Futurist Update 2010 Issues

December 2010, Vol. 11, No. 12

In This Issue:

  • What Stock Traders Can Learn in the Forest
  • Global Warming of Lakes
  • Growing Demand for Safer Food
  • Jobs for World Changers
  • Click of the Month: Superfluid
  • What’s Hot @WFS.ORG

SEEING THE SIGNALS OF STRESS

Volatility in systems tend to precede crises. This phenomenon is observed in cancer and heart disease patients as well as in forests subject to environmental stressors, according to research led by mathematician Alexander Gorban of the University of Leicester in the U.K.

Similarly, monitoring the stresses in financial systems could help analysts foresee changes in stock market prices, as the systems adapt to changing conditions. Gorban’s team found that, as a crisis approaches, systems become more dependent on each other but react differently.

According to the study, stocks and share prices on the FTSE 100 during 2008 became more interdependent and volatile as that index declined; as the system failed to adapt to changing circumstances in the market, the system became less connected and more volatile, suggesting a crash.

SOURCE: University of Leicester http://bit.ly/e5XYa5

DETAILS: “Correlations, Risk and Crisis: From Physiology to Finance” by A. N. Gorban, E. V. Smirnova, and T. A. Tyukina, PHYSICA A (Vol. 389, Issue 16, 2010). Preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/0905.0129

WARMING LAKES

Temperatures of the world’s 167 largest lakes have increased by an average of 0.8 degrees Fahrenheit per decade during the past 25 years, according to NASA researchers using satellite data to measure surface temperatures.

Though the trend is global, it is more pronounced in the Northern Hemisphere; the most warming has occurred in northern Europe, note the researchers.

Water temperature changes affect such phenomena as algal blooms, which can make lakes toxic to native fish or more hospitable to invading nonnative species, the researchers warn.

SOURCE: National Aeronautics and Space Administration http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_10-308_Global_Lakes.html


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OXFORD DIPLOMA IN STRATEGY AND INNOVATION

Four Modules: January, March, June, September (beginning 26th January 2011), Programme fee £15,000, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

This part-time, masters-level Diploma for experienced executives focuses on strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship in an international business context. It will enable you to take effective strategic decisions and innovate for competitive advantage. Only a few places are left for the January 2011 start!

DETAILS/CONTACT: http://www.sbs.oxford.edu/Dipstrategy, sarah.hayton@sbs.ox.ac.uk


DEMAND FOR FOOD-SAFETY PRODUCTS PROJECTED TO INCREASE

The demand for products that help ensure a safer food supply may see accelerating growth in the next three years, according to research by The Freedonia Group.

Disinfectants, diagnostic products, smart labels and tags, software, and tracking systems are among the sectors expected to see gains as consumer reaction to food contamination cases and stricter safety regulations contribute to growing demand.

Worldwide, demand for food-safety products grew at an average of 7.8% per year between 2004 and 2009; Freedonia projects this to increase to 8.1% per year between 2009 and 2014.

DETAILS: “World Food Safety Products” (November 2010, 315 pages) is available for $5,800 from The Freedonia Group Inc. http://www.freedoniagroup.com.

JOBS FOR WORLD CHANGERS

Can you get paid to change the world? Careers in public service are suddenly “cool” again, according to career services director Heather Krasna of the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs.

In her new book, JOBS THAT MATTER, Krasna defines “public service” jobs as not just government work, but also careers at universities and other learning institutions, as well as nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations and many segments of the private sector devoted to improving the world.

Krasna offers exercises for defining one’s dreams and clarifying the steps to achieve them and narrowing down the aspect of the world that you want to improve, such as children’s issues, civil rights, or urban development.

JOBS THAT MATTER by Heather Krasna (JIST Publishing, 2010, $14.95): http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1593577877/thefuturistbooks


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VISIONARIES SEEK ACTION AT WORLDFUTURE 2011!

The World Future Society’s conference WorldFuture 2011: Moving from Vision to Action, to be held July 8-10, in Vancouver, British Columbia, will focus on developing specific action plans for meeting--and getting ahead of--the challenges we face now.

Approximately 150 speakers will offer their latest insights and strategies in governance, education, law enforcement, futures methodologies, marketing, and much more. Newly confirmed speakers include:

  • Peter Bishop, associate professor in the College of Technology and director of the graduate program in Futures Studies at the University of Houston, Clearwater, Texas
  • Michael Buerger, faculty member at Bowling Green State University, member of the PFI/FBI Futures Working Group, Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Timothy M. Daniel, chief, Strategy and Integration Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.
  • Sheila Murray, chair, Canadian committee for the Club of Rome, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Ruben Nelson, executive director of Foresight Canada. He is Canada's most widely experienced teacher and practitioner of the next generation of strategic foresight. Lac des Arcs, AB, Canada
  • Suzanne Stein, associate professor, Foresight, OCAD University, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Edie Weiner, vice president, Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., co-author, FUTURETHINK, New York, New York

CLICK OF THE MONTH: SUPERFLUID

https://www.thesuperfluid.com/

Superfluid is a mechanism for providing “social currency,” hence facilitating the exchange of services via social networking.

Members of the network earn “Quids” through collaborative work; Quids may also be borrowed against future contributions of goods or services to other members.

Two levels of superfluid participation are available: Activities deemed to have commercial, monetary value are managed in superfluid:business while other, noncommercial activities are managed on the superfluid:p2p side.

Douglas Rushkoff, one of the World Future Society’s 2020 Visionaries (“Life Dollars: Finding Currency in Community,” THE FUTURIST, September-October 2010) is now chief officer of Superfluid.


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ATTENTION FUTURIST SHOPPERS!

As you’re shopping for the perfect gifts for friends, family, and colleagues, you can also give a gift to the World Future Society simply by using GoodShop and selecting WFS as your designated charity:

GoodShop: http://www.goodshop.com/?charityid=845602

Thank you for your support!


WHAT’S HOT @WFS.ORG

* CHANGE IS GONNA COME: Beginning with the January 2011 edition, FUTURIST UPDATE, the World Future Society’s free e-mail newsletter, gets an all-new design, new content--and a new editor! As I step down to focus more on THE FUTURIST magazine, please join me in welcoming WFS communications director Patrick Tucker to the UPDATE helm.

* FUTURIST OF THE YEAR: Whose work in the past 12 months has contributed most to the field of futurism? Nominations for the Edward Cornish Award: Futurist of the Year close on December 31. The award will be presented at WorldFuture 2011 in Vancouver on July 10. There is no fee to submit a nomination, nor is there a monetary award for the winner. GUIDELINES http://bit.ly/bVkJvi or http://www.wfs.org/content/edward-cornish-award-futurist-year

* ON THE BLOG ROLL: Don’t miss these thought-provoking posts by the Society’s growing roster of futurist bloggers. (Remember, World Future Society members may log in and comment freely on all blogs and articles):

“TWITTERING the Twitter Revolution Means It’s Not a Revolution,” observes Samuel Gerald Collins, reporting from the American Anthropological Association meeting. The focus on new technologies distracts us from what the tools are meant to be used for, he warns. READ MORE http://bit.ly/ic4twx, or http://www.wfs.org/content/twittering-twitter-revolution-means-it%E2%80%99s-not-revolution

- “APPLYING Futures Knowledge Consciously” requires an understanding both of the thinking process and of how the futures work is intended to be used. Alireza Hejazi explains the concept of "futures metacognition." READ MORE http://bit.ly/gZa5Tq or http://www.wfs.org/content/applying-futures-knowledge-consciously

- “THE EMERGENCE of a Global She-conomy” will have a major impact on everything from education to marketing and branding to fertility levels, says business futurist Erica Orange. READ MORE http://bit.ly/dNFbFU" or http://www.wfs.org/content/emergence-global-%E2%80%9Cshe-conomy%E2%80%9D

- “ANALYZING YOUR PERSONAL PLAN”: Personal-futures consultant Verne Wheelwright shows how to put the three parts of your plan together--vision, action, and contingencies. READ MORE http://bit.ly/gmWadW or http://www.wfs.org/content/analyzing-your-personal-plan

- “FROM CHARITY to Commitment and Action”: Reporting from a seminar on sustainable leadership at the Hunger Project in Sweden, Natascha Marxmeier offers ideas on how to make development assistance more effective. READ MORE http://bit.ly/e5Q2zM or http://www.wfs.org/content/charity-commitment-and-action-%E2%80%93-how-find-new-ways-development-assistance

- “GREAT RECESSION Shrinks Time Horizons--and Pantries,” observes David H. Rosen. Tightening the budget means not taking advantage of stocking up for the future, as consumers buy more on an as-needed basis. READ MORE http://bit.ly/gHr3E5 or http://www.wfs.org/content/great-recession-shrinks-time-horizons-and-pantries

- “THE FUTURIST PLAYLIST”: What do Bob Dylan, the Jonas Brothers, Robert Downey Jr., and Little Orphan Annie have in common? All are included in the semi-official Futurist Playlist of songs about the future, compiled by FUTURIST UPDATE departing editor Cindy Wagner. READ MORE http://bit.ly/fQpxQU" or http://www.wfs.org/content/futurist-playlist

JOIN OR RENEW your WFS membership now to join in the conversation! http://www.wfs.org/renew

November 2010, Vol. 11, No. 11

In This Issue:

  • Thrivals 3.0 and a Festival of Ideas
  • Saving the Ogallala
  • End of McMansions?
  • Jailhouse Lab
  • Click of the Month: Global Foresight Books
  • News for the Futurist Community
  • What’s Hot @WFS.ORG

THRIVALS 3.0 AND A FESTIVAL OF IDEAS

University of Louisville business professor Nat Irvin recently organized Thrivals 3.0, a daylong future-oriented conference held on September 29, 2010, in Louisville, Kentucky. The event, part of the annual Idea Festival, billed itself as “a way of thinking and learning about the broad social, political, environmental, economic and technological trends that are shaping the mid- to long-term future now.” And, notably, it was geared toward young people. Most of the 600 or so attendees were under 25, and half were under the age of 18.

Speaking with FUTURIST UPDATE, Irvin described the conference as “a fun, mind-bending, future-focused learning event bringing together people of all different ages, ethnicities, and races.” Thrivals, according to Irvin, are young, multicultural, multidisciplinary, future-oriented people who are motivated to excel in every field—in other words, to thrive, not merely survive.

Presenters included Howard Bloom, author of The Global Brain (Wiley & Sons, 2000); humanitarian and direct trade coffee entrepreneur David Robinson; and Grammy-nominated recording artist Janelle Monáe, along with the Wondaland Arts Society collective. Monáe, a self-identified Thrival who has been described by Pitchfork as a “genre-flouting singer-songwriter-dancer-futurist,” also performed an evening concert at the close of the event. Between sessions, attendees formed groups, or “thrival hives,” to brainstorm together on various future-oriented topics.

Irvin wrote about his concept of Thrivals for THE FUTURIST magazine: “The Arrival of the Thrivals,” March-April 2004.

DETAILS: Nat Irvin II, mailto:nat.irvin@louisville.edu. The Idea Festival, http://www.ideafestival.com. Thrival self test, http://cobweb2.louisville.edu/thrivals.

Link to Flickr photos: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1535603@N23/pool/with/5037417358/

SAVING THE OGALLALA

The Ogallala Aquifer’s ability to continue supplying water to America’s “bread basket” is in jeopardy, warns hydrogeologist David Hyndman of Michigan State University.

For the past 80 years, withdrawals for irrigation have far exceeded the aquifer’s ability to replenish itself, and this vast underground system--storing nearly as much water as lakes Erie and Huron combined--is shrinking.

Hyndman is now leading an interdisciplinary team of researchers to analyze the dynamics among hydrological, atmospheric, agricultural, regulatory, and socioeconomic systems to generate predictions and impact assessments of various solutions for protecting the Ogallala’s future--and that of its users.

“Navigating a patchwork of state laws, regulations, and economics means any change will require complex solutions. And since scientific solutions don’t exist in a vacuum, our plan will also address social and economic variables,” says Hyndman.

SOURCE: Michigan State University http://news.msu.edu/story/8467/


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GETTING AHEAD OF CHANGE AT WORLDFUTURE 2011!

The World Future Society’s conference WorldFuture 2011: Moving from Vision to Action, to be held July 8-10, in Vancouver, BC, Canada, will focus on developing specific action plans for meeting--and getting ahead of--the challenges we face now.

Approximately 150 speakers will offer their latest insights and strategies; among the speakers already confirmed are:

  • Aubrey De Grey, cutting-edge expert on human longevity and co-author of “Ending Aging.”
  • Maria H. Andersen, Learning Futurist at The LIFT Institute, Higher Education Editor at eLearn Magazine, and member of the math faculty at Muskegon Community College in Michigan.
  • Jared Weiner, business futurist and vice president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.
  • Lawson Brigham, Arctic futures specialist and professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The conference will also give you the opportunity to make connections and expand your thinking in a wide range of areas, including technology, education, health, business, families, communities, work trends, social change, the environment and resources, globalization, governance, futures methodologies, and much more. In addition, keynote speakers and special events will focus on significant global issues and breakthrough ideas.


END OF McMANSIONS?

