In Part 1, I looked at the predictions Robert A. Heinlein made in 1950 for what would happen over the course of the 20th century. Back in 2000, I wrote out my own predictions for the first half of the 21st century. I thought, 16 years in, I’d take a look at how I was doing.
Overall, it’s not so bad. but the unifying theme is that I wasn’t bold enough. Nothing I predicted was as interesting as what Heinlein predicted. So while I did “better” in terms of batting average, I did way worse in terms of slugging. My predictions are right, to steal a phrase from P.J. O’Rourke, in the same sense that a fortune cookie saying, “You will soon be finished with dinner” is right.
Continue reading 2050, Part II
This is kind of … odd.
At a recent conference on sex trafficking in Orlando, Florida, members of a panel warned attendees about the dangers of space exploration, saying it would be a gold mine for future sex traffickers.
“Space is going to be like a frontier town,” said Nicholas Kristoff, who chaired the panel on Sex Trafficking: the Long Term View. “There will be no law enforcement in space, which means that girls, some as young as 11, could be easily trafficked to colonies on Mars or in the asteroid belt where they would have to service up to 50 men a day in zero gravity.”
Asked for comment by e-mail, Julie Bindel expressed support for a ban on space exploration, noting that science fiction films have frequently depicted prostitution in space. She derided series like Firefly for presenting an unrealistic and unrepresentative model of future sex work. She noted that the film Total Recall featured numerous prostitutes including one with three breasts. “No little girl grows up wanting to be a triple-breasted Martian prostitute.” She further attributed the recent push for space exploration, particularly the Mars One TV show, as being due to efforts by the “pimp lobby” to create a completely new market for sex outside of the bounds of law enforcement.
After the panel, the organizers pointed to a recent study by Dominique Roe Sepowitz and the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research which claimed that ads for interplanetary prostitution have increased 200% in the last year alone and presented evidence that shuttle launches are associated with major increases in sex trafficking. “We have good evidence that women and girls were trafficked into Cape Kennedy during the Apollo program as well,” she said. “Everywhere there is a rocket launch, there is sex trafficking.”
Such opposition is not new. In her seminal book Intercourse, feminist icon Andrea Dworkin noted that rockets have a phallic shape. “The push for more space exploration is clearly an effort to thrust these phallic rockets into the universe’s unconsenting vagina.” She advocated for an “enthusiastic consent” standard from other planets before further human exploration.
I don’t even know what to say about this. We haven’t even gotten a man to the moon in 40 years and we have people worried about the future of sex in space. Takes all types, I guess.
Update: This post was part of Maggie’s April Fool.
I’ve actually thought for some time that the only way to colonize Mars would be to send people there on a one-way trip. Of course, you have to face the brutal reality that those who go are very likely to die in the attempt. Mars is not where we evolved and its environment is almost certain to have unknown hazards. But the back-and-forth business is simply not going to work.
In the end, I think Heinlein was right: space will be colonized by people we decide we’d rather dump off on another planet and let survive on their own. That’s how the Western World colonized the Americas and Australia. You combine some eccentric billionaires and an opportunity to get rid of political/racial/religious undesirables and we’ll spread through the Solar System in no time.