Volume 11, Number 05 03/21/2008 Edited by John L. Petersen [email protected]
The next TAI Presents will feature our own John L. Petersen, president and founder of The Arlington Institute taking us all on a quick trip to the horizon.
From his unusual vantage at the nexus of all of the input coming into FUTUREdition, John will walk out from the present to 2012, highlighting all of the extraordinary breakthroughs and threatening breakdowns that appear to be between here and there. Big problems are growing… but an extraordinary new world is a distinct possibility very soon after that. It’s literally a time of rapid evolution for humanity.
This will be our second TAI Presents lecture in our new location of Berkeley Springs, WV. Come for the lecture, stay for the weekend and enjoy our spas and art galleries. 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.
April 4th, 2008 8:00PM Ice House Theater Corner of Mercer St. and Independence St. Berkeley Springs, WV 25411 RSVP: [email protected]
SEMINAR IN BERKELEY SPRINGS, WV – Lee Carroll/Kryon
If you were in the futures business and ran into someone who accurately and regularly told you what was going to happen, say, a year or two from now, would you listen to him or her? What if they did it for 17 years, telling you about upcoming scientific discoveries (18 months before they showed up in Scientific American or Science)…. or explained how things like global warming really work, which, though at odds with the common understanding of such things, nevertheless made a great deal of sense?
Obviously you’d think this person was pretty special, and even if they didn’t tell you how they knew these things, a reasonable person (you’d think), would look at the track record and say: “In this time of extraordinary change, with major disruption on the horizon it would make sense to get as much input as possible from any reliable source – particularly one that can help anticipate futures.”
That’s how I feel about Kryon. As has happened throughout recorded history, certain people have been “plugged in” to unusual sources of knowledge, seemingly not of this world, but with information that turns out to be very important for how we humans live and the future that we experience. The Bible and other religious teachings are full of this stuff, so in one sense, it’s not unusual when such a source comes along. They have been doing so for a long time.
Lee Carroll had Kryon show up in his life many years ago quite against his will and interests. It was only after a couple of years of very explicit prodding that he caved in and agreed to tell others what was being said to him from an extraordinary source who called itself Kryon. Kryon said that he/it was an angelic entity responsible for all of the science related to this world and, in fact had had a role in putting the whole thing together many eons ago. The engineer in me generates a very big and immediate question when people say such things, since none of this can be proved. So I’ll be quick to say that I don’t know who Kryon is any more than the next guy.
But I do know that reading his 12 books of 17 years of verbatim revelations over the past couple of years I have been mightily impressed with not only the extraordinary wisdom and knowledge but also the spirit of this being. And after all, he predictably predicts the future… and that’s a pretty good gig.
So, since we’re looking at a VERY muddled future in the next few years (beginning with the global financial system which may be starting to rapidly unravel), we thought it might be interesting and worthwhile to invite Kryon to come to Berkeley Springs and listen to what he says about the future we’re all going to have to experience – and maybe shape. After all, these are certainly unusual times – perhaps we should start to listen to some unusual sources.
So I invite you to join us for a special Sunday afternoon on May the 4th here in Berkeley Springs with Lee Carroll and Kryon. My guess is that it will be quite memorable. If all of this is a bit weird for you, just think of it as a second opinion from an admittedly strange but very credible source – kind of like a guy who dresses really funny but is very smart and wise. You don’t have to believe it . . . and it won’t hurt to listen… and if it’s not your cup of tea, we’ll give you your money back! Can’t lose on that.
Come along. You might like it.
Kryon Seminar with Lee Carroll
Hosted by John Petersen, Berkeley Springs, WV
Sunday May 4th, 2008, 1:00pm-6:30pm
Click here for more details
If you have other questions, please email:[email protected]
FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
- Scientists from UC Berkeley report that they have developed a method capable of decoding the patterns in visual areas of the brain to determine what someone has seen.
- Ordering a hamburger might soon sound something like this: “One charbroiled cloned-beef patty, with genetically modified cheese, lab-grown bacon and vitamin-C-fortified lettuce, on a protein-spiked bun.