Single-family houses in the United States are shrinking, and the trend is likely to extend well beyond the end of the recession, predicts the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

New homes have dropped to a median size of 2,100 square feet, down from a peak of 2,268 square feet in 2006. NAHB attributes the decline to home buyers’ desire to minimize energy costs, a tighter credit market, and a reduced interest in home buying as an investment.

Median sales prices for new homes have also dropped, from $256,000 in 2006 to $211,000 in 2009, a 17.6% decline.

SOURCE: National Association of Home Builders http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?sectionID=148&newsID=11485

JAILHOUSE LAB

Using prisoners to help unlock nature’s mysteries is the goal of a National Science Foundation research project led by forest ecologist Nalini Nadkarni.

Inmates at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, Washington, assist researchers by planting seeds and recording their observations on plant growth.

Nadkarni’s goal is to learn how best to cultivate the dwindling prairie plants, but she notes that the inmates’ learning is equally valuable: “Everyone can be a scientist--everyone can relate to nature, everyone can contribute to the scientific enterprise, even those who are shut away from nature.”

The project may also serve as a model for other prisons to provide useful skills to inmates and meet the scientists’ need for reliable research collaborators.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/sciencebehindbars.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_196

CLICK OF THE MONTH: GLOBAL FORESIGHT BOOKS

www.globalforesightbooks.org

Former FUTURE SURVEY editor Michael Marien has developed a virtual library of futures literature that promises to help make policy making more integrative and visionary.

This database of searchable abstracts covers more than 1,600 titles published in 2009 and 2010, with Marien’s authoritative perspective on the works that offer the most significant, paradigm-changing ideas.

The cross-disciplinary nature of the titles Marien chooses makes the Global Foresight Books database an invaluable resource for policy makers worldwide and in every field.

NEWS FOR THE FUTURIST COMMUNITY

* FUTURE-ORIENTED TECHNOLOGY ANALYSIS: The Fourth International Seville Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis has issued a Call for Abstracts for papers that will address the conference theme. The meeting, to be held May 12-13, 2001, in Seville, Spain, will focus on the need and potential of future-oriented technology analysis to address disruptive transformations in response to grand societal challenges. The deadline for abstracts is November 23. DETAILS: European Foresight, http://foresight.jrc.ec.europa.eu/fta_2011/intro.html

* SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE IN FINLAND: A first call for papers has been announced for “Trends and Future of Sustainable Development,” to be held June 9-10, 2011, in Tampere, Finland. The 13th International Conference, organized by Finland Futures Research Centre and Finland Futures Academy at University of Turku, will deal with the many dimensions of a sustainable future. DETAILS: Finland Futures Research Centre http://www.futuresconference.fi/2011

* YES YOU CAN! A new book by innovation strategist Howard Rasheed offers lessons for leaders striving to anticipate the “next big thing.” Rasheed’s unique innovation mapping system, which he has described at World Future Society meetings and in the 2008 conference volume, “Seeing the Future Through New Eyes,” shows how to “connect the dots outside the box.” To learn more or order the book, visit The Innovation Strategist, http://www.theinnovationstrategist.net/publications.html

* LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Arthur B. Shostak, emeritus professor of sociology at Drexel University, will be honored with the Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award at the College of Arts and Sciences awards gala on November 12. Shostak is one of the first members of the World Future Society and currently serves as THE FUTURIST magazine’s contributing editor on Utopian Thought. He is a pioneer in applying futures in education programs and recently edited the book “Creating the School You Want: Learning @ Tomorrow’s Edge.” DETAILS: http://www.futuresconference.fi/2011 or arthurshostak@gmail.com

WHAT’S HOT @WFS.ORG

* NEW BOARD MEMBERS: The World Future Society welcomes two new members to its board of directors: marketing and public relations specialist Marian Salzman and business consultant Jared Weiner. Salzman is president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR and a pioneer in applying futuring tools, such as trend spotting, in the corporate milieu. Weiner is vice president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms.

* ON THE BLOG ROLL: Don’t miss these thought-provoking posts by the Society’s growing roster of futurist bloggers. (Remember, World Future Society members may log in and comment freely on all blogs and articles):

JOIN OR RENEW your WFS membership now to join in the conversation! http://www.wfs.org/renew

October 2010, Vol. 11, No. 10

In This Issue:

  • Thwarting Wikipedia's Vandals
  • Revised Model for Ice-Cap Melting
  • Global Competitiveness Rankings
  • Campus Secularism
  • Click of the Month: Challenge.gov
  • News for the Futurist Community
  • What's Hot @WFS.ORG

THWARTING WIKIPEDIA'S VANDALS

Pete may very well love pancakes, but posting this fact on the Wikipedia entry for Abraham Lincoln would be considered vandalism by anyone seeking useful information from the site. Other cases of cyber-graffiti at Wikipedia have been more malicious, such as changing Microsoft's name to "Microshaft."

Crowd-editing keeps most Wikipedia entries honest, but the potential for vandalism is high; Lincoln and Microsoft both are popular targets for abuse. Now, a group of researchers at University of Iowa has developed an algorithm to alert officials when a new edit to an entry seems suspicious.

The statistical language model algorithm detects words or patterns that don't exist elsewhere in the entry and assigns a probability of the words appearing; unique terms such as "pancake" in the Lincoln entry are flagged as possible graffiti.

Other types of cyber-vandalism are less easy to detect with this approach, however, such as the photograph of a redwood tree that was inserted to replace Lincoln's portrait—a change that went undetected for two years.

SOURCE: University of Iowa: http://bit.ly/b89CfW

REVISED MODEL FOR ICE-CAP MELTING

The Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps are melting, but at only half the rate previously predicted, according to a team of U.S. and Dutch researchers.

Past estimates of the rate of ice-cap melting in Greenland and western Antarctica may not have properly accounted for movements in the Earth's crust that alter mass distribution and influence the gravitational field.

Using data from satellites and GPS measurements of land and sea-floor pressure, the researchers concluded that the ice caps are melting at approximately half the speed originally predicted and, as a consequence, that the average rise in sea levels will also be less. However, they cautioned that "there are too few data available to verify this independently."

SOURCE: Delft University of Technology: http://bit.ly/99IZ5u


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MOVING FROM VISION TO ACTION IN VANCOUVER!

The theme of the World Future Society's next annual meeting is WorldFuture 2011: Moving from Vision to Action. The conference will take place July 8-10, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the beautiful Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre.

Approximately 150 speakers will offer their latest insights and strategies; among the speakers already confirmed are:

  • Aubrey De Grey, cutting-edge expert on human longevity and co-author of Ending Aging.
  • Erica Orange, business futurist and vice president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.
  • Ramez Naam, technologist and author of More Than Human.

The focus will be on developing specific action plans for meeting--and getting ahead of--the challenges we face now, but sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including technology, education, health, business, families, communities, work trends, social change, the environment and resources, globalization, education, governance, futures methodologies, and much more. In addition, keynote speakers and special events will focus on significant global issues and breakthrough ideas.

REGISTER BY OCTOBER 15 and save $250 on the on-site registration fee: Register here.


GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS RANKINGS

Switzerland is once again ranked number one on the Global Economic Forum's latest international competitiveness rankings. Sweden, rising to number two, is also joined by Finland, the Netherlands, and Denmark in the top 10, making the Nordic countries one of the most economically competitive regions in the world.

The Global Competitiveness Report compares countries on the strength of such measures as infrastructure, institutions, labor market efficiency, education and training, technological readiness, and innovation, in addition to a poll of more than 13,500 business leaders in 139 economies. The goal is to give policy leaders a picture of their competitive strengths and weaknesses.

The United States fell two places from 2009 to 2010 (placing fourth behind Singapore). According to the report, the downward slip in U.S. competitiveness reflects concerns for the strength of U.S. public and private institutions, as well as its financial markets.

SOURCE: Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011: World Economic Forum

CAMPUS SECULARISM

A U.S. organization supporting nonreligious student groups reports a growing number of such groups on campuses at the start of the fall 2010 term.

According to the Secular Student Alliance, a record 219 groups offered atheist and agnostic students an alternative to religious ministries on campus. There were 159 such groups in 2009 and 100 in 2008.

The trend toward increased secularism on campus reflects a broader trend in U.S. society, according to the Alliance. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey showed that the secular demographic was the only group to have grown in every state since 1990.

SOURCE: Secular Students Alliance: secularstudents.org

CLICK OF THE MONTH: CHALLENGE.GOV

Challenge.gov

In an effort to make governance not only more transparent, but also more inviting and rewarding, this Web site managed by the U.S. General Services Administration promotes creative problem solving from the public by issuing challenges to earn cash prizes.

Recent challenges include the EPA's radon awareness poster contest, the Labor Department's call for "what do you do" career videos to help job seekers, and the Agriculture Department's search for recipes to improve nutrition in school lunch programs.

Federal government employees are encouraged to submit challenges on behalf of their agencies, and all citizens are encouraged to share the challenges through their social networks.

NEWS FOR THE FUTURIST COMMUNITY

* FUTURES BOOK INCLUDED IN E-CATALOG: Sociologist Wendell Bell's seminal work "Foundations of Futures Studies, Volume 2--Values, Objectivity, and the Good Society: Human Science for a New Era," published in 2004, is now available in e-book format. The book may be downloaded either in whole or by chapter, from Transaction Publishers, a leading social-science publisher. Transaction now offers more than 300 of its titles in e-book format. DETAILS: http://bit.ly/b4DzI2

* FUTURE FLOW: Forthcoming from The Futures Lab is FUTURE FLOW by Derek Woodgate, offering a prescription for building a future beyond today's turmoil. Woodgate recommends "positive cognition" including emotional conditioning and changing our assumptions. DETAILS: http://www.futures-lab.com/books/future-flow/

WHAT'S HOT @WFS.ORG

* NEW DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT: WFS is pleased to welcome Jennifer Boykin to our staff in the newly created position of director of development. Jennifer will also manage conference planning and membership relations, and has plans to help boost services for local chapters. Her experience in marketing, sales, and strategic management in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors will be a great asset to the Society, enabling us to deliver an exciting array of new services for members.

* OUR MAN IN JAPAN: World Future Society communications director Patrick Tucker will be temporarily setting up shop in Japan beginning later this month. He will be telecommuting (and expanding the WFS international presence) through May, as his wife, Beth, pursues work for her PhD on Japanese history and culture. Patrick will also continue his work as senior editor of THE FUTURIST and can be reached at ptucker@wfs.org

* WFS.ORG: Have you visited the new World Future Society Web site? The beta site recently went live, and we welcome your comments, suggestions, and critiques. While there is a wealth of ideas and information there for nonmembers (such as the Top 10 Forecasts from Outlook 2011, a preview from the report to be published in November-December, http://bit.ly/c4x8Fw), the new member benefit of free access to the vast FUTURIST archive is a great reason to join the Society now. And remember, Professional Members also have access to the articles published in WORLD FUTURE REVIEW. DETAILS: Benefits

September 2010, Vol. 11 No. 9

In This Issue:

  • More Threats to Gulf of Mexico
  • Robotic Trash Handling
  • In Memoriam: Susan Echard
  • Pet Health Industry Thrives
  • Click of the Month: World Future Society 2.0
  • News for the Futurist Community
  • What's Hot @WFS.ORG

MORE THREATS TO GULF OF MEXICO

Leaking oil isn't the only threat to the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding coastal communities. Rising sea levels also pose dangers to wetlands and habitats of commercially important fish and wildlife, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

A new research project led by Scott Hagen of the University of Central Florida will develop computer models to predict sea level rises and the impacts of storms along the Gulf Coast. The study area will range from Mississippi to the Florida panhandle, a stretch chosen for its relatively pristine ecosystems and existing monitoring infrastructure, making it an ideal "sentinel site" for climate change impacts.

The study will produce models that can help ecosystem and natural resource managers in their planning for potential sea level rises. The model may also help oil spill responders understand the long-term effects of the oil on the Gulf's ecosystems.

SOURCE: NOAA http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100805_sealevel.html

ROBOTIC TRASH HANDLING

Squeezing an enormous, noisy trash-collection truck through old, narrow streets twice a week, whether the residents need a pickup or not, doesn't work well in many old cities and towns of Europe.

Solution? On-demand service from a small robotic bin.

Dubbed DustCart by its developers, the bin-on-wheels features cameras and other sensors to see where it's going, communicating information to a central control center that guides it to clients' homes upon demand.

The robot's development was funded by the European Union's Sixth Framework Program for research and began testing in May, with two DustCarts serving 100 households in the town of Peccioli, Italy.

Project coordinator Paolo Dario believes that the costs of robotic trash collection would be comparable to current door-to-door waste and recycling services but more convenient for users, especially for recycling.

SOURCES: ICT Results http://bit.ly/dkBb9k;
http://www.DustBot.org


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MOVING FROM VISION TO ACTION IN VANCOUVER!

The theme of the World Future Society's next annual meeting is WorldFuture 2011: Moving from Vision to Action. The conference will take place July 8-10, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the beautiful Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre.

Approximately 150 speakers will offer their latest insights and strategies; among the speakers already confirmed are:

  • Aubrey De Grey, cutting-edge expert on human longevity and co-author of Ending Aging.
  • Erica Orange, business futurist and vice president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.
  • Ramez Naam, technologist and author of More Than Human.

