Volume 11, Number 01
Edited by John L. Petersen
In This Issue:
TAI PRESENTS – DR. HAROLD (HAL) PUTHOFF
Berkeley Springs High School
149 Concord Ave
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
RSVP: [email protected]
Admission is Free To All
The Arlington Institute is pleased to announce the fifth lecture in its TAI Presents series related to different aspects of big global change. We are honored that one of the most innovative minds in physics, Dr. Hal Puthoff, will join us on February 1st at 7:00pm for a public presentation. He will be speaking on PROJECT STAR GATE: The Government’s Investigation of “Psychic Spying”.
A graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Hal Puthoff is Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin. His research interests range from theoretical studies concerning gravitation, cosmology and energy research, to laboratory studies of innovative approaches to energy generation and space propulsion.
In 1972, he was approached by the CIA to set up a program to investigate “ESP” to determine whether there was a credible “psychic spy” threat to the U.S. from a known large-scale effort being pursued in the then Soviet Union. As a result he founded the Stanford Research Institute remote viewing (RV) program, and acted as its Director over the next two decades both to serve a number of clients in the DoD/Intelligence community, and to generate a dense data base for scientific evaluation. From this work emerged some of the first papers on remote viewing to be published in intelligence community journals and in mainstream scientific journals such as Nature and the Proceedings of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). Previously classified files of the work carried out under codeword project names SCANATE, SUN STREAK, CENTER LANE, GRILL FLAME and STAR GATE have recently been released (~90,000 pages) in CD format by the CIA FOIA office and by the National Archives (NARA).
Dr. Puthoff will discuss the results obtained in the program, and their operational implications and scientific significance.
This will be our first TAI Presents lecture in our new location of Berkeley Springs, WV. If you will be joining us from out of town, consider staying at The Country Inn at Berkeley Springs which can be reached toll free (866) 458-2210 or (304) 258-2210. Weekend packages and special rates are available. Just ask for the TAI rate.
FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
- Driver-less cars – technologically almost here. But will we want them?
- A flexible surgical robot, known as the i-Snake, could revolutionize keyhole surgery.
- The insurance industry faced $75 billion of losses world-wide from natural catastrophes during 2007, up 50% from 2006 despite a lack of “megacatastrophes”.
- According to the United Nations, the world food supply is dwindling rapidly and food prices are soaring to historic levels.
Generation Y Biggest User of U.S. Libraries
GM Envisions Driverless Cars on Horizon
Generation Y Biggest User of U.S. Libraries – (Reuters – December 30, 2007)
Of the 53% of U.S. adults who said they visited a library in 2007, the biggest users were young adults aged 18 to 30 in the tech-loving group known as Generation Y, according to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. “Internet use seems to create an information hunger and it is information-savvy young people who are most likely to visit libraries.” Internet users were more than twice as likely to patronize libraries as non-Internet users, according to the survey.
GM Envisions Driverless Cars on Horizon – (Associated Press – January 7, 2007)
Cars that drive themselves — even parking at their destination — could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors executives say. The most significant obstacles facing the vehicles could be human rather than technical: government regulation, liability laws, privacy concerns and people’s passion for the automobile and the control it gives them. Much of the technology already exists for vehicles to take the wheel: radar-based cruise control, motion sensors, lane-change warning devices, electronic stability control and satellite-based digital mapping. If people are interested.
i-Snake Will Transform Surgery
Biochip Mimics Body to Reveal Toxicity of Industrial Compounds
Scientists Work toward Engineered Blood Vessels
2007: The Year in Biology and Medicine
Researchers Get Embryonic Stem Cells from Skin
Drug Target to Stop Cancer Spread
i-Snake Will Transform Surgery – (BBC News – December 29, 2007)
Experts are developing a flexible surgical robot, known as the i-Snake, which they say could revolutionize keyhole surgery. It could enable surgeons to do complex procedures previously possible only through more invasive techniques. They envisage using the i-Snake – a long tube housing special motors, sensors and imaging tools – for heart bypass surgery.
But it could also be used to diagnose problems in the gut and bowel by acting as the surgeon’s hands and eyes in hard to reach places inside the body.