- The “BigDog” quadruped robot can climb through rubble, snow, jump over obstacles like a wild goat, and save itself from a near-fall on iced ground at the last second. (Video clip).
- An Egyptian man said: “People are fighting. Killing for bread, some are even pulling out knives. What is happening? What is this? Famine? ”
Do Americans Care About Big Brother? – (Time – March 14, 2008)
A quick tally of the record of civil liberties erosion in the United States since 9/11 suggests that the majority of Americans are ready to trade diminished privacy, and protection from search and seizure, in exchange for the promise of increased protection of their physical security. Polling consistently supports that conclusion, and Congress has largely behaved accordingly, granting increased leeway to law enforcement and the intelligence community to spy and collect data on Americans. Even when the White House, the FBI or the intelligence agencies have acted outside of laws protecting those rights — such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — the public has by and large shrugged and, through their elected representatives, suggested changing the laws to accommodate activities that may be in breach of them.
Fingertip Biometrics at Disney Turnstiles: the Mouse Does Its Bit for the Police State – (Info Wars – March 15, 2008)
At Walt Disney World’s turnstiles, machines (which capture the shape of your fingertip instead of your fingerprint itself) are used to keep Disney World customers from sharing or re-selling their admission tickets, and are part of a general and growing police-state climate at the parks that includes routine bag-searches at each park entrance. The fingertip readers aren’t very effective at stopping admission cheats; what they are effective at is conditioning kids to accept surveillance and routine searches and identity checks without particularized suspicion.
Do You See What I See? Translating Images out of Brain Waves – (Scientific American – March 6, 2008)
In a step toward one day perhaps deciphering visions and dreams, new research unveils an algorithm that can translate the activity in the minds of humans. Scientists from UC Berkeley report that they have developed a method capable of decoding the patterns in visual areas of the brain to determine what someone has seen. Needless to say, the potential implications for society are sweeping.
Bacterial Battle Generates New Antibiotics
Your Burger on Biotech
Tumor Growth Block Hopes Raised
Health-Promoting Foods: From ARS to You
Bacterial Battle Generates New Antibiotics – (Technology Review – March 17, 2008)
Scientists have revealed the hidden diversity of natural antibiotics using a new approach that pits one type of bacteria against another. Scientists at MIT encouraged bacteria to produce a novel antibiotic by pitting them against a microbial enemy. The newly discovered compound can kill H. pylori, bacteria linked to stomach ulcers. The approach could provide a new way to discover novel antibiotics and shed light on how and when bacteria churn out these toxic compounds.
Remote Microscopy – (Technology Review – March 17, 2008)
A modular microscope attachment for cell phones could improve the quality of telemedicine. Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a modular, high-magnification microscope attachment for cell phones. The device will enable health workers in remote, rural areas to take high-resolution images of a patient’s blood cells using a cell-phone camera, and then transmit the photos to experts at medical centers.
Your Burger on Biotech – (Popular Science – March 17, 2008)
If the biotech industry has its way, ordering a hamburger might soon sound something like this: “one charbroiled cloned-beef patty, with genetically modified cheese, lab-grown bacon and vitamin-C-fortified lettuce, on a protein-spiked bun.” The burger of the future is delicious, nutritious and contains more engineering than a stealth bomber.
Tumor Growth Block Hopes Raised – (BBC News – March 16, 2008)
Scientists have discovered a key part of the chemistry which makes cancer cells so dangerous. They believe it could now be possible to tamper with the mechanism – and stop tumor growth in its tracks. Harvard Medical School identified an enzyme which enables cancer cells to consume the huge quantities of glucose they need to fuel uncontrolled growth. The key enzyme, pyruvate kinase, comes in two forms, but the Harvard team found that only one – the PKM2 form – enables cancer cells to consume glucose at an accelerated rate.