The focus will be on developing specific action plans for meeting--and getting ahead of--the challenges we face now, but sessions will cover a wide range of topics in technology, education, health, business issues, families, communities, work trends, social change, the environment and resources, globalization, education, governance, futures methodologies, and much more. In addition, keynote speakers and special events will focus on significant global issues and breakthrough ideas.

REGISTER BY AUGUST 31 and save $300 on the on-site registration fee: http://www.wfs.org/content/register-worldfuture-2011

IN MEMORIAM: SUSAN ECHARD, WFS VICE PRESIDENT

It is with deep sadness that we report the death on July 29 of Susan Echard, longtime World Future Society membership and conference director. She is survived by her husband, Paul; sister, Kathleen Zellmer; brother, Jeffrie Zellmer; and two stepchildren and two step grandchildren.

Joining the Society in 1977 as a temporary assistant to then–Secretary/Treasurer Peter Zuckerman, Sue gradually took over full-time management of both the membership and conference planning departments. In 2004, she was named Vice President for Membership and Conference Operations.

Despite illness, Sue continued to support the Society's programs and services throughout the first half of 2010. Her dedication was an inspiration to her colleagues and to members and friends of the Society who came to know her.

The conference scholarship program, which enables full-time students under age 30 to participate in the Society's annual meetings, has now been renamed the Susan Echard Scholarship Program, in honor of her outstanding contribution to WFS and the global community.

PET HEALTH INDUSTRY THRIVES

No matter how tough the economy is on household budgets, there always seems to be enough to keep our beloved animal companions in good health. This makes pet health a relatively recession-proof industry, suggest spending projections released by market-research firm Freedonia.

Retail sales of pet products in the United States have remained steady through the recent recession, and an average annual growth rate of 5.2% is projected through 2014.

Faster growth is predicted for areas that represent a transfer from human medicine to pets: Insurance products, dietary supplements, treatments for age-related conditions and obesity, and even cosmetic surgery will all see rapid gains in the next five years, according to the report.

SOURCE: Pet Health: Products & Services (August 2010, 285 pages, $4,800), published by The Freedonia Group http://www.freedoniagroup.com

CLICK OF THE MONTH: WORLD FUTURE SOCIETY 2.0 http://www.wfs.org

Why is the World Future Society's own Web site the "Click of the Month"? Because, as many of you may already know, our beta site recently went live!

While some of your bookmarks will need to be changed (note the new URL for FUTURIST UPDATE at the top of this newsletter, for example), the site offers a wide range of new, exclusive benefits for WFS members:

  • Read and comment on FUTURIST magazine or FUTURIST UPDATE articles (Professional Members also may read WORLD FUTURE REVIEW online).
  • Download fully illustrated PDF versions of FUTURIST articles.
  • Search THE FUTURIST's archives and download articles for free in issues from 1992 to the present.
  • Read and comment on blogs from innovative thinkers such as Stephen Aguilar-Millan, J. Storrs Hall, Hazel Henderson, Jamais Cascio, Erica Orange, David H. Rosen, and Eric Garland.

The site still has many features that are open to nonmembers, such as selected articles, blogs, and links to Society information. Browse more than 250 forecasts from THE FUTURIST magazine and interviews with Ian Bremmer, Tim O'Reilly, Ray Kurzweil, and others.

But we hope more guests will join us! The World Future Society is a community of diverse, forward-looking people, so the site is designed to help members get to know and learn from each other.

NEWS FOR THE FUTURIST COMMUNITY

* NEW ZEALAND FUTURISTS CONNECT: Two new international partnerships were formed by New Zealand's Sustainable Future Institute during the recent World Future Society conference. Founder and CEO Wendy McGuinness led the way for the Institute to become the New Zealand Node of the Millennium Project, as well as the World Future Society's New Zealand chapter coordinator. Wendy's activities at the Boston conference were featured in the online business journal Scoop.co.nz.

DETAILS: Sustainable Future Institute http://www.sustainablefuture.info/
"Local Institute Links With Futurist Organisations," Scoop (July 28, 2010) http://bit.ly/cO3Ohq

* CALL FOR PAPERS, ALTERNATIVE FUTURES FOR ARMY CAPABILITIES: The Army Capabilities Integration Center's Future Warfare Division has announced a call for papers for its symposium, "A Vision of Alternative Futures," to be held November 3-4, 2010, in McLean, Virginia. The goal is to identify how globalization, environmental trends, changes in values, and other forces may impact future conflicts and Army readiness. Deadline to submit an abstract or paper is September 1. For more information on the symposium or to submit a paper or abstract, e-mail Robert.wood2@us.army.mil

* NEW WEB SITE FOR IAF: The Institute for Alternative Futures has launched its new Web site, offering clients and visitors access to a wide range of IAF projects and publications on health, sustainability, education, governance, and more. VISIT IAF at http://www.altfutures.org

WHAT'S HOT @WFS.ORG

* EDITORS' QUERY: EMERGING JOB TITLES. Aquaculturist. Cyberneticist. Media specialist. Geriatric social worker. These are just a few of the job titles that futurists in the early 1980s foresaw for the year 2000. Now it's time to look ahead to the next 20 years. What trends are shaping the occupations in your industry or field? What will be the new jobs (and industries) in the year 2030? Send your ideas (about 150 to 300 words), along with a brief "about the author" note about yourself, to FUTURIST managing editor Cindy Wagner, cwagner@wfs.org

* WORLDFUTURE 2010: CONFERENCE COVERAGE, MATERIALS, AND WRAP-UPS

Here are a few highlights of media coverage for the World Future Society's annual conference in Boston:

  • "Envision Scenarios That Might Affect Your Future" by Andrea Kay, USA TODAY
    "I just spent three days listening to people from across the planet talk about how we might live, work and think in 2025 and beyond.... Mind you, no one can predict the future with certainty. One after the other, these researchers, inventors, professors, consultants and futurists at the World Future Conference who covered everything from the most highly valued future professions to simulating the human brain always added this caveat: Of course, no one knows for sure." http://bit.ly/bED4RC
  • "Technologist: Full Emersion in the Cyberworld Is Coming - PCWorld Business Center" by Fred O'Connor, IDG News (PC WORLD / COMPUTER WORLD / MAC WORLD magazines)
    "Although many people already are engrossed in cyberspace, judging by the amount of communicating, socializing and commerce conducted online, we're at the advent of what will be a near total immersion in technology and the Internet, according to a technologist who spoke Saturday at the World Future Society conference in Boston." http://bit.ly/cpNIAS
  • "Yale Bioethicist Warns of Singularity's Perils at Futurist Gathering" by Chris Jablonski, ZDNet
    "Last night, the World Future Society's yearly confab got underway in Boston with a keynote from Wendell Wallach, a lecturer and scholar at Yale University. Judging by the audience of several hundred, the topic of artificial intelligence, the singularity, and their societal implications are of interest across all demographics." http://zd.net/dwZC57
  • "Sleep: Lost in Space" by John Cline, Psychology Today
    "I recently returned from the World Future Society meeting in Boston. This is a fascinating convention with workshops and presentations ranging from how to achieve a sustainable environment, to the development of cyberspace into full emersion virtual reality, to speculation about the emergence of machine intelligence. Melchor Antunano presented one of the most interesting topics. He is with the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute and the UN International Academy of Astronautics. He discussed medical issues with regard to commercial space flight, including space tourism." http://bit.ly/a20a5z
  • "Cloud Computing Will Surpass the Internet in Importance" by Fred O'Connor, PC WORLD
    "Cloud computing will top the Internet in importance as development of the Web continues, according to a university professor who spoke Friday at the World Future Society conference in Boston." http://bit.ly/bEdPe2 Also see http://bit.ly/dlQHro

Look for more coverage of WorldFuture 2010 in the November-December issue of THE FUTURIST magazine, to be mailed to members in early October. Join or renew your membership in the World Future Society to ensure that you receive your copy! BENEFITS: http://www.wfs.org/node/42

AUDIO AND SPEAKER PRESENTATIONS:

http://www.intelliquestmedia.com/store/search.php?a=E&c=201026

PHOTOS from the conference: http://twitpic.com/photos/WorldFutureSoc

ORDER a copy of the WorldFuture 2010 conference volume, STRATEGIES AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE ($29.95, or $24.95 for Society members): http://www.wfs.org/wfsbooks

REGISTER before August 31 to save $300 for WorldFuture 2011: Moving from Vision to Action, to be held in Vancouver, BC, Canada, July 8-10: http://www.wfs.org/content/worldfuture-2011

August 2010, Vol 11, No. 8

In This Issue:
* Entrepreneurship Stalls
* Cloaking with Glass and Ceramics
* Highest Atmospheric Carbon in 800,000 Years
* Songbirds May Carry Avian Flu
* Click of the Month: GoodGuide
* What’s Hot @WFS.ORG: Back from the Future

ENTREPRENEURSHIP STALLS

Business start-up activity plummeted in the first half of 2010 in the United States, reports the global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Just 3.7% of job seekers started their own business, compared with an average of 9.6% in the last two quarters of 2009. (The highest start-up rate of job seekers was 21.5%, recorded in the first half of 1989.)

“Would-be entrepreneurs were either scooped up by employers or scared off by fragile economic conditions, a tight lending market, and uncertainty over the sustainability of the recovery,” according to the firm.

The slowdown in entrepreneurship may indicate that economic recovery is particularly weak and the U.S. economy may slip back into recession. “Start-up activity is at its lowest just as a recession hits,” says CEO John A. Challenger. “In the months immediately following the end of the recession, when unemployment is at its highest and hiring is virtually nonexistent, we see a spike in job seekers starting a business.”

SOURCE: Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Challenger, Gray, and Christmas

CLOAKING WITH GLASS AND CERAMICS

Using a type of glass that does not conduct electricity, researchers at Michigan Tech and Penn State report discovering a way to capture and route rays of visible light around objects, rendering the objects invisible.

Previous attempts to build an “invisibility cloak” have used metals and wires. In the research by Michigan Tech engineer Elena Semouchkina and colleagues, tiny glass metamaterials were arranged in a cylinder shape that produced the magnetic resonance required to bend light waves around an object. These resonators are artificial materials with properties that do not exist in nature, born of the marriage between materials science and electrical engineering.

The researchers are experimenting with other materials, such as ceramic resonators, and with other frequencies, such as microwave. The goal is to find applications that work at visible light frequencies, says Semouchkina.

SOURCE: Michigan Technological University
MIT News


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ANNOUNCING 2011 ANNUAL MEETING!

The eyes of the future will turn to Canada in 2011, as the World Future Society assembles an outstanding collection of forward thinkers for its annual meeting, WorldFuture 2011, July 8-10, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Vancouver is an outstanding conference destination, not only for its natural beauty, but also as a setting for innovative thinking. You won’t want to miss side trips to Science World, Pacific Space Center, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Museum of Anthropology, to mention just a few highlights.

World Future Society conferences are known as open marketplaces of ideas, where people from all cultures, disciplines, professions, age groups, and worldviews mix to learn from and stimulate each other with new opportunities--and new tools for meeting the challenges of building our common future.

The program will include a wealth of concurrent sessions covering technology, education, health, business issues, families, communities, work trends, social change, the environment and resources, globalization, education, governance, futures methodologies, and much more. In addition, keynote speakers and special events will focus on significant global issues and breakthrough ideas.

REGISTER BY AUGUST 31 and save $300 on the on-site registration fee: www.wfs.org/content/worldfuture-2011


HIGHEST ATMOSPHERIC CARBON IN 800,000 YEARS

The choice to curb--or not to curb--carbon emissions in the near term will affect populations across the globe for centuries to come, says a new report from the National Research Council. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere is currently higher than at any point in the last 800,000 years.

CO2 doesn't displace easily. The amount could triple by the end of the century depending on the sorts of emissions reductions choices individuals and policy makers enact today. Even if emissions stabilize, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere would continue to increase as the amount in the air already exceeds what the earth can absorb.

The report details how small changes in temperature would change rainfall patterns and water availability: Rain in the North American southwest and the Mediterranean would decrease by as much as 10%, and crop yields could decrease by 15% for every one degree (Celsius) of warming according to the report.

SOURCE: National Research Council

National Academies

Read the report, “Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia,” online.

SONGBIRDS MAY CARRY AVIAN FLU

The migratory patterns of birds can give scientists data on future avian flu outbreaks. Analyzing more than 225 species of songbirds and perching birds, researchers found that 22 varieties are carriers of low-pathogenicity avian influenza, meaning they carry a strain of the bug that isn't dangerous enough to kill the bird but could mutate into something more lethal. The research supported by the National Science Foundation was recently published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases.

Avian influenza or bird flu is most commonly associated with poultry and water fowl like chicken and ducks, but perching and songbirds--also called passerines--typically share the same habitats and may be more effective transmitters of the disease.

By mapping such factors as a location’s minimum temperature, date of spring thaw, and particularly the amount of land that's been converted into cropland, researchers hope to predict increases of avian flu cases. "Agricultural activity reduces the amount of natural habitat available to avian migrants," says Trevon Fuller, lead author of the paper and a biologist at the Center for Tropical Research at UCLA. When birds have less habitat, they crowd together more, which helps communicable diseases spread faster.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation,
NSF

CLICK OF THE MONTH: GOODGUIDE

Goodguide.com

Is that shampoo really good for the environment? Are these organic cereals really good for me? What does it really mean when a product says it’s “natural” or “organic” or “environmentally friendly”? Consumers have more choices than ever for conscientious consumption, but with few standards there may be much confusion about the true impacts of our daily purchases.

