Volume 10, Number 17
Edited by John L. Petersen
In This Issue:
The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophesies and Possibilities
The Buckminsterfuller Challenge – entries accepted September 4 through October 30, 2007
Future Facts – From Think Links
Think Links – The Future in the News…Today
A Final Quote
The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies and Possibilities
The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies, and Possibilities
Order from Sounds True today and get 25% discount.
Are we truly coming to the end of a cosmic cycle? Will there be an age of awakening, a new step in human evolution, or even an end to the world we know? For years, archaeologists have known the Mayan calendar predicts this date as the end of an era on Earth. Yet today, more and more researchers, spiritual explorers, and even scientists are witnessing signs that 2012 will mark a critical shift in the history of our planet. Now, for the first time, the leading authorities on the 2012 phenomenon present their insights about this enigmatic date: The Mystery of 2012.
Featuring articulate and lucid essays from dozens of renowned experts (including John L. Petersen) on the question of 2012, this anthology offers the information to examine the mystery from every angle—spiritual, economic, ecological, and scientific—and to decide for yourself whether 2012 will end with a whimper or a bang.
To order your copy with a 25% discount, please use the link below:
Simply enter WEBARLINST in the Coupon Code field at the final checkout screen and click the Apply button. Your purchase price will be reduced. (Discount expires Dec. 31, 2007)
The Buckminsterfuller Challenge – http://challenge.bfi.org/
Each year a distinguished jury will award a single $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a solution that has the potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems in the shortest possible time while enhancing the Earth’s ecological integrity. The Buckminsterfuller Challenge sponsored by the Institute bearing his name seeks submissions of design science solutions within a broad range of human endeavor that will exemplify the “trimtab principle”. Trimtabs demonstrate how small amounts of energy and resources precisely applied at the right time and place can produce maximum advantageous change. Entries accepted from September 4 – October 30, 2007. For further details, please contact the Buckminsterfuller Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 718-290-9283.
- A “viral campaign” on Facebook convinced a UK bank to change its policy of charging interest to graduate students.
- A cosmic blank spot, 1 billion light years wide, has no stray stars, no galaxies, no sucking black holes, not even mysterious dark matter.
- Speech-recognition software could make the mobile Web easier to use.
- China’s Public Security Ministry recently introduced two cartoon characters that it said would pop up on people’s computer screens occasionally to remind them that their activity is being tracked.
The Future of the Workplace: No Office, Headquarters in Cyberspace
TV Veterans Produce Web-only Show
HSBC Faced Down on Facebook
The Future of the Workplace: No Office, Headquarters in Cyberspace – (August 27, 2007)
Imagine a work world with no commute, no corporate headquarters and perhaps not even an office in the physical world at all. 42% of IBM’s 350,000 employees rarely comes in to an IBM office. IBM says it saves $100 million a year in real estate costs because it doesn’t need the offices. The work force at the Accenture management consulting firm is so mobile not even the CEO has an office with his name on the door. However, maintaining a community is essential at IBM, where isolation can be a “significant” issue. There’s even a joke at the company that the name stands for “I’m by Myself.”
TV Veterans Produce Web-only Show – (Associated Press – September 13, 2007)
The creative minds behind such TV shows as “Thirtysomething” and “My So-Called Life” are launching a Web-based show. Called “Quarterlife,” the show’s 36 episodes will air exclusively on MySpace, which has more than 110 million users worldwide. Each episode will be about 8 minutes long with two episodes debuting each week. The producers and MySpace will share revenue from ads that will run in the video and from product placement deals. In a new wrinkle, the show also will have its own social networking site called quarterlife.com.
HSBC Faced Down on Facebook – (Guardian Unlimited – September 1, 2007)
HSBC has scrapped interest charges on graduate student accounts with approved overdraft amounts (in essence, lines of credit) after a “viral campaign” on social networking site Facebook and the threat of chaos in its branches brought on by student protesters. Apparently spontaneous, but actually planned, demonstrations could have gridlocked HSBC branches across the United Kingdom. Students intended to turn up in large numbers at the bank’s branches in university towns, forming long queues at cash and enquiry desks, each asking the same questions about how their account would be hit and how they could move overdrafts elsewhere.
