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Volume 11, Number 08 05/14/2008

Volume 11, Number 08 05/14/2008 Edited by John L. Petersen [email protected]

In This Issue:
Annual Lindbergh Foundation Awards event
Future Facts – From Think Links
Think Links – The Future in the News…Today
A Final Quote



ANNUAL LINDBERGH FOUNDATION

The Arlington Institute keeps me more than busy, but I am also honored to be a board member of The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life through a balance between technology and nature and seeks to support present and future generations in working towards such a balance so that we may “…discern nature’s essential wisdom and combine it with our scientific knowledge…” (Charles A. Lindbergh). The Lindbergh Foundation strives to accomplish its mission through Lindbergh Grants and Awards.

As a Lindbergh board member, I’d like to invite you to join us at our annual Lindbergh Award Celebration in Atlanta, GA, on Saturday, May 17. We will be honoring Ted Turner, Chairman of the Turner Foundation and Founder of CNN, and James Jacoby, Founder, President and CEO of The Jacoby Group. Each of these individuals has demonstrated an exceptional dedication to preserving and protecting our environment. For further information on the event, please see
http://www.lindberghfoundation.org/news-events/news-events/event.html

If you are not able to join me in Atlanta, I hope you’ll take a moment to learn more about the Lindbergh Foundation’s work by visiting their web site at http://www.lindberghfoundation.org. You can also check out some great silent auction items that will be available on-line!

John L. Petersen


FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT…

  • The solution to gridlock may be a plane-car hybrid.
  • Due to a globally spreading wheat fungus, some crop losses are already at 70%.
  • Brazil oil finds may end reliance on Middle East
  • Finally, a computer monitor that requires no electricity at all in idle mode.


INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE


Is the Universe Electric?
Student ‘Twitters’ His Way out of Egyptian Jail
Heading Skyward to Beat Gridlock

Is the Universe Electric? – (Thunderblog – April 22, 2008)
http://www.thunderbolts.info/thunderblogs/archives/goodspeed08/042208
_is_the_universe_electric.htm

A new e-Book written by Michael Goodspeed (in collaboration with David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill), Is the Universe Electric? presents an introduction to the Electric Universe theory. The excerpt deals primarily with the fundamental differences between plasma cosmology and the Big Bang theory. Other sections address the electric sun; electrically charged planets; electrical scarring of planets; plasma formations in the lab and in rock art; and the electric comet. At just 23 pages, the e-Book is intended as a compressed presentation for both the initiated and uninitiated alike. Whatever you may think of the theory, what strikes us in the ways in which the internet is being used with increasing effectiveness to circumvent traditional marketing, (e.g. publishing), channels.

Student ‘Twitters’ His Way out of Egyptian Jail – (CNN – April 25, 2008)
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/04/25/twitter.buck/index.html
Twitter is a social-networking blog site that allows users to send status updates, or “tweets,” from cell phones, instant messaging services and Facebook in less than 140 characters. James Karl Buck, a graduate student from UC-Berkeley, was in Mahalla, Egypt, covering an anti-government protest when he and his translator were arrested April 10. On his way to the police station, Buck took out his cell phone and sent a message to his friends and contacts using the micro-blogging site Twitter. “Arrested.” Within seconds, colleagues in the United States and in Egypt – the same ones who had taught him the tool only a week earlier – were alerted that he was being held.

Heading Skyward to Beat Gridlock – (BBC News – May 7, 2008)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7384788.stm
The solution to gridlock on our overcrowded roads is to take to the air in a plane-car hybrid that will revolutionize the way society works. Boeing’s research group is designing a hybrid aimed at travelling up to 300 miles at a time. It will use precision navigation systems that would allow the average ‘driver cum pilot’ to fly without special training thanks to a computerized ‘flight instructor’ built into the cockpit. “People will probably be reading a newspaper rather than flying the vehicles.” The hybrids will be powered using electricity and/or batteries making them the “cleanest transportation of the future.”



DISCOVERIES ENABLED BY NEW TECHNOLOGY


Humans Nearly Wiped out 70,000 Years Ago
Tomato of the Sea

Humans Nearly Wiped out 70,000 Years Ago – (Associated Press – April 24, 2008)
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/04/24/close.call.ap/index.html?iref=mpstoryview
Human beings may have had a brush with extinction 70,000 years ago, an extensive genetic study suggests. The human population at that time was reduced to small isolated groups in Africa, apparently because of drought. The report notes that a separate study by researchers at Stanford University estimated that the number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000 before numbers began to expand again in the early Stone Age.