GoodGuide offers ratings and “best and worst product reviews” of more than 65,000 products based on such factors as whether the item is tested on animals, is fragrance-free, reduces water consumption, or contributes to global warming.

“About 33% of all new food products launched in 2008 claimed to be ‘natural,’ according to Dara O’Rourke, University of California, Berkeley, environmental policy professor and founder of the GoodGuide Web site,” writes business futurist Erica Orange of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., in the September-October 2010 issue of THE FUTURIST. GoodGuide’s goal is to help consumers interpret such vague terms.

To make it even easier for shoppers to compare products on the shelves, GoodGuide also now offers an iPhone application.

WHAT’S HOT @WFS.ORG: BACK FROM THE FUTURE

We’re “back from the future” once again, bidding a fond farewell to Boston, host of the World Future Society’s conference, “WorldFuture 2010: Sustainable Futures, Strategies, and Technologies.” As with any great adventure, we came home with more than we brought with us: more ideas, more contacts, and more energy for building the future.

There were more highlights than we could possibly summarize here, but certainly the opening and closing addresses by Yale University bioethicist Wendell Wallach and journalist Michael Rogers helped frame the dialogues and debates that took place during the conference. Inventor Ray Kurzweil and NASA scientist Dennis Bushnell both spoke to packed audiences, and the luncheon speakers--oceanographer Susan Avery and workplace consultant Karen Moloney--provided overviews of the challenges we face in our physical and organizational landscapes.

Another highlight was the honoring of Theodore J. Gordon during the closing session as recipient of the first Edward Cornish Award: Futurist of the Year. Gordon was nominated for his work in 2009 with the Millennium Project’s Futures Research Methodology Version 3.0 and State of the Future, yet his outstanding career truly merits acclamation as a futures pioneer.

On a personal note, I want to thank all the participants in the first-ever Futurist Writers Workshop, a one-day preconference course led by FUTURIST magazine senior editor Patrick Tucker and myself. Our goal was to help futurists deploy their unique environmental-scanning skills to craft interesting and useful stories for their target audience, be it public policy makers or the blogosphere. We came away from the workshop with a graduating class of outstanding futurist writers, whose work we hope you’ll see a great deal of in the future!

The story of the 2010 conference would not be complete without a mention of the international drama immediately preceding it! Just a week before the opening, we learned a professional member using the name Donald Heathfield--who had been a speaker at previous conferences--was arrested on charges of espionage. Andrei Bezrukov confessed to his role in gathering intelligence while living in the United States and was deported with nine other agents in a “spy swap” with Russia. READ WFS founder Edward Cornish’s account of the history of undercover interest in Society activities, “Welcome Russian Spies.”

Read it here.

Though an enormous success, the conference experience also brought some unexpected sorrow: One of our members--Richard T. Anderson, former president of Waukesha County (Wisconsin) Technical College--suffered a stroke during the welcoming reception. We learned just as the conference closed that Richard passed away. We mourn his loss, yet it is inspiring to know that Richard spent these precious moments with others who shared his belief that a better future is truly a lifetime pursuit. DETAILS: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

AUDIO AND SPEAKER PRESENTATIONS:
Intelliquest

PHOTOS from the conference: Twitpic

ORDER a copy of the WorldFuture 2010 conference volume, STRATEGIES AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE ($29.95, or $24.95 for Society members): www.wfs.org/wfsbooks.htm

Look for more coverage of WorldFuture 2010 in the November-December issue of THE FUTURIST magazine. Join or renew your membership in the World Future Society to ensure that you receive your copy! BENEFITS: http://www.wfs.org/member.htm

REGISTER before August 31 to save $300 for WorldFuture 2011, to be held in Vancouver, BC, Canada, July 8-10: www.wfs.org/content/register-worldfuture-2011

July 2010, Vol. 11, No. 7

In This Issue:
Supercenentarians: Why 110 Is the New 100
Synthetic Antibodies Fight Bee Stings
Knowledge Sharing among U.S. Diplomats
Economics and Politics of Well-Being
Click of the Month: Nourishing the Planet
News for the Futurist Community

SUPERCENTENARIANS: WHY 110 IS THE NEW 100

A global team of demographers has identified at least 600 individuals who have reached the age of 110 and earned the title of “supercentenarians.” Of these 600, 20 were more than 115 years old.

More than half (341) of the supercentenarians discovered are in the United States, where women in the cohort outnumbered men by nearly 10 to 1. (These numbers may have been a factor of better record keeping in the United States compared with other countries, the researchers note.)

The work, coordinated by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, aims to create a database that would provide a reliable, international record of scientifically verified data on human longevity.

The effort may yield important clues about why and how some individuals are able to live such a long time, some even surviving major surgery in their 110s. For instance, as the U.S. example illustrates, being born female has its advantages for longevity, whereas socioeconomic differences and the longevity of one’s ancestors seem to have little impact on the likelihood of supercentenarianism.

The researchers observed that many of the supercentenarians had been able to avoid dementia. This suggests that efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia may also contribute to longevity.

SOURCES: Max Planck Institute

International Database on Longevity

SYNTHETIC ANTIBODIES FIGHT BEE STINGS

Synthetically produced antibodies injected into mice have successfully blocked bee venom, report researchers at the University of California, Irvine.

The “plastic antibodies” are tiny particles created through molecular imprinting and designed to match and encase the melittin peptide in bee venom that causes cells to rupture, leading to organ failure and death.

“Never before have synthetic antibodies been shown to effectively function in the bloodstream of living animals,” says UCI chemistry professor Kenneth Shea. “This technique could be utilized to make plastic nanoparticles designed to fight more lethal toxins and pathogens.”

SOURCE: University of California, Irvine

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OXFORD SCENARIOS PROGRAMME

http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/execed/strategy/scenarios

6 - 10 September 2010, £4,750 (ex VAT) all-inclusive

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

This programme helps you identify the crucial drivers of change shaping the wider context. With the future in mind, you will learn how to develop strategies, policies or programmes to prepare your organisation for the turbulent and uncertain business climate of tomorrow.

For details contact mailto:caroline.williams@sbs.ox.ac.uk

To join this programme we welcome your Online Application: https://app.hobsons.co.uk/?id=ox-sbsee

KNOWLEDGE SHARING AMONG U.S. DIPLOMATS

A Rice University study of the U.S. State Department’s Wikipedia style knowledge-sharing platform suggests that such tools could improve information management in other areas of government.

Dubbed Diplopedia, the open-source platform for the U.S. diplomatic corps allows a registered user to post articles and edit other pages, will all contributions directly traced to that user.

In three years, the site has grown to more than 11,000 articles, creating a knowledge base of expertise for working diplomats.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of State

A draft of the Diplopedia study (PDF document), prepared by the State Department’s Office of eDiplomacy and Rice University, is available here.

ECONOMICS AND POLITICS OF WELL-BEING

A new survey will examine the need to look “Beyond GDP” in determining national well-being. The survey, conducted by GlobeScan, will be funded by Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil), according to president Hazel Henderson, and will be similar to one that group produced in 2007 for the European Parliament (see http://www.beyond-gdp.eu ).

GDP--gross domestic product--is the key measure of progress used by traditional economists (and institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund), but critics argue that this measure does not take into account the social and environmental costs of certain economic activity that may degrade overall quality of life. Henderson has long “urged the retraining of economists beyond their narrow money-focused view of wealth.”

Despite the development of alternative measures, such as the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators, Henderson charges that economists simple don’t want to change.

“They fear losing their data series, their intellectual superiority, [and] their dominance of national policy making and international bodies,” Henderson wrote in an e-mail to FUTURIST UPDATE. “The economics profession (it was never a science) would be in for a necessary downsizing, just as their clients in bloated financial firms must be downsized as well.”

Henderson also expresses concern about popular acceptance of “happiness” measures as an alternative to GDP, because these, too, can become politicized. Among the pitfalls of “Gross National Happiness” types of indicators is the inherent subjectivity of happiness.

“Just one or two examples suffice,” says Henderson. “A population surveyed may report high levels of happiness for many reasons. Some cultures seem to produce happier people than other cultures. [And] a community can report high levels of happiness while in danger from undiscovered contaminants in their water supply or radiation levels in their homes due to spent wastes mixed with cement in their construction.”

SOURCE: Hazel Henderson, Ethical Markets Media, LLC

http://www.ethicalmarkets.com

A WORLD OF IDEAS AT WORLDFUTURE 2010!

SEE YOU IN BOSTON FOR WORLDFUTURE 2010, JULY 7-11

WorldFuture 2010: Sustainable Futures, Strategies, and Technologies will bring together a thousand futurists from around the world to the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston, July 8-10. Come early (July 7-8) for preconference courses, the MIT Media Lab tour, and the Education Summit, and stay late (July 11) for the Professional Members’ Forum.

The conference program boasts an outstanding lineup of speakers, such as business futurists Edie Weiner and Arnold Brown, inventors Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Thaler, and representatives from global organizations such as UNESCO, the Japan Institute of Negotiation, and the European Futures Observatory.

HOTEL INFORMATION: The Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, 425 Summer Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02210, USA. Telephone 617-532-4600, Web site http://bit.ly/aHnaVe

CLICK OF THE MONTH: NOURISHING THE PLANET

http://blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet/

A blog from the Worldwatch Institute’s Sustainable Agriculture Program offers news, activities, and ideas for sustainable development around the world.

Recent posts include “Innovation of the Week: Locally Produced Crops for Locally Consumed Products,” “‘Endangered Species’ Means More Than Animals,” and “Tapping Local Ingenuity to Raise Fish and Livestock.”

According to the site, the “Sustainable Agriculture Program highlights the benefits to farmers, consumers, and ecosystems that can flow from food systems that are flexible enough to deal with shifting weather patterns, productive enough to meet the needs of expanding populations, and accessible enough to support rural communities.”

BONUS CLICK: Worldwatch Institute

NEWS FOR THE FUTURIST COMMUNITY

* DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE OPPORTUNITY: The World Future Society’s development committee is seeking volunteers interested in exploring new ways to make foresight useful to communities such as youth. The committee specifically seeks committed individuals with experience in grant writing, fundraising, youth program development, and sponsor recruitment. Meetings are held in the Washington, D.C., area but may be attended by teleconference or Internet if needed. CONTACT: WFS President Tim Mack mailto:tmack@wfs.org or 301-656-8274.

* FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN SPACE PROPULSION: The Space, Propulsion, and Energy Sciences International Forum, to be held March 15-17, 2011, at the University of Maryland, has issued a call for papers on propulsion science, astrosociology, high-frequency gravitational waves, and future directions in space science and technology. Initial abstracts are due August 15, 2010. DETAILS: Institute for Advanced Studies in the Space, Propulsion and Energy Sciences http://www.ias-spes.org/SPESIF.html

* INVESTING IN THE PUBLIC GOOD: The Tomorrow Project has published a new report, “Investing for Public Good,” to illustrate how governments can save money via Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) and tackle social problems at their roots. “Without doubt SIBs offer a real opportunity to support the most disadvantaged, the most vulnerable, and those who are so often forgotten about or left behind by more traditionally structured interventions,” says Gavin Poole, managing director of the Centre for Social Justice. “SIBs offer these people a real chance to transform their lives and provide an opportunity that if not present would end in further neglect.” DETAILS: Richard Worsley, the Tomorrow Project http://www.tomorrowproject.net

FUTURIST UPDATE: News & Previews from the World Future Society is an e-mail newsletter published monthly as a supplement to THE FUTURIST magazine. Copyright © 2010, World Future Society, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. Telephone 1-301-656-8274; e-mail mailto:info@wfs.org Web site http://www.wfs.org

Editor: Cindy Wagner, mailto:cwagner@wfs.org
Senior Editor: Patrick Tucker, mailto:ptucker@wfs.org
Network Administrator: Jeff Cornish, mailto:jcornish@wfs.org

June 2010, Vol. 11, No. 6

In This Issue:
The Edward Cornish Award for Futurist of the Year
FUTURIST Magazine Published in Turkish
Visions of Europe
Dator, Henderson, Coates Honored
2010 High-School Essay Contest Winner
Clicks of the Month: Futurist Reading List
Citizen-Scientists and the Future

THE EDWARD CORNISH AWARD FOR FUTURIST OF THE YEAR

Theodore J. Gordon, co-founder and senior research fellow of the Millennium Project, will be honored as the first recipient of The Edward Cornish Award for Futurist of the Year. The presentation will take place during the closing plenary session on July 10 at the World Future Society’s meeting, WorldFuture 2010: Sustainable Futures, Strategies, and Technologies, to be held July 8-10 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

“In the last year, Ted Gordon has influenced greatly futures studies in many countries of the world, especially in methodologies and normative scenarios,” said WFS Global Advisory Council member Eleonora Barbieri Masini, professor emeritus of Gregorian University, Rome. “Very important [is] his interest in ethical issues at the global level and as related to futures issues. In the last months he has lectured in Italy at different universities influencing thus students, lecturers and, very interesting for Italy, decision making. In Italy this has been specially important, as futures studies have not been too well accepted at the decision-making level.”

