This category contains 18 posts

Black Swans and why History, Future. Now is not bleak

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is famous for his 2008 book, The Black Swan, in which he came up with a very simple idea: that big changes can suddenly happen, apparently out of nowhere.  He uses the Wall Street crash, Pompei and the internet as examples. The reality, is actually closer to Malcom Gladwell’s 2002 book, The Tipping Point: … Continue reading

Population growth, a disaster in the making

The world’s population increased by another billion people between 1999 and 2011, to hit 7 billion. When History, Future. Now’s father was born, in 1930, the population was just 2 billion. By 2050 the world is expected to add between two and three new Indias and Chinas bringing the total to 9.3 to 11 billion. … Continue reading

Stanford researchers produce first complete computer model of an organism

Markus Covert, assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University had a significant announcement to make this week: In a breakthrough effort for computational biology, the world’s first complete computer model of an organism has been completed, Stanford researchers reported last week in the journal Cell. A team used data from more than 900 scientific papers to … Continue reading

Highlander: There can be only one and the impact of longevity on society

Highlander, staring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, is one of best movies of the 1980s.  I watched it again last night and, although it is dated and cheesy, it remains a great film with some fantastic music sung by Freddie Mercury.  The primary concept of the film is what it would be like to be … Continue reading

China’s 12th Five Year Plan has clean energy at its heart. Why dont we even have a plan?

China has now a year into its 12th 5 Year Plan (2011-2015), which has low carbon growth as the heart of its economic, political and social strategy in a way that no other major country has done to date.  China now has more wind energy installed and produces more solar photovoltaic panels than any other … Continue reading

More expensive Coca Cola and global warming

As the UK goes through one of the wettest summers in recorded history, the US is experiencing one of the driest, with serious drought widespread across the continent and has allowed the US Agriculture Department to declare a natural disaster, enabling farmers to claim US government aid relief. The U.S. Agriculture Department has issued a … Continue reading

Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria: why Planetary Resources is so important for the future of mankind, but not its investors

A few weeks ago Planetary Resources, a start up company founded by millionaires and billionaires Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, James Cameron and similarly endowed friends, announced plans to take its first steps into the realm of commercial space exploration and resource exploitation.  Their initial aim was to strike it rich by mining asteroids in near … Continue reading

Still Confused About the Higgs Boson? Read This – The Atlantic

Another attempt to try to explain what the Higgs Boson is, from the senior editor at The Atlantic: Part of why it’s been hard to figure out from the news stories what the Higgs boson is is there are actually three Higgs things under discussion: 1) the Higgs field, 2) the Higgs boson and 3) the … Continue reading

Rare earth metals, China and the transfer of power

Rare earth metals are not exactly a typical dinner party topic of conversation.  But perhaps they should be:  they combine high technology and the global balance of power, with an interesting discussion about electron shells thrown in for extra points. Without neodymium a huge part of the modern world would not be possible: imagine a … Continue reading

Has the Higgs Boson particle been discovered?

Those of you who are interested in the Standard Model and particle physics (or just wonder why billions of euros were spent on buildilng the CERN Large Hadron Collider) will be excited by the prospect that the Higgs Boson particle, predicted to exist in the 1960s, may have been discovered.  If confirmed tomorrow, as expected, … Continue reading

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