Shrinking Kilogram Bewilders Physicists
Astronomers Find Huge Hole in Universe
Shrinking Kilogram Bewilders Physicists – (Yahoo.com – September 13, 2007)
A kilogram just isn’t what it used to be. The 118-year-old cylinder that is the international prototype for the metric mass, kept tightly under lock and key outside Paris, is mysteriously losing weight — if ever so slightly. Physicist Richard Davis of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sevres, southwest of Paris, says the reference kilo appears to have lost 50 micrograms compared with the average of dozens of copies. “They were all made of the same material, and many were made at the same time and kept under the same conditions, and yet the masses among them are slowly drifting apart,” he said. “We don’t really have a good hypothesis for it.”
Astronomers Find Huge Hole in Universe – (AOL News – August 25, 2007)
Astronomers have stumbled upon a tremendous hole in the universe. That’s got them scratching their heads about what’s just not there. The cosmic blank spot has no stray stars, no galaxies, no sucking black holes, not even mysterious dark matter. It is 1 billion light years across of nothing. That’s a giant expanse of nearly 6 billion trillion miles of emptiness, according to a University of Minnesota team.
Researchers Hope Creatures from Black Lagoon Can Help Fight Cancer
Seeing the Light
Microchip Implants Cause Fast-growing, Malignant Tumors in Lab Animals
Researchers Hope Creatures from Black Lagoon Can Help Fight Cancer – (Wired – August 21, 2007)
Berkeley Pit contains 37 billion gallons of contaminated water and is part of the biggest contiguous Superfund site in the US, stretching 120 miles from Butte to just outside Missoula. The water is oxblood red at the surface, stained by manganese and iron; deeper down, heavy copper compounds turn it the color of limeade. If you drink it, it will corrode your gullet before it poisons you. But more than 100 types of microbes manage to survive in the unique, noxious ecosystem. Some of these organisms apparently live nowhere else on Earth. And they’re more than merely unique: over 50 different compounds have been isolated and tested against enzymes present in diseased human tissue. Whatever lets these bits of biology thrive in the noxious waters has a side effect: It makes medicine, too.
Seeing the Light – (Economist – June 7, 2007)
A study being carried out in the eye hospitals of Tübingen and Regensburg universities, in Germanyinvolves implanting chips into the eyes of seven people who have lost their sight to a disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disorder that accounts for 11% of cases of blindness and has no medical treatment. It gradually destroys the rods and cones that detect light in the retina of the eye but does not harm the optic nerve, which transmits electrical impulses from the retina to the brain. The hope is that, if some appropriate electrical signals were fed to this nerve, the brain would be able to see again.
Microchip Implants Cause Fast-growing, Malignant Tumors in Lab Animals – (Citizens Advocate – September 8, 2007)
A series of research projects spanning more than a decade found that mice and rats injected with glass-encapsulated RFID transponders developed malignant, fast-growing, lethal cancers in 1% to 10% of cases. The tumors originated in the tissue surrounding the microchips and often grew to completely surround the devices, researchers said. Since gaining FDA approval, the RFID chip has been implanted in diabetic and dementia patients. Employees in the Mexican Attorney General’s Office, workers in a U.S. security firm, and club-goers in Europe have also been implanted. Reconsideration may be appropriate.
DISCOVERIES ENABLED BY NEW TECHNOLOGY
Colorful Carpet of Cool Sea Creatures Discovered 2 Miles Deep – (Live Science – August 24, 2007)
A submerged mountain ridge beneath the North Atlantic Ocean has revealed a new crustacean species and oodles of other life forms, ranging from polka-dotted glass squid resembling beach balls to grim viperfish with teeth like ice-picks. The finds were made by a team of 31 scientists during a five-week expedition to explore life along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge using remotely operated vehicles equipped with digital cameras and other technologies.
Terabyte on a CD
Talk to the Phone
iCar – A Beetle in Apple’s Bonnet?
IBM Opens New Doors to Quantum Computing
Storm Worm Dwarfs World’s Top Supercomputers
For China’s Censors, Electronic Offenders Are the New Frontier
Terabyte on a CD – (The Future of Things – August 22, 2007)
Revolutionary new optical-storage technology currently under development will allow the equivalent of 250,000 high-quality MP3s or more than 115 DVD-quality movies and about 40 HD movies on a single CD-size medium. At 200 layers a disc, future versions of the technology will make it possible to store up to 5TB of data on one disc.