Tomato of the Sea – (Pop Sci – April 29, 2008)
http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-04/tomato-sea
Coastal gardeners may have a new ally in the salty soup of the ocean, according to Italian researchers. While investigating creative solutions to potential water shortages, scientists from the University of Pisa ran an experiment to see if different varieties of cherry tomatoes could be grown with seawater. While the seawater plants’ fruits were more than half as small by weight as the regular water fruits, they were better tasting and had a higher sweetness and acidity. They also carried a significantly higher concentration of antioxidants in vitamins C and E. The researchers surmised the increased antioxidant production to be a response to the stress of the salted water.


GENTICS/HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

The Man Who Grew Back His Finger Tip
Amoebas May Vomit E. coli on Your Greens
The Food Irradiation Plot

The Man Who Grew Back His Finger Tip – (BBC News – April 30, 3008)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7354458.stm
At the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Stephen Badylak has pioneered the development of an “extra cellular matrix”. When the matrix is put on a wound, scientists believe it stimulates cells in the tissue to grow rather than scar. If they can perfect the technique, it might mean one day they could repair not just a severed finger, but severely burnt skin, or even damaged organs.

Amoebas May Vomit E. coli on Your Greens – (New Scientist – may 2, 2008)
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13827-amoebas-may-vomit-ie-colii-on-your-
greens.html?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=news5_head_dn13827

Harmless protozoa that live on grocery store greens can shelter deadly food pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella. A laboratory study has found that food pathogens survive being eaten by protozoa living on spinach and lettuce. The temporary asylum might help bacteria stick onto leafy greens or resist efforts to kill them before packaging. Whether the shelter the protozoa provide contributes to pathogen outbreaks, however, remains to be seen.

The Food Irradiation Plot – (Rense – April 23, 2008)
http://www.rense.com/general81/plot.htm
USDA researchers AHVE conducted a study of methods to kill bacteria on leafy green vegetables like spinach. To conduct the study, they bathed the spinach in a solution contaminated with bacteria. Then, they tried to remove the bacteria using three methods: washing, chemical spraying and irradiation. Not surprisingly, only the irradiation killed nearly 100% of the bacterial colonies. Unfortunately, radiation sterilizes both the bacteria and the vegetable leaves, effectively destroying much of its nutritional value. This editorial, although far from unbiased, presents a number of facts which are not commonly aired.


ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

MIT Study Confirms Climate Change Creates Stronger Storms
Water Scarcity Concerns Growing
Do You Know What the Plastic Recycling Symbols Mean?
Climate Change Could Force 1 Billion from Their Homes by 2050
Why Are Bats Dying?
Melting Glaciers Release Toxic Chemical Cocktail
Wheat Crop Failures Could be Total

MIT Study Confirms Climate Change Creates Stronger Storms – (Ins Net – April 18, 2008)
http://www.insnet.org/ins_headlines.rxml?id=9769
Kerry Emanuel, the lead author of the new study, wrote a paper in 2005 reporting an apparent link between a warming climate and an increase in hurricane intensity. That paper attracted worldwide attention because it was published in Nature just three weeks before Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans. Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, says the new research provides an independent validation of the earlier results, using a completely different approach.

Water Scarcity Concerns Growing – (EurActive – April 18, 2008)
http://www.euractiv.com/en/environment/water-scarcity-concerns-growing/article
-171714?Ref=RSS

Water shortages are becoming more common in Europe, with the Catalan region in Spain the latest area to be affected by decreasing reservoir levels. Catalonia has started importing water from as far afield as Southern France. One significant approach is the recycling of water. Spain currently leads Europe in this area, with 12% of water being recycled. Countries like Israel recycle 75% of their water.

Do You Know What the Plastic Recycling Symbols Mean? – (Mercola – April 19, 2008)
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/04/19/do-you-know-what-plastic
-recycling-symbols-mean.aspx

This is a useful guide to the numbers on the bottom of plastic containers and the recycling potentials of the different types of plastic currently in common circulation.

Climate Change Could Force 1 Billion from Their Homes by 2050 – (Independent – April 29, 2008)
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-change-could-force-1
-billion-from-their-homes-by-2050-817223.html

The steady rise in temperatures across the planet could trigger mass migration on unprecedented levels. Hundreds of millions could be forced to go on the move because of water shortages and crop failures in most of Africa, as well as in central and southern Asia and South America. Rising sea levels could also cause havoc, with coastal communities in southern Asia, the Far East, the south Pacific islands and the Caribbean seeing their homes submerged.

