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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:10 am
 


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Sorry, everyone, but flying cars don't appear in the "Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds" report that the director of national intelligence's office made public on Monday.

Instead, the National Intelligence Council paints the picture of a world in which the U.S. is no longer the unquestionably dominant global player; individuals and small groups may carry out devastating cyber or bioterror attacks; oh, and food and water may be running short in some places.

The 160-page report is a great read for anyone in the business of crafting the script for the next James Bond movie, a treasure trove of potential scenarios for international intrigue, not to mention super-villainy. But the council took pains to say that what it foresees is not set in stone. The goal is to provide policymakers with some idea of what the future holds in order to help them steer the right economic and military courses.

"We do not seek to predict the future—which would be an impossible feat—but instead provide a framework for thinking about possible futures and their implications," the report cautioned.

Other ideas the futurists reported: Global population will reach "somewhere close to 8.3 billion people," and food and water may be running scarce in some areas, especially regions like Africa and the Middle East.

"Climate change will worsen the outlook for the availability of these critical resources," the report said. "Climate change analysis suggests that the severity of existing weather patterns will intensify, with wet areas getting wetter, and dry and arid areas becoming more so."We are not necessarily headed into a world of scarcities, but policymakers and their private sector partners will need to be proactive to avoid such a future."

What about America in 2030? The report predicts that the U.S. "most likely will remain 'first among equals' among the other great powers." But "with the rapid rise of other countries, the 'unipolar moment' is over and Pax Americana—the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945—is fast winding down."

Also, "Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of global power, based upon GDP [Gross Domestic Product], population size, military spending and technological investment," the report said.

It also suggests that Islamist extremism may be a thing of the past in 2030. But that doesn't mean small groups won't try to wreak havoc.

"With more widespread access to lethal and disruptive technologies, individuals who are experts in such niche areas as cyber systems might sell their services to the highest bidder, including terrorists who would focus less on causing mass casualties and more on creating widespread economic and financial disruptions," said the report.

Four "megatrends" shaping the world were cited: growing individual empowerment; diffusion of power; major shifts in demographics; and rising demand for food, water and energy.

The report also sees the potential for "black swan" shocks to the system. These include: a severe pandemic; faster-than-forecast climate change; the collapse of the European Union; the collapse of China (or its embrace of democracy); and a reformed Iran that abandons its suspected nuclear weapons program. They also include a conflict using nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, or a large-scale cyber-attack; solar geomagnetic storms that may knock out satellites and the electric grid; or a sudden retreat of the U.S. from global affairs.

So what about the flying cars, a staple of science fiction? The report is mum on that front, but it does raise the intriguing possibility that "self-driving cars could begin to address the worsening congestion in urban areas, reduce roadway accidents, and improve individuals' productivity (by allowing drivers the freedom to work through their commutes)."

And the cool cats over at Wired magazine's "Danger Room" national security blog have underlined how the report sees the growth of other technologies, including "superhumans" potentially roaming the landscape.



http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/w ... itics.html


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:13 am
 


Just read an article that says food shortage is here now - we are no longer producing a surplus, and 800 million people don't get enough to eat. Ie it's not a matter of distribution anymore, but one of supply. It did say tho that Africa has a lot of arable land that could be highly productive if it was managed the right way.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:38 pm
 


And now we have the rejoinder from Time, which casts some doubts upon the accuracy of these predictions.

http://nation.time.com/2012/12/21/just- ... ends-2030/


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:06 am
 


Yeah, I'm not going to buy into the sky-is-falling crap already. Last I checked, Peak Oil should have happened in 75, 85, 95, and 2005.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:08 am
 


andyt wrote:
Just read an article that says food shortage is here now - we are no longer producing a surplus, and 800 million people don't get enough to eat. Ie it's not a matter of distribution anymore, but one of supply. It did say tho that Africa has a lot of arable land that could be highly productive if it was managed the right way.


