in

Volume 11, Number 10 06/13/2008

Volume 11, Number 10 06/13/2008 Edited by John L. Petersen [email protected]
See past issues in the Archives


In This Issue:
FUTUREdtion Update
Conference Announcement
Future Facts
 – From Think Links
Think Links – The Future in the News…Today
A Final Quote


FUTUREdition Update

Over the next two weeks we will be completing significant technical upgrades for FUTUREdition and the mechanics by which it is sent out to subscribers. The format and graphics will continue to improve over the next few months. As part of our rollover process to a new newsletter “mailing house”, we will be changing the email address from which FUTUREdition is sent. As of the next issue, that address will be: [email protected]

Please add this address to your “safe senders” list and to your “contacts” list to ensure consistent delivery through the change and to make sure that your copy of FUTUREdition does not get trapped and held for ransom by spam filters. Even though spam detection software is becoming constantly more sophisticated, it is not necessarily becoming more discerning.

We are also in the process of developing a FUTUREdition blog website which can be seen in its early stages at www.futuredition.org.

We continue to be very appreciative of the articles that readers send us for inclusion in FUTUREdition. When you come across an article we should include, please do send it along. We hope you enjoy the upgrades. If you have any suggestions for the newsletter or the blog website, please send them to [email protected]
We look forward to your continuing support and readership. Thank you.


Understanding Aging: Biomedical and Bioengineering Approaches

A Conference on June 27, afternoon and evening, June 28 & 29
UCLA, Los Angeles

Applying the new technologies of regenerative and genetic medicine, the engineering approach to aging promises to dramatically extend healthy human life within the next few decades.

How do you and your loved ones stand to benefit from the coming biomedical revolution? Are you prepared? Is society prepared?

You are cordially invited to participate in the scientific conference “Understanding Aging: Biomedical and Bioengineering
Approaches,” The conference includes a free symposium for the general public on June 27th focused on the public policy implications of successfully postponing aging. The scientific conference, on June 28th and 29th, will be focused on the science and technology of aging and its postponement.

For further information: http://www.mfoundation.org/UABBA/index.html


FUTURE FACTS – FROM THINK LINKS
DID YOU KNOW THAT…

  • A team of physicists has claimed that our view of the early Universe may contain the signature of a time before the Big Bang.
  • Scientists have developed a method for reading a person’s mind using brain scans.
  • A catastrophic water shortage could prove an even bigger threat to mankind this century than soaring food prices and the relentless exhaustion of energy reserves.
  • Hong Kong officials are slaughtering all live poultry in markets and shops around the city following a fresh outbreak of bird flu.


INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE


Six Technologies with Potential Impacts on US Interests out to 2025
Future Architecture: Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees

Six Technologies with Potential Impacts on US Interests out to 2025 – (National Intelligence Council – April, 2008)
http://www.dni.gov/nic/confreports_disruptive_tech.html
A “disruptive technology” is defined as a technology with the potential to causes a noticeable-even if temporary- degradation or enhancement in one of the elements of US national power (geopolitical, military, economic, or social cohesion). The six disruptive technologies most likely to enhance or degrade US national power out to 2025 were in the areas of: Biogerontechnology; Energy Storage Materials; Biofuels and Bio-Based Chemicals; Clean Coal Technologies; Service Robotics; and the Internet of Things.

Future Architecture: Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees – (Freshome – June 11, 2008)
http://freshome.com/2008/06/11/future-architecture-floating-ecopolis-for-climate-refugees/
According to the less alarming forecasts of the GIEC (Intergovernmental Group on the Evolution of the Climate), the ocean level should rise from 20 to 90 cm during the 21st Century with a status quo by 50 cm . As a solution to this problem, architect Vincent Callebaut has come up with an ecotectural marvel that could serve as a future retreat for 50,000 inhabitants seeking refuge from rising waters due to global warming. The auto-sufficient, floating city/structure is covered in green walls and roofs, the top portion covered in grasses with the inner portion featuring a palm oasis, and the under portion serving as a bed for natural sea planktons and oceanic plants.