Biochip Mimics Body to Reveal Toxicity of Industrial Compounds – (Science Daily – December 24, 2007)
A new biochip technology could eliminate animal testing in the chemicals and cosmetics industries, and drastically curtail its use in the development of new pharmaceuticals, according a team of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of California at Berkeley, and Solidus Biosciences Inc. The researchers have developed two biochips, the DataChip and the MetaChip, that combine to reveal the potential toxicity of chemicals and drug candidates on various organs in the human body, and whether those compounds will become toxic when metabolized in the body.
Scientists Work toward Engineered Blood Vessels – (PhysOrg – December 17, 2007)
Vascular tissue, which includes capillaries, the tiniest blood vessels, is an important part of the circulatory system. MIT scientists have found a way to induce cells to form parallel tube-like structures that could one day serve as tiny engineered blood vessels. The team has created a surface that can serve as a template to grow capillary tubes aligned in a specific direction. Engineered blood vessels could one day be transplanted into tissues such as the kidneys, liver, heart or any other organs that require large amounts of vascular tissue, which moves nutrients, gases and waste to and from cells.
2007: The Year in Biology and Medicine – (New Scientist – December 26, 2007)
It wasn’t a great year for the fight against infectious disease. By the year’s end, everyone was bickering about how best to share the world’s samples of bird flu, a large AIDS vaccine trial had to be called off after it appeared vaccinated people were even more susceptible to HIV than the unvaccinated, and our old enemy, TB, had made a nasty comeback. In February, the first-ever known case of completely drug-resistant TB was identified in Italy. It was a big year for obesity research too. Being heavily overweight was linked to everything from cancer to gum disease. Researchers also suggested a number of new causes of obesity. Could a common cold virus be making us flabby? Was it mostly down to our genes? Or can we blame mom – for having gone through puberty too early?
Researchers Get Embryonic Stem Cells from Skin – (Scientific American – December 23, 2007)
A third team of researchers has found a way to convert an ordinary skin cell into valued embryonic-like stem cells, with the potential to grow batches of cells that can be directed to form any kind of tissue. Their study, published in the journal Nature, shows the approach is not a rare fluke but in fact something that might make its way into everyday use.
Drug Target to Stop Cancer Spread – (BBC News – December 28, 2007)
A protein called Tes is able to block a second protein, Mena, from helping cancer cells “crawl” away from the initial tumor. The London Research Institute team says this knowledge should help in the design of new drug treatments to anchor a tumor in one site. The Mena protein is found in excessive amounts in tumours and was already known to help cancer cells move away from a tumour and spread around the body to form secondary cancers – one of the main obstacles in treating cancer.
DISCOVERIES ENABLED BY NEW TECHNOLOGY
‘Death Star’ Galaxy Black Hole Fires at Neighboring Galaxy – (NASA – December 17, 2007)
A powerful jet from a super massive black hole is blasting a nearby galaxy, according to new findings from NASA observatories. This never-before witnessed galactic violence may have a profound effect on planets in the jet’s path and trigger a burst of star formation in its destructive wake. Known as 3C321, the system contains two galaxies in orbit around each other. Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory show both galaxies contain super massive black holes at their centers, but the larger galaxy has a jet emanating from the vicinity of its black hole. The smaller galaxy apparently has swung into the path of this jet.
Faster Chips Are Leaving Programmers in Their Dust
Google Talks about the Evolution of Web Search
2007: The Year in Technology
Faster Chips Are Leaving Programmers in Their Dust – (New York Times – December 17, 2007)
Two years ago. Intel’s microprocessors were generating so much heat that they were melting, forcing Intel to change direction and try to add computing power by placing multiple smaller processors on a single chip. Much like adding lanes on a freeway, the new strategy, now being widely adopted by the entire semiconductor industry, works only to the degree that more cars (or computing instructions) can be packed into each lane (or processor). The challenges have not dented the enthusiasm for the potential of the new parallel chips at Microsoft, which is betting that the arrival of manycore chips — processors with more than eight cores, possible as soon as 2010 — will transform the world of personal computing.
Google Talks about the Evolution of Web Search – (Technology Review – Jan./Feb., 2008)
As the Web has grown, so has people’s need to filter information quickly. Integration of various kinds of content, speech recognition, and phone interfaces are among the coming new directions for Google search, says Google director of research and AI expert Peter Norvig.
