Predictions for 2016 from 1966

In 1966, Margaret Thorne, a member of the Junior Historian Club of Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, West Virginia, published some predictions for the year 2016 in her local paper. Here's what she envisioned for the year we've now arrived at:

The growth of suburbia: "the only land untouched by suburbia will be the national and state parks and forests, that our ancestors were foresighted enough to conserve and a few farms of enormous size in the midwest."

Work: "the vast majority of the people will be seated in front of man's ingenious invention, the computer."

Food: "People will take a pill for breakfast that will supply them with needed nourishment. Algae, a very simple plant, which can be grown in great vats and will multiply rapidly, can be made into very appetizing morsels."

Fuel: "More sources of fuels must be found and methods for bringing the natural resources to the surface. Someone must find ways to captivate the sun's radiation and make it work for us. The sun will need to be our major fuel in the years to come."

Water: "Our water supply will need to be taken from the seas as our lands get drier and drier."

Not bad, all in all. The food-in-pills and ubiquitous spread of suburbia were misses. But she scored on the increasing importance of computers, and she kind of anticipated the development of fracking and growth of solar technology, as well as the water scarcity (which is certainly true here in California).

The Raleigh Register — Apr 25, 1966

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 01, 2016
     Category: Predictions | Yesterday’s Tomorrows | 1960s

Even with the expansion of the suburbs, she was right. We did see most of the young families move in the suburbs and the disappearance of small farms for the benefit of bigger and bigger farms with million-dollar equipment and thousands of heads of cattle. The only part where she was wrong was with the increase in population; instead of a carpet of people, we have a desert with donut-shaped populated areas (populated suburbs, empty cities).
Posted by Yudith on 01/01/16 at 10:02 AM
About as good as it gets. I'll give her a C+.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 01/01/16 at 10:32 AM
I was going to say she was right about urban sprawl as well. That brings her up to 80%, a solid B at the least.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 01/01/16 at 01:12 PM
I don't know where y'all live, but there's still plenty of space around here too far from a city to commute and too much trouble to farm. It's usually sold in sections (square miles) as hunting land. It's expensive only when it has harvestable timber.

More recreational gyms? Yeah, right. There's a Boys/Girls Club just down the street from me. Adequately funded but very low membership because kids just aren't interested (just as I wasn't interested in such things).
Posted by Phideaux on 01/01/16 at 03:21 PM
I guess the "sprawl" depends a lot on where you live.
Growing up in SoCal, I saw the San Fernando Valley population go from filling half the valley to spilling over into the dessert and into Ventura county while growing up there.
In stark contrast, here in KS for the last 28 years has not resulted in much expansion at all. You still drive 10 to 20 miles between towns. There are just as many small farms as when we came here. There are lots of open spaces.

I do have to give Margaret credit for making somewhat solid predictions. I think the only predictions I can remember is that I would be old, and probably dead by 2016. Damn near got it right.
Posted by GFinKS on 01/04/16 at 02:33 PM
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