Health-Promoting Foods: From ARS to You – (USDA – February 28, 2008)
Today’s carrots are more nutritious than the carrots of 30 years ago. That’s because USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists discovered a way to breed carrots with high amounts of beta-carotene, an orange pigment that helps humans make vitamin A. In fact, modern carrots have 75% more beta-carotene than their predecessors. Many yellow, orange, and red vegetables get their color from carotenoids––colorful pigments that may help counter eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, and cancer. Spraying potassium on honeydew melons and cantaloupes as they grow boosts levels of that mineral in both melons by about 20% and increases their vitamin C and beta-carotene levels by 18%, when compared to unsprayed fruit.
Dangerous Wheat-killing Fungus Detected in Iran
Southern Baptist Leaders Shift Position on Climate Change
Prescription Drugs Found in Drinking Water across U.S.
Collapse of Salmon Stocks Endangers Pacific Fishery
Glaciers Suffer Record Shrinkage
Global Warming Rushes Timing of Spring
Dangerous Wheat-killing Fungus Detected in Iran – (United Nations News Center – March 5, 2008)
A dangerous new fungus with the ability to destroy entire wheat fields has been detected in Iran, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The wheat stem rust, whose spores are carried by wind across continents, was previously found in East Africa and Yemen and has moved to Iran. Up to 80% of all Asian and African wheat varieties are susceptible to the fungus, and major wheat-producing nations to Iran’s east – such as Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – should be on high alert, FAO warned. The fungus is spreading rapidly and could seriously lower wheat production in countries at direct risk,” said Shivaji Pandey, Director of FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Division.
Southern Baptist Leaders Shift Position on Climate Change – (CNN – March 10, 2008)
Several prominent leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention said Monday that Baptists have a moral responsibility to combat climate change — a major shift within a denomination that just last year cast doubt on human responsibility for global warming. Forty-six influential members of the Southern Baptist Convention, including three of its past four presidents, criticized their denomination in a statement for being “too timid” in confronting global warming. “Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed,” the statement says. “We can do better.”
Prescription Drugs Found in Drinking Water across U.S. – (CNN – March 10, 2008)
A vast array of pharmaceuticals – including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones – have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an investigation shows. To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe. But the presence of so many prescription drugs – and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen – in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.
Collapse of Salmon Stocks Endangers Pacific Fishery – (New York Times – March 13, 2008)
Federal officials have indicated that they are likely to close the Pacific salmon fishery from northern Oregon to the Mexican border because of the collapse of crucial stocks in California’s major watershed. That would be the most extensive closing on the West Coast since the federal government started regulating fisheries. Counts of young salmon, whose numbers have dwindled sharply for two years, were the first major indication of the problem. The number of fish that survive more than a year in the ocean, or jacks, is a marker for the abundance of full-grown salmon the next year. The 2007 count of the fall Chinook jacks from the Sacramento River was less than 6% of the long-term average.
Glaciers Are Melting Faster Than Expected, UN Reports – (Science Daily – March 18, 2008)
Average glacial shrinkage has risen from 30 centimeters per year between 1980 and 1999, to 1.5 meters in 2006. Some of the biggest losses have occurred in the Alps and Pyrenees mountain ranges in Europe. Glaciers across nine mountain ranges were analyzed. In its entirety, the research includes figures from around 100 glaciers, with data showing significant shrinkage taking place in European countries including Austria, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. The current trends in glacial melt suggest that the Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra and other rivers that criss-cross the northern Indian plain may become seasonal rivers in the near future as a consequence of climate change with important ramifications for poverty and the economies in the region.