Why Are Bats Dying? – (Mercola – May 1, 2008)
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/05/01/why-are-bats-dying.aspx?
source=nl

Just as news of the massive bee die off is fading from the news, news of mass bat deaths are just starting to hit the headlines. The loss of bats could be an environmental catastrophe, as they are the world’s greatest insect eaters — devouring up to half their weight in insects every day. The ultimate cause is unknown, although the condition has been named White Nose Syndrome, due to the presence of fungus growths on the bats’ noses and faces. The fungus is believed, however, to be only a symptom rather than the underlying problem.

Melting Glaciers Release Toxic Chemical Cocktail – (New Scientist – May 7, 2008)
http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn13848
Decades after most countries stopped spraying DDT, frozen stores of the insecticide are now trickling out of melting Antarctic glaciers. The change means Adélie penguins have recently been exposed to the chemical, according to a new study. The trace levels found will not harm the birds, but the presence of the chemical could be an indication that other frozen pollutants will be released because of climate change.

Wheat Crop Failures Could be Total – (Money News – April 24, 2008)
http://moneynews.newsmax.com/money/archives/st/2008/4/24/100454.cfm
On top of record-breaking rice prices and corn through the roof on ethanol demand, wheat is now rusting in the fields across Africa. Officials fear near total crop losses, and the fungus, known as Ug99, is spreading. The fungus, Puccinia graminis, is now spreading through some areas of the globe where “crop losses are expected to reach 100%.” Losses in Africa are already at 70% of the crop.


ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS

Brazil Oil Finds May End Reliance on Middle East
Focusing on Solar’s Cost
Converting Unrecoverable Heavy Oil Deposits to Methane with Microbes
Biofuels: the Good, the Bad and the Unusual
No Power Use in Standby: New Zero-Watt Monitor

Brazil Oil Finds May End Reliance on Middle East – (Bloomberg – April 24, 2008)
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_en&refer=home&sid=aBUoYKhu7PWk
Saudi Arabia’s influence as the biggest oil exporter would wane if the newly discovered Brazilian oil fields are as big as advertised, and China and India would become dominant buyers of Persian Gulf oil, said Peter Zeihan, VP of analysis at Strategic Forecasting in Austin, Texas. Brazil may be pumping “several million” barrels of crude daily by 2020, vaulting the nation into the ranks of the world’s seven biggest producers, Zeihan said. The U.S. Navy’s presence in the Persian Gulf and adjacent waters would be reduced, leaving the region exposed to more conflict, he said. Zeihan, former chief of Middle East and East Asia analysis for Strategic Forecasting, said, “If the US isn’t getting any crude from the Gulf, what benefit does it have in policing the Gulf anymore? All of the geopolitical flux that wracks that region regularly suddenly isn’t our problem.”

Focusing on Solar’s Cost – (Technology Review – May 7, 2008)
http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/20737/?a=f
Sunrgi has created a concentrated photovoltaic system that uses a lens to focus sunlight up to 2,000 times onto tiny solar cells that can convert 37.5 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity. Stronger concentrations of sunlight allow engineers to use much smaller solar cells, making it more economical to use higher-efficiency-but higher-cost-cells. Sunrgi, for example, will use cells based on gallium arsenside and germanium substrates.

Converting Unrecoverable Heavy Oil Deposits to Methane with Microbes – (Smart Economy – April 30, 2008)
http://smarteconomy.typepad.com/smart_economy/2008/04/scientists-aim.html
A microbial technology has been developed that can convert unrecoverable heavy oil deposits to natural gas (methane), bringing spent oil wells around the world, (exhausted Texas oil wells and the rest of the USA, Western Canada, Russia, the Ukraine, etc.) back to life. British and Canadian scientists expect to begin trials next month (in May) to find out whether microbes can unlock the vast amount of energy trapped in the world’s unrecoverable heavy oil deposits. An estimated six trillion barrels of oil remain underground because the oil has become either solid or too thick to be brought to the surface at economic cost by conventional means.

Biofuels: the Good, the Bad and the Unusual – (Renewable Energy World – May 1, 2008)
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/reinsider/story?id=52328
Within recent months biofuels have gone from making headline news as being the world’s salvation for when the oil runs out to becoming a “crime against humanity.” Concerns at the amount of misinformation being picked up by policy-makers, coupled with a vision that biofuels produced in developing countries could provide considerable local benefits relating to sustainable development, as well possibly providing export potential to developed countries, led Professor John Mathews of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia to solicit 17 people with key interests in biofuels from a wide range of international, national, industrial and academic organizations to discuss the topic in depth and to agree, by consensus, on a brief document. The article includes a link to the full document.