2007: The Year in Technology – (New Scientist – December 24, 2007)
The past year has seen plenty of new technologies and inventions unveiled, some to make life easier, some with the potential to save lives, and some that might even help rescue the planet. Then there were a few odd ones as well, for example a new mechanical nose that used a healthy helping of artificial snot to sniff out odors and a leech-like robot crawled around the chest cavities of live pigs to perform surgery.
Remember This: 350 Parts Per Million
2007 a Year of Weather Records in U.S.
Catastrophe Losses Reach $75 Billion in 2007
By 2048 All Current Fish, Seafood Species Projected to Collapse
Seas Could Rise Twice as High as Predicted
Remember This: 350 Parts Per Million – (Washington Post – December 28, 2007)
A NASA scientist named James Hansen has offered a simple, straightforward and mind-blowing bottom line for the planet: 350, as in parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It’s a number that may make what happened in Washington and Bali seem quaint and nearly irrelevant. It’s the number that may define our future. We’re already at 383 parts per million, and it’s knocking the planet off kilter in substantial ways. Does that mean we’re doomed? Not quite. To use the medical analogy, we’re not talking statins to drop your cholesterol; we’re talking huge changes in every aspect of your daily life. But we simply may have waited too long. The problems of global equity alone may be too much — the Chinese aren’t going to stop burning coal unless we give them some other way to pull people out of poverty.
2007 a Year of Weather Records in U.S. – (Yahoo News – December 27, 2007)
As 2007 drew to a close, it was also shaping up to be the hottest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere. U.S. weather stations broke or tied 263 all-time high temperature records, according to an Associated Press analysis of U.S. weather data. England had the warmest April in 348 years of record-keeping there, shattering the record set in 1865 by more than 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit. It wasn’t just the temperature. There were other oddball weather events. A tornado struck New York City in August, inspiring the tabloid headline: “This ain’t Kansas!”
Catastrophe Losses Reach $75 Billion in 2007 – (Market Watch – December 27, 2007)
The insurance industry faced $75 billion of losses from natural catastrophes during 2007, up 50% from last year despite a lack of “megacatastrophes,” according to German reinsurer Munich Re. Still, the number of natural catastrophes tallied 950 this year, up from 850 in 2006 and the highest figure since 1974, when Munich Re began tabulating such events. “The trend in respect of weather extremes shows that climate change is already taking effect and that more such extremes are to be expected in the future.” 11 warmest years worldwide have been recorded during the last 13 years.
By 2048 All Current Fish, Seafood Species Projected to Collapse – (EurekAlert – November 2, 2007)
Marine species loss is accelerating and threatening human well-being, according to a report published in the 3 November issue of the journal Science. “Species have been disappearing from ocean ecosystems and this trend has recently been accelerating,” said lead author Boris Worm. “Now we begin to see some of the consequences. For example, if the long-term trend continues, all fish and seafood species are projected to collapse within my lifetime — by 2048.” Worm is an assistant professor of marine conservation biology at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.
Seas Could Rise Twice as High as Predicted – (Reuters – December 16, 2007)
Experts working on the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have suggested a maximum 21st century sea level rise — a key effect of global climate change — of about 32 inches. But researchers said in a study appearing in the journal Nature Geoscience that the maximum could be twice that, or 64 inches. They made the estimate by looking at the so-called interglacial period, some 124,000 to 119,000 years ago, when Earth’s climate was warmer than it is now due to a different configuration of the planet’s orbit around the sun.
Mind Controlled Bionic Limbs – (The Future of Things – December 17, 2007)
The ability to manufacture bionic arms that have the functionality and even feel of a natural limb is becoming very real, with goals of launching a prototype as soon as 2009. Already, primates have been trained to feed themselves using a robotic arm merely by thinking about it, while brain sensors have been picking up their brain-signal patterns since 2003. The time has come for implementing this technology on paralyzed human patients and amputees. This article provides a brief explanation of the technology, its current status, and the potential future it holds.
Nanowire Battery Holds 10x the Charge of Existing Ones
Our Silver-Coated Future
Nanowire Battery Holds 10x the Charge of Existing Ones – (Stanford Report – December 18, 2007)
Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, iPods, video cameras, cell phones, and countless other devices. The new technology produces 10 times the amount of electricity of existing lithium-ion, known as Li-ion, batteries. A laptop that now runs on battery for two hours could operate for 20 hours, a boon to ocean-hopping business travelers. The greatly expanded storage capacity could make Li-ion batteries attractive to electric car manufacturers. They could also be used in homes or offices to store electricity generated by rooftop solar panels.