NEW REALITIES


Hints of Structure Beyond the Visible Universe
Hints of Time before Big Bang
Sounds and Color Influence the Taste of Food
Scientists Move a Step Closer to Mind-Reading
Bacteria Anticipate Coming Changes in Their Environment

Hints of Structure Beyond the Visible Universe – (New Scientist – June 10, 2008)
http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn14098-hints-of-structure-beyond-the-visible-universe.html
Colossal structures larger than the visible universe – forged during the period of cosmic inflation nearly 14 billion years ago – may be responsible for a strange pattern seen in the big bang’s afterglow, says a team of cosmologists. If confirmed, the structures could provide precious information about the universe’s earliest moments. Now, cosmologists led by Adrienne Erickcek of Caltech in Pasadena, suggest that the universe has been skewed by the imprint of primordial structures that date back to the period of inflation. The structures stretch beyond the edge of the observable universe, which is essentially confined to a region with a radius of 14 billion light years, since only light from within that distance has had time to reach us since the big bang. The entire “global” universe is about 10100 times as large as the universe we can see.

Hints of Time before Big Bang – (BBC News – June 6, 2008)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7440217.stm
This is another article on the same news event. It adds that the inspiration for the new theory isn’t just an explanation for the Big Bang our Universe experienced 13.7 billion years ago, but lies in an attempt to explain one of the largest mysteries in physics – why time seems to move in one direction given that the laws that govern physics on a microscopic scale are completely reversible.

Sounds and Color Influence the Taste of Food – (Telegraph – May 30, 2008)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/earth/2008/05/30/scisscis130.xml
Scientists have discovered that the sound diners hear while they are chewing their food can change the way they think it tastes. Changing the color of a food can influence the flavor experienced by consumers. Professor Charles Spence, a sensory psychologist at Oxford University, believes it is possible to change the flavor of food simply by exciting people’s sense of hearing and vision. For example, he found that by changing the color of a drink to a deep red, makes it taste up to 12% sweeter. Based on that research, manufacturers have lightened the color of Lipton Ice Tea to make it appear less sweet.

Scientists Move a Step Closer to Mind-Reading – (Guardian – May 30, 2008)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/30/mindread?gusrc=rss&feed=technologyfull
Scientists have developed a method for reading a person’s mind using brain scans. Once it has been trained on an individual subject’s thoughts, the computer model can analyze new brain scan images and work out which noun a person is thinking about – even with words that the model has never encountered before. The model is based on the way nouns are associated in the brain with verbs such as see, hear, listen and taste. This does not mean that scientists could soon be able to read a person’s mind without them realizing, however, because the model needs to be trained on each new individual before it will work. Also, the scanning requires the subject to lie very still in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.

Bacteria Anticipate Coming Changes in Their Environment – (Phys Org – June 9, 2008)
http://www.physorg.com/news132247855.html
A study by Princeton University researchers shows for the first time that bacteria don’t just react to changes in their surroundings — they anticipate and prepare for them. The findings challenge the prevailing notion that only organisms with complex nervous systems have this ability. In addition to shedding light on deep questions in biology, the findings could have many practical implications. They could help scientists understand how bacteria mutate to develop resistance to antibiotics. They also may help in developing specialized bacteria to perform useful tasks such as cleaning up environmental contamination.



DISCOVERIES ENABLED BY NEW TECHNOLOGY


Study Secretly Tracks Cell Phone Users Outside US – (Associated Press – June 4, 2008)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/06/04/national/a100140D77.DTL
Researchers tracked the locations of 100,000 people outside the United States through their cell phone use and concluded that most people rarely stray more than a few miles from home. The first-of-its-kind study by Northeastern University raises privacy and ethical questions for its monitoring methods, which would be illegal in the United States. It also yielded somewhat surprising results that reveal how little people move around in their daily lives. Nearly three-quarters of those studied mainly stayed within a 20-mile-wide circle for half a year. The scientists would not disclose where the study was done, only saying it was an industrialized nation. Almost certainly it was a nation where most people averaged short commutes to work!


GENTICS/HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain
Mindfulness Meditation: Lotus Therapy
Gene Chemicals May Give Cancer Warning

Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain – (New York Times – May 20, 2008)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/20/health/research/20brai.html?
When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong. Instead, the research finds, the aging brain is simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter of information, often to its long-term benefit. For older adults, because they’ve retained all this extra data, they’re now suddenly the better problem solvers. Such tendencies can yield big advantages in the real world, where it is not always clear what information is important, or will become important.

