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Education

People in the 1900s made some wild predictions about the future—but they weren't all wrong

11 fantastical predictions too outlandish to be true. And 3 that totally came true.

future predictions

French drawing series on scientific progress about the year 2000

Do you ever wonder what the future used to look like?

I mean back in the day, before we all walked around with glass bricks in our pockets that contained every piece of information that's ever been available and allowed us to connect with anyone anywhere in the world in real time. What did people from more than 100 years ago think our future might look like?

That was the question posed to French commercial artist Jean-Marc Côté in 1899. Côté and his team were commissioned to create a series of cards to commemorate the 1900 world's fair, "Exposition Universelle," in Paris, featuring images of how the world might look in the then-distant future of the year 2000. Sadly, the company that commissioned the project (which was likely either a toy or cigarette manufacturer) went out of business before the cards could actually be distributed, and the images remained out of print until author Isaac Asimov rediscovered and published them with accompanying commentary in 1986.

But now that we've lived through that fantastical future, how did these predictions turn out? Let's just say there was, um, a lot of creativity on display. Which is enough to make even the most flawed of these forecasts — of which there are many — even more fascinating to think about today.

Here are 11 delightfully inaccurate visions of the year 2000, according to artists from the late-19th century:

1. Prediction: Firefighters will fly around with batwings on.

This one didn't pan out ... unless maybe Côté was just trying to predict the creation of Batman?

firefighters, future, artist, imagination

Flying firefighters in artist rendering from the 1900 world's fair.

All images by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

2. Prediction: We'll all travel across the Atlantic in these sweet-lookin' blimp-boats.

Again, not spot on ... although to be fair, I'd prefer this to ever flying standby again.

technology, predictions, artist, world's fair 1900

It's a flying blimp boat.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

3. Prediction: We will domesticate whales and use them as transportation.

Nope. If only we'd spent half of the 20th century training whales instead of killing them.(Although there is that dolphin chillin' there, and dolphin-assisted childbirthis a thing that exists in the 21st century, for better or for worse.)

whales, transportation, imagination, future predictions

A drawing of a dolphin looking at a whale bus.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

4. Prediction: We will also domesticate giant mutant seahorses.

There's a slight chance all this weird aquatic stuff was their way of warning us about the impending threat of sea-level rise from climate change. Either that or they were warning us about the general existence of Aquaman.

fanciful drawing, seahorse, mutation, future tripping

Drawing of scuba divers riding giant seahorses.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

5. Prediction: We'll be hunting seagulls ... from underwater?

Not so correct. But maybe I'm wrong, and we've been overlooking the nutritional value of seagulls for the last century. (Also, why is that woman swimming in a dress?)

seagulls, divers, cartoon, 1900

Divers attract seagulls from underwater in future prediction drawing.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

6. Prediction: Flying cars will be a thing.

While this image does resemble the traffic outside the Paris Opera just before showtime, our automobiles are unfortunately still stuck on the ground. It does go to show, however, that humans have been obsessed with the idea of flying cars for a long time.

flying cars, predictions, painting, world's fair, 1900

A painting of flying cars.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

7. Prediction: Aerial wing-flapping hover cars will be our key mode of transportation.

Although perhaps it's only a matter of time until "Uber for aerial wing-flapping hover cars" becomes a thing.

Hopefully, by the time this happens, that orange aerial wing-flapping hover car on the right will learn how to fly without slicing her wings through the other aero-cabs on the stand.

cars of the future, artist predictions, 1900, 2000,

Wing-flapping cars cruise around the city.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

8. Prediction: Automated bathrooms will make our lives much easier.

As clever as today's smart homes are, we still haven't quite figured out how to create a fully-automated bathroom like this. The few failed attempts that have been made at creating robot lipstick applicators were all much less elegant, and much less steampunk.

automated, home, convenience, painting

Woman gets dressed in automated bathroom.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

9. Prediction: Our hardworking barbers and salon specialists will be replaced by robots.

I'm OK with this one not panning out because I'm just not ready to trust an automated tree of spider arms to use sharp objects near my head.