No Power Use in Standby: New Zero-Watt Monitor – (Phys Org – April 29, 2008)
http://www.physorg.com/news128618190.html
At the end of a work day, in most offices the computer is shut down. But the monitor usually stays on. It automatically enters standby mode when there is no signal from the computer. Despite the minimal power consumption, this idle mode can entail tens of thousands of dollars in additional power costs per year for large companies with several thousand computers. Now Fujitsu Siemens Computers has developed the world’s first monitor that requires no electricity at all in idle mode. The innovation is based on a new switch in the monitor that shuts it down entirely when the computer signal is absent and turns it on again when the signal reappears.


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Electronic ‘Pet’ Could Replace Passwords and PINS
The Write Stuff?
Quantum Camera Snaps Objects It Cannot ‘See’
RFID Chips Make Luggage Transport Reliable

Electronic ‘Pet’ Could Replace Passwords and PINS – (New Scientist – May 2, 2008)
http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn13817-electronic-pet-could-replace
-passwords-and-pins.html?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=news10_head_dn13817

Portable electronic pets able to recognize their owner’s voice and walking style could replace passwords and PINs as a way to keep personal details and accounts secure, say UK researchers. Called “biometric daemons”, they borrow a concept from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books, in which people are accompanied by an animal daemon that is a physical representation of their soul. Instead of a person’s biometric signature being stored on a distant database, they would reside only in the daemon – a small gadget carried around by its owner.

The Write Stuff? – (Pop Sci – May, 2008)
http://www.popsci.com/gear-gadgets/article/2008-05/write-stuff
Livescribe aims to revolutionize note-taking by linking your scrawl to audio recordings. Like previous “digital ink” pens, the Livescribe Pulse converts your writing to searchable computer files. The Pulse, though, adds audio recording synchronized to your handwriting. Point the pen to a spot in your notes (or click on your computer screen), and hear what was said when you wrote it.

Quantum Camera Snaps Objects It Cannot ‘See’ – (New Scientist – May 2, 2008)
http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn13825-quantum-camera-snaps
-objects-it-cannot-see.html

A normal digital camera can take snaps of objects not directly visible to its lens, US researchers have shown. The “ghost imaging” technique could help satellites take snapshots through clouds or smoke. Physicists have known for more than a decade that ghost imaging is possible. But, until now, experiments had only imaged the holes in stencil-like masks, which limited its potential applications. Now Yanhua Shih of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and colleagues at the US Army Research Laboratory have now taken the first ghost images of an opaque object.

RFID Chips Make Luggage Transport Reliable – (Phys Org – April 29, 2008)
http://www.physorg.com/news128703805.html
Transporting passenger baggage between the world’s airports is expected to become far more reliable in the future — with RFID technology. Siemens has developed a system that relies on a radio chip to replace the bar code attached to a suitcase. The new technology will substantially reduce scanning errors and resulting sorting and delivery errors.


TERRORISM, SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE

Troops to Use Electronic Insects to Spot Enemy by End of Year
Cell Phone Spying: Is Your Life Being Monitored?

Troops to Use Electronic Insects to Spot Enemy by End of Year – (Daily Mail – May 4, 2008)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.html?in
_article_id=563786&in_page_id=1965

British defence giant BAE Systems is creating a series of tiny electronic spiders, insects and snakes that could become the eyes and ears of soldiers on the battlefield, helping to save thousands of lives. Prototypes could be on the front line by the end of the year, scuttling into potential danger areas such as booby-trapped buildings or enemy hideouts to relay images back to troops safely positioned nearby. Soldiers will carry the robots into combat and use a small tracked vehicle to transport them closer to their targets. Then they would swarm into the building and relay images back to the soldiers’ hand-held or wrist-mounted computers, warning them of any threats inside.

Cell Phone Spying: Is Your Life Being Monitored? – (Geeks are Sexy – May 5, 2008)
http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2008/05/05/cell-phone-spying-is-your-life-being-monitored/
Long gone are the days of simple wiretapping, when the worst your phone could do was let someone listen in to your conversations. The new generation of cell phone spying tools provides a lot more power. A service called World Tracker lets you use data from cell phone towers and GPS systems to pinpoint anyone’s exact whereabouts, any time — as long as they’ve got their phone on them. All you have to do is log on to the web site and enter the target phone number.