Talk to the Phone – (Technology Review, FREE registration required – September, 2007)
Mobile phones can do lots of things: search the Web, download music, send e‑mail. But the vast majority of the 233 million Americans who own them never use them for more than calls and short text messages. One reason is that other features often require users to enter sentences or long search terms, a tedious task. Speech-recognition interfaces could make such features easier to use.
iCar – A Beetle in Apple’s Bonnet? – (Commerce Times – August 30, 2007)
Rumors are flying that one of Apple’s next new products is an “iCar.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly met with the head of Volkswagen, and the two companies are planning to discuss the idea further. On the other hand, “I wouldn’t start counting my iCars until they’re sitting on the showroom floor,” Bryan Chaffin, editor in chief of The Mac Observer, told MacNewsWorld. So it’s just a rumor – but it would be fun to see.
IBM Opens New Doors to Quantum Computing – (E Flux Media – August 31, 2007)
IBM is once again in the avant-garde of technological breakthroughs: its engineers have recently stumbled upon proto-method to store information on single atoms. IBM is not ready to develop the first quantum computer, but the breakthrough work of its engineers in the area of magnetic anisotropy is making that ideal seem closer.
Storm Worm Dwarfs World’s Top Supercomputers – (Washington Post – August 31, 2007)
The network of compromised Microsoft Windows computers under the thumb of the criminals who control the Storm Worm has grown so huge that it now has more raw distributed computing power than all of the world’s top supercomputers, security experts say. Estimates on the number of machines infected by Storm range from one million to 10 million, depending upon which security sources you read. Massive pools of virus or worm-infected PCs, known as “botnets,” are principally used to blast out spam, host scam Web sites, or to flood targeted Web sites with so much junk traffic all at once that they simply crash and are rendered unreachable by legitimate visitors.
For China’s Censors, Electronic Offenders Are the New Frontier – (Washington Post – September 10, 2007)
Communist party censors are now turning to China’s booming Internet and cellphone networks with particular vigor. Given the easy access to technologies such as text messaging, censors have found it difficult to keep a grip on information. It hasn’t been for lack of trying. The Public Security Ministry, which monitors the Internet under guidance from the Central Propaganda Department, has recruited an estimated 30,000 people to snoop on electronic communications. The ministry recently introduced two cartoon characters — a male and female in police uniforms — that it said would pop up on computer screens occasionally to remind people that their activity is being tracked.
Extreme Global Weather in Line with Climate Predictions
Arctic Ice Coverage Will Shrink to 2050 Projections… This Summer
Massive Investment Needed to Combat Climate Change
Global Warming’s Next Victim: Wheat
World Facing Arsenic Timebomb
Warming May Be Hurting Gray Whales’ Recovery
Eating Less Meat May Slow Climate Change
Extreme Global Weather in Line with Climate Predictions – (Forecast Earth – August 8, 2007)
In May the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fourth report, warning that global warming would increase the number of extreme weather events and cause more natural disasters, which will hit the poor hardest. Hundreds have died and thousands have lost their livelihoods in floods since the start of the year in China, South Asia, Mozambique, Sudan and Uruguay, while the period from May to July was the wettest in England and Wales since records began in 1766. Two heat waves in southeastern Europe in June and July broke previous records, with temperatures in Bulgaria hitting 113 Fahrenheit on July 23.
Arctic Ice Coverage Will Shrink to 2050 Projections… This Summer – (Universe Today – August 17, 2007)
The area of the Arctic Sea covered by ice is at its lowest level ever recorded. It reached this low point on August 15th, however, ice levels are expected to continue to shrink all the way through mid-September. If this occurs, the ice levels will reach IPCC predictions 40 years ahead of schedule.
Massive Investment Needed to Combat Climate Change – (Yahoo News – August 28, 2007)
Investment of more than 200 billion dollars will be needed by 2030 just to keep greenhouse gas emissions at today’s levels, according to a UN climate change report. Between 0.3 and 0.5 percent of global gross domestic product and between 1.1 and 1.7 percent of global investment will have to be spent on addressing climate change, the report estimated.
