Blogs

What's a C4 Plant Got that a C3 Doesn't? Better Enzymes for Converting CO2

If we could help plants turn CO2 into sugar at a faster rate we could revolutionize agriculture. That's what researchers have in mind in trying to make C3 plants act like C4s. Confused?

Evidence of Past Glaciation Found on Mars

The date today reinforces that we are well into autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere of our planet and it shouldn't be a surprise then that the words "glacier" and "ice" are starting to appear in some headlines. The latest, however, are not of this world but our neighbor Mars.

New York State Takes Activist Role in Implementing Solar Energy Projects

The investment doesn't amount to a lot of dollars, a mere $1 billion, a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of billions and trillions that are the numbers associated with the fossil fuel industry, but New York State is on a path to increase solar capacity by 68%. This amounts to 214 Megawatts of new installations.

The Learning Curve for Energy Storage

Energy storage prices are dropping fast. If you follow me, you’ve seen me write about this before. Energy storage prices have in fact been dropping exponentially for at least 25 years. Here’s a new piece of analysis – a model that uses a 20% learning curve per doubling to that project Li-ion batteries dropping to 5 cents per kwh round-tripped through them by ~2030.

New Experimental Nuclear Fuel Could Provide Power Equal to Building 40 New Power Plants

The beleaguered nuclear power industry may soon have a good story to tell post-Fukushima. Lightbridge, a nuclear engineering company based in Virginia, is about to test a literal "twist" for fuel rods that can increase power yield by 10% in existing nuclear power plants with only minor modifications. And if the plants replace existing turbines with larger ones it would mean as much as a 17% increase in power output and incurring only an incremental investment without a major build.

What is CDR and What Role Will it Take in Mitigating Climate Change?

The carbon capture and storage project at the Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan is about to go live as reported in the press today. The project goal has been to eliminate 90% of the CO2 generated by the coal-fired power plant. Additions have cost $1.4 billion CDN, $115 million over budget, and represent what is believed to be the world's first commercial-scale CCS project to go live.

The Futurist

In the November-December 2014 (Vol. 48, No. 6) Issue:

  • Trends at Work: An Overview of Tomorrow’s Employment Ecosystem
  • The Future of Futurists: Can a Machine Produce This Forecast?
  • Library Futures: From Knowledge Keepers to Creators
  • OUTLOOK 2015: Top Trends and Forecasts for the Decade Ahead
  • When Futurists Ask “What If”
  • Futurists and Their Ideas: Why Pop Futurism Fails

Futurist Update

In the Current Issue:

  • Scots on the Move? Anticipating Unexpected Impacts of Scottish Independence
  • Preparing to Discover Future "Life"
  • Future Workplace Skill: Letting Things Go
  • Are We Reaching "Peak Meat"?
  • WFS CEO Amy Zalman Interviewed by CNBC, on the Next 25 Years
  • Exploding Bacon Robotics: A WorldFuture 2014 Highlight
  • What's Hot in The Futurist magazine

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Interviews

Predictive—and Persuasive—Technology: an interview with Chris Surdak, author of Data Crush

Mobile and Web technologies are making more and more data about us consumers and our lifestyle habits available to businesses. And in growing degrees, businesses are finding ways to use the data to both predict and influence their customers’ buying decisions.

Ensuring More Food for All: An Interview with Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank

Subject(s):

As the world population grows, and as its resource bases shrink, producing enough food to feed the world becomes a steeper and steeper challenge. But the world’s small farms are up to the task, argues Danielle Nierenberg, president of the “food think tank” Food Tank.

The Future of Sharing

Living comfortably has always, to some extent, relied on owning many goods. But this is becoming less and less the case. A new worldwide “sharing economy," composed of startup ventures whose products consumers rent or share instead of own, is blossoming across the globe.

Reviews of New Books

Future-Ready Universities

Wired for Success: Real-World Solutions for Transforming Higher Education

Authors: Susan C. Aldridge and Kathleen Harvatt
Publisher: American Association for State Colleges and Universities (www.aascu.org). 2014. 191 pages. Paperback.
Price: $20.99 plus shipping

Higher education is in a tenuous position as enrollments and graduation rates drop, public funding shrinks, marketing and overhead costs soar, and rising numbers of graduates suffer unemployment, underemployment, and student-loan defaults.

Authors Susan Aldridge, former president of several universities, and Kathleen Harvatt, a communications professional who has worked for the University of Maryland University College and Sallie Mae, assess the challenges and draw this conclusion: Colleges and universities can survive, but only if they significantly adapt their operations and instruction.

Vocabulary Building for Foresight Professionals

FUTURES: World Foresight Encyclopedic Dictionary

Editors: Concepción Olavarrieta, Jerome C. Glenn, and Theodore J. Gordon.
Publisher: The Millennium Project. 2014. English and Spanish versions available.
PDF via download ($50) or CD-ROM ($50 plus shipping) from millennium-project.org/millennium/FUTURES.html.

A vital new tool has been added to the foresight profession’s toolkit in this “encyclopedic dictionary” comprising more than 1,000 terms, including not just definitions but also usage, derivation, source citations, and English/Spanish translations.

Guided Tour of the World’s Most Sustainable Places

Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community
Image of Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community
Author(s): Karen T. Litfin
Publisher: Polity (2013)
Binding: Paperback, 224 pages
List Price: $24.95

Our world needs creative solutions to rein in resource consumption, climate change, and ecological destruction, says Karen Litfin, an associate professor of political science who specializes in environmental policy. She finds many promising solutions in “ecovillages,” communities that have systematically transformed daily living to balance human wants and the biosphere’s limits.

Litfin profiles 14 ecovillages that she visited over the past several years.

Democratizing Capital

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Image of Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Author(s): Thomas Piketty
Publisher: Belknap Press (2014)
Binding: Hardcover, 696 pages
List Price: $39.95

The future will become even more unevenly distributed.

Learn about the future of ...

Commerce

What increased interoperability within and between teams means for management and business.

Earth

Pakistan may be viewed as a case study of the fight for the survival of modern human civilization. Its complex and dangerous problems are not...

Futuring

Futures Studies as it has evolved since the early 1970s is both a discipline and a meta-discipline. It is a set of skills and applied...

Humanity

Experimental treatments might stop the disease before it starts.

Sci/Tech

People with vision impairments may soon get navigational assistance from artificially intelligent eyeglasses.

Governance

Government corruption costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars a year, and education programs typically end up shortchanged by compromised state...