GLOBAL EPIDEMIC

5 More Viral Deaths Confirmed in China; Epidemic Said to Wane – (People’s Daily – May 12, 2008)
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/90880/6409045.html
Five more Chinese children have died of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD), officials said, taking the national toll to 39, but the epidemic is said to have been brought under control with more children being discharged from hospitals. Health authorities in east China’s Anhui Province on Saturday confirmed that a girl, surnamed Huang from Lixin County of Anhui, had died of HFMD caused by the enterovirus 71 (EV71). HFMD has sickened more than 24,934 children on the Chinese mainland, of whom 39 have died in six provinces: Anhui, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Hunan and Zhejiang.



TRENDS OF GOVERNMENT

Genetic Bill of Rights
Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand

Genetic Bill of Rights – (Portfolio – April 25, 2008)
http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/top-5/2008/04/25/Genetic-Discrimination-Bill-Passes
The U.S. Senate has passed a federal standard that protects people who learn through genetic testing that they might be susceptible to a serious disease from losing their jobs or being denied health insurance. The bill, passed unanimously on a 95 to 0 vote, goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. President Bush supports the legislation and is expected to sign it into law. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, called GINA, protects the privacy of personal genetic information so people who are tested can be assured that the results cannot be used against them.

Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand – (New York Times – April 20, 2008)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/washington/20generals.html?_r=3&hp=
&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
To the public, a group of retired military officers are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world. Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance. This examination by the New York Times is well researched and deserving of attention.



ECONOMIC INDICATORS


California Foreclosures up 327% from ’07 Levels
Map of Misery
Crisis Changes American Consumers
Costs of Factory Farming
Three Chinese Banks in World’s Top Four
Disappearing now: $6 Trillion in Housing Wealth

California Foreclosures up 327% from ’07 Levels – (L.A. Times – April 22, 2008)
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laland/2008/04/california-fo-1.html
The number of California homes lost to foreclosure in the first quarter reached an average of more than 500 foreclosures per day. Despite well publicized federal efforts to reach out to homeowners in default, the odds that they will ultimately lose their homes appear to be increasing. DataQuick reports that, of the homeowners in default, “an estimated 32% emerge from the foreclosure process by bringing their payments current, refinancing, or selling the home and paying off what they owe. A year ago it was about 52 percent.”

Map of Misery – (Economist – May 8, 2008)
http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11333030
Ben Bernanke has unveiled the Federal Reserve’s latest gizmo for tracking America’s property bust: a series of maps that color-code price declines, foreclosures and other gauges of housing distress for every county in the country. The Fed chairman’s goal was to show graphically that falling prices meant more foreclosures, and he went on to urge lenders to write down the principal on troubled loans where the house is worth less than the value of the mortgage. But the jazzy design of his maps—where hotter colors imply more trouble—also makes a starker point. The pain of America’s housing bust varies enormously by region. Hardest hit have been the “bubble states”—California, Nevada and Florida, as well as parts of the industrial Midwest. The biggest uncertainty hanging over the economy is how red will things get.

Crisis Changes American Consumers – (International Herald Tribune – April 22, 2008)
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/22/business/rtrcol23.php
With the household sector accounting for about three-quarters of the U.S. gross domestic product, an end to American shoppers’ remarkable run will have a big and self-reinforcing effect. Excluding gasoline, U.S. retail sales dropped at an annual 2.2% in the first quarter. While U.S. core consumer price inflation, which excludes food and energy, is a seemingly manageable 2.4% on an unadjusted basis in the year to March, it’s a bit like saying inflation is low if you exclude the cost of things that are going up in price.

Costs of Factory Farming – (Washington Post – April 30, 2008)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/29/AR2008042902602.html
A report sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, finds that the “economies of scale” used to justify factory farming practices are largely an illusion, perpetuated by a failure to account for associated costs. Among those costs are human illnesses caused by drug-resistant bacteria associated with the rampant use of antibiotics on feedlots and the degradation of land, water and air quality caused by animal waste too intensely concentrated to be neutralized by natural processes. Factory farming is undermining rural America’s economic stability and fails to provide the humane treatment of livestock increasingly demanded by American consumers, concludes the analysis that calls for major changes in the way corporate agriculture produces meat, milk and eggs.

