Tomorrow's news of the future -- today
During the past two years, scientists have deployed the first tachyon-beam scanner, now fully operational.
Supraluminal tachyon beams can now be generated and retrieved, providing limited glimpses into future events.
Engineers were startled to discover the newspaper format seems to have remained viable at least into the 23rd Century.
This is fortunate, since tachyon data retrieval yields only narrow optical images, without sound or context.
Using programs that selectively identify beam returns from printed headlines, information is extracted from random hits on stationary displays. Early returns included the following.
March 17, 2106. North Korea lands its first live astronaut on the moon. After extricating himself from the crumpled wreckage of his one-way lunar lander, the astronaut (whose name was not released, to prevent retaliation against his relatives) erected a poster bearing the likeness of Kim Un Kim, the first North Korean leader to use the same first and last name so he wouldn't have to remember which was which.
Weak from hunger, the astronaut reverently placed a corroded bronze plaque bearing the inscription "All worshipfulness inundates our Glorious Leader, Benefactor of the Masses, Light of the Sun, Knitter of Fine Mittens, Creator of the Internet, Kim Un Kim." "Kim" was misspelled.
Since Korean dietary staples like fish heads and rice husks are too precious to allow feeding individual persons, the astronaut's rations were limited to freeze-dried lint.
After depositing the image and plaque, he ate a hole in his spacesuit and died of vacuum poisoning.
Amid hoots of derision and muffled laughter, American colonists on Mars and the Jovian moons sent snarky "congratulations." Failing to recognize sarcasm, North Korean analysts interpreted this as a sign of American weakness.
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Oct. 7th, 2016. After gaining control of both houses of Congress in the mid-term elections, Republicans seem poised to regain the presidency as well, due mainly to their abrupt transition from "just say no!" to "just do it!" politics. In the past two years, the GOP has overridden nearly a dozen Obama vetoes while passing unparalleled numbers of radical new laws and regulations.
New mandates include closing Guantanamo, expanding Obamacare, eliminating numerous domestic military bases, providing three nourishing school meals daily for children who meet stringent new weight-loss guidelines, banning all but single-shot firearms, severely hiking taxes on the rich, and repealing draconian drug laws.
Administration spokesperson Brayer Rabott admitted to reporters, "You gotta hand it to 'em. The Republicans shot down every single administration proposal, and passed their own instead. We tried -- we really tried. But the president's agenda -- increasing the capacity of Guantanamo, abolishing Obamacare, adding 10 new military bases to prop up sagging local economies, denying school lunches to children who aren't obese, automatic weapons-dispensing vending machines, abolishing all taxes on five-digit incomes and higher, expanding drug laws to prohibit candy and sodas -- nothing worked.
"They really kicked our butts," he said, attempting to conceal a wide grin.
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Day-three Deuce-month, 2178. Long considered an untestable theory, the existence of so-called "alternate universes" was confirmed by physicists at the Fort Hays Small University Consortium. The initial alternate universe proved to be exactly like this one in every detail, except Fred Phelps was really, really gay.
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June 7, 2024. While any link between vaccines and autism was conclusively disproved years ago, today researchers unveiled a study demonstrating vaccine-avoidance behaviors are associated with reduced cognitive capacity.
"It's a chicken-and-egg problem," said lead author Dr. Sammi Ollaffssonn. "It's too soon to know whether people with compromised mentation are more prone to reject vaccination, or whether vaccination somehow protects against loss of the ability to think and reason."
Anti-vaccination and pro-e-cigarette spokesperson Jenny McCarthy responded, "Now that's not ... that's, ah... you know, I mean -- totally awesome! ... That ... y'know what I'm sayin'?"
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Aug. 14, 2120. A magnitude 7.1 undersea earthquake jarred northeastern Oklahoma around noon. While merely rocking the Sooner State's famous houseboats and floating cities, it sent a devastating tsunami racing toward the heavily populated coastline of South Dakota.
Hardest hit was the predominantly Mexican community of Rapid City, whose residents could be seen clinging to rock sculptures and tourist-trap signs as the crest passed, then receded.
Casualty totals are unknown, but normally ravenous sharks and mosasaurs have been observed indifferently toying with their food, some of which was still spluttering and screaming.
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June 25, 2024. Following in the footsteps of his revered predecessor, Pope Franciscolus the First sought to create an atmosphere of respect and tolerance at his initial World Religious Community Conference at the Vatican.
"We are all God's children," intoned the Pope. "We all want to go to heaven, and escape the fiery agonies of hell. This is all the common ground we need. Sectarian divisiveness has no place in today's world."
He added, "All that remains is for all people of sincere good will and faith to embrace the One True Church, its doctrines and dogmas, and my supremacy as Jesus' Vicar on Earth. That's a solution we can all live with, and those who choose a different path -- well, we'll still love them when they're writhing in holy torment for their stubbornness."
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Feb. 4, 2077. The final segment of Canada's Great Wall is now complete. Initially constructed to stem the flood of illegal immigrants from the United States, the Wall now serves as a tourist attraction and the world's longest recreational marijuana dispensary.
Jon Hauxwell, MD, is a retired family physician who grew up in Stockton and now lives outside Hays.