During 2009, the Millennium Project released Futures Research Methodology Version 3.0, a substantially updated edition of a comprehensive CD-ROM offering invaluable tools for foresight, planning, and decision making, including material that Gordon produced with colleagues at The Futures Group International.

Along with Millennium Project co-founder Jerome C. Glenn, with whom he has also prepared the series of annual reports on the State of the Future, Gordon represents “the best of futures research and execution on a global basis, which improves the development of foresight around the world,” said World Future Society board member Jack Gottsman.

Named for World Future Society founding president Edward Cornish, editor of its magazine THE FUTURIST and author of FUTURING: The Exploration of the Future, the Award is presented to the individual or group on the basis of work completed within the past 12 months, demonstrating an effective application of foresight (including classroom work) or the public discussion of the future. Nominations were open to any individual or organization involved in futures work anywhere in the world.

“This award is exciting because it honors the vision of Society founder Ed Cornish, the achievements of foresight pioneer Ted Gordon, and the inspiration that both offer to futurists following their outstanding example,” said FUTURIST managing editor Cynthia Wagner. “It brings together the past, present, and future of our field.”

FUTURIST MAGAZINE PUBLISHED IN TURKISH

The Turkish Futurists Society and the Aktif Group, a privately owned postal company, have teamed to produce the first Turkish language edition of the World Future Society’s flagship magazine, THE FUTURIST.

“Future anxiety is a very common feeling in people,” said Ufuk Tarhan, Turkish Futurists Society president and founder of M-GEN Future Planning Center, during a press conference in Istanbul on May 18. “However, it is in our hands to change it. THE FUTURIST may shape our future by informing us about future trends, forecasts, and ideas about the future.”

The venture produced 10,000 copies of the May-June 2010 issue, according to Aktif Group Board Chairman Yusuf Köse. “This initiative is like a social responsibility project for us,” he said.

DETAILS: See also “Futurist Magazine Publishes in Turkey for First Time,” Hürriyet Daily News (May 19),

OXFORD SCENARIOS PROGRAMME

6 - 10 September 2010, £4,750 (ex VAT) all-inclusive

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

This programme helps you identify the crucial drivers of change shaping the wider context. With the future in mind, you will learn how to develop strategies, policies or programmes to prepare your organisation for tomorrow's turbulent and uncertain business climate.

For details contact mailto:caroline.williams@sbs.ox.ac.uk

VISIONS OF EUROPE

The Foundation For Future Studies in Germany, a new Institutional Member of the World Future Society, has released the English-language version of two of its 2008 reports, “Future Expectations of Europe” and “A Vision for Europe from Economic Community to Community of Values.”

The group, which conducts original scientific and statistical research on long-term trends in attitudes and behavior, is now also producing English-language versions of its Current Research newsletter.

SOURCE: Dr. Ulrich Reinhardt, BAT-Stiftung Für Zukunftsfragen (Foundation for Future Studies)

The Foresight Network has bestowed its newly created Futurist of the Year Laurel on Jim Dator (director, Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies), Hazel Henderson (founder and president, Ethical Markets Media), and Joseph Coates (consulting futurist and contributing columnist for Technological Forecasting & Social Change).

The Network’s 2,400 members were asked to name the futures thinkers who had the most-important influence on them.

“These three have contributed so much to the field of futures thinking and it’s an honor for me to present them with this recognition,” said Myles Hopkins, chairman of the Foresight Network.

SOURCE: Shaping Tomorrow, or contact Bengt-Arne Vedin, mailto:bengt-arne.vedin@telia.com

2010 HIGH-SCHOOL ESSAY CONTEST WINNER

An essay describing the impacts of technology on social values and happiness has earned first place in the World Future Society’s second annual high-school essay contest.

“A Hurting Society” was written by Trevor Hu, a senior at Hawaii Baptist Academy in Honolulu. As winner, Hu will receive $300, a three-year membership in the Society, and complimentary registration at WorldFuture 2010 in Boston.

Second place was awarded to Jeremy Sia of the Raffles Institution in Singapore for “China’s Household Registration System,” an analysis of the impacts of the Hokou system on rural and urban families. Third place was awarded to Nicole Watts of Mililani, Hawaii, for “Socially Active,” an essay describing the impacts of new communications and networking technologies.

The winning essays will also be published in a forthcoming issue of the World Future Society’s journal for professional members, WORLD FUTURE REVIEW

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LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES AND EDUCATION SUMMIT AT WORLDFUTURE 2010!

WorldFuture 2010 will bring together a thousand futurists from around the world to the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston, July 8-10. Come early (July 7-8) for preconference courses, the MIT Media Lab tour, and the Education Summit, and stay late (July 11) for the Professional Members’ Forum.

Futurists looking to enhance their own skills will also have a variety of learning opportunities before the conference gets under way. Courses range from introductory to advanced, such as how to build and use scenarios and using patterns of inventions to predict the future.

Robots in the classroom, "power teaching," and innovative problem-solving strategies will all be explored at the annual Education Summit immediately preceding the opening of WorldFuture 2010. The Summit will address the challenges and opportunities of demographic and technological transformation to improve learning in the future.

The conference program itself boasts an outstanding lineup of speakers, such as business futurists Edie Weiner and Arnold Brown, inventors Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Thaler, and representatives from global organizations such as UNESCO, the Japan Institute of Negotiation, and the European Futures Observatory.

CLICK OF THE MONTH: FUTURIST READING LIST (AMAZON.COM)

Get ready for this summer’s most exciting learning experience! Here are recent books by some of the confirmed speakers at WorldFuture 2010:

Janna Quitney Anderson and Lee Rainie:

• Up for Grabs: The Future of the Internet, Volume 1 (with) Susannah Fox (Cambria Press, 2008)

• Hopes and Fears: The Future of the Internet, Volume 2 (Cambria Press, 2008)

• Ubiquity, Mobility, Security: The Future of the Internet, Volume 3
(Cambria Press, 2009)

Harvey Cox:
• The Future of Faith

Anthony Flint:
• Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and

Transformed the American City (Random House, 2009)
Theodore J. Gordon and Jerome C. Glenn:
• Futures Research Methodology Version 3.0 [CD-ROM] (The Millennium Project, 2009)

Ray Kurzweil:
• The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (Penguin, 2006)

Ramez Naam:
• More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement (Broadway, 2005)

Robert R. Prechter Jr.:
• Conquer the Crash: You Can Survive and Prosper in a Deflationary Depression

Arthur Shostak (editor), with contributions from Tsvi Bisk, Joseph Coates, William Crossman, William E. Halal, Timothy C. Mack, Marsha Rhea, Daniel I. Shostak, David Pearce Snyder, Marianne Solomon, Stephen Steele, and others:

• Creating the School You Want: Learning @ Tomorrow's Edge
Edie Weiner and Arnold Brown:

• FutureThink: How to Think Clearly in a Time of Change

CITIZEN-SCIENTISTS AND THE FUTURE

“The Rise of the Citizen-Scientist” is the theme of the H+ Summit, to be held at Harvard University, June 12-13, and hosted by the Harvard College Future Society.

Among the 60 scheduled speakers are inventor Ray Kurzweil, physicist and business leader Stephen Wolfram, biologist Andrew Hessel, and gerontologist Aubrey De Grey, who will address such issues as AI, neuroscience, transhumanism, and accelerating change. Registration is $200, but a generous discount is given for students.

The Summit is organized by Humanity+, a nonprofit educational organization focused on applying technologies to human enhancement and on understanding the potential consequences of such pursuits. The Harvard College Future Society is a student organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the impacts of accelerating technological growth on future society.

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THE FUTURE MATTERS: Since 1966, members of the World Future Society have supported the publications, resources, research, and networking opportunities that have helped develop the field of futures studies. Now, our goals have expanded, and so has our need for your support, because “The Future Matters.”

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FUTURIST UPDATE: News & Previews from the World Future Society is an e-mail newsletter published monthly as a supplement to THE FUTURIST magazine. Copyright © 2010, World Future Society, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. Telephone 1-301-656-8274; e-mail mailto:info@wfs.org Web site http://www.wfs.org

Editor: Cindy Wagner, mailto:cwagner@wfs.org
Senior Editor: Patrick Tucker, mailto:ptucker@wfs.org
Staff Writer: Aaron M. Cohen
Network Administrator: Jeff Cornish, mailto:jcornish@wfs.org
mailto:sechard@wfs.org

May 2010, Vol. 11, No. 5

In This Issue:
IT Jobs Drive U.S. Economic Engine
Fashion Faces Forward
Tech Prowess May Not Shorten Wars
State Prison Population Declines
Click of the Month: Mendeley Research Networks
News for the Futurist Community
What's hot @ WFS

IT JOBS DRIVE U.S. ECONOMIC ENGINE

Growth in information technology has contributed to an expansion of U.S. GDP of more than $52 billion in the past decade, and high-skill, high-wage IT jobs will continue to grow in the decade ahead, according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Lower-end IT jobs such as computer programming will continue to flow out of the United States and into lower-wage regions, but the opportunities for high-end careers such as network design and administration will increase rapidly.

"The advent and expansion of new IT systems such as health IT and smart grids, the continued expansion of broadband, and the growth of e-commerce and e-government, show the importance of IT jobs to the U.S. economy going forward," states an ITIF report.

Look for job growth in network and database administration, systems analysis, software engineering, support specialists, and computer science.

SOURCE: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

FASHION FACES FORWARD

A global industry generating $1.3 trillion in annual revenue, fashion faces the same issues affecting most other industries, including aging populations, shifting values, and accelerating technological change.

A new report by Levi Strauss and the Forum for the Future outlines four scenarios for a sustainable fashion industry by 2025:

1. Slow Is Beautiful: In a risk-averse marketplace, consumers demand durable, organic fabrics, and transparency on garments' socioeconomic and ecological footprints.

2. Community Couture: Fabrics may be new and expensive or "pre-loved" and cheap. Clothes are made at home or in community-run recycling centers. Clothing "libraries" rent garments for special occasions.

3. Techno Chic: A healthy, wealthy, high-tech world esteems smart textiles that facilitate low-ecological-impact lifestyles, such as nanotech coatings that reduce need for washing.

4. Patchwork Planet: Nationalism or regionalism dominates consumer choices, which gravitate toward personalization. Shorter supply chains mean clothing reaches customers faster, and resource shortages drive technological innovation.

SOURCE: "Fashion Futures," Forum for the Future

BUILD THE FUTURE AT WORLDFUTURE 2010!

Learn how to discover and build the future along with a thousand futurists from around the world at the World Future Society’s 2010 conference in Boston, to be held July 8-10 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

The outstanding program will feature a rich diversity of speakers from around the world and in a wide array of fields--such as noted business futurist Arnold Brown, Harvard theologian Harvey Cox, and South Korean mayor Park Bo-saeng of Gimcheon City.
You’ll also have the opportunity to hone your own futuring skills in preconference courses ranging from an introduction to the field to advanced strategies in foresight, planning, and futures building.

TECH PROWESS MAY NOT SHORTEN WARS

If you want to win a war quickly, having the best attack technology may not necessarily help. Overconfidence in offensive technologies may cause an attacking country to ignore such limiting factors as terrain, climate, and training of personnel, notes political scientist Marco Nilsson in his PhD thesis at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

"Due to these limitations, attack-oriented technology normally does not allow a state to run over an enemy as easily as expected. Unless the attacked country collapses right away, the duration of most wars is decided at the negotiation table," says Nilsson, who studied all wars in the state system from 1817 to 1992.

Overconfidence in military prowess also leads to higher likelihood of both arms races and wars. Nilsson concludes that, if decision makers had a more realistic understanding of technologies' limitations, they would be more inclined to negotiate first, avoiding the high costs of long, drawn-out conflicts.

SOURCE: University of Gothenburg

STATE PRISON POPULATION DECLINES

The number of inmates in America’s state prisons fell for the first time in nearly 40 years, according to a study by the Pew Center on the States. Though the decline was small (0.4% from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009), “after so many years on the rise, any size drop is notable,” says Adam Gelb, director of the study project.

Not all states experienced a decline, but those that achieved cuts in prison populations did so largely through policy changes designed to “get taxpayers a better return on their public safety dollars,” says Gelb. For instance, Texas created more residential and community-based treatment programs to divert nonviolent offenders out of prisons.

Meanwhile, the federal prison population continues to grow, rising by 3.4% in the same period to reach an all-time high of 208,118 inmates. Reasons: expanded federal jurisdiction over certain crimes and increased prosecution of immigration cases.

SOURCE: Prison Count 2010, Pew Center on the States

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NOT A MEMBER?

FUTURIST UPDATE is a free monthly supplement to THE FUTURIST magazine, so if you're only receiving the Update, you're getting just a fraction of the information and ideas that you could be receiving.

In addition to the Update, World Future Society members receive THE FUTURIST, a 68-page bimonthly magazine featuring well-researched, thought-provoking articles by scholars, consultants, inventors, and even world leaders. Each issue includes World Trends & Forecasts, Tomorrow in Brief, a broad assortment of book reviews, and more. NO-RISK trial membership! Join the World Future Society now for just $59 a year ($20 for full-time students under age 25) to receive THE FUTURIST and other important benefits--and get the big picture of your future:
http://www.wfs.org/member.htm

http://www.wfs.org/member.htm

CLICK OF THE MONTH: MENDELEY RESEARCH NETWORKS

http://www.mendeley.com

Mendeley Research Networks lets you share and organize papers, find collaborators in your discipline, and track trends in research around the world.

