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Entries in closer than we think (45)


Closer Than We Think! Custom-Grown Timber (1960)

The man in this May 8, 1960 Closer Than We Think! strip is injecting color into trees from a walking robot paint-mixer. Much like polar oil wells, this image certainly has a different connotation in 2007 than it did in 1960.

Today's forests simply grow. Tomorrow, this process may be speeded and regulated - as to size, quality and even color, thanks to intensive research work now under way.


The U.S. Forest Service has already developed pine trees that mature twice as fast as today's ponderosa. Rayonier, Inc., is injecting radioactive carbon 14 into trunks to affect cellulose growth. Weyerhaeuser Co. has created new ways to avoid insect damage. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports a treatment that will pre-color lumber while the trees are still growing; thus painting of wood may one day become a thing of the past.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)
Robot Farms (1982)
Going Backward into 2000 (1966)



Closer Than We Think! Space Coveralls (1960)

Due to popular demand, today we have "Space Coveralls" from the March 20, 1960 Closer Than We Think! strip which ran in the Chicago Tribune.

Astronauts will need protection from dangerous radiation, temperature extremes, lack of oxygen, unusual conditions of gravity and other space barriers. Special suits to do that job are now being developed.


Air conditioning is a must. Westinghouse is now creating an individual "package" which maintains steady temperature and has a blower to circulate air. Other companies are devising roomy space coveralls with built-in ray protection and oxygen systems. One protective measure that might be included: Metallic pads on the suits - so that disabled "drifters," separated from their mother ship, can be brought back to safety with a large magnet.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Closer Than We Think! Boytopia (1960)
Challenge of Outer Space (circa 1950s)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Man and the Moon (1955)
Spaceport of the Future (1957)



Closer Than We Think! Boytopia (1960)

This Closer Than We Think! strip ran in the March 13, 1960 Chicago Tribune.

Community center planners are getting ready to meet tomorrow's challenges. For proof, look at "Boytopia," the concept of the Boys' Clubs of America for the age of automation and space travel.

Such centers would teach youngsters the mechanics of space travel, solar energy and other new phases of science - just as today they are taught about auto engines, television and radio, electricity and wood-working. There would be special facilities for the handicapped, too, so that all the upcoming generation might be better fitted for the strenuous age of interstellar travel.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)


Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)

The September 28, 1958 Chicago Tribune ran this Closer Than We Think! strip about meat-plants of the future.

There will be less grazing land in tomorrow's crowded world, so beefsteaks may have to be replaced by extracted vegetable proteins flavored with synthetics that taste like real meat.


According to Cal Tech biologist James Bonner, new varieties of plants, rich in fats and edible proteins will be developed. Interest in this idea is already evidenced at the Michigan Agricultural Board where plans for a "phytotron" - or ultra-controlled greenhouse - are under way. This equipment will facilitate the study of plant characteristics - and show how to modify them.

Bonner also predicted at a recent Seagram scientific symposium that future farms could be operated by tapes fed through master control panels.

See also:
Farm to Market (1958)
Robot Farms (1982)
Superfarm of the Year 2020 (1979)
Farm of the Future (1984)
That Synthetic Food of the Future (Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1926)
Electrified Topsoil (1909)



Closer Than We Think! Poor Man's Yacht (1958)

The July 20, 1958 Chicago Tribune ran this Closer Than We Think! strip. Not only will every family of the future have their own yacht, it will be powered by the family car!

The luxury of yachting may be within the reach of almost everyone in the world of tomorrow.

Mass production of low-cost plastic hulls will be made possible by the use of guns that spray the plastic, similar to the "Fiber-Resin Depositor" as conceived by the Rand Development Corporation.

The family car will be used for motive power. When the yachtsman of the future drives his auto into the cradle of his new marine creation the engine will be in place. The rear wheels will rest on a roller linked to the propeller. The driver will put the car in gear, step on the accelerator, and presto - he'll be yachting.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Amphibian Monorail (Popular Science, 1934)


Closer Than We Think! Magic Beam Highway (1961)

This Closer Than We Think! strip ran in the October 15, 1961 Chicago Tribune.

The government may soon build an automatic highway, on which drivers can look the other way while electronic controls pilot their cars.

One type of robot road has already been demonstrated by General Motors and RCA. Guidance strips and loops in the pavement receive electric impulses which are picked up electronically by a control box on your car. The impulses regulate direction, speed, braking and obstacle detection - so the car can be guided automatically, without possibility of accident. All you need do is take over when your car gets to the end of the automated section!

A 100-mile test route may be operating by 1964, say Washington reports, and major highway robot systems may be in use by 1975.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Closer Than We Think! Monoline Express (1961)
GM's Three-Wheeled Runabout (1966)
GM Car of the Future (1962)
Automobiles of the Future (1966)
Sports Car of Tomorrow (1966)
Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
The Future World of Transportation


Highways by Automation (1958)

The August 3, 1958 Chicago Tribune ran this Closer Than We Think! strip, demostrating the automatic highway construction of the future. Something very similar to this appears in the May 14, 1958 Disneyland TV episode Magic Highway, U.S.A..

Tomorrow's turnpikes will "flow" out of giant machines like magic ribbons across the countryside. The basic equipment is already in existence; only a few improvements are needed.

The forward section of such a road-builder would be a variant of the new jungle-smashing LeTourneau "tree-crusher" combined with a grader. The middle section would pour concrete in a never-ending flow, with the rear portion leveling the still soft pavement. A line of freight helicopters would be on hand to feed the behemoth with the material necessary to keep it moving across any type of country.

See also:
Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)