Our Silver-Coated Future – (On Earth – September 1, 2007)
As nanotechnology explodes, and as federal agencies wrangle over whose responsibility it is to deal with an essentially unregulated industry, it’s all the more crucial to take stock of the emerging field as soon as possible. Nowhere is the tension between real and perceived risk — not to mention the tension between the mundane and the transformative — more apparent than with nanosilver. Nanosilver offers an important early test case for two reasons: It is now used in more consumer products than any other nanomaterial, and it is principally designed for use in products that come into direct contact with the human body.
First Aircraft Flight with Electrical Engine
On the Rebound
Aptera’s Super-MPG Electric Typ-1 e
V-shaped Solar Cells Could Lead to Better Efficiency
Carbon Electrodes Could Slash Cost of Solar Panels
Toshiba Builds 10x Smaller Micro Nuclear Reactor
Inside Toyota’s Hybrid Truck
New Efficient Bulb Sees the Light
The Case for Diesel: Clean, Efficient, Fast Cars
Magnetic Power, Inc.’s Goals for 2008
First Aircraft Flight with Electrical Engine – (APAME – December 23, 2007)
The first flight of the appropriately named Electra electric-powered open-cockpit aircraft took place Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007 at the Aspres sur Buech airfield, Hautes Alpes, France. The braced-shoulder-wing taildragger flew a closed circuit for 48 minutes powered by lithium polymer batteries, traveling the equivalent of a little more than 31 miles. A quick look at the aircraft suggests the airframe was chosen more for expedience than for its high-performance characteristics. It builds on the success of the Electron Libre ultralight trike (powered hang-glider), which flew for 22 minutes in calm air on Aug. 25 from Aspres sur Buech airfield.
On the Rebound – (Economist – December 17, 2007)
Given that transport accounts for between 1/4 and 1/3 of the emissions of most developed countries, a projected 12% improvement in fuel efficiency sounds impressive. But economists know better. Because fuel costs are a significant part of the total price of running a car, lowering them means cheaper motoring. That, all other things being equal, means more motoring. The same applies to flying, home insulation or industrial processes: any reduction in energy use means a reduction in cost which, in turn, leads to an increase in demand, eating into the savings from more frugal engineering. In energy economics this is known as the “rebound effect” but there is little research on the size of the effect in any given situation. The paucity of data has meant that rebound has been ignored in most of the academic work done around climate change. It was not discussed in the Stern Review, a weighty piece of economic modeling, which aimed to put a cost on climate change and a price on avoiding it.
Aptera’s Super-MPG Electric Typ-1 e – (Popular Mechanics – December 21, 2007)
Three hundred miles per gallon and a Jetsons-style look are enough to get anyone excited. But ever since the word got out on it last month, Aptera’s innovative Typ-1 three-wheeler has been the target of relentless theorizing and conjecture across the Web. Is it real? Does it have what it takes to be a practical vehicle for daily transport? Is it stable enough to drive? Does it even actually drive? Well we (Popular Mechanics) wondered some of those things, too, so we scouted out if a drivable prototype really exists. It does.
V-shaped Solar Cells Could Lead to Better Efficiency – (PhysOrg – December 19, 2007)
Peumans, a scientist at Stanford University, and his colleagues have discovered a technique to increase solar cell efficiency by 52%
: v-shaped cells. Peumans explained that most organic solar cells are made on planar substrates. “When the light hits it, there is only one bounce – only once chance for the light to be absorbed.” The v-shape, he continued, creates an environment in which the light can bounce around. “Every time the light bounces, it has a chance to be absorbed into the cell.”
Carbon Electrodes Could Slash Cost of Solar Panels – (New Scientist – December 19, 2007
Solar cells, LCDs, and some other devices, must have transparent electrodes in parts of their designs to let light in or out. These electrodes are usually made from indium tin oxide (ITO) but experts calculate that there is only 10 years’ worth of indium left on the planet, with LCD panels consuming the majority of existing stocks. Transparent electrodes created from atom-thick carbon sheets could make solar cells and LCDs without depleting precious mineral resources, say researchers in Germany.
Toshiba Builds 10x Smaller Micro Nuclear Reactor (Next Energy News – December 17, 2007)
Toshiba has developed a new class of micro-sized nuclear reactors designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. One of the new reactors, which are 20’x6’, could charge everything for a small remote community, small business or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs. The new technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy. Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009.