Global Warming’s Next Victim: Wheat – (Time – August 27, 2007)
An essential commodity has become scarcer and pricier in recent months. Traders are paying record prices for wheat on world markets, thanks in part to shortages caused by a mix of drought and flooding. As a result of the supply squeeze, global inventories of wheat — which makes up one-fifth of the world’s food intake — are expected to fall to their lowest level in 26 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
World Facing Arsenic Timebomb – (BBC News – August 30, 2007)
About 140 million people, mainly in developing countries, are being poisoned by arsenic in their drinking water, researchers believe. Speaking at the Royal Geographical Society annual meeting in London, scientists said this will lead to higher rates of cancer in the future. South and East Asia account for more than half of the known cases globally. “It’s a global problem, present in 70 countries, probably more.”
Warming May Be Hurting Gray Whales’ Recovery – (Washington Post – September 11, 2007)
Federal officials took eastern Pacific gray whales off the endangered species list in the mid-1990s, but a rise in sea temperatures appears to have limited the whales’ available food. A recent spike in deaths among gray whales may suggest “this decline was due to shifting climatic conditions on Arctic feeding grounds,” according to researchers.
Eating Less Meat May Slow Climate Change – (Associated Press – September 12, 2007)
Eating less meat could help slow global warming by reducing the number of livestock and thereby decreasing the amount of methane flatulence from the animals, according to an article in the medical journal, Lancet. Gases from animals destined for dinner plates account for nearly a quarter of all emissions worldwide.
AI System Predicts Medicine’s Hidden Powers
Mind-controlled Prosthetic Arm Plays the Piano
AI System Predicts Medicine’s Hidden Powers – (New Scientist – August 24, 2007)
Treatments for new or drug-resistant infectious diseases may already be in our medicine cabinets, say the molecular biologists responsible for developing an artificial-intelligence system that can predict unknown antibiotic properties of existing drugs. If the new AI system suggests an existing drug might be an effective antibiotic, it could be quickly tested for efficacy, and then pushed into service. And because these drugs would have already been approved for use in people, they wouldn’t have to go through all the clinical trials and lengthy regulatory approvals required of brand-new drugs.
Mind-controlled Prosthetic Arm Plays the Piano – (CNN.com – September 5, 2007)
The title of this article is somewhat overstated, but a $55-million project has been launched pooling the efforts of prosthetics experts nationwide to create a thought-controlled bionic arm that duplicates the functions of a natural limb. This summer the development team hit a critical milestone when it finished Proto 2, a thought-controlled mechanical arm — complete with hand and articulated fingers — that can perform 25 joint motions. This dexterity approaches that of a native arm, which can make 30 motions.
Mining the Moon
Forecast for Solar Power: Sunny
A Cool Concept
Getting Wind Farms off the Ground
Reclusive Green-Tech Startup May Spell the End of the Battery
Technology for Converting any Renewable Oil into High-Value Fuels
Cultivating a Crop of Hope
Mining the Moon – (Technology Review – August 23, 2007)
A second race for the moon would be under way, with a full roster of 21st-century global powers, including China and India, are competing. One reason for much of the interest appears to be plans to mine helium-3 – purportedly an ideal fuel for fusion reactors but almost unavailable on Earth – from the moon’s surface.
Forecast for Solar Power: Sunny – (USA Today – August 26, 2007)
Solar power has long been the Mercedes-Benz of the renewable energy industry: sleek, quiet, low-maintenance. Yet like a Mercedes, solar energy is universally adored but prohibitively expensive for most people. However a few dozen companies say advances in technology will let them halve the price of solar-panel installations in as little as three years. By 2014, solar-system prices will be competitive with conventional electricity when energy savings are figured in. And that’s without government incentives.
A Cool Concept – (Economist – June 7, 2007)
Geothermal heating—using the warmth of the Earth’s interior to heat water—is an old idea. Hydrothermal cooling is a novel approach that uses cold water from lakes and oceans to run air-conditioning systems. Toronto sits next to a very large supply of cold water, in the form of Lake Ontario and has been pioneering the idea that instead of using electricity to power air conditioning, a useful supply of cold can be directly extracted from the environment. The article does not discuss how the return of heated water is impacting the ecosystem of the lake.
Getting Wind Farms off the Ground – (Economist – June 7, 2007)
At six miles up in the air, the jet-stream winds are stronger and blow more consistently than ground-level winds and carry up to a hundred times more energy. So just as oil companies are drilling deeper and in more remote locations in search of new reserves, pioneer wind-power engineers are looking higher in the sky for new sources of energy. To tap that energy, they are trying to invent a whole new technology for harvesting wind: electricity generators that fly.