Global Warming Rushes Timing of Spring – (Associated Press – March 19, 2008)
The capital’s famous cherry trees are primed to burst out in a perfect pink peak about the end of this month. Thirty years ago, the trees usually waited to bloom till around April 5. And sneezes are coming earlier in Philadelphia. On March 9, when allergist Dr. Donald Dvorin set up his monitor, maple pollen was already heavy in the air. Less than two decades ago, that pollen couldn’t be measured until late April. The fingerprints of man-made climate change are evident in seasonal timing changes for thousands of species on Earth, according to dozens of studies and last year’s authoritative report by the Nobel Prize-winning international climate scientists. More than 30 scientists reiterated that global warming is affecting plants and animals at springtime across the country, in nearly every state
Video of BigDog Quadruped Robot Is So Stunning It’s Spooky
Researchers Create Human-like AI for Second Life
Video of BigDog Quadruped Robot Is So Stunning It’s Spooky – (Gizmodo – March 17, 2008)
With $10 million funding from DARPA, Boston Dynamics keeps working on their BigDog quadruped robot. It looks like an actual biological quadruped. Seeing it climb through rubble, snow, jumping over obstacles like a wild goat, and saving a near-fall on iced ground at the last second (fast forward to the middle of the video) defies belief. The new version of the robot can carry 340 pounds, which is almost triple the previous weight.
Researchers Create Human-like AI for Second Life – (Daily Tech – March 16, 2008)
Artificial intelligence is fast approaching human level thought process. Battlefield robots are making life and death decisions, and an international panel recently met to discuss whether robots could be tried for war crimes. In vehicles, a GM-sponsored DARPA robotic driver navigate a complicated course with efficiency matching or surpassing that of a human. Meanwhile, SRI National works to create DARPA funded robotic assistants which learn and organize thoughts in a human-like fashion. Continuing along the path of convergence between biology and the digital world, researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are developing complex artificial intelligence to control characters in the popular online game Second Life. These characters will be able to have beliefs, distinguish human and AI characters’ beliefs, and manipulate the behaviors of human and AI characters based on these beliefs.
Revolutionary Biodiesel Discovery
Bacterium Gets Wheels Turning on Ethanol Fuel
Crystal Coat Warms up LED Light
MIT Builds Efficient Nanowire Storage to Replace Car Batteries
Massive Oil Deposits Could Increase US Reserves by 10x
Revolutionary Biodiesel Discovery – (Inside Augsburg – March 9, 2008)
The discovery of a chemical process that could free the United States from its dependence on petroleum diesel fuel. Dubbed the “Mcgyan Process”, it has many advantages over previous biodiesel production methods. It can convert a much wider range of feedstock oils and animal fats into biodiesel, including the byproducts from ethanol production. The Mcgyan Process recycles the catalyst and alcohol necessary to make biodiesel, it reduces the reaction time from hours to seconds, and it doesn’t use water or dangerous chemicals. In short, it can make more biodiesel quickly and with a minimal impact on the environment.
Bacterium Gets Wheels Turning on Ethanol Fuel – (Washington Post – March 9, 2008)
A strain of bacteria accidentally found in the Chesapeake Bay more than 20 years ago – a bug that decomposes everything from algae to newspapers to crab shells – could help produce cheaper fuel, according to scientists at the University of Maryland. The hope is that the bacterium can be used to produce ethanol more efficiently and inexpensively and in effect recycle junk into energy. The bacterium is very difficult to find in nature but easily reproduced in the lab. “It basically is the ultimate bottom feeder,” said Jonathan Dinman, an associate professor of cell biology and molecular genetics at U-Md. “It eats what nobody else will eat – cornstalks, leftover chaff from hay or whatever – and can turn that into ethanol.”
Crystal Coat Warms up LED Light – (New Scientist – February 1, 2008)
Topping LEDs with a coating of carefully tuned nanocrystals makes their light warmer and less clinical, a new study shows. The researchers argue this is a must for energy-efficient LED lights to make headway in the commercial market. Illuminating buildings accounts for about a quarter of the electricity used in the US, according to the Department of Energy. Because most of that electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, lights account for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. LEDs have the potential to be far more efficient than other lights, but face two major hurdles. Firstly, they trail behind fluorescent lights for efficiency and, secondly, the color of typical commercial LEDs isn’t pure white.
MIT Builds Efficient Nanowire Storage to Replace Car Batteries – (Popular Mechanics – February 29, 2008)
Could the ultracapacitor replace lithium ion in hybrids and plug-in vehicles? In a tiny box at a messy lab, the future of automotive efficiency is taking a surprising turn toward extending range and battery life. Ultracapacitors store drastically less energy than a battery but have essentially none of the drawbacks. The task now is to ramp them up.