Inside Toyota’s Hybrid Truck – (Business Week – December 28, 2007)
On January 13 Toyota will take the wraps off yet another vehicle that could have embattled American automakers scrambling to catch up. The tough-looking pickup packs a hybrid gas-electric power supply to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. The sleek vehicle is roughly the size of Toyota’s smallest SUV, the RAV4, despite looking much larger thanks to an oversize front grill and rough-and-tumble body design intended to delight truck aficionados. The truck’s cabin is shaped like a trapezoid, as is the company’s flagship gas-electric, the Prius, with which it shares the Hybrid Synergy Drive system.
New Efficient Bulb Sees the Light – (BBC News – December 28, 2007)
A new type of super-efficient household light bulb is being developed which could spell the end of regular bulbs. Experts have found a way to make Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) brighter and use less power than energy efficient light bulbs currently on the market. The technology, used in gadgets such as mobile phones and computers, had previously not been powerful enough to be used for lighting, but Glasgow University scientists say they have resolved the problem.
The Case for Diesel: Clean, Efficient, Fast Cars – (Popular Mechanics – January, 2008)
The dark horse of fossil fuels has cleaned up its act, allowing automakers to create cars for the U.S. that are ultraefficient and high-performance. Here comes the 75-mpg revolution. In response to EPA mandates that went into effect in late 2006, oil refineries are now producing what’s called ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD). By definition, this “clean diesel” has sulfur concentrations of no more than 15 parts per million (ppm). That’s 98.5 percent cleaner than the sludge that coursed through the fuel delivery systems in those disco-era rides, and 97 percent less sulfur than was allowed under a 500-ppm standard instituted in 1993. The cut in sulfur means that less sulfur dioxide goes into the atmosphere, where it can combine with water to produce sulfuric acid—and thus, acid rain. There are further beneficial effects of the sulfur-light fuel, ones that could make the advent of clean diesel as environmentally momentous as the introduction of unleaded gasoline in 1974.
Magnetic Power, Inc.’s Goals for 2008 – (PESWiki – December 27, 2007)
In 2007, a Proof-of-Concept of a GENIE™ generator (Generating Electricity by Nondestructive Interference of Energy) was given a positive evaluation by Lee Felsenstein, EE. He compared it with the early work on the transistor, prior to that invention leading to a Nobel Prize and launching what became known as Silicon Valley. At least three solid-state families and one with moving parts are evolving from the fundamental invention. Other discoveries, leading to possible demonstration devices, toys and laptop power supplies are also emerging from the solid-state laboratory. MPI intends to develop solid-state as well as mechanical variations of magnetic conversion technologies. Those are likely to be converting energy from the Quantum Vacuum, often known as Zero Point Energy. Since some small devices run cooler than room temperature, they may also be converting ambient heat.
TERRORISM, SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
Watching the Watchers: Why Surveillance Is a Two-Way Street
Military Evangelism Deeper, Wider Than First Thought
Military Use of Unmanned Aircraft Soars
Watching the Watchers: Why Surveillance Is a Two-Way Street – (Popular Mechanics – January, 2008)
The recent boom in video monitoring—by both the state and businesses—means we’re all being watched. It’s like something out of George Orwell’s 1984. Except that, unlike Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith, we can watch back—and plenty of people are doing just that. Which makes a difference. However, government officials and big corporations often want to watch us, but they don’t want to be watched in return. Shopping malls are full of security cameras, but many have signs at the entrance telling customers that no photography or video recording is allowed. Police cars have dashboard cameras, cities and counties are posting red-light and speed-limit cameras. But try shooting photos or video of police or other public officials as they go about their business and you might find yourself in wrist restraints. In recent months such cases have been piling up.
Military Evangelism Deeper, Wider Than First Thought – (Truth Out – December 21, 2007)
For US Army soldiers entering basic training at Fort Jackson Army base in Columbia, South Carolina, accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior appears to be as much a part of the nine-week regimen as the vigorous physical and mental exercises the troops must endure. That’s the message directed at Fort Jackson soldiers, some of whom appear in photographs in government issued fatigues, holding rifles in one hand, and Bibles in their other hand. Frank Bussey, director of Military Ministry at Fort Jackson, has been telling soldiers at Fort Jackson that “government authorities, police and the military = God’s Ministers.” Military Ministry says its staffers are responsible for “working with Chaplains and Military personnel to bring lost soldiers closer to Christ, build them in their faith and send them out into the world as Government paid missionaries” – which appears to be a clear-cut violation of federal law governing the separation of church and state.