robots, barber, technology, advancement, society

Robots do the work of a barber.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

10. Prediction: Our education system will become way more high tech.

While this one is utterly incorrect on a literal level, the image itself works pretty well as a metaphor for our modern education system. Whether that's a good or a bad thing is entirely up to you. (Although we do have EEG technology today, which isn't so different from those helmets...)

school, education, technology, computers

Students learn with technology if futuristic rendering from the 1900 world's fair.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

11. Prediction: radium.

That's scary. It might help if you wanted to breed a race of ginormous seahorses ... but probably isn't safe to keep in the fireplace as your main source of heat.

radium, future fuels, family, convenience

People relax around a radium fueled fireplace.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

Not all of these future visions were as ridiculously off-the-mark as the ones above though.In fact, here are three more that were downright prescient.

1. Prediction: We'll communicate via video chatting.

They totally called the invention of FaceTime/Google Hangouts/every other video chatting service that I use on a daily basis.To be honest, I kinda wish I had a holographic phonograph setup like this. It's way cooler than just staring at my laptop screen all day. (Also I wish I had a sweet mustache like these dudes.)

video chat, computers, technology, drawings

People communicate through a predicted version of video chat.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

2. Prediction: We'll see the rise of a mobile society that's not locked into a single location.

Sure, on an overly-literal level, this is basically just a glorified mobile home — which is kind of ironic considering how mobile homes in America are more commonly associated with lower incomes than the wealth that this image depicts.

mobil homes, community, travel, future

A drawing of a future prototype mobile home.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

But more importantly, images like this — and the one below, which accurately predicts the rise of electric trains that have helped to enable more public mass transportation — show that these French thinkers were looking forward to a more adaptable and international society. Telecommuting, remote offices, cross-continental teleconferencing, even the idea of transient living through AirBnB — that's where we are today, and it's exactly where we wanted to be at the turn of the 20th century. And that's pretty freaking cool!

(There's also probably an argument to be made that this electric train suggests a greener and less coal-dependent future, which is cool too.)

electric train, travel, technology, predictions

People board an artist drawing of a futuristic electric train.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

3. Prediction: The future will be full of automated industry.

Today, automation and industrialization can be touchy subjects. Are they responsible for job loss? Do they rely too much on questionable cost-cutting practices, such as artificial ingredients and other structural shortcuts?

Those are all important issues to address. But the future portrayed in these images reminds us of the inherent optimism of industry and progress — something that's all too easy for us to ignore today.

farming, industrial, prototypes, jobs, community

A picture of a possible future with industrialized farming.

Image by Jean-Marc Côté/Wikimedia Commons.

See how happy this guy is? He's not freaking out over (and alternately consuming) pesticides and chemicals for the sake of mass production. He's got a big ol' farm, and technology is helping him to make more stuff — and make it fast, so he can sell it and make money and support his family and all that good stuff we like to talk about when we talk about jobs.

Sure, maybe modern factory farming does deserve its less-than-stellar reputation. But at the same time, it's all too easy for us to forget the amazing headway in the creation of life. Now, we can even 3D print ovaries to induce fertility. Think about how amazing that would have seemed in 1899.

And on that note, maybe we should also celebrate the fact that we can 3D print a freaking house today. For all the very real problems that we face in the modern world, technology like that still makes a major difference in a lot of people's lives.

Also these brilliant French futurists clearly foretold of the rise of the almighty Roomba, which is just wonderful on so many levels.

As fun as it is to look and laugh at the imagined futures of the past, this is also a really cool way of evaluating where we are today — and where else we need to go.

It's kind of like writing out your own personal five-year plan ... envisioning the future still makes it easier for us to map out how to get there. Sure, it might not look exactly as you'd hoped — after all, you can't predict every random roadblock you might hit along the way. But it still helps to have some idea of where you're going.

The future is happening all around us, every single day — sometimes so much and so fast that we don't even notice.

Between improving factory farm conditions and domesticating those giant radioactive seahorses, there's obviously still a lot to be done.