The Mendeley desktop tool manages bibliographic citations, automatically extracting references from documents, and Mendeley Web facilitates collaboration, allowing for document sharing in closed groups. You can even track readership of your own papers.

Based in London, Mendeley is supported by some of the people behind Skype, Last.fm, and Warner Music.

BONUS CLICKS: ResearchGATE offers another online opportunity to collaborate with colleagues around the world, including the World Future Society's group:

http://www.researchgate.net/

http://www.researchgate.net/group/World_Future_Society/

NEWS FOR THE FUTURIST COMMUNITY

* SEEING 20/20: Project Renaissance will host a conference May 13-19 in Pasadena, Maryland, focusing on creative problem solving and enhanced/accelerated learning. The theme is “Seeing 20/20: See With Your Own Eyes and Mind,” celebrating the extraordinary overlap between creativity and learning to create “superlearning,” which may be applied in many fields. To learn more or register, visit http://www.winwenger.com/df18.htm

* “LOOKING BACK ON LOOKING FORWARD”: A call for abstracts (deadline June 1) has been issued for contributions to a special edition of FUTURES focusing on evaluating futures research in order to improve methodologies. The editors seek cross-disciplinary research, including either qualitative case-studies or quantitative work, and research involving both the public and the private sectors. Contributions should clearly indicate theoretical and/or managerial implications. Abstracts with a maximum of 1,000 words may be sent to Patrick van der Duin at mailto:p.a.vanderduin@tudelft.nl or Martijn van der Steen at mailto:steen@nsob.nl

* THE BUSINESS OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Business futures consultants Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., have launched a major initiative to harness the power of social networking to gain new perspectives and insights that may be of use to their clients. In addition to establishing a presence on Facebook ( http://www.WEBonFacebook.com ) and Twitter (@WEBFutureTrends ), WEB has launched a blog where readers may add comments and questions: http://www.WeinerEdrichBrown.com/blog/

* MEGACRUNCH: In their new book, FUTURIST contributing editor Joseph Pelton and former Royal Television Society chairman Peter Marshall warn that the twenty-first century is fraught with mega-challenges that threaten to converge into a “megacrunch.” These forces include climate change, systemic unemployment due to technological advances, the North-South gap, and a clash between traditional and modern cultures. Pelton and Marshall outline 10 reforms we can act on now to avoid megacrunch, including reducing population, developing renewable energy sources, reducing carbon footprints everywhere, embracing smart growth and smart transportation, and futuring--i.e., taking the long-range perspective in decision making at every level. ORDER: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1450557023/thefuturistbooks

What's Hot @ WFS

* PREDICTING ELECTRONIC NEWS: Listeners of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” got a taste of the future recently when Paleo-Future blogger Matt Novak cited an issue of THE FUTURIST that forecast the advent of handheld electronic “newspapers” that we see all around us now. Coincidentally, the July-August 2010 issue of THE FUTURIST will also feature a look-back at that prediction, with reflections from one of the world’s first interactive journalists, Mike Greenly.

* INSPIRING IDEAS: Check out the World Future Society’s latest video on YouTube, “Ideas to Inspire Action.” Great thinkers through the ages, ranging from Marcus Aurelius to Margaret Mead, have inspired us to look ahead, work together, think innovatively, and build the future now. WATCH:

* BETA SITE TESTING ACCELERATES: The World Future Society’s effort to enhance its Web site—and member benefits—enters a new phase of beta testing. Features for members will include complete digital access to FUTURIST content, as well as blogs, forums, and other exclusives. Members of the Society may now log on (username is your member ID number, and the initial password is your last name, or the member’s surname of record, case-specific). Nonmembers are also welcome to browse the site’s nonexclusive content, including interviews with leading technologists, public policy makers, inventors, and futurists; an interactive foresight dictionary; and more than 250 forecasts about the future from the pages of THE FUTURIST magazine. Go to http://beta.wfs.org

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FUTURIST UPDATE: News & Previews from the World Future Society is an e-mail newsletter published monthly as a supplement to THE FUTURIST magazine. Copyright © 2010, World Future Society, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. Telephone 1-301-656-8274; e-mail mailto:info@wfs.org Web site http://www.wfs.org

Editor: Cindy Wagner, mailto:cwagner@wfs.org

Senior Editor: Patrick Tucker, mailto:ptucker@wfs.org

Network Administrator: Jeff Cornish, mailto:jcornish@wfs.org

April 2010, Vol. 11, No. 4

In This Issue:
Networked Cars and Trucks
Writing in (and about) the Future
Near-Earth Objects: Risks and Implications
Experts Consider the Internet’s Future
Click of the Month: Destination Imagination
News for the Futurist Community
Feedback

NETWORKED CARS AND TRUCKS

An old automobile-safety message once advised, “Watch out for the other guy—he may not be watching out for you.” Now, inter-vehicular networking may help us do just that.

German researchers working with Volkswagen have created a radio-communication system enabling vehicles to contact each other. Dubbed C3World (Connected Cars in a Connected World), the system would, for instance, inform cars that an emergency vehicle is approaching the same intersection.

Another aspect of the technology will be easier integration of new generations of mobile phones and music players—products that typically have short life spans and become obsolete almost as soon as vehicle manufacturers install them.

SOURCES: Volkswagen, or here.

C3World Research Group,

WRITING IN (AND ABOUT) THE FUTURE

The journal-turned-magazine CREATIVE NONFICTION celebrated its transformation by organizing a one-day symposium, held at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, focused on how writing, reading, and publishing may be transformed in the decade ahead.

On the program were two futurists: Jay Ogilvy, co-founder of the Global Business Network, who described the usefulness of scenario thinking for weighing both optimistic and pessimistic visions of the future, and Dan Sarewitz, director of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University, who warned of the unexpected consequences of human enhancement that many enthusiasts are hailing as a golden age of prosperity, pointing out that the greatest example of that enhancement is the soldier.

The bulk of the conference focused on how writers fit into this future, a time when people may be reading fewer books but communicating with one another and, yes, reading via a wider variety of platforms—e.g., blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and the multimedia digital Vook (video book) described by Jack Sallay, the company’s vice president of marketing.

Writers of the future will bear more of the responsibility of reaching their audiences, as publishers’ economic models become less supportive of traditional functions like marketing and promotion, many of the symposium participants argued. The good news is that there are more innovative new ways of doing-it-yourself, like building a community of supporters around an author’s blog.

As long as the written word is still valued (whether it is ultimately read, viewed, or listened to by the audience), writing has a future.

DETAILS: The Writer’s Center

Editor’s note: Writers interested more in writing about the future may also want to check out the Futurist Writer’s Workshop at the WFS conference in Boston

A WORLD OF IDEAS AT WORLDFUTURE 2010!

Indian futurist Mohan Tikku will examine terrorism and offer insights on how changing the global architecture may help contain this scourge. Engineer Stephen Thaler will explore how “creativity machines” may help us build far more efficient products far cheaper and answer fundamental metaphysical questions. And Nicole Freedman, director of Boston Bikes, will explain why the future will be two-wheeled.

You’ll hear these ideas and more at WorldFuture 2010: Sustainable Futures, Strategies, and Technologies, to be held in Boston, July 8-10, at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

The conference program boasts an outstanding lineup of speakers, such as renowned inventor Ray Kurzweil, journalist Michael Rogers, and former L’Oreal vice president Robert Salmon.

You may also want to attend one (or both) of the special keynote luncheons, which this year will feature presentations by Susan Avery, president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, on Friday and by workplace talent consultant Karen Moloney on Saturday.

NEAR-EARTH OBJECTS: RISKS AND IMPLICATIONS

If astronomers in Russia discover an asteroid heading toward an Ohio wind farm, but they don’t tell anyone, are they liable for damages? And what if they do inform everyone about the potential impact, but the U.S. and Russian governments can’t agree on a mission to avert the asteroid’s impact: Could the wind farm’s insurance carrier sue both governments?

These are the types of scenarios that need exploration as astronomers around the world attain the ability to precisely predict potential impacts of near-earth objects.

A recent workshop in Mexico City outlined the steps necessary to create a global network that would not only track, predict, and warn of near-earth objects, but also coordinate legal and institutional responses. Coordinated by Secure World Foundation, the workshop results were presented to the UN’s Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

SOURCE: Secure World Foundation

EXPERTS CONSIDER THE INTERNET'S FUTURERE

Is the Internet making us smarter, stupider, more dependent on it, or all of the above?

The Pew Internet & American Life Project and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center asked dozens of experts—such as Google research director Peter Norvig, futurist blogger Jamais Cascio, and tech watcher Esther Dyson—to consider the future of the Internet-connected world between now and 2020.

Most of the experts agreed that the Internet will make us smarter in some way by 2020.

"In the coming years we will have to continue to teach people to think critically so they can better understand the wealth of information available to them," said Jeska Dzwigalski of Linden Lab.

Janna Quitney Anderson of Elon University and Lee Rainie of Pew Internet & American Life Center put the survey together. They'll speak on it and on the future of the Internet at WorldFuture 2010, the World Future Society’s annual meeting in Boston in July.

LEARN MORE: http://www.wfs.org/2010main.htm

SOURCE: Pew Research

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GOODSHOP AND GOODSEARCH FOR WFS

Did you know: The World Future Society earns a donation every time you search the Internet and a percentage of every purchase you make online when you link through GoodSearch and GoodShop.

GoodSearch.com is a Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. GoodShop.com is an online shopping mall that donates up to 30% of each purchase to your favorite cause.

And if you download the GoodSearch–World Future Society toolbar, WFS will earn money every time you shop and search online, even if you forget to go to GoodShop or GoodSearch first.

GoodSearch:

GoodShop:

Add the World Future Society - WFS(Bethesda MD) toolbar.

GIVE DIRECTLY TO WFS: Membership fees alone cannot cover the many publications, services, programs, and activities that the World Future Society provides to accomplish our mission of helping individuals and organizations build a better future. Please give generously, and thank you for your support! http://www.wfs.org/donate.htm

CLICK OF THE MONTH: DESTINATION IMAGINATION

http://www.idodi.org/

Destination ion ImagiNation inspires young learners to collaborate on innovative problem-solving challenges and compete with other teams from around the world.

The program reaches 100,000 students a year in 30 countries, offering after-school activities and annual competitions to promote creative thinking and team work.

The organization also offers similar curricula for clients in its Destination ion ImagiNation 4-Life program.

NEWS FOR THE FUTURIST COMMUNITY

* SOUTH AFRICAN FUTURES CONFERENCE: The World Future Society’s South African chapter will hold its first South African futures conference on May 6-7, 2010, in Cape Town. The conference theme is “Energy, Environment and Economics: Imagineering the Future of South Africa to 2030” and will aim to build consensus around a 2030 vision for the nation. DETAILS http://www.wfs-sa.com/ or contact WFS-SA founder and chairman Michael Lee, mailto:futurevalueforesight@gmail.com or mailto:wfs.southafrica@gmail.com

* LATIN AMERICA 2010-2030: The Millennium Project invites participants

mailto:jose@millennium-project.org or go to http://millennium-project.org/millennium/DelphiLatinAmerica2030.html.html

* CALL FOR VISIONS ON RACIAL EQUITY: Demographers predict that, by 2042, Whites will no longer be the majority race in the United States. Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity has called for essays (1,000-2,000 words) envisioning a new racial order in the U.S. of 2042: Will there be greater racial equity and justice, and how will this change look and feel? Deadline for submissions is May 17.

DETAILS, Visions 2042 http://www.race-talk.org/?page_id=3512 or http://www.kirwaninstitute.or

* SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES REBRANDS AS S AS INNOVARO: Futures consultancy Social Technologies has now become Innovaro under its parent company UTEK Corporation. Innovaro’s activities will focus on client-based foresight, trend analysis, and strategic planning. Social Technologies' long-running multi-client research projects (Futures Consortium, Global Lifestyles, and Technology Foresight) will continue as part of Innovaro Insights & Research. DETAILS http://www.Innovaro.com

What's Hot @ WFS

* HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY CONTEST: Deadline is April 15 for entering the World Future Society’s second annual essay contest for high school students. Essays should explore the impacts of trends on future career choices and what we can do to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. The winner will receive $300, a three-year membership in the Society, and complimentary registration at WorldFuture 2010 in Boston. DETAILS http://www.wfs.org/2010essay.htm

* WHAT’S NEXT IN THE FUTURIST: Computers will get better at reading your mind. … Another great boom is ahead in industries ranging from nanotech to clean tech. … More “2020 Visionaries” explore the futures of the global environment and of democracy. … Read these stories and more in the May-June 2010 issue of THE FUTURIST, which mails to WFS members and subscribers on April 5. Join WFS or renew your membership now to ensure that you get your copy http://www.wfs.org/member.htm

* BETA SITE TESTING ACCELERATES: The World Future Society’s effort to enhance its Web site—and member benefits—enters a new phase of beta testing. Features for members will include complete digital access to FUTURIST content, as well as blogs, forums, and other exclusives. Members of the Society may now log on (username is your member ID number, and the initial password is your last name, or the member’s surname of record, case-specific). Nonmembers are also welcome to browse the site’s nonexclusive content, including interviews with leading technologists, public policy makers, inventors, and futurists; an interactive foresight dictionary; and more than 250 forecasts about the future from the pages of THE FUTURIST magazine. Go to http://www.wfs.org

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FUTURIST UPDATE: News & Previews from the World Future Society is an e-mail newsletter published monthly as a supplement to THE FUTURIST magazine. Copyright © 2010, World Future Society, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. Telephone 1-301-656-8274; e-mail mailto:info@wfs.org Web site http://www.wfs.org
Editor: Cindy Wagner, mailto:cwagner@wfs.org
Senior Editor: Patrick Tucker, mailto:ptucker@wfs.org
Staff Writer: Aaron M. Cohen
Network Administrator: Jeff Cornish, mailto:jcornish@wfs.org

March 2010, Vol. 11, No. 3

In This Issue:
Ghana’s Promising Future
Loneliness in an Interconnected World
Preventive Care Could Save Trillions of Dollars
Specialists versus Generalists: Lessons from Figure Skating
Click of the Month: Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc
News for the Futurist Community

GHANA’S PROMISING FUTURE

While far from the epicenter of the most recent global financial crisis, much of Africa was severely impacted by it. Faring better than its neighbors is Ghana, which has nearly halved its poverty rate since 1992, sustained a 5% average annual growth rate, and held peaceful elections in 2004 and 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“You do sense a country that is moving forward,” says Peter Allum, IMF mission chief for Ghana. “There’s an enormous amount of energy and excitement there on the streets. You also see the poverty, and it makes you realize what a challenge lies ahead for the country in terms of job creation for these young people.”

