EXPECTED TO FEEL THE HEAT
Summer nights in the city are going to get stickier.
Global warming will be much more intense in urban areas, say British
meteorologists. Vehicles and buildings heat the air, then asphalt and concrete retain the
heat all night, keeping city dwellers from enjoying the cool breezes that delight their
country cousins. And its going to get worse.
Cities that now release an average of 20 watts of heat per square meter
will in the future release 60 watts more, says Richard Betts of the U.K. Met Offices
Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction. In China, urban warming is 0.05șC faster per decade
than in rural regions of the country.
Betts notes the significant effects this intensifying heat will have on
human health, pointing to the 20,000 deaths caused by heat waves in Europe during the
summer of 2003.
SOURCE: The New Scientist, www.newscientist.com.
DIETING AND LONGEVITY
Researchers have long studied the effect of caloric restriction on life
span, concluding that eating less can help people live longer. But why?
Stress may be the key to understanding the cellular processes involved
in caloric restriction. Marine biologist Michael Moore of Britain's Plymouth Marine
Laboratory found that blue mussels deprived of food experience a process known as
autophagy--a cleaning out of old cell components to recycle and protect the cells from
injury. The result: healthier cells and longer-lived mussels.
Other mild stressors might also trigger the autophagy process, including
high salinity levels and a lack of oxygen, Moore believes. Such conditions are common in
the mussels' environment, so the ability to do routine cellular "housekeeping"
may contribute to their survival and longevity.
SOURCE: Society for Experimental Biology, http://www.sebiology.org
Time is running out to register
for the World Future Society's annual meeting! If you haven't already signed up, register
now and save $50 off the onsite registration fee.
CONFERENCE DEADLINE: JUNE 30
"WorldFuture 2004: Creating the Future Now!" will be held July
31 through August 2 at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C.
The Society's new President, Tim Mack, is chairing the conference, so
this is your chance to get to know him and share your ideas about the future of the World
You'll also get a chance to see founding president Edward Cornish, who
will be available to sign copies of his new book FUTURING. Ed will continue his work with
the Society as editor of THE FUTURIST and a member of the board of directors.
ORDER FUTURING: https://www.wfs.org/futuringorder.htm
STROKE PATIENTS BENEFIT FROM VIRTUAL REALITY
Virtual reality is helping people who have strokes regain the use of
their upper limbs.
Patients can practice arm and hand movements in a virtual world, which
can provide a more stimulating environment to relieve the boredom associated with
"Stroke is the most common cause of disability in adults and can
lead to permanent changes in a persons lifestyle," says Jacqueline Crosbie from
the University of Ulster, who is leading the research team.
The new technology involves the patient wearing a head-mounted display
that provides a sense of immersion into a virtual world. The patient also wears a flexible
glove and sensors connected to the shoulder for tracking hand and arm movements in virtual
reality. Patients who practice and focus on specific movements or tasks may increase the
chances of a return to full use of arms and hands, according to Crosbie.
SOURCE: University of Ulster,
"Generation X has been described as apathetic, but what I see are
young people involved with AmeriCorps and other programs," said Senator Hillary
Rodham Clinton at a gala honoring congressional leaders for their support of youth
initiatives. "They should be called 'Generation X-tra': extra-committed,
Sponsored by America's Promise--The Alliance for Youth, the gala
showcased not just the initiatives of government leaders, but also the achievements of
young people who have directly benefited from the initiatives that promote five
"promises" to youth: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, marketable
skills through education, and opportunities to give back to the community.
Clinton and fellow honorees each presented scholarships from The
Bubel/Aiken Foundation (TBAF) to young people exemplifying how the five promises have made
a difference in their lives. Singer Clay Aiken, 25, founder of the 10-month-old TBAF,
personally presented one of the scholarships to 18-year-old Jean Hartman, who already has
a long history of volunteer service despite having a learning disability.
"It is people like Jean who inspire me," said Aiken, whose
work toward his special-education degree led to TBAF's launch in summer 2003--during a
nationwide concert tour with fellow American Idol contestants. (See also "Clay
Aiken's Adventures in Futuring," FUTURIST UPDATE, November 2003.)
DETAILS: America's Promise,
The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, http://www.thebubelaikenfoundation.org
PHOTOS from the gala: http://www.wfs.org/futupjul04pix.htm
MORE on youth issues and initiatives: WFS Future Generations Forum,
ORDER Clay Aiken's MEASURE OF A MAN:
EDUCATION FORUM: CALL FOR PAPERS
The World Future Society's Web site is launching a new Forum focusing on
education. The editors are now seeking essays presenting new ideas, scenarios,
innovations, prescriptions, and analyses of trends in education and learning around the
You are also invited to browse and contribute to the Society's other
Forums, including Future Generations, Utopias, Global Strategies, Methodologies, and
TO SUBMIT: Please e-mail the full text of the essay, along with a brief
"about the author" note and an abstract of no more than 50 words, to the
OF THE MONTH: RETRO FUTURE
The adage "Whats old is new again" was never truer than
at Retro Future, an online look at past predictions, how they turned out, and what
predictions once considered far-out might still have a future.
Visitors can find out what happened to all that futuristic stuff which
was supposed to change our lives by the year 2000: cryogenics ("Freeze, Wait,
Reanimate"), the futuristic inventions unveiled by General Motors in 1939 ("The
Real Futurama"), and EPCOT--the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow
("Disneys Project X").
You can click on "A Uniform Future" and read about those 1950s
and 1960s sages who thought wed all be wearing unisex aluminum suits by now.
Vacations on the moon, underwater living, smell-o-vision, flying cars, the no-work
workweek, and other innovations that seemed farfetched only a generation ago are all
discussed at Retro Vision. Vintage and current photographs complement the informative
texts edited by popular author Eric Lefcowitz.