On the Net, someone asked: Given an Earthlike, mostly-rural colony planet, what weapon would be used to hunt wild turkeys?
My response: Depends muchly on the level of technology.
And a warning against use of atomic grenades, which wouldn't leave the meat in condition to be cooked and eaten.
***Comments on "Wrong Futures: James Blish, 'Beep'"
Andre Guirard, 11/26: "Of course, for most people the point of science fiction isn't prediction -- it's story."
Dan Goodman @Andre Guirard, 11/27: Probably true. However, some people like accuracy; and if an sf writer makes inaccurate guesses about the future, that part of the readership can become annoyed -- years, decades, centuries, or millenia before the time in which the story is set.
I remember seeing new "USSR invades America" novels in bookstores for a while after the fall of the Soviet Union. I suspect their reprint value is relatively low.
Jordan 179 11/27: "You're assuming that the current Third World countries will _retain_ their independence. I would not take this for granted, given the high number of failed Third World states and the increasing danger this poses the Great Powers due to improved international communications. I will grant that the _Netherlands_ re-colonizing Indonesia is unlikely for various reasons, but I could easily see Indonesia winding up under the domination of Australia, or China."
I don't think Indonesia is among the most likely to be re-colonized. But one never knows.
"The popularity of smoking has historically waxed and waned. (If you don't believe me, note the original 17th century reaction to the first tobacco-smoking)"
Slight correction -- first outside the Americas.
As happens with various other drugs. Moral panic cycles: A behavior is considered something to joke about and otherwise taken lightly at certain points in the cycle. Then it becomes regarded as A Major Menace.
Apparently, cocaine and heroin have reciprocal cycles. Sometimes cocaine is seen as a relatively safe drug; and there are experts saying it's not really addictive, etc. Not like that horrible drug heroin. Then cocaine becomes The Big Menace -- and at least some druggies turn to nice, safe heroin.
Harry Turtledove's story "The King of All" is set in an alternate world where caffeine is the Big Bad Drug.
"The medical issue might be trivial by the end of the 21st century ('Oh darn, I have lung cancer. Gotta go down to the doctor for a shot to clear that up!').
"I agree with you on the unlikelihood of an extensive interstellar empire by the end of the 21st century. Too many critical energy and social thresholds to cross. In fact this prediction is unlikely even from a c. 1950 point of view.
"I certainly _hope_ that women continue to enjoy the equality with men that they do in the modern Western world, but there are already strong counter-trends, most notably from the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. As to whether or not _America_ still dominates the world of the late 21st century, that's up for grabs. Depending what happens over the ensuing decades, our global leadership might be greater, less or about the same as it is today. America is certainly the country most likely to become the Universal State of the West -- our main rival in that regard would currently be China.
"I don't think 'dumb-paper' newspapers will be that important centuries from now, but people may still want print-outs or other highly-portable displays on surfaces larger than pocket-sized. Though I suspect the information will be projected directly into their retinas, or even brains.
"We're all very lucky that the Soviet Union collapsed without a full-scale World War. It very pleasantly surprised _me_, when it happened. I think it surprised a _lot_ of people."