Reclusive Green-Tech Startup May Spell the End of the Battery – (ABC News – August 31, 2007)
In a patent application, an Austin-based startup called EEStor promised “technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries,” meaning a motorist could plug in a car for five minutes and drive 500 miles roundtrip between Dallas and Houston without gasoline. EEStor’s secret ingredient is a material sandwiched between thousands of wafer-thin metal sheets, like a series of foil-and-paper gum wrappers stacked on top of each other. Charged particles stick to the metal sheets and move quickly across EEStor’s proprietary material. The result is an ultracapacitor, a battery-like device that stores and releases energy quickly.
Innovative Technology for Converting any Renewable Oil into High-Value Fuels – (Diversified Energy – 2007)
Diversified Energy Corporation and NC State University are developing and testing a patent-pending technology for converting oils derived from any lipidic compound (like agriculture crops, animal fats, algae, energy crops, waste greases, etc.) to high-value fuels. The technology, termed Centia™ (a derivation of “green power” in Latin can produce aviation fuel, 2nd generation biodiesel, and other hydrocarbon biofuels like bio-gasoline. A key attribute of Centia™ is its ability to utilize a wide variety of feedstocks including animal fats and waste greases. These are available in the U.S. in excess of 1.5B gallons/year. Animal fats are currently priced lower than equivalent vegetable oils and don’t have a direct impact to the food chain (unlike soybean and corn).
Cultivating a Crop of Hope – (Washington Post – September 6, 2007)
Long, tall switchgrass holds promise as uprooting corn as a main source of ethanol and as a boon for ex-tobacco farmers. With a lot of advantages over corn, this formerly obscure prairie grass is now projected to be a major source of farm-grown fuel. However, there is still one snag: scientists haven’t yet perfected the process that turns switchgrass into ethanol.
U.S. under U.N. Law in Health Emergency
CDC Requests Bay Area Morgellans Study
WHO Warns of Global Epidemic Risk
Ebola Depleting Gorilla Populations
U.S. under U.N. Law in Health Emergency – (World Net Daily – August 28, 2007)
The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America summit in Canada released a plan that establishes U.N. law along with regulations by the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization as supreme over U.S. law during a pandemic and sets the stage for militarizing the management of continental health emergencies. The SPP plan argues that the risk from avian and pandemic influenza is so great to North America that the leaders of the three nations would be compelled “to work collectively and with all levels of government, the private sector and among-non-governmental organizations to combat avian and pandemic influenza.”
CDC Requests Bay Area Morgellans Study – (KTVU – August 2, 2007)
The federal Centers for Disease Control has asked Kaiser Permanente to begin the nation’s first epidemiologic study of “Morgellons Disease,” a mysterious ailment that the government terms an “unexplained and debilitating condition that has emerged as a public health concern.” The skin disorder seems to cause fibers and filaments to emerge from the skin of sufferers, and also cause neurological problems patients described as “brain fog.” Federal doctors want study results by next May “…to better characterize the clinical and epidemiologic features of this condition; to generate hypotheses about factors that may cause or contribute to sufferers’ symptoms; to estimate the prevalence of the condition in the population; and to provide information to guide public health recommendations.”
WHO Warns of Global Epidemic Risk – (BBC News – August 23, 2007)
In the report, A Safer Future, the WHO says new diseases are emerging at the “historically unprecedented” rate of one per year. Sharing of medical data, skills and technology between rich and poor nations is “one of the most feasible routes” to health security, it says. However there is another side to the story. For example, the WHO is embroiled in a dispute with Indonesia over its H5N1 bird flu virus samples. Jakarta has refused to share its samples with the WHO amid fears that pharmaceutical companies will use them to make vaccines that are too expensive for Indonesia. China only started sharing its H5N1 samples in June.
Ebola Depleting Gorilla Populations – (Yahoo.com – September 13, 2007)
The most common type of gorilla is now “critically endangered,” one step away from global extinction, according to the 2007 Red List of Threatened Species released Wednesday by the World Conservation Union. The Western Gorilla’s main subspecies — the Western Lowland Gorilla — has been decimated by the Ebola virus. “In the last 10 years, Ebola is the single largest killer of apes. Poaching is a close second,” said Peter Walsh, a member if IUCN’s Primate Specialist Group. “Ebola is knocking down populations to a level where they won’t bounce back. The rate of decline is dizzying. If it continues, we’ll lose them in 10-12 years.”