Fitst thing I thought too. We already have--what?--a quarter, a third of the planet malnourished. And we throw about a quartew, a third of our food away. Coincidence? ha ha ha


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:53 am
 


Zipperfish wrote:
andyt wrote:
Just read an article that says food shortage is here now - we are no longer producing a surplus, and 800 million people don't get enough to eat. Ie it's not a matter of distribution anymore, but one of supply. It did say tho that Africa has a lot of arable land that could be highly productive if it was managed the right way.


Fitst thing I thought too. We already have--what?--a quarter, a third of the planet malnourished. And we throw about a quartew, a third of our food away. Coincidence? ha ha ha


I think the wastage on that scale is pretty much N America. That is serious enough, but since we are only a fraction of the population our wastage is not capable of feeding the larger percentage that is going hungry. It would still help if we can help ourselves by using our food better.

I have heard similar stories on Africa, but the OP points out that climate change is going to be a factor in food production, and the impression I have is that weather extremes in Africa, and spreading drought in North Africa are going to make improved crops there a real challenge. A lot of the hype around feeding Africa with modern technology is based on extension of green revolution principles that are based on fossil fuel based farming. I think that is going to continue to get more expensive.

Water is another factor which has increased production, stabilized high output, in North America and other food surplus areas. With the reduction in Glacial output, the loss of aquifer levels, plus more extreme rainfall drought cycles that asset is also questionable at best.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:56 am
 


I found this feature on the National Geographic website a couple of weeks ago and andyt's and kilroy's posts reminded me of it so I dug it up to post here. It's actually quite interesting.

A few pictures with brief descriptions of technology being applied to create and sustain crop-growing areas where they do not naturally exist. Each article has links to further information about the system being used or about the project.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/12/121217-pictures-greening-desert-irrigation-water-grabs/#/water-grabs-greening-desert-irrigation_61750_600x450.jpg


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:05 am
 


kilroy wrote:
Zipperfish wrote:
andyt wrote:
Just read an article that says food shortage is here now - we are no longer producing a surplus, and 800 million people don't get enough to eat. Ie it's not a matter of distribution anymore, but one of supply. It did say tho that Africa has a lot of arable land that could be highly productive if it was managed the right way.


Fitst thing I thought too. We already have--what?--a quarter, a third of the planet malnourished. And we throw about a quartew, a third of our food away. Coincidence? ha ha ha


I think the wastage on that scale is pretty much N America. That is serious enough, but since we are only a fraction of the population our wastage is not capable of feeding the larger percentage that is going hungry. It would still help if we can help ourselves by using our food better.

I have heard similar stories on Africa, but the OP points out that climate change is going to be a factor in food production, and the impression I have is that weather extremes in Africa, and spreading drought in North Africa are going to make improved crops there a real challenge. A lot of the hype around feeding Africa with modern technology is based on extension of green revolution principles that are based on fossil fuel based farming. I think that is going to continue to get more expensive.

Water is another factor which has increased production, stabilized high output, in North America and other food surplus areas. With the reduction in Glacial output, the loss of aquifer levels, plus more extreme rainfall drought cycles that asset is also questionable at best.


It's my personal opinion that the barriers to feeding th poor are political, not finanicial. If you get evil people in charge who are determined that their vassals suffer, it's difficult to do anything about it. In countries where there is no history of stable government, simply knocking a regime out of the way and trying to instill a more responsive government doesn't work, demonstrably.

I agree that we will see a drop in American pre-eminence. Well not so much a drop in Maerica as a rise in Asia. China and the US will likely become antagonists. In light of that geopolitical struggle, the whole Muslim thing will become an interesting sideshow.

Climate change will be bad, but overfishing will, in my personal opinion, probably be worse. At least we're kind of measuring climate change. Nobody has any clue at all what is going on in the oceans.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:19 am
 


Strutz wrote:
I found this feature on the National Geographic website a couple of weeks ago and andyt's and kilroy's posts reminded me of it so I dug it up to post here. It's actually quite interesting.