Military Use of Unmanned Aircraft Soars – (Associated Press – January 1, 2008)
The military’s reliance on unmanned aircraft that can watch, hunt and sometimes kill insurgents has soared to more than 500,000 hours in the air, largely in Iraq. New Defense Department figures obtained by The AP show that the Air Force more than doubled its monthly use of drones between January and October, forcing it to take pilots out of the air and shift them to remote flying duty to meet part of the demand. The dramatic increase in the development and use of drones across the armed services reflects what will be an even more aggressive effort over the next 25 years, according to the new report. Pentagon officials said that even as troops begin to slowly come home from Iraq this year, the use of Predators, Global Hawks, Shadows and Ravens will not likely slow.
City of Debt Shows US Housing Woe
Jim Kunstler’s Forecast 2008
City of Debt Shows US Housing Woe – (BBC News – December 30, 2007)
After the human interest opening, this article gives a thorough, understandable explanation of how many US banks overextended themselves into thin air through the repackaging of shaky mortgages. The rules are complex, but as a rough rule of thumb, for every $1 of shareholder capital a bank has on its balance sheet, it can also have about $10 of loans. But banks were lending far more than that 10 to 1 ratio. How had they managed to do it? This article spells it out.
Jim Kunstler’s Forecast 2008 – (James Howard Kunstler website – no date)
Kustler’s economic perspective is bracing, to say the least. And some of the phrasing is crude. Nonetheless, his take on what the US economy will be facing in 2008 is thought provoking and well worth the read. “One thing the public doesn’t get about the housing debacle is that it is not just the low point in a regular cycle — it is the end of the suburban phase of US history. We won’t be building anymore of it, and those employed in its development will have to find something else to do. Now, unfortunately the whole point of the housing bubble was not really to put X-million people in so many vinyl and chipboard boxes, but rather to ramp up a suburban sprawl-building industry as a replacement for America’s dwindling manufacturing economy. This stratagem ran into the implacable force of Peak Oil, which not only puts the schnitz on America’s whole Happy Motoring / suburban nexus, but implies a pervasive trend for contraction in everything from the daily distances we can travel to the very core idea of regular economic growth per se — at least in the way we have understood it through the age of industrial capital.”
World Food Stocks Dwindling Rapidly, UN Warns – (Herald Tribune – December 17, 2007)
In an “unforeseen and unprecedented” shift, the world food supply is dwindling rapidly and food prices are soaring to historic levels, the top food and agriculture official of the United Nations warned. The changes created “a very serious risk that fewer people will be able to get food,” particularly in the developing world, said Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The agency’s food price index rose by more than 40% this year, compared with 9% the year before. New figures show that the total cost of foodstuffs imported by the neediest countries rose 25%, to $107 million, in 2007.
TRENDS OF GOVERNMENT
Partisan Fissures over Voter ID – (Washington Post – December 25, 2007)
The Supreme Court will open the new year with its most politically divisive case since Bush v. Gore decided the 2000 presidential election, and its decision could force a major reinterpretation of the rules of the 2008 contest. The case presents what seems to be a straightforward and even unremarkable question: Does a state requirement that voters show a specific kind of photo identification before casting a ballot violate the Constitution?
JUST FOR FUN
Paleo-Future – (Paleo-future website – no date)
A look into the future that never was. This is a delightful website that will let you browse through future predictions of the past. Pick a decade in the late nineteenth or twentieth century, click on it and read what someone thought the future would be. Some predictions are spot on: in 1910, Thomas Edison predicted, “The clothes of the future will be so cheap that every young woman will be able to follow the fashions promptly, and there will be plenty of fashions.” Some predictions are way off. And some are hilarious.
A FINAL QUOTE…
Nobody gets to live life backwards. Look ahead, that is where your future lies. – Ann Landers
A special thanks to: Bernard Calil, Ken Dabkowski, Richard Dell, Neil Freer, Ursula Freer, KurzweilAI, Rick Lippin, Sebastian McCallister, 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.