Mindfulness Meditation: Lotus Therapy – (International Herald Tribune – May 27, 2008)
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/05/27/healthscience/27budd.php
Mindfulness meditation is rooted in the teachings of a fifth-century BC Indian prince, Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. It is catching the attention of talk therapists of all stripes, including academic researchers, Freudian analysts in private practice and skeptics who see all the hallmarks of another fad. The National Institutes of Health is financing more than 50 studies testing mindfulness techniques, up from 3 in 2000, to help relieve stress, soothe addictive cravings, improve attention, lift despair and reduce hot flashes. Steven Hayes, a psychologist at the University of Nevada at Reno notes, “It’s a shift from having our mental health defined by the content of our thoughts,” Hayes said, “to having it defined by our relationship to that content — and changing that relationship by sitting with, noticing and becoming disentangled from our definition of ourselves.”

Gene Chemicals May Give Cancer Warning – (BBC News – June 10, 2008)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7445651.stm
People vulnerable to cancer may have subtle differences in cell chemicals that could be detected before they actually develop the disease. At the Institute for Food Research in Norwich, UK, researchers are investigating the possibility that, within seemingly healthy-looking tissue, faulty epigenetic tags may already be present as a warning that cancer is more likely. They looked at the chemical makeup of “normal” cells lining the large intestine of bowel cancer patients, and found slight differences which could in theory render that person more vulnerable.


ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Melting Arctic Ice Could Spur Inland Warming
New Method to Give Better Warning of Devastating Hurricanes
Scientists Warn of Rising Pacific Coast Acidity
Water Crisis to be Biggest World Risk
The Dirty Truth about Canada’s Tar-Sands Baby
Africa Fast Running Down Resources
The Changing Face of Africa

Melting Arctic Ice Could Spur Inland Warming – (Planet Ark – June 12, 2008)
http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/48750/story.htm
If Arctic sea ice starts melting fast, polar bears and ring seals wouldn’t be the only creatures to feel it: A recent study Tuesday suggests it could spur warmer temperatures hundreds of miles inland. That means a possible thaw in the long-frozen soil known as permafrost, which in turn could have severe effects on ecosystems, human infrastructure like oil rigs and pipelines and the release of more global warming greenhouse gases in Russia, Alaska and Canada, the scientists said. The study is particularly pertinent because of last year’s record melt of Arctic sea ice, when ice cover in the Arctic Sea shrank to 30% below average. Another record melt is forecast for this year but it is unknown whether this is the beginning of a trend.

New Method to Give Better Warning of Devastating Hurricanes – (Fox News – May 30, 2008)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,360933,00.html
This year’s season, which kicked off on June 1, is expected to be another busy one, according to forecasters. Previously, to monitor the intensity of incoming storms, the National Hurricane Center dispatches planes that drop instrument packages into the storm to get data on its wind speeds and pressure. But logistically these aircraft can take readings no more than every hour or two, which means that any sudden drop in pressure (the mark of an intensifying storm) and increase in winds may be difficult to anticipate. However, researchers have now devised a way to use the Doppler radar network established along the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines to scan a storm and provide information on its winds and pressure every six minutes.

Scientists Warn of Rising Pacific Coast Acidity – (Yahoo – May 28, 2008)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080528/ap_on_sc/acid_seawater
A panel of marine scientists are warning that the Pacific Coast’s increasing acidity could disrupt food chains and threaten the Pacific Northwest’s shellfish industry. The increasingly corrosive water threatens the survival of many organisms, from microscopic plants and animals at the base of the food chain to shellfish, corals and the young of some marine species, according to researchers. The data indicates acidic water is appearing along the Pacific Coast decades earlier than expected. The acidified water does not pose a threat to humans, but it could dissolve the shells of clams, oysters and other shellfish.

Water Crisis to be Biggest World Risk – (Telegraph – June 6, 2008)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/06/05/ccwater105.xml
A catastrophic water shortage could prove an even bigger threat to mankind this century than soaring food prices and the relentless exhaustion of energy reserves, according to a panel of global experts at the Goldman Sachs “Top Five Risks” conference. Nicholas (Lord) Stern, author of the Government’s Stern Review on the economics of climate change, warned that underground aquifers could run dry at the same time as melting glaciers play havoc with fresh supplies of usable water.