Massive Oil Deposits Could Increase US Reserves by 10x (Next Energy News – March 13, 2008)
America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America Energy Independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America’s Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC’s short squeeze on oil supply and making foreign threats of disrupted supply irrelevant. In the next 30 days the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) will release a report giving an accurate resource assessment of the Bakken Oil Formation that covers North Dakota and portions of South Dakota and Montana. With new horizontal drilling technology it is believed that from 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve that was initially discovered in 1951. The USGS did an study in 1999 that estimated 400 billion recoverable barrels were present but with oil prices at $10 a barrel back then the report was dismissed because the cost of horizontal drilling techniques were estimated at $20-$40 a barrel.
Wind Power Urged for Computers
Advertising Sent to Cellphones Opens New Front in War on Spam
Video Road Hogs Stir Fear of Internet Traffic Jam
Wind Power Urged for Computers – (Guardian – March 18, 2008)
The world’s computing power should be moved from desktop computers and company servers to remote outposts where renewable energy such as wind and solar power is abundant, according to a Cambridge University computer expert. With carbon emissions from computing set to rise rapidly in the coming decades, he said his idea could significantly reduce the contribution made by computers to climate change. “There’s something very special about computing power which is very different from heating your house,” said Prof Andy Hopper. “Computing power can be moved around the world and can be done anywhere in the world where the energy is available.”
Advertising Sent to Cellphones Opens New Front in War on Spam – (Washington Post – March 10, 2008)
Text messages are the latest tool for advertisers and scammers to target consumers. But unlike junk e-mail that can be deleted with the click of a button, text-message spam costs money for the person who receives it and chips away at the mobile phone’s aura of privacy. One cell phone user downloaded a program that was supposed to block texts from numbers not stored in his phone’s contact list, but the junk messages still get through. Spammers even make the messages appear as if they’re coming from his own number, so his wireless carrier cannot block them. “Spam e-mail usually goes right into my spam filter, but the texts are there, on my phone, and they just keep coming,” he said.
Video Road Hogs Stir Fear of Internet Traffic Jam – (New York Times – March 13, 2008)
Last year, by one estimate, the video site YouTube, owned by Google, consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet did in 2000. Andrew M. Odlyzko, a professor at the University of Minnesota, estimates that digital traffic on the global network is growing about 50 percent a year, in line with a recent analysis by Cisco Systems, the big network equipment maker. That sounds like a daunting rate of growth. Yet the technology for handling Internet traffic is advancing at an impressive pace as well. While experts debate the immediacy of the challenge, they agree that it points to a larger issue. If American investment lags behind, they warn, the nation risks losing competitiveness to countries that are making the move to higher-speed Internet access a priority. “The long-term issue is where innovation happens,” Professor Odlyzko said. “Where will the next Google, YouTube, eBay or Amazon come from?”
TERRORISM, SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
Wireless Technologies which Target the Neuronal Functioning of the Brain
Cyber Tensions Flare amongst U.S., Chinese Military
Wireless Technologies which Target the Neuronal Functioning of the Brain
– (Global Research – March 9, 2008)
New Instruments of Surveillance and Social Control: Increasingly there are indications that the uses of wireless technologies have been developed to target an individual’s biological body, with specific focus upon the neuronal functioning of the brain. This paper examines how some of these uses have had detrimental effects, and what this implies for both present and upcoming developments for particular wireless/sensor technologies. It considers whether this is not shifting dangerously towards a psycho–civilized society, where greater emphasis is placed upon social control and pre–emptive strategies.
Cyber Tensions Flare amongst U.S., Chinese Military – (Daily Tech – March 12, 2008)
Reports claim the U.S. and Chinese armed forces have begun to wage an escalating, silent war on the internet. While the U.S. military has not put it in these exact words, it indicates that the U.S. is on the verge of entering into a digital war with the Chinese government, much akin to the war of surveillance which occurred against Russia during the Cold War era. The Defense department reported multiple attacks over the course of the last year. Among them was a successful June 2007 system penetration which shutdown Homeland Security networks and potentially compromised sensitive data. In Fall 2006 hackers gained access to the Naval War College’s computer network and temporarily crippled it. In June of last year, another attack gained access to the unclassified Pentagon email system used by the offices of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The email system had to be taken offline and reworked.
