December 22, 2014 - Alzheimer's patients progressively lose their memories. I watched my mother-in-law and mother both succumb to the ravages of this disease as it robbed them of the recent past and then peeled away the decades until they reverted to distant memories. In my mother, a trilingual and adept, discerning individual, it even robbed her of her ability to speak coherently.
December 21, 2014 - India has long had a missile program but its development of heavy launch capacity has been impaired by delays in technology advances and failed tests. But in this last week the country witnessed the first big leap forward into a space program that will include humans in orbit.
December 19, 2014 - In my last posting I presented ten disturbing statistics about our 21st century world. There are, however, signs that we humans haven't yet succumbed to a hopeless future. So let's look at ten technological innovations and the positive disruption they bring to this century, leading to a much better outcome by the year 2100.
December 18, 2014 - With 2015 a mere two weeks away I thought a year-in-review look at where we are trending would give humanity a sense of urgency about tackling the many challenges we are imposing on our species and the other inhabitants of this planet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.