TERRORISM, SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
The TOPOFF 4 Full-Scale Exercise
Chinese Military Hacked into Pentagon
The TOPOFF 4 Full-Scale Exercise – (Dept. of Homeland Security – May 29, 2007)
Taking place October 15-24, 2007, the TOPOFF 4 Full-Scale Exercise will involve more than 15,000 participants representing Federal, State, territorial, and local entities. The T4 FSE is based on National Planning Scenario 11. The scenario begins as terrorists successfully bring radioactive material into the United States. The first of three coordinated attacks occurs in Guam, with the simulated detonation of a Radiological Dispersal Device, or “dirty bomb,” causing casualties and wide-spread contamination in a populous area near a power plant. Similar attacks occur in the hours that follow in Portland and Phoenix.
Chinese Military Hacked into Pentagon – (Financial Times – September 3, 2007)
The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defense department. The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defense secretary. One person familiar with the event said there was a “very high level of confidence … trending towards total certainty” that the People’s Liberation Army was responsible. The PLA regularly probes US military networks – and the Pentagon is widely assumed to scan Chinese networks – but US officials said the penetration in June raised concerns to a new level because of fears that China had shown it could disrupt systems at critical times.
CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE
A special note from the editor:
The latest confirmation we have that something of significance actually took place at Roswell, NM has just surfaced. In 1947, a famous report was dictated by the Roswell base Commander, Col. Blanchard, who had his Public Information Officer, Lt. Walter G. Haut put out the press release that they had picked up debris from a crashed flying saucer. Then the next day it was said it was a mistake, only a weather balloon – and thus began the cover-up.
Over the years, when so many came forward to tell what they knew, some speaking truth, some just jumping on the bandwagon for their ten minutes of fame, one person who stayed in the background, never seeking the limelight, and claiming to have no further information beyond what he put out in the press release was Lt. Haut. Now, however, it turns out that Haut knew much more and prepared a sealed notarized statement to be released only after his death in which he told details about the crash, bodies and the cover-up – all of which he was a direct witness to. This was the way he could keep his commitment to Col. Blanchard to never talk about it, but at the same time leave a legacy of historical truth that otherwise would be lost to history. Haut_AFFIDAVIT.pdf
The following article sheds further light on this historic incident:
German Scientist Von Braun was at Roswell during UFO Crash – (The Canadian – August 27, 2007)
In 1947, the “Roswell Incident” took place in New Mexico near the town of Roswell. It remains the paramount case in UFO crash/retrieval history. In addition to the claims of a downed alien ship, alien bodies were said to have been recovered from the debris. Dr. Wernher von Braun and his German scientific team were located not too far from the crash site at that time launching captured V-2 rockets from the White Sands Testing Range. He and his associates were invited to examine the crash site and material remains. This article recounts his description of that event.
Frigid Enceladus: Unlikely Harbor for Life
China to Map Soil on Moon’s Surface
Moving to the Rhythm of the Sun
Ancient DNA Boosts Hope for Alien Life
Frigid Enceladus: Unlikely Harbor for Life – (PhysOrg – August 14, 2007)
A new model of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus may quell hopes of finding life there. The Cassini spacecraft has revealed a south polar region of Enceladus with an elaborate arrangement of fractures and ridges, intense heat radiation and geyser-like plumes consisting of ice crystals and gases such as methane, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The plumes erupt from vents located in large fractures called “tiger stripes” that cut across the south pole.
China to Map Soil on Moon’s Surface – (Daily Tech – September 10, 2007)
China wants to measure every square inch of land on the moon’s surface, said a Chinese space official. One goal of the project will be to learn how much helium-3 – a non-radioactive isotope crucial for nuclear fusion research – is located in the moon’s soil. China’s first lunar orbiter, the Chang’e I, will hopefully launch sometime in the later part of 2007. The Chang’e I will be responsible for taking the majority of pictures that Chinese scientists will use to put together the map.