Nanotechnology Biosensor for Salmonella Detection
Interconnects of the Future: Copper vs. Carbon
Nanotechnology Biosensor for Salmonella Detection (NanoWerk – March 17, 2008)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published a handbook called the Bad Bug Book which provides basic facts regarding food-born pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. It contains all you always wanted to know about Salmonella, E. coli, parasitic protozoa, worms, viruses and natural toxins and other stuff that, when it gets in your hamburger, as it does from time to time, can make you pretty sick. A novel nanotechnology-based biosensor is showing great potential for food-born pathogenic bacteria detection with high accuracy. The biosensor has a mix of gold and silver nanorods with antibodies to capture Salmonella bacteria. The Salmonella bacteria then cause the dye molecules to produce an enhanced fluorescence signal, even with a small number of bacteria present.
Interconnects of the Future: Copper vs. Carbon – (Daily Tech – March 17, 2008)
Carbon nanotubes look to step in and pick up where copper trails off. The scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, located in Troy, New York, have been busy playing with carbon nanotubes (CNT) for the past few years. Their research has brought us the possibility of paper batteries, remote-controlled disease killing bombs, and the blackest material in the world. Saroj Nayak, associate professor at Rensselaer’s Department of Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy, recently led a team on a research project to compare the conductive properties of copper nanowires with that of carbon nanotube bundles. The conclusion probably won’t be much of a shock: CNT bundles came out on top
Foreclosure Crisis Has Ripple Effect
Derivatives the New ‘Ticking Bomb’
Foreclosure Crisis Has Ripple Effect – (USA Today – March 11, 2008)
The mortgage foreclosure crisis has caused a drop in cities’ revenues, a spike in crime, more homelessness and an increase in vacant properties, a survey of elected local officials shows “There’s a reduction in revenues at the same time that more services are needed,” says Cynthia McCollum, president of the National League of Cities and councilwoman in Madison, Ala., a suburb of Huntsville. “Because of foreclosures, people are stealing, crime is on the rise and we don’t have more money for cops on the street.” More than a fifth of city officials responding said homelessness and the need for temporary and emergency housing increased in the past year.
Derivatives the New ‘Ticking Bomb’ – (Market Watch – March 10, 2008)
In 2002, Warren Buffett wrote, “In our view, however, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal.” Since then, the size of the derivatives market has increased approximately five-fold. As Pimco’s bond fund king Bill Gross and others see it, the real problem is that derivatives are now a new way of creating money outside the normal central bank liquidity rules. How? Because they’re private contracts between two companies or institutions.
Bleak Picture of Iraq Conditions
Food Crisis Will Take Hold before Climate Change
The New Face of Hunger
Food Riots in Egypt
Bleak Picture of Iraq Conditions – (BBC News – March 17, 2008)
Millions of Iraqis have little or no access to clean water, sanitation and healthcare, five years after the US-led invasion, according to the Red Cross. The Swiss-based agency says Iraq’s humanitarian situation is “among the most critical in the world”. It warned that despite better security in some areas, millions had been left essentially to fend for themselves. Some families spend a third of their average monthly wage of $150 just buying clean water, the report found.
Food Crisis Will Take Hold before Climate Change – (Guardian – March 7, 2008)
Food security and the rapid rise in food prices make up the “elephant in the room” that politicians must face up to quickly, according to the UK’s new chief scientific adviser. He predicted that price rises in staples such as rice, maize and wheat would continue because of increased demand caused by population growth and increasing wealth in developing nations. He also said that climate change would lead to pressure on food supplies because of decreased rainfall in many areas and crop failures related to climate. “The agriculture industry needs to double its food production, using less water than today,” he said.