The Dirty Truth about Canada’s Tar-Sands Baby – (Foreign Policy – October 30, 2007)
http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/6843
Canada is already the largest supplier of oil to the United States. Tar-sand extraction has exploded since oil prices began to rise with the start of the Iraq war, and Canada’s total oil output will soon double Kuwait’s. But tar-sand extraction comes at a much higher environmental cost than traditional drilling. The extraction of the oil requires heat, and thus the burning of vast amounts of natural gas – effectively one barrel of gas to extract two of crude – and some estimate that Fort McMurray and the Athabasca oil sands will soon be Canada’s biggest contributor to global warming; nearly as much as the whole of Denmark. This in an area that has already seen, according to David Schindler, professor of ecology at the University of Alberta, two degrees of warming in the past 40 years.

Africa Fast Running Down Resources – (Planet Ark – June 10, 2008
http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/48713/story.htm
Many African countries are rapidly running down their natural resources as growing populations push the continent towards its ecological limits. The warning was issued in its first-ever detailed report on Africa’s ecological footprint — an estimate of the area of a country or region’s land and sea surface used annually in meeting the individual consumption demands of its people. The report put Egypt, Libya and Algeria at the head of a list of nations of the continent already living well beyond their ecological means. But nine others were also using up their bio-capacity — Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The Changing Face of Africa – (BBC News – June 10, 2008)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7445706.stm
The rapid transformation of the landscape of Africa has been brought into sharp focus by the publication of an atlas by the United Nations Environment Program. The 400-page document, also published online, highlights major changes in each of the continent’s nations. For example, photos show that the glaciers in a Ugandan equatorial mountain range have shrunk dramatically. The UN says they halved in size between 1987 and 2003 (there are fewer white areas on the second image), during which time higher temperatures and decreasing cloud cover also have contributed to sublimation – direct vaporisation of ice without melting.


ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS

Wireless Power
The Tipping Point in the Peak Oil Debate
Oil: A Global Crisis
Japan PM’s Climate Plan Takes Heat from Both Sides
India’s Future Rides on 76-Year-Old `Metro Man’
Prototype of a Car that Gets 230 Miles per Gallon
Nanosolar Makes Solar Electricity Cheaper Than Coal

Wireless Power – (Technology Review – April, 2008)
http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=emerging08&id=20248
Magnetic fields travel freely through air yet have little effect on the environment or, at the appropriate frequencies, on living beings. Marin Soljacic and colleagues at MIT have used magnetic resonance coupling to power a 60-watt light bulb. Tuned to the same frequency, two 60-centimeter copper coils can transmit electricity over a distance of two meters, through the air and around an obstacle.

The Tipping Point in the Peak Oil Debate – (Energy and Capital – May 28, 2008)
http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/peak-oil-speculation/701
Those of us who have watched for the inevitable arrival of the peak oil crisis have been waiting for years for the day when we no longer had to fight for the acceptance of the idea, and could start getting on with the hard business of what to do about it. And then, just like that, it happened. Like a chorus line turning in unison from left to right, the media and the financial markets turned and embraced the notion of peak oil last week. Goldman Sachs analyst Arjun Murti, the only major investment bank analyst who correctly predicted oil over $100 last year, said that oil could breach $200 this year, and $150 was very likely. Again, this time, Wall Street sat up and took notice instead of laughing.

Oil: A Global Crisis – (Independent – May 25, 2008)
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/oil-a-global-crisis-834023.html
This article offers one of the more thorough-going overviews of the oil situation, including a reasonably even-handed analysis of various possible oil-use scenarios in the near and not-as-near term in the areas such as travel, housing, consumer goods and developing economies.

Japan PM’s Climate Plan Takes Heat from Both Sides – (Yahoo – June 10, 2008)
http://green.yahoo.com/news/afp/20080610/sc_afp/japanclimatewarming.html;_ylt
=AthaytkaXeTLF__VzEqh72mAV8cX

Japan’s new plan to force industry to slash carbon emissions came under fire both from business leaders fearing it was too costly and environmentalists who said it did not go far enough. Defying parts of the business community, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Monday announced a “cap-and-trade” system that restricts emissions blamed for global warming while providing an economic incentive through credit trading. Fukuda said the system will go into experimental use this autumn as part of a long-term goal for Japan to slash carbon emissions by 60 to 80 percent by 2050 from current levels.