Moving to the Rhythm of the Sun – (European Space Agency – August 17, 2007)
Scientists from the Ulysses mission have proven that sounds generated deep inside the Sun cause the Earth to shake and vibrate in sympathy. They have found that Earth’s magnetic field, atmosphere and terrestrial systems, all take part in this cosmic sing-along. Distinct, isolated tones, predicted to be generated by pressure and gravity waves in the Sun, are present in a wide variety of terrestrial systems. Using highly sophisticated statistical techniques, researchers have discovered these same, distinct tones emitted by the Sun, in seismic data here on Earth. They have also found that Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, and even voltages induced on ocean cables, are all taking part in this cosmic sing-along.
Ancient DNA Boosts Hope for Alien Life – (MSNBC – August 27, 2007)
In a study that suggests life could exist in Martian permafrost or ice-covered oceans on alien worlds, researchers have found that ancient bacteria can survive nearly half a million years in the harsh, frozen conditions of the Arctic and Antarctic. The findings come just weeks after some of the same researchers reported recovering DNA more than a mile beneath Greenland’s icy surface. These findings may affect how future space probes look for life on Mars or on Europa, a moon of Jupiter that is thought to harbor a liquid ocean beneath its icy surface.
Silicon Nanoparticles Enhance Performance of Solar Cells – (EurekAlert – August 20, 2007)
Placing a film of silicon nanoparticles onto a silicon solar cell can boost power, reduce heat and prolong the cell’s life, researchers now report. Integrating a high-quality film of silicon nanoparticles 1 nanometer in size directly onto silicon solar cells improves power performance by 60% in the ultraviolet range of the spectrum and 10% in the visible range.
Credit Card Debt Default – The Domino Crisis – (DK Matai blog – September 2, 2007)
Households struggling to meet the soaring interest costs on their mortgage payments are increasingly using their credit cards to service and to pay their debts in the short term. This could put credit card repayments under pressure alongside mortgage payments. The latest figures from the US Federal Reserve show that consumers increased their amount of outstanding revolving credit – mostly credit-card debt – by USD 6.3 billion in June to a total of USD 904 billion. Since the concatenated risks in credit markets are deeply intertwined, they display significant potential for “black swans”, i.e, unknown unknowns, and the unruly manifestation of sudden systemic risk with wide contagion.
TRENDS OF GOVERNMENT
Bush Setting America up for War with Iran
Fading superpower? – (LA Times – September 9, 2007)
Whether it is imperial Rome, imperial Spain or imperial Britain, economic strength and political strength have always gone together. Because no one denies that the U.S. will decline in comparative terms economically (though it will almost certainly remain one center of the world economy), the only way one can believe that geopolitics will not also become multipolar is to believe that the U.S. is somehow exempt from what seems one of history’s few ironclad laws. However, that is not analysis; that is faith.
Bush Setting America up for War with Iran – (Telegraph – September 17, 2007)
Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons program are doomed to fail. Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated program of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.
JUST FOR FUN
Heads Spinning over 200-yard Spider Web
Ghost Lights that Dance on Banni Grasslands
Heads Spinning over 200-yard Spider Web – (Seattle Times – August 31, 2007)
If you hate creepy-crawlies, you might want to avoid Lake Tawakoni State Park in Texas, where a 200-yard stretch along a nature trail has been blanketed by a sprawling spider web that has engulfed seven large trees, dozens of bushes and the weedy ground. “At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland,” said Donna Garde, superintendent at the park about 45 miles east of Dallas. “Now it’s filled with so many mosquitoes that it’s turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs.”
Ghost Lights that Dance on Banni Grasslands – (Ahmedabad Newline – August 27, 2007)
The deserts of the Rann of Kutch, which melt into the arid Banni grasslands in India hold many unexplained mysteries apart from the varied species of birds. Spread across 3,846 sq km, this grassland is witness to a strange light phenomenon on any dark night. The light, which is as bright as a mercury lamp changes its color to blue and sometimes red. It is like a moving ball of fire, which sometime stops or moves as fast as an arrow. Strangely, although this phenomenon has been observed for centuries, no one has been able to come up with a suitable explanation.
The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious. – John Sculley
A special thanks to: Paul Alois, James Black, Tom Burgin, Ken Dabkowski, Jack DuVall, Chas Freeman, Neil Freer, Ursula Freer, KurzweilAI, Sebastian McCallister, Sher Patterson-Black, Diane C. Petersen, the Schwartzreport, Joel Snell, and Steve Ujvarosy, our contributors to this issue.
If you see something we should know about, do send it along – thanks.
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