Instead of letting ourselves become jaded with the growth we take for granted, maybe this is evidence that we should all try to look back at where we came from, evaluate and celebrate just how far we've come, and figure out a plan to keep moving forward.

This article originally appeared on 08.10.16

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

We get to see the world through Mr. Kitters' eyes.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a cat? To watch the world from less than a foot off the ground, seeing and hearing things humans completely miss, staring out the window for hours while contemplating one of your nine lives?

Well, thanks to one person, we need wonder no more—at least about what-they're-seeing part.

The TikTok channel Mr. Kitters the Cat (@mr.kitters.the.cat) gives us a cat's-eye view of the world with a camera attached to Mr. Kitters' collar. And the result is an utterly delightful POV experience that takes us through the daily adventuring of the frisky feline as he wanders the yard.


In a video titled "Spicy cats," which has more than 74 million views on TikTok, we begin with the cutest cat sneeze ever. Then we hear Mr. Kitters' meow as we walk with him through the grass before the scene switches to a thrilling, yowling cat chase he witnesses across the yard (while tucking himself even more securely under the bush he's in).

The best is seeing his kitty paws as he walks and then digs in the mulch. And there's apparently something very exciting that needs to be pounced on right along a chain link fence.

Watch and enjoy:

@mr.kitters.the.cat

Spicy cats 🌶️ #fyp #cat #meow

The commenters made their delight known.

"I love how he saw the cat fight and was like that's not my business today," wrote one person.

"WHEN HE DIGS WITH HIS LIL PAWS," declared another.

"People: Cats only meow at humans." Mr Kitters -Meows at everything-" wrote another.

And of course, countless people responded simply to the sneeze with "Bless you."

Mr. Kitters has other POV videos as well. This one demonstrates how chatty he is and shows his black cat buddy as well.

@mr.kitters.the.cat

“What do you want?” “Nothing!” #fyp #cat #meow

It really sounds like he says, "Let me in," doesn't it?

And this "extreme sports" video is riveting.

@mr.kitters.the.cat

Extreme sports 💀 #fyp

It's funny how something as simple as putting a camera around the neck of a cat can draw in tens of millions of people. We're all so curious about the lives of the creatures we see every day, and the adorable quirkiness of cat behavior is a big part of why we keep them as companions in the first place. Seeing the world through their point of view is just one more way we can enjoy and learn about our pet friends.


This article originally appeared on 6.15.23

Kelsey Wells at three different weights.

It's super easy for most people to get hung up on the number on their scales and not how they actually look or, most importantly, feel. People often go on diets in hopes of reaching an ideal weight they had when they graduated high school or got married, but they're often disappointed when they can't attain it.

But a set of photos by fitness blogger Kelsey Wells is a great reminder for everyone to put their scales back in storage.

Welles is best known as the voice and body behind My Sweat Life, a blog she started after gaining weight during pregnancy. To lose the weight, she started the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) training program and after 84 weeks she shared three photos on her Instagram account that prove the scale doesn't matter.


The photos showed her at her start weight (144 pounds), the weight she hit two months after giving birth (122 pounds), and current weight (140 pounds). Now she weighs exactly what she did when she started the program but her body is entirely different.

Here's an excerpt from Wells' Instagram post:

SCREW THE SCALE || I figured it was time for a friendly, yet firm reminder. YOU GUYS. PLEASEEEEEE STOP GETTING HUNG UP ON THE NUMBER ON THE STUPID SCALE! PLEASE STOP THINKING YOUR WEIGHT EQUALS YOUR PROGRESS AND FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING PLEASE STOP LETTING YOR WEIGHT HAVE ANY AFFECT WHATSOEVER ON YOUR SELF ESTEEM, like I used to.
To any of you who are where I once was, please listen to me. I am 5' 7" and weigh 140 lbs. When I first started #bbg I was 8 weeks post partum and 145 lbs. I weighed 130 before getting pregnant, so based on nothing besides my own warped perception, I decided my "goal weight" should be 122 and to fit into my skinniest jeans. Well after a few months of BBG and breastfeeding, I HIT IT and I fit into those size 0 jeans. Well guess what? I HAVE GAINED 18 POUNDS SINCE THEN. EIGHT FREAKING TEEN. Also, I have gone up two pant sizes and as a matter of fact I ripped those skinny jeans wide open just the other week trying to pull them up over my knees.?? My point?? According to my old self and flawed standards, I would be failing miserably.


