blast from the past ...

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Martin Bezemer aka Haragai (U14769281)

Jan 17, 2012, 6:10:01 AM1/17/12
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Written by Arthur C Clarke in 1968 in "2001, a space oddysey"

When he tired of official reports and memoranda and minutes, he would
plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information circuit
and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up
the world's major electronic papers; he knew the codes of the more
important ones by heart, and had no need to consult the list on the
back of his pad. Switching to the display unit's short-term memory, he
would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and
noted the items that interested him.

Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the
postage-stamp-sized rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the
screen and he could read it with comfort. When he had finished, he
would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for
detailed examination.

Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology
behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect
communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from
Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he
could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. (That very word
"newspaper," of course, was an anachronistic hangover into the age of
electronics.) The text was updated automatically on every hour; even
if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire
lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the ever-changing flow of
information from the news satellites.

It was hard to imagine how the system could be improved or made more
convenient. But sooner or later, Floyd guessed, it would pass away, to
be replaced by something as unimaginable as the Newspad itself would
have been to Caxton or Gutenberg.

From 2001: A Space Odyssey , by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Del Rey in 1968

Paul W. Harvey

Jan 17, 2012, 9:23:01 AM1/17/12
Arthur C Clarke prided himself on the amount of hard science that he
included in his novels. It doesn't surprise me at all that he was so
prescient about computer technology that was more than 30 years in the
future at the time he wrote about the year 2001.

On the other hand [not that I want to knock his achievements in any
way], his fictional vision for 2001 had manned space ships exploring
as far out in space as Jupiter. That didn't happen on schedule. Ten
years after the *real* 2001, it still hasn't happened. Neither Clarke
nor anyone else could have foreseen that Man would land on the Moon
and then pull away from manned exploration beyond it.

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