Foreign investment from recession-afflicted countries has dried up, and Ghanaians working abroad have had less money to send back home, notes IMF First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky. So building up economic resilience domestically has become more imperative.

Gold and cocoa exports have kept Ghana going, but moving forward may require it to develop another source of new wealth: oil. Ghana is unlikely to become another Saudi Arabia, says Lipsky, “but it could be producing enough oil to satisfy its domestic needs with some left over for export. The key to Ghana’s future growth, of course, is to use this newfound wealth wisely.”

SOURCE: International Monetary Fund

LONELINESS IN AN INTERCONNECTED WORLD

The average American today has only a third as many friends as 25 years ago, and one-fourth have no close confidants at all, according to recently released data from medical researchers. The Internet may be largely to blame, says Michael Bugeja, author of INTERPERSONAL DIVIDE (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Many people have a swarm of friends on Facebook, but do they ever call? “Friending” is not the same as “befriending”—being a friend—Bugeja notes, arguing that instead of creating a global village, the Internet has distracted and distanced us from each other.

One impact is that lonely people have no one to turn to in hard times, whereas during the Depression people relied on each other. Now, when people can no longer afford the communications devices they’ve come to rely on instead of people, they become truly isolated. As a result, suicide rates may increase, even among young children, Bugeja warns.

EDUCATION SUMMIT AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES AT WORLDFUTURE 2010!

Robots in the classroom, “power teaching,” and innovative problem-solving strategies will all be explored at the annual Education Summit immediately preceding the opening of WorldFuture 2010 in Boston, July 8-10, at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

The Summit will address the challenges and opportunities of demographic and technological transformation to improve learning in the future. DETAILS,

Futurists looking to enhance their own skills will also have a variety of learning opportunities before the conference gets under way. Courses range from introductory to advanced, such as how to build and use scenarios and using patterns of inventions to predict the future.

The conference program itself boasts an outstanding lineup of speakers, such as journalist Michael Rogers, former “futurist-in-residence” for the New York Times Company. Rogers will explore what it will mean for us to live more of our lives “virtualized”—a social transformation that he argues is as potentially impactful as the rise of cities.

PREVENTIVE CARE COULD SAVE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS

Health-care practitioners need to broaden their focus to include greater preventive care, urges Kevin Fickenscher, Dell Perot Systems vice president of strategic initiatives.

During a recent presentation to the Washington, D.C. chapter of the World Future Society, Fickenscher declared that preventive care is one way to repair the overstressed U.S. health-care system.

The key challenge to fixing health care is reducing the financial stresses on the system, he says. By shifting the emphasis to include prevention as well as treatment, Fickenscher estimates that the health-care industry could save trillions of dollars and improve the quality of life for many.

Preventive health care entails focusing on larger cultural issues such as lack of exercise, diet and nutrition, and smoking. However, the current financial incentives for medical practitioners encourage them to conduct medical tests to diagnose a disease—but not to instruct their patients to eat healthier and exercise more before health problems develop.

Fickenscher will speak more on these critical issues at the World Future Society’s annual meeting in Boston in July.

SPECIALISTS VERSUS GENERALISTS: LESSONS FROM FIGURE SKATING

Questions about figure skating’s future recently arose from 2010 Olympic silver medalist Yevgeny Plushenko (Russia). In interviews following the competition, he observed that the gold medalist, Evan Lysacek (USA), had failed to perform a quadruple jump. Without proficiency in that maneuver, claimed Plushenko (himself an Olympic champion in 2006), figure skating cannot progress as a sport.

While many in the (non-Russian) media dismissed Plushenko’s comments as sour grapes, he raised an interesting issue: Should the sport (or any profession) value the specialist above the generalist?

After the Salt Lake City Games eight years ago, figure skating changed its scoring system to eliminate (or at least reduce) national bias and corruption among the judges. Now, all elements of a competitor’s program are to be scored, minimizing the influence of spectacular jumps (which some argue are too damaging to young athletes’ bodies anyway).

In this environment, for Plushenko to claim that only the quadruple jump matters in skating would be like saying only home runs matter in baseball. On a baseball team, there may be many specialists: Without excellent pitching and precision fielding to counter the sluggers at the plate, baseball games would always have double-digit scores and last three days.

The difference is that, in skating (and in many professional activities), there is no team of specialists working toward a goal of general excellence. Rather, the individual must strive to perform at the highest possible level in a variety of specialties. Whether this ethos is sustainable for the future depends on how highly we value specialized excellence—or how effectively we build our teams.

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OXFORD SCENARIOS PROGRAMME

17-21 May or 6–10 September 2010, £4,750 (ex VAT) all inclusive, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

This programme helps you identify the crucial drivers of change shaping the wider context. With the future in mind, you will learn how to develop strategies, policies or programmes to prepare your organisation for tomorrow's turbulent and uncertain business climate.

DETAILS/CONTACT: mailto:caroline.williams@sbs.ox.ac.uk http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/execed/strategy/scenarios

CLICK OF THE MONTH: WEINER, EDRICH, BROWN, INC.

http://WeinerEdrichBrown.com

A fresh new look and unique resources are featured on the Web site of this pioneering business-future consultancy, led by chairman Arnold Brown, president Edie Weiner, and vice president Erica Orange, all of whom have been frequent contributors to WFS publications and conferences.

In the “From Our Files” section, WEB offers five years’ worth of downloadable archived working papers drawn from research analyses for their clients.

Don’t miss their Futurist Glossary, showcasing ideas so unique that they require a new vocabulary for futurists and trend watchers: e.g., “accumulous cloud” (information accumulating in data-rich cloud computers) “betweenity” (time between life stages), and “dividual” (a person fitting in more than one demographic or lifestyle category).

NEWS FOR THE FUTURIST COMMUNITY

STRATEGIC FORESIGHT SEMINAR: The University of Houston’s Strategic Foresight Seminar is an intensive, five-day, project based workshop, running May 17-21. Sponsored by the Futures Studies in Commerce program and conducted by Peter Bishop, the seminar offers a certificate in strategic foresight. Registration is now open, with seating limited to 25 participants. DETAILS and REGISTRATION

* WRITING IN AND ABOUT THE FUTURE: The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, will be hosting Creative Nonfiction’s all-day conference on Writing the Future on March 20. Panelists include New York Times interface specialist Nick Bilton, social publishing visionary Richard Nash, and Lee Gutkind, author of ALMOST HUMAN.

Editor’s note: Writers interested more in writing about the future may also want to check out the Futurist Writer’s Workshop at the WFS conference in Boston

* CALL FOR PAPERS: THE JOURNAL OF FUTURES STUDIES will be publishing a special issue February 2011 on “Path Breaking and Path Creation.” Editor Victor Tiberius is seeking papers of 5,000 to 7,000 words offering insights on path dependence theory and futures research. DETAILS and SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

* HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY CONTEST: The World Future Society is now accepting entries for its second annual essay contest for high school students. Essays should explore the impacts of trends on future career choices and what we can do to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. The winner will receive $300, a three-year membership in the Society, and complimentary registration at WorldFuture 2010 in Boston.

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FUTURIST UPDATE: News & Previews from the World Future Society is an e-mail newsletter published monthly as a supplement to THE FUTURIST magazine. Copyright © 2010, World Future Society, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. Telephone 1-301-656-8274; e-mail mailto:info@wfs.org Web site http://www.wfs.org

Editor: Cindy Wagner, mailto:cwagner@wfs.org
Senior Editor: Patrick Tucker, mailto:ptucker@wfs.org
Staff Writer: Aaron M. Cohen
Network Administrator: Jeff Cornish, mailto:jcornish@wfs.org

February 2010, Vol. 11, No. 2

In This Issue:
Youth Summit Builds Public-Service Campaign
Pollution Reduces Rain in China
U.S. States Scramble to Balance Budgets
Gloomy Mood May Doom the European Union
Click of the Month: Timeline of Education 1657-2045
News for the Futurist Community
What's Hot @WFS.ORG

YOUTH SUMMIT BUILDS PUBLIC-SERVICE CAMPAIGN

If you want something done, assign it to people who don’t know it can’t be done.

It took just one weekend for a group of 20 young people from across the United States to create a public-service campaign promoting a society that is more inclusive of individuals with disabilities. (The accomplishment is especially impressive when one considers how long it would take a typical organization to complete such a task.)

The National Youth Inclusion Summit took place January 8-10 at the Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland, organized by the Including Samuel Project and led by filmmaker Dan Habib.

The teenage advocates hosted viewing parties of Habib's documentary about his son, “Including Samuel,” and then brought their insights and ideas to the Summit.

Working in small teams, participants ultimately created two videos that could be used in viral marketing campaigns: “I Am Norm” used the theme that everyone is different, so we are all normal. “Inclusion: It’s That Easy” dramatized a simple lunchroom scenario of kids noticing when someone is feeling left out.

The Including Samuel Project is a program of the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability. Groups participating in the Summit included the National Inclusion Project, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Kids Included Together, Girl Scouts of the USA, Victor Pineda Foundation, and VSA arts, with support from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.

DETAILS: The Including Samuel Project

POLLUTION REDUCES RAIN IN CHINA

High levels of air pollution have reduced the amount of light rainfall in eastern China by almost 25% over the past 50 years, according to an international study supported by Sweden’s University of Gothenburg. The reduced rainfall negatively impacts agriculture and human health (not to mention the environment) in the most densely populated region in the country.

Excess smog, smoke, and airborne particles reduce the size of raindrops in the atmosphere. The smaller the water droplets, the harder it is for them to gather into rain clouds.

China’s population growth over the past century has contributed to an 800% increase in air pollution, according to the researchers. China is now the world leader in carbon-dioxide emissions.

SOURCE: University of Gothenburg

BUILD YOUR OWN FUTURING CURRICULUM AT WORLDFUTURE 2010!

Learn how to build a better future along with a thousand futurists from around the world at the World Future Society’s 2010 conference in Boston, to be held July 8-10 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

In addition to an outstanding program of 150 speakers--such as eminent inventor Ray Kurzweil and Yale University ethicist Wendell Wallach--you’ll have the opportunity to hone your own futuring skills with a diverse selection of courses, ranging from an introduction to the field to advanced strategies in foresight, planning, and futures building.

U.S. STATES SCRAMBLE TO BALANCE BUDGETS

The global economic recession has left most U.S. states focused primarily on balancing their budgets and generating revenue, the number-one legislative priority, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Collectively, the states had a nearly $146 billion budget gap at the end of 2009.

Other priorities for the states include controlling health-care costs while increasing coverage, lowering unemployment rates, making higher education more affordable, and addressing the costs of prisons while maintaining public safety and reducing recidivism.

The unexpected impacts of new technologies also have legislators scrambling for ways to better serve constituents. For instance, some states are now considering prohibiting drivers from texting and talking on cell phones and expanding the collection of DNA to all offenders and not just felons.

SOURCE: National Conference of State Legislatures

GLOOMY MOOD MAY DOOM EUROPEAN UNION

The rapid expansion of the European Union in the past decade parallels that of the United States just before the Civil War. In both cases, the unions seemed strong until the economic environment soured. Could the EU be headed for a civil war?

Perhaps not war, but “divorce” (civil or otherwise) may be imminent for Europe, claims the Socionomic Institute.

“Both unions appeared to be strong when markets were rising. But once stocks reversed, the stress of a bear market severed those bonds quickly,” explains study author Brian Whitmer, editor of Elliott Wave International’s EUROPEAN FINANCIAL FORECAST. “War eventually broke out among the U.S. states, and I believe that an equally perilous period is coming for the countries of the EU.”