This article originally appeared on 10.26.17

via Pexels

What's the most relaxing song in the world?

Stressed? Of course you are. Luckily for you, and the entire U.S. population, scientists believe they may have identified the most relaxing song in the world.

Music has forever been associated with bringing about relaxation, happiness, and serenity — whether it's a Gregorian chant or some Enya accompanied by a glass of merlot.

Neuroscientists in the United Kingdom think they have found the one song that relieves stress and soothes our souls more than any other.


Mindlab International, a market research firm, conducted a study a few years ago in which participants completed difficult (and possibly stressful) puzzles while their brain activity was monitored. To study its effect, music was played while they completed the puzzles.

One song stood out above the rest. "Weightless" by Marconi Union (listen below), an English ambient music band, induced a 65% reduction in stress among participants, according to Inc. And DailyMail.com reported that the song was 11% more effective than most other songs — by such musicians as Adele and Coldplay — in reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing speed.

The 2011 song was created by the band, along with the British Academy of Sound Therapy, to do just that — relax listeners.

If you prefer something with lyrics, try Enya's "Watermark" or "Pure Shores" by All Saints, which were also proven to be relaxing,

Music therapy is considered to be a natural therapy important in alleviating stress. Because stress is an important cause of other deadly illness, fighting it is key to maintaining good health. Numerous studies have shown how damaging stress can be to our bodies and our brain. So don't let it get out of control. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the music.

This article originally appeared on 11.03.16

Pop Culture

She re-created famous fashion ads to make a great point about diversity

"The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too."

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

A classic pose.


From a young age, Deddeh Howard was enthralled by fashion and its role in culture. Unfortunately, she was never really able to see herself in it.

"Something that always bothered me when you see these amazing images [was] that very rarely you ever see a black woman on them," Howard, who grew up in West Africa but now resides in Los Angeles, wrote at her blog, Secret of DD.

"Black girls are almost invisible," she wrote.


So Howard created "Black Mirror," a photo series in which she re-creates famous photos with herself in place of models like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Gisele Bundchen, and others.

Howard's partner, Raffael Dickreuter, shot the series. As its title suggests, it holds a "black mirror" up to the fashion world. The project's goal is both to make people notice the lack of diversity in the fashion world and to provide inspiration to other non-white models.

Deddeh Howard, Gucci, fashion world, diversity

The shades of Gucci.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

superstar, glasses, education, celebrity, representation

Glasses make you wiser.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Kendall Jenner, Calvin Klein, underwear models, black models

The original sexy.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Of the models featured on the fall 2016 runways, 75% were white. There's a major need for a diversity boost.

Sometimes, that lack of diversity can be downright embarrassing. Earlier this year, one fashion show featured models walking to Beyoncé's "Formation," a song Essence described as a "wholly and undeniable a tribute to Blackness — particularly Black girl power." The problem: The show didn't feature a single non-white model.

ethnicity, equality, Guess fashion

Guess who rides motorcycles.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

David Yourman, high fashion, racial inequality

Classy and feminine.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Louis Vuitton, handbags, upper class,

A bike ride with expensive accessories.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

lingerie, Victoria\u2019s Secret, feminine

The lingerie pose.

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Dolce & Gabbana, little black dress, stars

Thinking "Breakfast at Tiffanys” maybe?

All photos by Raffael Dickreuter, used with permission.

Diversity, representation, and visibility play key roles in shaping ambition and self-acceptance in the real world.

It's important to be able to see yourself in the world, and it's important to know that someone who looks like you can succeed.

"The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too," Howard wrote on her blog. "For that reason diversity in ad campaigns is in my opinion much more important than you might think."


This article originally appeared on 12.08.16

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.


This article originally appeared on 06.30.22