India’s Future Rides on 76-Year-Old `Metro Man’ – (Bloomberg – June 5, 2008)
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_en&refer=home&sid=afv8Sf2MUvac
Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, popularly known as India’s “Metro Man,” is the managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Corp., which operates the newly built world-class subway that’s transforming the economy of India’s capital, New Delhi. It’s also improving the city’s air quality, altering its social life and even influencing norms of individual behavior. Funded by government equity and debt and a soft loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, a $2.3 billion, 40-mile section of the project was completed in 2005, three years ahead of schedule.

Prototype of a Car that Gets 230 Miles per Gallon – (CNN – June 5, 2008)
http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/tech/2008/06/05/washburn.230.mpg.car.kfmb
This is what a truly aerodynamic car looks like. Short video.

Nanosolar Makes Solar Electricity Cheaper Than Coal – (Natural News – June 7, 2008)
http://www.naturalnews.com/023389.html
Nanosolar, Inc. has developed a way to produce a type of ink that absorbs solar radiation and converts into electric current. Photovoltaic (PV) sheets are produced by a machine similar to a printing press, which rolls out the PV ink onto sheets approximately the width of aluminum foil. These PV sheets can be produced at a rate of hundreds of feet per minute. Because of their light weight and flexibility, the PV sheets (dubbed PowerSheets) are much more versatile than current PV panels, which must be mounted on sturdy surfaces like roofs or the ground. In addition, because there is no silicon used in the production of the sheets, they cost only 30 cents per watt of power produced.


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Anti-piracy Misfire Blamed for Crash of Popular Online TV Network – (LA Times – May 30, 2008)
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-outage30-2008may30,1,4189641.story
One of the most popular Internet-based television networks was a recent casualty in the entertainment industry’s fight against pirated material. Revision3, home of web TV show ‘Diggnation,’ was down for three days after its computers are overwhelmed. The culprit: traffic sent by anti-piracy company MediaDefender. Both firms cry foul. The victimized company said Thursday that the culprit was MediaDefender Inc., a Santa Monica firm that distributes fake music and video files on the Internet in order to fight piracy. The shutdown resembled the denial-of-service attacks often used by cyber-criminals and other malicious hackers, but Revision3 and MediaDefender said the outage was accidental.


TERRORISM, SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE

China’s Cyber-Militia – (National Journal – May 31, 2008)
http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/print_friendly.php?ID=cs_20080531_6948
Computer hackers in China, including those working on behalf of the Chinese government and military, have penetrated deeply into the information systems of U.S. companies and government agencies, stolen proprietary information from American executives in advance of their business meetings in China, and, in a few cases, gained access to electric power plants in the United States, possibly triggering two recent and widespread blackouts in Florida and the Northeast, according to U.S. government officials and computer-security experts. One prominent expert believes that China’s People’s Liberation Army played a role in the power outages. Tim Bennett, the former president of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, a leading trade group, said that U.S. intelligence officials have told him that the PLA in 2003 gained access to a network that controlled electric power systems serving the northeastern United States.



AUGMENTED/ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Dean Kamen’s Robot Arm Grabs More Publicity – (Wired – May 29, 2008)
http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/05/dean-kamens-rob.html
Dean Kamen has invented an impressive, mind-controlled prosthetic robot arm. Kamen’s arm, dubbed “Luke” (presumably after Skywalker), is an incredibly sophisticated bit of engineering that’s lightyears ahead of the clamping “claws” that many amputees are forced to use today. The arm is fully articulated, giving the user the same degrees of movement as a natural arm, and is sensitive enough to pick up a piece of paper, a wineglass or even a grape without mishap. Website includes video clip.


GLOBAL EPIDEMIC

Hong Kong Culls All Live Poultry in Markets after Bird Flu Outbreak
Tamiflu Vaccine Linked With Convulsions, Delirium and Bizarre Deaths

Hong Kong Culls All Live Poultry in Markets after Bird Flu Outbreak – (AFP – June 11, 2008)
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gX-4GjcMpISljq-PVI7PhcuqULqA
Hong Kong officials are slaughtering all live poultry in markets and shops around the city following a fresh outbreak of bird flu. “We have announced that all wet market stores and fresh food stores selling live poultry are now infected areas,” said Cheung Siu-hing, director of the agriculture, fisheries and conservation department. The cull comes after the deadly H5N1 virus was found in chickens in three more markets across the city, Cheung told reporters, following an outbreak announced Saturday. She said chickens at 470 stores across the city would be killed.

