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2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years

The new book “2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years” by Jorgen Randers raises the possibility that humankind might not survive on the planet if it continues on its path of over-consumption and short-termism. 

In the report author Jorgen Randers raises essential questions: How many people will the planet be able to support? Will the belief in endless growth crumble? Will runaway climate change take hold? Where will quality of life improve, and where will it decline?

Read more about the book on The Club of Rome.

OECD: Future Global Shock – Improving Risk Governance

In this project, public and private experts explore how to increase resilience to Future Global Shocks. The Project will generate options for governments to enhance capacity to identify, anticipate, control, contain and/or mitigate large disasters.

The project recognises that shocks can provide opportunities for progress, not just negative consequences. Amongst the inputs from which the final report will draw are six background papers and case studies on the following themes: Systemic Financial RiskPandemicsCyber RisksGeomagnetic StormsSocial Unrest and Anticipating Extreme Events.

Read the entire report: “OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies: Future Global Shocks“, PDF.

The Perfect Storm and Black Swan Theory

The BP oil crisis in the Mexican gulf, deadly heat waves in Russia, earthquakes in Haiti (7.0 Mw) and Chile (8.8 Mw) and flooding in Australia caused almost 300.000 deaths from natural disasters in 2010 (1).

A few months into 2011 New Zealand is hit by a 6.3 Mw earthquake followed by the Japan 9.0 Mw earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The situation in Libya, Syria and many other Arabic and African countries adds uncertainty to global stability. The complexity of the situation demands a new approach to early warning systems for natural disasters and reduction of global systemic risk.

[Read more...]

What Kind Of Top-Secret Assassination Tech Does $58 Billion Buy?

Every year, tens of billions of Pentagon dollars go missing. The money vanishes not because of fraud, waste or abuse, but because U.S. military planners have appropriated it to secretly develop advanced weapons and fund clandestine operations. Next year, this so-called black budget will be even larger than it was in the Cold War days of1987, when the leading black-budget watchdog, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), began gathering reliable estimates. The current total is staggering: $58 billion—enough to pay for two complete Manhattan Projects.

Source: Popular Science.

Nano-engineered Bug electric car

Conceived by designer Ricardo Fedrizzi, the “Bug” is an agile urban micro-car for two people that allows safe, brisk and sustainable commutation on city roads.

Touting an aerodynamic shape, with fluid curves, which gives greater efficiency by increasing the autonomy, the new electric car by the Brazilian designer focuses mainly on maximum weight reduction, promoting economy and performance. The micro-car replaces the glass windows and windshield with much lighter and resilient polycarbonate to ensure complete safety. Made in recyclable and renewable materials, such as polymers with a load of vegetable fiber, the Bug comes with both light and tough alloys, designed using nanotechnology, to allow a safe and an environmentally responsible traveling, and that too at an affordable price.

Source: The Design Blog. Also see “15 Concept Cars: Too awesome to go into production” from AutoMotto and “10 concept cars to drive us in the future” from AutoMotto.

Lobbying China on Iran, Israelis admit limited sway

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israel has limited sway over China but hopes that sharing its fears about Iran’s nuclear program will persuade Beijing to back tougher sanctions on Tehran, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Friday.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon are in China for what some analysts see as a last-ditch mission to craft U.N. Security Council consensus about cracking down on Iranian uranium enrichment.

Of the five Security Council veto-wielders, China is most resistant to employing sanctions to force Tehran, with whom it has energy, trade and diplomatic ties, to curb the project. Russia, another past naysayer, has been signaling flexibility

“You are living a symbiotic relationship with (China)… based on the amount of American bonds that they hold. They didn’t buy a lot of bonds in (Israeli) shekels,” Barak said in an address to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Source: Reuters.

Chinese hackers attack Google, US companies

Hackers seeking source code from Google, Adobe and dozens of other high-profile companies used unprecedented tactics that combined encryption, stealth programming and an unknown hole in Internet Explorer, according to new details released by researchers at anti-virus firm McAfee.

“We have never ever, outside of the defense industry, seen commercial industrial companies come under that level of sophisticated attack,” says Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research for McAfee. “It’s totally changing the threat model.”

Source: Wired.

Reuters has some interesting scenarios of what could happen in the Google-China standoff. The history of cyberwar has only just begun, learn about its beginning in “Onward Cyber Soldiers” from Time Magazine, 1995.

The great carbon bazaar

Evidence of serious flaws in the multi-billion dollar global market for carbon credits has been uncovered by a BBC World Service investigation.

Source: BBC. I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen.

(c) Copyright Plausible Futures Newsletter 2013