'A Brief History of the 21st Century" (Chuck Klosterman)

Sci-fi authors, people-who-like-to-plan-way-in-advance, and cat fanciers, take note: "A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century" by Chuck Klosterman, for Esquire

Some appealing excerpts:

JUNE 11, 2041: In a matter of weeks, the entire Internet is replaced by "news blow," a granular microbe that allows information to be snorted, injected, or smoked. Data can now be synthesized into a water-soluble powder and absorbed directly into the cranial bloodstream, providing users with an instantaneous visual portrait of whatever information they are interested in consuming. (Sadly, this tends to be slow-motion images of minor celebrities going to the bathroom.) Now irrelevant, an ocean of Web pioneers lament the evolution. "What about the craft?" they ask no one in particular. "What about the inherent human pleasure of moving one's mouse across a hyperlink, not knowing what a simple click might teach you? Whatever happened to ironic thirty-word capsule reviews about marginally popular TV shows? Have we lost this forever?" "You just don't get new media," respond the news-blowers. "You just don't get it."

JUNE 6, 2064: U.S. consumers become obsessed with "expectation entertainment": By stimulating obscure areas of the brain with low pulses of electricity, people can be given the sensation of how it feels just before the actual experience of something they enjoy (a concert, sex, a delicious meal, etc.). By focusing on the anticipation of an event (as opposed to creating the event itself), audiences are never disappointed.

JUNE 5, 2070: Wolves in Canada begin hunting humans at an alarming rate. Shark attacks increase 40 percent. Jungle animals begin successfully infiltrating urban areas; a panther kills at least nine people in downtown Dallas. "I don't know why the animals are getting smarter," says zoologist Eli Sperle-Cho, "but it's definitely happening."

OCT. 19, 2071: An army of panda bears attacks Beijing, killing twelve hundred people and wounding thousands more during a bloody four-day onslaught.

APRIL 5, 2072: Animals are banned from the moon. House cats now kill more people than heart disease.

NOV. 5, 2081: To slow oxygen consumption, moon inhabitants are ordered to remain relatively motionless for twenty hours a day. To compensate, every person is allowed to cerebrally download the complete memories of a fictional lifetime once a week; the populace now spends most of its time feeling nostalgic for things they did not actually do.

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