Three Chinese Banks in World’s Top Four – (Breitbart – April 30, 2008)
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=080430191254.lghbtwt2&show_article=1
Three Chinese institutions were among the world’s top four banks at the end of 2007 at a time when the market capitalization of Western banks was suffering from a global financial crisis. The number one spot in the rankings, compiled by the Boston Consulting Group, was occupied by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, with market capitalization of nearly 340 billion dollars.

Disappearing now: $6 Trillion in Housing Wealth – (L.A. Times – April 30, 2008)
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laland/2008/04/disappearing-no.html
A Washington think tank is warning that housing prices are falling at an accelerating level, destroying wealth at a pace that might cost the average homeowner $85,000 in lost wealth this year alone. The projections by the Center for Economic and Policy Research are based on the numbers in Tuesday’s Case-Shiller home price index, which showed accelerating price declines in most big cities.


DEMOGRAPHICS

Food Crisis Looms in Bangladesh
The New Face of Hunger
Life Expectancies Dropping, Wages Falling, Food Rationing Reported
Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations’
In Food Shortage, the World Looks to the Potato

Food Crisis Looms in Bangladesh – (News Vine – April 12, 2008)
http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2008/04/12/1426087-food-crisis-looms-in-bangladesh
With the price of food skyrocketing around the world, desperately poor and overpopulated Bangladesh is considered one of the world’s most vulnerable nations. Economists estimate 30 million of the country’s 150 million people could go hungry — a crisis that could become a serious political problem for the military-backed government. “We fear some 30 million of the ultra poor will not be able to afford three meals a day” said Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, a leading economist in Dhaka, the capital.

The New Face of Hunger – (Economist – April 17, 2008)
http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11049284
“World agriculture has entered a new, unsustainable and politically risky period,” says Joachim von Braun, the head of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC. To prove it, food riots have erupted in countries all along the equator. In Haiti, protesters chanting “We’re hungry” forced the prime minister to resign; 24 people were killed in riots in Cameroon; Egypt’s president ordered the army to start baking bread; the Philippines made hoarding rice punishable by life imprisonment.

Life Expectancies Dropping, Wages Falling, Food Rationing Reported – (AlterNet – April 23, 2008)
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/83142/
For years, we’ve been financing our consumption with debt, offshoring our manufacturing base and living large — at least some of us — off of one speculative bubble after the next. It’s a model that was never sustainable. As the GAO once put the obvious, famously, “By definition, what is unsustainable will not be sustained.” And it appears we’re paying the piper, although nobody knows exactly how much the bill will be.

Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations’ – (New York Times – April 23, 2008)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/us/23prison.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. The United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations. If you count only adults, one in 100 Americans is locked up.

In Food Shortage, the World Looks to the Potato – (Pop Sci – April 28, 2008)
http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-04/food-shortage-world-looks-potato
Can the humble tuber relieve some of the pressure on the strained worldwide grain market? The UN thinks so. The potato is third only to wheat and rice in terms of its value as a food crop in the marketplace. It’s adaptable to most any climate, matures quickly, and can produce up to four times as much food per acre as grains. More importantly, in the face of today’s economic crisis, the potato has not become a speculative commodity and so remains affordable.



JUST FOR FUN

Electric Bikes – (Electric Bikes – no date)
http://www.electric-bikes.com/nevs/legalnev.html
Federal law includes a new vehicle category, the “Neighborhood Electric Vehicle”, to encourage the use of zero-emission vehicles for inner-city use. Smaller than traditional cars, they are still required to have automotive grade headlights, seatbelts, windshields, brakes and other safety equipment. With a top speed of 25 MPH, the cars can only be used on streets with a posted 35 MPH speed limit. Check out the section on “Commute Cars”. Given the price of gasoline, having a stable of different vehicles for different uses sounds more and more reasonable.


A FINAL QUOTE… The wave of the future is coming and there is no fighting it. – Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh



A special thanks to: Paul Alois, Allan Balliett, Marty Blaker, Tom Burgin, Bernard Calil, Ken Dabkowski, Walter Derzko, Graham Ennis, Dylan Ford, Neil Freer, Ursula Freer, Deanna Korda, KurzweilAI, Sebastian McCallister, Diane C. Petersen, John C..Petersen, Planet 2025, the Schwartzreport, Joel Snell, Gary Sycalik, and Steve Ujvarosy, our contributors to this issue.

If you see something we should know about, do send it along – thanks.
[email protected]



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Volume 11, Number 07 04/28/2008

Volume 11, Number 09 05/26/2008