collection of books is kept, as well as manuscripts, maps, periodicals and photographs. Below are the world's largest libraries, each containing over 10 million books.
Library Founded Location Books
Library of Congress 1800 Washington DC, USA 29,000,000
British Library* 1753 London, UK 18,000,000
Russian State Library 1862 Moscow, Russia 17,000,000
Bibliotheque Nationale 1461 Paris, France 14,000,000
Harvard University Library   1636 Cambridge, Massachusetts,
Deutsche Bibliothek 1990 Frankfurt, Germany 11,300,000
* Founded as part of the British Museum, 1753: 
became independent in 1973