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September-October 2009
Volume 43, No. 5

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Tomorrow in Brief
“Smart” Turbine Boosts Wind Power
Soap Sniffer Monitors Hygiene
Contracts for Family Caregivers
Eyeglasses as Data Dashboard
WordBuzz: Fewer Dirty Words in Movies
 

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Peak Oil and Strategic Resource Wars
By Roger Howard
At various points over the coming decades, many of the world’s key oil producers will be forced to accept that their worst nightmare is no longer the stuff of dreams. As existing wells start to run dry and new reserves prove increasingly elusive, leaders in many oil-producing nations will have to confront the very real prospect of surviving without the resources that have long bestowed fabulous wealth and prosperity upon lands that would otherwise be bleak and barren. When the oil fields run dry — and they will — what will happen to the economies of petroleum producers? PDF Available.

PLUS
No Natural Resources? Lucky You!
By Tsvi Bisk

Roger Howard presents plausible scenarios regarding the geopolitical dangers of peak oil. Equally plausible scenarios could envision some positive impacts, because countries dependent on natural resources are often poor and undemocratic, while countries dependent on human resources are often rich and democratic. Countries with more human than natural resources tend to be more democratic and entrepreneurial. As oil-producing countries see petrodollars dry up, they may invest more in their people resources instead.

World War 3.0: Ten Critical Trends for Cybersecurity
By Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies
“Cybersecurity is the soft underbelly of this country,” outgoing U.S. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell recently declared. Technological advances and greater connectivity may be making our systems less rather than more secure. A special panel of military, intelligence, and forecasting experts analyzes the trends that may be leading the world to cyberwar. PDF Available.

 

Finding a Job in the 21st Century
By John A. Challenger
The current recession, expected to be the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, will surely put to rest those old concerns about looming labor shortages, right? Probably not. Seek training, be flexible, and get hired in the fast-moving working world of the future. PDF Available.

The Global Talent Crisis
By Edward Gordon
We are in the midst of a global job and talent upheaval, the most remarkable of any job and talent change since the Industrial Revolution and encompassing every aspect of the global economy. Contrary to popular opinion, there are plenty of open jobs. What's missing are candidates with skills. PDF Available.

PLUS
The Future World of Work: A Gen Xer’s Perspective
Wall Street Journal columnist Alexandra Levit parses today's and tomorrow's job market for new grads.

 

A New End, A New Beginning
By John L. Petersen
“The End Is Near” has always been doomsayers’ favorite slogan, but is it now finally true? The trends suggest the end of an era may indeed be near, as growing complexity and proliferating crises threaten to obliterate “life as we know it.” The time is now to prepare for the life we don’t yet know. PDF Available.

From November-December 2008
Troubled Times Ahead?
Rick Docksai reviews A Vision for 2012: Planning for Extraordinary Change by
John L. Petersen.

Visionaries 
The Cinematic Singularitarian
By Patrick Tucker
Ray Kurzweil is immortal — on film. A new documentary showcases the inventor’s provocative ideas.

Opening Up the Shut-Down Learner
Four out of every 10 American students in elementary school today might give up on learning well before graduation time, according to school psychologist Richard Selznick. They will disconnect from teachers, tune out of class, and simply “shut down” as students. In The Shut-Down Learner, Selznick tells parents and teachers what they can do to re-engage them. Review by Rick Docksai

Healing Habitats
This fifth book in Cliff Moughtin’s Urban Design series focuses on the design concepts that will guide humanity to a more sustainable future, promote mental and physical health, and create or provide a sense of community. Like the first four volumes in the series, it speaks clearly and eloquently to professionals working in the fields of urban planning and urban design. Review by Aaron Cohen.

 
Demography
Running from Homelessness
Many organizations help homeless people by giving them food and shelter. But one group is now trying a radically new approach.

Society
Newspapers Face the Final Edition
The beginning of 2009 saw the greatest decline in newspaper profitability in U.S. history. The closures and bankruptcies of venerable American newspapers made headlines, and prompted a Senate hearing on the future of journalism. PDF of World Trends and Forecasts Available.

 

Technology
Preparing for a New Pandemic
U.S. capacity for producing flu vaccines could increase at least 25% if the innovative production methods of a new North Carolina vaccine-production facility live up to expectations.

 

Ammonia, the Fuel of the Future
By J. Storrs Hall
What will your car run on in 2020? Called “the other hydrogen,” ammonia as a fuel source would present the benefits of hydrogen without the major difficulties of handling. PDF of World Trends and Forecasts Available.

Environment
Radical Measures to Save Species
Climate change could dramatically alter the habitats—and limit the survival prospects—for many already fragile species of flora and fauna, warn scientists. Salvation strategies once thought too radical are now under serious consideration.

Government
Africa, Latin America Seek Fiscal Reforms
Foreign aid and investment in the development of Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean have been seriously impaired by the recent global economic crisis. Leaders are looking inward for resources. PDF of World Trends and Forecasts Available.

Economics
Bad Attitudes, Bad Business
Angry taxpayers funding bailouts for billionaires blame greed for the collapse of the economy. Indignant corporate officials respond that big salaries, bonuses, and perks are necessary to attract top talent. PDF of World Trends and Forecasts Available.

Community Service for Government Aid?
The collapse of the housing market left many American homeowners facing foreclosure. Yet, the idea of the U.S. government giving away tax dollars with no strings attached has drawn much criticism.PDF of World Trends and Forecasts Available.


 

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