One reason to read much of popular science writing, at least the physics/astronomy side, is that it is all so wonderfully optimistic. I want to be optimistic (see second half of blog title) but frequently just can't convince myself that the future will be better than today.
So i liked Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku. He explains the future trajectories of several different technologies. Things like computers, robots/AI, energy (quite a long chapter), nanotechnology. Can't wait until the walls are wired and transform into tv screens when necessary, when i can surf the web in my contact lenses (literally, the contacts will have wifi, projecting the internet into your eyeball), when i can ride that space elevator. We may be at a point where if we can just live long enough we may not have to die before we want to because in the next 30 years there will be so many advances in medicine that the length of your lifespan will be a personal decision. Imagine programmable matter, replicators, smart clothes that monitor your health, mag-lev self driving cars. Even without jetpacks, the future sounds awesome!
a 6, and it counts for the 2011 Challenge in the Hot off the Presses category.