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Foolishness About the Future

Michio Kaku, professor of physics at CUNY and "distinguished pioneer of string theory", has published a book titled The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth (Doubleday, February 2018) that includes a supposedly serious discussion of how Mars can be colonized. In a review in the Wall Street Journal, Steven Poole calls it "a highly speculative work of popular science". Oliver Moody, reviewing the book for The Times, describes it as "a weary, clunkily written and incoherent piece of work." He adds:

It hardly helps that the book is stuffed with bizarre sweeping statements and factual mistakes. ... Nor did Hitler’s forces deploy jetpacks to hop over rivers during the Second World War, whatever Wikipedia has to say on the subject. (This hoax can be traced back to a German-Canadian called Ernst Zündel, the author of such overlooked gems as Secret Nazi Polar Expeditions and Did Six Million Really Die?)
In the final words of the book, Kaku quotes Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave and 19th-century abolitionist. “Every dream begins with a dreamer,” Tubman said, “Always remember, you have within you the strength, and the passion, to reach for the stars to change the world.” Or rather, she didn’t: this boilerplate platitude appears to have been made up in 2007. Still, it feels like an oddly appropriate ending.
- Oliver Moody, Review: The Future of Humanity by Michio Kaku, The Times, Feb. 17, 2018


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