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Entries in matt novak (14)


The Paleofuture Blog is moving!

I started the Paleofuture blog in 2007 as part of a writing class I was taking at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At the time I thought that I'd maybe keep it up for just a couple of months. Little did I realize that writing about the history of the future would become such a huge part of my life.

Today, it's with great pride that I can announce the little ol' Paleofuture blog is becoming a part of the Smithsonian family of blogs! The new web address is and that's where you'll be able to find new blog posts. But don't worry, will remain intact, as an archive of the last five years and the place to find new episodes of Paleofuture.TV and new issues of Paleofuture Magazine.

The blog has a new Twitter feed @PaleofutureBlog but you can still find my personal Twitter account @paleofuture. The Facebook and Tumblr feeds are also great ways to stay on top of all the retrofuture goodness. You can still drop me a line at 

I'm really excited about my new home at Smithsonian and I hope that you enjoy the new things in store for Paleofuture. 


Thanks for reading,




The Roads Not Taken

Readers of the Wall Street Journal may have noticed a familiar byline in the May 23rd edition of the newspaper. For their special report on the future of transportation I looked at retrofuturistic visions of how we'd get from Point A to Point B. It was a fun spread to put together and I'm only now finding the time to blog about it -- appropriately enough, from 30,000 feet in the air.

For those of you who don't know, my day job is in non-traditional marketing. We've hit our busy season, so my apologies for the lack of new posts. I rarely write about my job on this blog, but I'm currently headed to Bonnaroo, where I'm developing and managing a tent for Ford. I only mention this because the theme is "1950's sci-fi drive-in theater" so if you happen to be a Paleofuture reader and heading to Bonnaroo I can pretty much guarantee you'll love it.


Tour the Birthplace of the Internet (Obscura Day 2011)

Do you live in Los Angeles? Join me April 9th at UCLA for Obscura Day! I'll be hosting an event with Brad Fidler and Leonard Kleinrock in the room where the first Internet message was sent in 1969! Reserve your tickets today!

Come be one of the very first to rediscover the room where the Internet was born. Almost forgotten in history and used for years as an unremarkable classroom at UCLA, it will reopen as a museum this July. Get there first and stand in the very spot that the first modem sent the first message ever, and see photos and documents from those first days of the Internet that have been lost to obscurity for decades.

Brad Fidler, director of the upcoming Kleinrock Internet Heritage Site and Archive (known colloquially by its room number, 3420 Boelter Hall), will introduce the history of this revolutionary site and the stories of the people who gave this room its significance. What was the first illegal use of the Internet? Why did everything always crash? Why did the graduate students give everything dirty acronyms, and draw horns on a machine called the Interface Message Processor, or, the (perhaps evil) IMP?

Leonard Kleinrock, the man who is credited with doing the math and running the simulations that made the early Internet possible – and still runs it today – will be on hand to answer questions and tell everyone the story about exactly what it was like to send the first message ever.

You’ll also be encouraged to think why some people think this site is irrelevant, and why others believe it might soon be the most famous place in Los Angeles.

Dec132010 [apocalypse]

The shiny happy futurism of the 1950s gave way to much darker predictions for humanity in the 1970s. With energy crises, fears of terrorism and skyrocketing unemployment, it's really no wonder that Americans of the 1970s were often pessimistic about the future. 

Out of this dread, the apocsploitation film was born. 

Movies like Future Shock and The Late Great Planet Earth served up apocalyptic visions of the American future, both secular and religious. The second episode of looks at the doomsday documentary films of this era, which strangely enough all seemed to be hosted by Orson Welles. The production values in this episode still leave much to be desired, but I hope you enjoy it!



Previously on Paleo-Future:



What Happened to the Future?

Your fourth most favorite retro-futurist blogger was on the teevee box last night rambling about robots* and stuff. The clip is embedded below or you can watch it on KTLA's website. We hit most of the major topics and I somehow manage to keep my shirt on. The clip almost serves as a teaser for the next episode of, where I'll be taking a look at 1970's visions of the apocalypse. Stay tuned!**



*They edited out the part where I accuse President McKinley of being a lizard person who practiced witchcraft in the Hill Mansion. (damn mainstream media and their pro-lizard agenda)

**Or "don't touch that dial!" Both antiquated colloquialisms are equally inappropriate in this situation.


Previously on Paleo-Future:


Sep122010 [episode 00000]

Rather than finish the magazine I've been working on for months*, I edited the premiere episode of yesterday. As you can see, it has the the production values of amateur porn, but with 37% less nudity.**

The first episode is about food, and as I learn a bit more about how to properly put these kinds of videos together, the quality of the episodes will hopefully improve. I hope it's not a complete waste of your time, and I'll get back to blogging more regularly as my move from Minneapolis to Full Bladerunner, CA has been achieved. Enjoy.


*Sorry that it's taken so long. It really will be done soon.

**You can't tell, but I'm naked from the waist down.


Show notes:


History of Hip: Yesterday's Tomorrows (Feb 2, 2010)

UPDATE: You can watch the video podcast of our presentation at the Minnesota History Lectures page on iTunes.

I'll be speaking about retro-futurism this coming Tuesday (February 2nd) at the Turf Club in St. Paul, MN. This Minnesota Historical Society event, The History of Hip: Yesterday's Tomorrows, starts at 7:30pm. I'll be sharing the stage with my friend, neighbor and retro-future co-conspirator Brian Horrigan. Brian wrote a book in 1984 titled Yesterday's Tomorrows to accompany the Smithsonian exhibit of the same name. We'll be taking a look at some of our favorite film clips and images from 20th century futurism.

The Turf Club is a bar, so unfortunately it's not an all-ages event. But if you're underage I'm sure you can find a good fake ID by Tuesday. Rumor has it that the first 10 people who arrive will receive a free hoverboard. But rumor also has it that I'm a liar. Swing by and drink up; it should be a good time.