Posts Tagged ‘weather’

We live in the future


My science-fiction-loving friends have often heard me claim that, if Robert Heinlein was alive today, he would be very upset with us for not having colonized the moon or other planets. I’m still pretty upset about it myself. Only a few hundred living humans have ever been in space, and the American media still looks disdainfully upon anyone willing to spend the time and money to go up with another country’s space shuttle.

Even the term itself is un-futuristic. “Space shuttle.” It sounds like a fancy name for the tram that takes you to the different parking lots at Disney.

But this week, I realized that we really do live in the future.

I personally live in the greater Atlanta, Ga., area, and we recently were held in the icy grip of a winter storm that cancelled school for a full week, left thousands stuck on their couches and not at work, and generally made people ecstatic for one day and morose for the next four.

Welcome to HothLanta

I happen to work for a company that provided me with a brand-new Macbook (as of November) and a way to access all the programs I need to do my job from literally anywhere with an internet connection. So, while thousands of my co-workers were stuck at home doing nothing, I got work done all week. I worked in my kitchen, I worked in my basement, I worked in my living room with my feet up. I stayed in contact with co-workers via instant messages, I took conference calls at my house, and I fulfilled dozens of work orders.

I couldn’t have done this ten years ago. But now, I live in the future.

For days, meteorologists used computer models to warn me the storm was coming. I got information from television, radio, and the internet. I was able to entertain my child using video games, movies, recorded television, and her very own computer (my four-year-old daughter has a laptop with a Linux install; that amazes me from time to time). I kept up on what other people were doing using Twitter and Facebook, and even got on board with the hashtag #hothlanta, creating a community amid a paralyzing storm system.

A century ago, if a storm had hit, I might not have known about it until it was too late, and I certainly wouldn’t have kept as busy as I did. But now, I live in the future.

Despite being trapped in my house, a prisoner to unsafe driving conditions, I still managed to cook and eat meals, stay in contact with my extended family, keep up with the latest news, complete my assigned work tasks, and even watch three full seasons of “The IT Crowd”.

When Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida (I lived there at the time), the only information we got was from the radio. After it passed, we had no idea when the power would be back on or if it was safe to leave our neighborhood. But this week I found out all those things before even putting on my jacket. Because I live in the future.

What really sealed it for me was this: on Thursday, I was working in my kitchen and wanted to listen to some music. Normally I’d put on last.fm or iTunes radio, but I only have a limited amount of bandwidth in the house. So I took out my iPad, activated the Remote app, and started playing music from my personal library. Without getting up off my ass, I controlled my personal laptop in the next room, told it what music to play and how loud, and within moments was enjoying, among other things, the London Symphony Orchestra performing the soundtrack to “Superman: the Movie”.

I live in the future. And as much as I complain, I kind of like it here.

I wonder what I’m going to do tomorrow.

EP268: Advection


By: Genevieve Valentine
Read by: Mur Lafferty
First appeared in Clarkesworld
Discuss on our forums.
All stories by Genevieve Valentine
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated PG: For mild violence

Show Notes:

  • Feedback for Episode 260: The Speed of Dreams
  • Next week… The difficulty of watching a parent die.

Advection
By Genevieve Valentine

The first day of fifth year a boy came in with the new eyeshields, a glossy expanse of black with no iris or pupil, and looking at him was like looking into an eclipse.

All the other girls said it made them uncomfortable; they teased him to take them out, to put on some normal sunglasses like everyone else. They said they’d never forgive him for hiding eyes in such a handsome face.

“Fortuni, it’s a little much,” said someone.

That was how I learned his name.

We were all Level Two intelligence, but before the first week was over the news was out that some had managed to find the money for a sixth year. Janik Duranti, who spent the history lectures drawing stick figures screwing on his computer screen, was getting a sixth year. I’d be cleaning his office someday. Answering his phones. Updating the registration on his blue ID cuff.

Carol Clarke opened the top button on her shirt as soon as the shades went down; obvious, but it was worth it to be married to a guy who had a sixth year.

The first time Fortuni opened his mouth was two weeks after start-of-year in geohistory, when Mr. Xi was talking about the five oceans.

“After the emergency desalinization,” Mr. Xi said, “we held the first HydroSummit to determine the best use of resources.”

“I think it’s awful about the dolphins that died,” said Kay, whose water ration was unlimited because her father was a diplomat, and that was how I first noticed her.

Mr. Xi opened the rain cycle diagram on our screens; the blue advection loop from a hundred years ago had been overlaid by a three-point process from the Atmo water collectors to the thirsty ground, and the green web of the surface sweat system that preserved the little underground things that managed to survive.

My grandfather sent my mom a postcard from Niagara Cliffs when there was still a river at the bottom (RAIN! All my love, Dad), and as Mr. Xi talked about desalinization I traced the advection circle, thought about the sky filling with wet clouds, about water sliding over everything.

I looked up, and Fortuni was watching me, his lashes casting shadows over his flat black eyes.

“I’m going to engineer some rain,” he told me, and after a moment I laughed.

That was how I met him.

Read more…

(Continue Reading…)

EP005: Snow Day


By Jennifer Pelland.
Read by Deborah Green.
All stories by Jennifer Pelland.
All stories read by Deborah Green.

“Innovate, Max. Burrow your way out. I don’t care.”

“A tunnel of snow would be unsafe for you to travel through, as it could collapse at any time.”

“Max–“

“Would you like to have sex?”

Damn him. He vibrates.

Rated R. Contains profanity, robotic sexual content, and offensive weather.


Download this week’s Escape Pod.