Tamiflu Vaccine Linked With Convulsions, Delirium and Bizarre Deaths – (Natural News – May 29, 2008)
http://www.naturalnews.com/023324.html
An FDA advisory panel has recommended stronger warnings on two influenza drugs after reviewing evidence linking them to neurological and psychiatric problems that have led to deaths in some cases. The current warning on Roche Laboratories’ Tamiflu urges close monitoring of flu patients, particularly children, for “increased risk of self injury and confusion shortly after taking Tamiflu.” The panel recommended that this warning be strengthened. The label of Glaxo SmithKline’s Relenza, the panel said, should be strengthened to mention “reports of hallucinations, delirium and abnormal behavior.” The panel said that both labels should mention that some flu patients not taking the drugs have also experienced such symptoms.



TRENDS OF GOVERNMENT

Where Is the Outrage?
Secret Plan to Keep Iraq under US Control

Where Is the Outrage? – (Truth Dig – May 27, 2008)
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080527_where_is_the_outrage/
Are we Americans truly savages or merely tone-deaf in matters of morality, and therefore more guilty of terminal indifference than venality? It’s a question demanding an answer in response to the publication of the detailed 370-page report on U.S. complicity in torture, issued last week by the Justice Department’s inspector general and readily available on line. One of those top officials, who stands revealed in the inspector general’s report as approving the torture policy, is Condoleezza Rice, who in her capacity as White House national security adviser turned away the concerns of then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft as to the severe interrogation measures being employed. According to the report, the former academic provost of Stanford University came down on the side of simulated drowning, called water boarding.

Secret Plan to Keep Iraq under US Control – (Independent – June 5, 2008)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/revealed-secret-plan-to-
keep-iraq-under-us-control-840512.html
A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November. America currently has 151,000 troops in Iraq and, even after projected withdrawals next month, troop levels will stand at more than 142,000 – 10 000 more than when the military “surge” began in January 2007. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.



CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE

The Sky Is Falling
Google Founder Books Space Flight
Space Station Could Beam Secret Quantum Codes by 2014
NASA Plans to Visit the Sun

The Sky Is Falling – (The Atlantic – June, 2008)
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200806/asteroids
Geologists have counted the craters left by comets and asteroids that smashed into Earth and concluded that space strikes are rare events and had occurred mainly during the era of primordial mists. But this deduction was based on the number of craters found on land —however, 70% of Earth’s surface is water. About 10 years ago, Dallas Abbott, a Columbia University geophysicist, began searching for underwater craters caused by impacts rather than by other forces, such as volcanoes. What she has found is spine-chilling: evidence that several enormous asteroids or comets have slammed into our planet quite recently, in geologic terms.

Google Founder Books Space Flight – (BBC News – June 11, 2008)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7449072.stm
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has made a $5m down payment to book a seat on a future orbital space flight, a US space tourism company has said. Space Adventures says it is planning the first private space flight to the International Space Station in 2011 in a deal with the Russian space agency. The initial payment gives members a first option on a seat on the mission. It will go towards flight costs, which could be $35m or more, Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson said.

Space Station Could Beam Secret Quantum Codes by 2014 – (Scientific American – June 9, 2008)
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=space-station-could-beam
Researchers hope to send an experiment to the International Space Station (ISS) by the middle of the next decade that would pave the way for transcontinental transmission of secret messages encoded using the mysterious quantum property of entanglement. When two particles such as photons are born from the same event, they emerge entangled, meaning they can communicate instantaneously no matter how far apart they are. Transmitting entangled pairs of photons reliably is the backbone of so-called quantum key distribution—procedures for converting those pairs into potentially unbreakable codes. Quantum cryptography, as it is known, could appeal to banks, covert government agencies and the military, and was tested in a 2007 Swiss election.

