Monday, May 21, 2012

Club of Rome - 2052

The Club of Rome is an association of roughly 100 members that tries to identify the most crucial problems which will determine the future of humanity through integrated and forward-looking analysis. About once a year it releases a report. This years it has released a 400-page report (book) entitled "2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years". It was written by Jorgen Randers. It summarizes:
  • While the process of adapting humanity to the planet’s limitations has started, the human response could be too slow.
  • The current dominant global economies, particularly the United States, will stagnate. Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and ten leading emerging economies (referred to as ‘BRISE’ in the Report) will progress.
  • But there will still be 3 billion poor in 2052.
  • China will be a success story, because of its ability to act.
  • Global population will peak in 2042, because of falling fertility in urban areas
  • Global GDP will grow much slower than expected, because of slower productivity growth in mature economies.
  • CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to grow and cause +2°C in 2052; temperatures will reach +2.8°C in 2080, which may well trigger self-reinforcing climate change.
The Report says the main cause of future problems is the excessively short-term predominant political and economic model. You can see the presentation of the book in two videos here or here and here. You can read more about this report here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Greed Game

In 2008 the BBC has created a 58-min documentary summarizing the past sub-prime crisis from a European perspective. It is online now at "Super Rich - The Greed Game". While it doesn't add new insights, it is an easy to understand summary. It also explains and discusses some of the unfair one-way-bets implications (asymmetric risks) showing how the poor get tapped to make the super-rich even super-richer. It concludes with the comment "we haven't learned from our mistakes".

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Great Pacific Garbage

The Great Pacific Garbage is bigger than ever, and deeper than ever thought. It increased 100 fold since 1970 and is the size of Texas. The wind pushes the plastic deeper into the ocean and away from the surface. Hence previous might underestimate the count of the plastic particles by a factor of 27 (that's 2700%)! Where does it all end up? Since we are all connected and the humans sit on the top of the food chain, it eventually all ends up in our food and later in our blood stream and body cells.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Land of the Free

The NSA is building its biggest surveillance center ever ($2 billion to build, $40 million annually just for the electricity bill). Verizon is handing over customer data to the NSA and FBI without court orders. FBI wants an easier access via backdoors to everything from GMail, Hotmail, Facebook, G+ Chatrooms, Twitter, P2P sites, Skype, Messaging systems, Xbox Game servers, and so forth. Constant omnipresent video surveillance with face recognition. Drones following your every move. Is the US still the land of the free?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tech Bubble 2.0

Silicon Valley and the tech industry as a whole is going through another cycle of incredible hype. Valuations of companies are wilder than ever. The New York Times wrote an article about this new bubble. Apparently we haven't learned anything from the last tech sector bubble. The only difference to the new bubble, Bubble 2.0 seems to be an appropriate name, is that 2.0 is a bigger and bolder bubble. Read the article: Disruptions: With No Revenue, an Illusion of Value.