Dusk til Dawn
Holographic TV going mainstream
Breakthroughs in rewritable and erasable holographic systems have made it possible to mass-market the first truly 3-D television displays.
This form of technology had been in development for nearly three decades. One of the main problems encountered was that the displays required a lengthy delay between each “rewrite” – which made it impractical for televisual displays. However, recent advances in power transfer have overcome this problem, with displays now capable of changing multiple times per second, allowing frame rates of 25 or greater.
Typical holographic screens of this period are relatively small – certainly far smaller than the average flatscreen LCD. They are also very expensive, and still viewed as a luxury item for now. However, further refinement of this technology leads to bigger, more powerful displays; and competition between the major venders later succeeds in bringing down costs, making them affordable for the majority of people.
The screens can either be fixed to a wall (with all the image writing lasers behind the wall), or placed horizontally on a table (with all the components underneath).
Initially popular in Japan and the Far East, the displays rapidly find their way to the rest of the world and make traditional CRT and LCD screens obsolete.
Over the next few decades, perfection of this technology will see entire rooms being turned into holographic environments.
Sweden becomes the first oil-free country
This has been achieved through large-scale investments in renewable energy, massive tax incentives and grants for scientific research, and a detailed programme of energy conservation. The country is powered entirely by zero-carbon technologies, and has rid itself completely of gasoline cars and oil-heated homes. From this decade onwards, Sweden experiences massive prosperity and growth.
Glacier National Park and other regions are becoming glacier-free
By now, the Glacier National Park in Montana has become completely glacier-free, the park’s namesakes having disappeared as a result of global warming.
An earlier model (shown below) had forecast this event for 2030, based on a study by the US Geological Survey, along with 1992 temperature predictions by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, updated computer models and fresh data obtained in 2009 indicated a temperature rise more than twice as rapid as previously thought.
As early as 2020, therefore, the glaciers were gone, leaving behind only barren rock. Many cold water dependent plants and animals subsequently died out due to loss of habitat – including a number of rare species. Reduced seasonal melting of ice also affected stream flow during the dry summer and fall seasons, reducing water table levels and increasing the number of forest fires, which had the added effect of putting yet more carbon into the atmosphere. The loss of glaciers also reduced the aesthetic visual appeal of the region for visiting tourists.
This process has been mirrored all over the world, with non-polar ice beginning to vanish from many prominent regions including the Andes, Alps, Himalayas and Kilimanjaro, all of which have experienced substantial glacier retreat.
Over the following decades, the Himalayas in particular will have a devastating impact on people’s livelihoods, destabilising much of the Indian subcontinent – including the nuclear-armed Pakistan. Floods and mudslides will be the initial result of the melting; but afterwards, fewer and smaller glaciers will mean less run-off to rivers such as the Ganges that would normally provide fresh water for drinking, agricultural production and hydroelectric power generation. Given that the Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow rivers are affected too, this means chronic water shortages for potentially 2.5 billion people.
Completion of the Square Kilometre Array
Our view of the universe is greatly expanded with the completion of a major new observatory in Australia. This is a radio telescope with a total collecting area of approximately one kilometre. It operates over a wide range of frequencies and its size makes it 50 times more sensitive than any other radio instrument. By utilising advanced processing technology, it can survey the sky more than 10,000 times faster than ever before. With receiving stations extending out to a distance of 3,000 km from a concentrated central core, it will continue radio astronomy’s tradition of providing the highest resolution images in all of astronomy.
Wholly lifelike CGI
Computer-generated people used in the latest video games, movies and other such media now achieve a wholly lifelike appearance. Advances in modelling techniques have allowed programmers to map out in perfect detail the subtlest of movements, facial expressions and other physical features. Complex animated scenes featuring entirely computer-rendered people are now indistinguishable from reality.
Isreal Launches Strike on Iranian Nuclear FacilitiesIsreali stealth UCAVs attacked simultaneously all of the known nuclear production facilities in Iran. This sparks a series of terrorist attacks throughout the world. In London several bombings of the subway are carried out. Washington D.C. is hit with four attacks on various government buildings. Congress authorizes counterstrikes to be carried out. No official word is given, but the CIA begins a campaign of terror directed against enemies of the United States. Corporate mercenaries are employed to give plausible deniability.