NASA Plans to Visit the Sun – (Phys Org – June 10, 2008)
http://physorg.com/news132323644.html
The name of the mission is Solar Probe+ (“Solar Probe plus”). It’s a heat-resistant spacecraft designed to plunge deep into the sun’s atmosphere where it can sample solar wind and magnetism first hand. Launch could happen as early as 2015. At closest approach, Solar Probe+ will be 7 million km or 9 solar radii from the sun. The probe will be solar powered, getting its electricity from liquid-cooled solar panels that can retract behind the heat-shield when sunlight becomes too intense. From these near distances, the Sun will appear 23 times wider than it does in the skies of Earth. By the time the mission ends 7 years later, planners believe Solar Probe+ hopes to solve two great mysteries of astrophysics: the high temperature of the sun’s corona and the puzzling acceleration of the solar wind:



ECONOMIC INDICATORS


The World is Upside Down
The Water-Industrial Complex
Peak Everything: 8 Things We are Running Out of and Why

The World is Upside Down – (Herald Tribune – June 1, 2008)
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/01/opinion/edcohen.php?page=1
Globalization is now a two-way street; in fact it’s an Indian street with traffic weaving in all directions. “In an inverted world, not only have developing economies become dominant forces in global exports in the space of a few years, but their companies are becoming major players in the global economy, challenging the incumbents that dominated the international scene in the 20th century,” said Claudio Frischtak, a Brazilian economist and consultant.
A shift in economic power is underway whose implications the developed world has not grasped.

The Water-Industrial Complex – (Forbes – May 13, 2008)
http://www.forbes.com/2008/05/13/water-electricity-industry-biz-energy-cx_bp
_0514water_print.html

Like oil, water is an essential part of doing business in almost every industry, and unexpected shortages can trigger potentially catastrophic consequences. The trouble for investors: Companies disclose very little if any information about their exposure to water-related risks. The water risks are most obvious in the food and beverage sector. Together, Nestlé, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch and Danone consume an estimated 575 billion liters of water every year, or roughly the amount of water needed to meet the basic daily needs of every person on the planet. But “watergy,” as some are now calling it, is a very big deal for all industries. In the U.S., industry uses more water than agriculture thanks to its use in power generation. The industrial sector uses an estimated 45% of water in the United States, agriculture accounts for 42% and domestic uses, like drinking and sanitation, account for a mere 13%. Worldwide, agriculture uses about 70% of all water.

Peak Everything: 8 Things We are Running Out of and Why – (Huffington Post – June 11, 2008)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/02/peak-everything-8-things_n_104605.html
This article provides links to eight others: one each for corn, rice, water, oil, electricity, natural gas, metal and arable soil.



DEMOGRAPHICS


If the World Were a Village of 1000 People
Saudi King Calls for End to Islamic Extremism

If the World Were a Village of 1000 People – (Dona Meadows website – no date)
http://www.gdrc.org/uem/1000-village.html
This one page website offers a condensed and insightful look at the world’s demographics. For example: 165 people speak Mandarin; 86 speak English; 83 speak Hindi/Urdu; 64 speak Spanish; 58 speak Russian; and 37 and Arabic. That list accounts for the mother tongues of only half the villagers. The other half speak (in descending order of frequency) Bengali, Portuguese, Indonesian, Japanese, German, French and 200 other languages.

Saudi King Calls for End to Islamic Extremism – (Fox News – June 4, 2008)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,363183,00.html
Islam must do away with the dangers of extremism and present the religion’s positive message, Saudi King Abdullah said Wednesday as he opened a conference of Muslim figures aimed at launching a dialogue with Christians and Jews. The three-day gathering in the holy city of Mecca seeks a unified Muslim voice ahead of the interfaith dialogue. In particular, Saudi Arabia hopes to promote reconciliation between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.



JUST FOR FUN

Kiva: Loans that Change Lives – (Kiva website – no date)
http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=home
Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world. The micro-entrepreneurs on Kiva’s site are real individuals in need of funding – not an NGO’s marketing material. Browse through the entrepreneurs’ profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan. (A flat $5 of your donated amount will go toward the administrative processing of your donation through the website and then through a local lending institution, credit union or such.) You will be helping a real person make strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.


A FINAL QUOTE… Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. – Alan Lakein



A special thanks to: Paul Alois, Jerry Berman, Tom Burgin, Ken Dabkowski, Chas Freeman, Neil Freer, Ursula Freer, Deanna Korda, KurzweilAI, Oliver Markley, Sebastian McCallister, Cady North, 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]


PRIVACY STATEMENT: WE DON’T SHARE YOUR NAME WITH ANYONE


ADDITIONAL LINKS:

See past issues in the Archives

What do you think?

Volume 11, Number 09 05/26/2008

Volume 11, Number 11 – 06/26/08