originally published August 22, 2013
Whenever I reach a round number in this all-consuming project I like to look back and reflect on how far I’ve come, or how much volunteer charity work I might have done had I not been spending a couple hours every day writing bacon jokes and references to 1980’s-era sitcoms. But today, as the bejeweled crown of 600 rests its weighty crown-ass upon my trembling hairline, I want to look forward.
As always, my trusty companion – Wikipedia – is here to assist, with a handy timeline of near-future events. Not being a naturally meticulous planner, it’s good to know that someone is looking out for future-me. I’m going to plunk these dates into my iPhone calendar and, like everything that I enter into that app, never look at them again.
After all, I’ve got things to do. I’ve got a life to live. Or, because I’ve come this far and already accepted that I’ll have no time for a life until this project is over, I’ve got 400,000 more words to write.
Here’s what we have to look forward to:
- 2014 will be a busy year. The World Trade Center will be completed in New York, US and UK troops will wave goodbye to Afghanistan, and Scotland will hold a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. If it passes, it will come as a shock to millions of North Americans who already believed Scotland has been its own country for centuries.
- The 2016 Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, which is great for audiences in my part of the world, since Rio’s time zone is just an hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Time, so we won’t have to wait to watch women’s beach volleyball on a tape delay. And also other sports.
- At some point around 2020 the Voyager space exploration program is expected to wrap up. Its two little spacecraft did their job and taught us a lot about Jupiter and Saturn, and now they’re on their way past the heliosphere and into interstellar space. They’re going to run out of power though, at which point they will become humankind’s most impressively-flung scraps of litter.
- In 2021, Brood X will be back. That’s the noisiest, farthest-flying and most creepy of the cicada family. These little bugs take dependable 17-year naps, so if you haven’t driven the cacophonous horror of their 2004 appearance in the eastern United States out of your ears yet, you’ve got another eight years to achieve peace.
- In 2023 those first Mickey Mouse cartoons will enter into the public domain. American copyright law only stretches so far, though I’m sure we can expect some heavy rallying to change this by the Disney corporation, who by 2023 will own approximately everything on earth.
- It is expected that Antoni Gaudi’s massive Sagrada Família will finally be completed in 2026. This monstrous Barcelona church was begun in 1882, and because of its unbelievably ornate design and complex configuration, they’re still working on it. To architecture-porn enthusiasts, this structure is positively wank-worthy. I’m not a church-goer, but this temple may stand a chance of converting me.
- Back in 2008, a social networking site called Bebo put on a contest to accumulate various entries for A Message From Earth, a high-powered radio transmission that was then fired at Gliese 581c, a large planet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581. In 2029 the transmission will reach its destination, which means in 2030 we may all find ourselves enslaved by angry Gliesians.
- In 2047, the agreement that Hong Kong could operate as a capitalist society despite having been plunked back under China’s domain in 1997 will expire. This means that socialism – if it still calls the shots in the People’s Republic, and right now that’s a big ‘if’ – will move on in and paint Hong Kong a deep shade of red.
- Just a heads-up, Asteroid 2007 VK184 has a 1 in 1820 chance of smashing into our planet in 2048. I’m just saying, if you have any dental surgery needs around that time, book them for 2049.
- Two years later, the similar agreement China made in regards to Macau (handed over from Portugal in 1999) runs out. Macau is a mecca for gambling and tourism – kind of the Vegas of the Far East. It also boasts the second highest life expectancy in the world, as well as the highest population density. So if you live there, you’d better get used to having your nose crammed into a stranger’s armpit if you ever have to ride the bus, because those strangers aren’t going anywhere for a long time.
- Halley’s Comet will return in 2061, which will be a real treat for those of us who slept through the last time it dropped by.
- Polaris will reach its north-most peak in the year 2100. Also, this is the year when the Gregorian and Julian calendars become 14 days apart. That’s a big gap, but it also means that for the first time since the calendars split, both will share the same day of the week. So finally Gregorians and Julians all over the world can enjoy their Sunday afternoon football at the same time.
- On September 14, 2123, Venus will eclipse Jupiter. I suspect Jupiter won’t even notice.
- When Easter fell on the same week as St. Patrick’s Day in 2008, there was a push to move the St. Patty’s celebrations to another date. Well, folks in 2160 are going to run into the same situation; we’ll find out then if society votes with its liver over its faith.
- 2177 will mark Pluto’s birthday, meaning the former planet will have completed one full spin around the sun since humans first discovered it 248 years earlier.
- On July 16, 2186 we’ll see a full solar eclipse of seven minutes, twenty-nine seconds. This will be the longest eclipse during the 10,000 year period between 4000BC and 6000AD. I love that people have actually figured this stuff out.
Beyond this point all we have are planetary transits and occults, and the occasional check-in by Halley’s little light-ball every so often. I don’t expect even the snazziest of medical advances is going to keep me cooking past 250 years of age so I’m really not going to worry too much about the far-off future for now.
I just need to get through the next 400 days.