COMMENT: Just as money problems often uncover long-buried grudges among married couples, leading to divorce, economic stressors may undo the bonds that European states have forged in recent decades. Perhaps "marriage counseling" in the form of proactive conflict resolution could help European leaders identify and resolve underlying tensions and avert the nightmare scenario of civil war.

SOURCE: The Socionomics Institute

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17-21 May or 6–10 September 2010, £4,750 (ex VAT) all inclusive, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

In today’s uncertain business climate this programme identifies the critical drivers of change that are shaping the wider context. You will understand how to influence the continued success of your team and organisation; to assess the resilience of your current resources and activities; and, as a consequence your strategic options for success.

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CLICK OF THE MONTH: TIMELINE OF EDUCATION 1657-2045

http://www.educationfutures.com/resources/timeline/

Education Futures celebrates its fifth anniversary by looking back at the history of education and forecasting the next 35 years.

"Utilizing many of the best resources for projecting futures for human capital development, this timeline presents a glimpse of the past, present, and plausible futures for education," states the site, developed by John Moravec, a faculty member of the University of Minnesota's Innovation Studies program.

Among the timeline's forecasts: New York City will close 80% of its public schools by 2023 due to shifts in demographics and competition from informal modes of learning. By 2032, teachers and faculty who refuse to upgrade their cognitive functioning will be asked to resign. By 2035, intelligent machines deciding to have children will lead to a "golden age" of nonhuman creativity.

NEWS FOR THE FUTURIST COMMUNITY

* IS EGYPT TOO POOR FOR FORESIGHT? In an end-of-the-year op-ed for AL-AHRAM, economics futurist Ibrahim El-Issawy argues that futures research should not be considered a luxury but rather a priority in developing countries such as Egypt. In fact, it is becoming increasingly common, he notes. "A long list of future visions for developing countries exists, including, for example, India 2020, Malaysia 2020, and China 2050. Almost all development success stories have involved futures research of one sort or another. Good development requires good planning...." READ "Selecting a Better Tomorrow"

* GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE SITUATION ROOM: The latest venture by the Millennium Project is a situation room for deploying collective intelligence on climate science, energy, green technology, adaptation, mitigation, and integration of sustainable development and climate change. The project will develop new software and user interfaces to link networks of outstanding experts as a resource for helping the UN, governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals to understand climate change and its potential impacts. DETAILS The Millennium Project http://www.millennium-project.org , http://www.mpcollab.org , or http://www.millennium-project.org/millennium/presentations/Fact_Sheet_De...

* ORGANIZING FUTURIST INTEREST GROUPS: A special session devoted to organizing local futurist interest groups (FIGs) is now being planned for the World Future Society's annual meeting in Boston, July 8-10. The session will discuss what a local FIG can do for its participants and examine opportunities and challenges for keeping local groups vibrant. If you plan to attend, please help the planners tailor the session to your interests and needs. CONTACT Dave Stein, mailto:info@futuretakes.org

WHAT'S HOT @WFS.ORG

* SOLUTIONS FOR A BETTER FUTURE: Why support futures studies? Because it helps solve major world problems. In fact, good foresight regularly practiced can alleviate many of the most intractable problems, such as health care, hunger, resource shortages, and transportation issues. Many examples of futurism as problem solving are profiled in a special report by FUTURIST senior editor Patrick Tucker.

- READ SOLUTIONS FOR A BETTER FUTURE

- SUPPORT THE WORLD FUTURE SOCIETY and its programs for future problem solving

* TOP 10 FORECASTS ON FUTURE TV: Our searches for extraterrestrial intelligence, sustainable energy solutions, and love will all get a boost in the decade ahead. A new video Illustrates the top 10 forecasts from the World Future Society's annual Outlook report.

* THE FUTURIST magazine and Encyclopædia Britannica are partnering for a joint blog series on Learning and Literacy in the Digital Age, to run on Britannica.com. The series will feature essays from FUTURIST contributors Nick Carr, Mark Bauerlein, Patrick Tucker, and WorldFuture 2010 Speaker Janna Anderson. READ

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FUTURIST UPDATE: News & Previews from the World Future Society is an e-mail newsletter published monthly as a supplement to THE FUTURIST magazine. Copyright © 2010, World Future Society, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. Telephone 1-301-656-8274; e-mail mailto:info@wfs.org Web site http://www.wfs.org

Editor: Cindy Wagner, mailto:cwagner@wfs.org
Senior Editor: Patrick Tucker, mailto:ptucker@wfs.org
Staff Writer: Aaron M. Cohen
Network Administrator: Jeff Cornish, mailto:jcornish@wfs.org

January 2010, Vol. 11, No. 1

In This Issue:
Video Games and Impacts on Performance
Cases of Diabetes Will Double
Mobilizing the Millennials
Futurist's Reading List
Click of the Month: iMinds.com
News for the Futurist Community
What's Hot @WFS.ORG

VIDEO GAMES AND IMPACTS ON PERFORMANCE

The types of video games you play may affect your performance at school, work, or other activities, according to Wheaton College psychology professor Rolf Nelson.

Playing an adrenaline-pumping action game for an hour before doing your homework or tackling a task at work could help you finish the assignment quickly--but with lots of mistakes. Playing a strategy game, on the other hand, will yield more-accurate work, but at the cost of speed, observes Nelson.

In his study, published with co-author Ian Strachan in the journal PERCEPTION, Nelson tested subjects playing either a fast-action video game (Unreal Tournament) or a puzzle-solving video game (Portal).

“While there has been a great deal of [research] focused on performance differences between non-video-game players and avid video-game players, we were interested in looking at the effects of playing different types of video games," Nelson says. “Results convincingly demonstrate a priming effect for two different types of video games.”

SOURCE: Wheaton College

CASES OF DIABETES WILL DOUBLE

Two decades ago, dire warnings were sounded about cases of diabetes doubling in the United States to 11.6 million by 2030. Now, that number is projected to be nearly quadruple the earlier forecast, increasing from 23.7 million in 2009 to 44.1 million in 2034, according to medical researchers at the University of Chicago.

The costs of treating individuals with diabetes will likewise skyrocket, as improvements in health care have enabled patients to live longer and thus become more vulnerable to problems later in life, such as blindness, kidney disease, and amputations.

The steady rise in diabetes cases parallels the steady rise in obesity in the United States over the last few decades, the researchers note.

"If we don't change our diet and exercise habits or find new, more effective and less expensive ways to prevent and treat diabetes, we will find ourselves in a lot of trouble as a population," warns lead author Elbert Huang, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

SOURCE: University of Chicago Medical Center

LAST CHANCE TO SAVE $200 FOR WORLDFUTURE 2010!

Mark your calendar now to join a thousand futurists from around the world at the World Future Society’s 2010 conference in Boston, to be held July 8-10 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

You'll meet and learn from an estimated 150 speakers, such as Yale University ethicist Wendell Wallach, who will deliver the opening plenary presentation, as well as Harvard University theologian Harvey Cox, inventors Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Thaler, health futurist Kevin Fickenscher, and media experts Michael Rogers, Lee Rainie, and Michael R. Nelson.

MOBILIZING THE MILLENNIALS

A foundation to promote youth philanthropy, an interactive game to promote financial literacy, and electronic budget journals for daily "wealth watching" are among the award-winning ideas generated at the recent Youth Summit sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and Mobilize.org.

The summit brought together young people from around the United States to discuss issues affecting members of the millennial generation, such as high rates of unemployment and student debt. Their discussions in work groups led to the development of solutions, which were then voted upon by the group, with the winning proposals receiving funding from Mobilize.org.

First place winner was Daniel Kaufman of Sacramento, California, whose One Percent Foundation calls on young people "to make a collective impact by making recurring donations of 1% of their annual income through a single funding entity."

SOURCES: Mobilize.org; Peter G. Peterson Foundation

FUTURIST’S READING LIST

Here are a few new books for your futurist-reading holiday gift list:

ENOUGH IS PLENTY by Anne B. Ryan (O Books): Human and planetary well-being as the focus for decision making.

THE FUTURIST by Rebecca Keegan (Crown): Filmmaker as futurist: profile of AVATAR director James Cameron.

HOW GOOD PEOPLE MAKE TOUGH CHOICES (Rev. Ed.) by Rushworth M. Kidder (Harper Paperbacks): Right versus wrong is easy; right versus right is much tougher for values-based decision makers.

THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT by Leslie Hamilton and Philip Webster (Oxford University Press USA): Textbook on globalization and its implications for organizations.

Pre-order these 2010 titles:

FROM BOOM TO BUST AND BEYOND (paperback ed.) by Jerry Tuma (Excel, March 2, 2010): Investment adviser gleans insight from current trends and shows how to thrive in the years ahead.

GEO-ENGINEERING CLIMATE CHANGE: Environmental Necessity or Pandora's Box? by J. Michael T. Thompson and Brian Launder (Cambridge University Press, January 31): Critical appraisal of mega-engineering projects to save the planet.

TOWARD HUMAN EMERGENCE by Philip R. Harris (HRD Press, March 15): How will humans manage their activities in space-based civilizations?

WHAT IS NANOTECHNOLOGY AND WHY DOES IT MATTER by Fritz Allhoff et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, March 1, 2010): Impartial look at the innovations and risks of world-changing emerging technologies.

And check out these notable backlist titles:

HISTORY AND FUTURE by David J. Staley (Lexington, 2007): A history professor and futurist illustrates the value of historical thinking for imagining tomorrow.

HOW TO RE-IMAGINE THE WORLD by Anthony Weston (New Society, 2007): Aptly subtitled “A Pocked Guide for Practical Visionaries.”

CLICK OF THE MONTH: iMINDS

http://www.iminds.com

If you’d rather use your spare time learning something than drowning your ears in the latest tunes from reality-show celebrities, the library of eight-minute audio lessons offered by iMinds may be what you’re looking for.

While you’re unlikely to earn your PhD this way, iMinds gives you the opportunity to keep learning 24/7, with on-demand selections ranging from wind power to the Seven Wonders of the World.

A Generalists’ collection (1 hour and 40 minutes of knowledge grabs) includes tracks on anime, the bubonic plague, and flash mobs; the Genius collection offers 10 hours of tracks covering such topics as behavioral economics, hemophilia, D-Day, and Andy Warhol.

Shorter tracks developed for younger learners are also offered through the site’s iMindsJNR division, with topics that could supplement classroom work, such as the Great Rivers, Atoms, and the Cold War.

NOTE, do not confuse iMinds.com with iMind.com, a defunct dot-com venture savagely parodied on a domain now for sale (the current bid is $60,000).

NEWS FOR THE FUTURIST COMMUNITY

* FORESIGHT 2010: The Synergy of Molecular Manufacturing and Artificial General Intelligence is the theme of the Foresight Institute's meeting to be held January 16-17 in Palo Alto, California. The symposium will examine the convergence of several rapidly developing technologies and their profound potential impacts on economies and societies. Confirmed speakers include Paul Saffo, J. Storrs Hall, Ralph Merkle, and other top technology experts. DETAILS:

* EU 2020 STRATEGY: The European Commission has issued a public consultation document on strategies for greener and more socially inclusive economic growth. The consultation paper focuses on approaches to recovering from economic crisis, creating value through knowledge, empowering people through inclusive societies, and creating a competitive, connected, and greener economy. Public responses are due January 15. VIEW the document

* SECURITY IN FUTURES - SECURITY IN CHANGE. The Finland Futures Research Centre's conference to be held June 3-4, 2010, in Turku, Finland, will look deeply into the inevitable changes of security issues. The conference will bring together global experts from the scientific community, policy makers, and representatives of companies to develop images of alternative futures. The goal is to provide leaders with new viewpoints and novel ideas for making the world a better place. The abstract submissions are due on February 1, 2010. DETAILS:

WHAT'S HOT @WFS.ORG

* OUTSTANDING FUTURISTS AND YOUNG FUTURISTS: Whose work in futuring and foresight during 2009 should be recognized at the World Future Society’s next annual meeting? Nominations for the Outstanding Futurist and Young Futurist of the Year are open until December 31. DETAILS and NOMINATION FORM:

* GIFTS FOR FUTURISTS: Here are three easy ways that you can Give the Future to a friend!

1. Share the future all year long with your clients, colleagues, friends, and family with gift memberships in the World Future Society ($59 per year for the first membership and just $47 each for all others). ORDER:

2. Gear up with WFS T-shirts, hats, tote bags, and other gifts at Café Press:

3. Shop online and support the World Future Society by using GoodShop to access more than a thousand participating stores that give back up to 30% of your purchase to WFS. GOODSHOP NOW:

* HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FUTURIST UPDATE! That's right, the World Future Society's free e-mail newsletter turns 10 years old with this edition. What were futurists talking about in January 2000 (besides being grateful that our computers still worked)? Check out Volume 1, Number 1 of FUTURIST UPDATE http://www.wfs.org/futupja00.htm

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FUTURIST UPDATE: News & Previews from the World Future Society is an e-mail newsletter published monthly as a supplement to THE FUTURIST magazine. Copyright © 2009, World Future Society, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. Telephone 1-301-656-8274; e-mail mailto:info@wfs.org Web site http://www.wfs.org

Editor: Cindy Wagner, mailto:cwagner@wfs.org
Senior Editor: Patrick Tucker, mailto:ptucker@wfs.org
Network Administrator: Jeff Cornish, mailto:jcornish@wfs.org