A few pictures with brief descriptions of technology being applied to create and sustain crop-growing areas where they do not naturally exist. Each article has links to further information about the system being used or about the project.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/12/121217-pictures-greening-desert-irrigation-water-grabs/#/water-grabs-greening-desert-irrigation_61750_600x450.jpg


Interesting, but we don't need to use those areas particularly. The article I mentioned said that a lot of African land is naturally way more productive than European land (longer growing season for one) but that European farmers get about 5 times the yield from their land that African farmers do. If we applied the same farming, storage and distribution techniques to African land, there would be plenty of food. (At least until the earth's population outstrips it again, my opinion). So right now we have a world wide food shortage and a distribution of effective farming techniques problem.

They also just found some huge aquifer under Africa somewhere that would supply a large region with all the water they need for hundreds of years - if they had the technology to irrigate.


Last edited by andyt on Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:20 am
 


Freakinoldguy wrote:
And now we have the rejoinder from Time, which casts some doubts upon the accuracy of these predictions.

http://nation.time.com/2012/12/21/just- ... ends-2030/


The author of that rejoinder certainly makes some good points, but undermines it by hawking his book near the end;

Quote:
This is a critique that I’ve made in print for roughly a decade, most notably in my book, Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating.


Thanks for pointing out BattleLand though - it looks like it has some great articles!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:44 am
 


I tend not to go with globally pessimistic predictions because they're almost always wrong. Just saying.

Water, food, living space, and resources are not really issues in and of themselves. But they are tools for the politically powerful to use to impose their will on the masses. Food is and has been a weapon in Africa for millenia. Water is and has been a weapon worldwide for eons. Control of resources has been pivotal for the past 1,000 years.

Nothing new with any of that.

Overfishing is a big deal and I expect that we're going to shortly see some shooting in the South China Sea over the topic of fisheries. We've already seen confrontations off of Canada over fishing rights. If the fisheries collapse then the country most at threat will be Japan.

As to the USA declining by 2030? I think that's optimistic. If something doesn't happen with our spending and borrowing habits I think we'll be a done deal long before 2020, let alone 2030.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:02 am
 


andyt wrote:
.

They also just found some huge aquifer under Africa somewhere that would supply a large region with all the water they need for hundreds of years - if they had the technology to irrigate.
And I bet, if we could come back in 50 years, we would find it "owned" by some international corporation, with 99.99% of the benefits going to offshore investors.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:21 am
 


fifeboy wrote:
andyt wrote:
.

They also just found some huge aquifer under Africa somewhere that would supply a large region with all the water they need for hundreds of years - if they had the technology to irrigate.
And I bet, if we could come back in 50 years, we would find it "owned" by some international corporation, with 99.99% of the benefits going to offshore investors.


Chinese corporation, probably. Oh well, at least the land will be way more productive.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:49 am
 


andyt wrote:
fifeboy wrote:
andyt wrote:
.

They also just found some huge aquifer under Africa somewhere that would supply a large region with all the water they need for hundreds of years - if they had the technology to irrigate.
And I bet, if we could come back in 50 years, we would find it "owned" by some international corporation, with 99.99% of the benefits going to offshore investors.


Chinese corporation, probably. Oh well, at least the land will be way more productive.
Yep. China's own District 11


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:36 pm
 


bootlegga wrote:
Freakinoldguy wrote:
And now we have the rejoinder from Time, which casts some doubts upon the accuracy of these predictions.

http://nation.time.com/2012/12/21/just- ... ends-2030/


The author of that rejoinder certainly makes some good points, but undermines it by hawking his book near the end;

Quote:
This is a critique that I’ve made in print for roughly a decade, most notably in my book, Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating.


Thanks for pointing out BattleLand though - it looks like it has some great articles!


Yeah who would have thought he'd have the nerve to hawk his book :D but, then again these precongnitive scenarios always seem to be tainted with their authors agenda.


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