The New Face of Hunger – (Washington Post – March 12, 2008)
Food riots have erupted from West Africa to South Asia. In countries where food has to be imported to feed hungry populations, communities are rising to protest the high cost of living. Fragile democracies are feeling the pressure of food insecurity. Many governments have issued export bans and price controls on food, distorting markets and presenting challenges to commerce. In January, to cite one example, Afghan President Hamid Karzai appealed for $77 million to help provide food for more than 2.5 million people pushed over the edge by rising prices. He drew attention to an alarming fact: The average Afghan household now spends about 45 percent of its income on food, up from 11 percent in 2006.
Food Riots in Egypt – (Al Jezeera – March 13, 2008)
In Egypt, thousands of people have resorted to violence due to shortages of basic food commodities and rising food prices. At least 10 people have died over the past two weeks, in riots that erupted at government subsidized bakeries. The unavailability of basic food products such as bread, rice, sugar and cooking oil, coupled with high food prices has led many to protest against the Egyptian government and resort to violent tactics. An Egyptian man said: “People are fighting. Killing for bread, some are even pulling out knives. What is happening? What is this? Famine? ” Another woman, waiting at a government bakery said: “I’ve been standing here from 7am. It’s now 2pm and I can’t get hold of even one loaf of bread.”
TRENDS OF GOVERNMENT
Put Young Children on DNA List, Urge Police
North American Military Agreement Signed by US and Canada
BlackBerry under Security Scrutiny in India
Put Young Children on DNA List, Urge Police – (Guardian – March 16, 2008)
Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain’s most senior police forensics expert. Some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five. “If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,” said Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers. “You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won’t. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.”
North American Military Agreement Signed by US and Canada – (News with Views – March 11, 2008)
In a political move that received little if any attention by the American news media, the United States and Canada entered into a military agreement on February 14, 2008, allowing the armed forces from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a domestic civil emergency, even one that does not involve a cross-border crisis. It is an initiative of the Bi-National Planning Group whose final report, issued in June 2006, called for the creation of a “Comprehensive Defense and Security Agreement,” or a “continental approach” to Canada-US defense and security. The agreement – defined as a Civil Assistance Plan – was not submitted to Congress for debate and approval, nor did Congress pass any law or treaty specifically authorizing this military agreement to combine the operations of the armed forces of the United States and Canada in the event of domestic civil disturbances ranging from violent storms, to health epidemics, to civil riots or terrorist attacks.
BlackBerry under Security Scrutiny in India – (Washington Post – March 11, 2008)
Indian government officials, telecommunications service providers, and executives of Research in Motion (RIM) are expected to meet on Friday to work out a solution to demands from the Indian government that it should have access to, and the ability to intercept, mails sent over RIM’s BlackBerry service, according to a report the Indian newspaper, Business Standard. RIM has declined to comment on the government’s concerns, which have so far delayed the government’s award of a license to offer BlackBerry services to Indian mobile services operator Tata Teleservices. Other operators, who already hold a license to offer BlackBerry services in India, have been asked to give the government access and the right to intercept emails, under threat of cancellation of their BlackBerry licenses by March 31.
JUST FOR FUN
Amazing Pencil Artwork – (Jennifer Maestre – date unknown)
The humble pencil has become the medium of remarkably elegant sculpture. Sculptor Jennifer Maestre writes, “My sculptures were originally inspired by the form and function of the sea urchin. The spines of the urchin, so dangerous yet beautiful, serve as an explicit warning against contact. The alluring texture of the spines draws the touch in spite of the possible consequences.”
A FINAL QUOTE…
If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong. – Arthur C. Clarke
I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about. – Arthur C. Clarke
A special thanks to: Allan Balliett, Tom Burgin, Bernard Calil, Ken Dabkowski, Neil Freer, Ursula Freer, Richard Kalin, KurzweilAI, Sebastian McCallister, Diane C. Petersen, John L..Petersen, the Schwartzreport, Joel Snell, Sonia Tarrish, Steve Ujvarosy and Uncle Jim, our contributors to this issue.
If you see something we should know about, do send it along – thanks.
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