This is my last posting for the next few days. I will be taking my office apart so that we can move to our new apartment downtown next Tuesday. I will be unplugged and disconnected except by tablet. Expect me to be back in the saddle before the end of next week probably in time to provide you with some more headlines. In the interim these are the stories I share with you this week:
In a recent conference promoting not only their latest gizmos but their company's animating vision as well, Google executives declared they were working toward a future in which technology "disappears," "fades into the background," becomes more "intuitive and anticipatory." Commenting on this apparently "bizarre mission for a tech company," Bianca Bosker warns that their genial and enthusiastic promotional language masks Google's aspiration to omnipresence via invisibility, an effort to render us dependent and uncritical of their prevalence through its marketing as easy, intuitive, companionable.
Off-the-grid solar power is one of the solutions that could dramatically alter the lives of an estimated 1.5 billion humans who today have no access to electricity. Of these 80% come from countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. And of that 89% of the 80% live in rural areas versus 46% in urban locations.
There is a finite amount of arable land on which to raise food crops and livestock on our planet. There is only so much freshwater to go around. So if today we are struggling to feed more than 1 billion of the 7 billion on Earth, what do we need to do to ensure that 2.5 billion more mouths within the next 40 years do not starve.
Heartsick. Horrified. Violated. And of course, senseless. Columbine and Tucson segue into Newtown which yields to the Marathon in our endless sequence of one and two-word catastrophes. Yet we don't get numbed to it, which is a sign of our continuing humanity amidst the madness. Because it is madness.
The Earth inhales and exhales cyclically. In the northern winter when plants are dormant CO2 spikes while the opposite occurs on the southern half of the planet. We have been measuring Earth's breaths at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii since 1958.
Here's an interesting fact. Greater than half of the population of this planet prepares meals each day using indoor open fires or cook stoves. There are enormous health implications for those families, and in particular infants, who breathe in the toxic smoke that includes carbon monoxide (CO) leading to lung disease and premature death.
The American dream seems to be changing. It's been classically defined by upward mobility, and possessions including a house and a car, all in service of family. Now, every aspect of that model seems to be shifting, as Americans change what they want to achieve, and why, and what they want to possess.
originally posted at The Trends & Foresight Blog