Futurology: The tricky art of knowing what will happen next 23 December 2010Last updated at 02:38 By Finlo Rohrer BBC News Magazine Cheap air travel was among the predictions (illustration from Geoffrey Hoyle's book) A 1972 book which predicts what life would be like in 2010 has been reprinted after attracting a cult following, but how hard is it to tell the future? Geoffrey Hoyle is often asked why he predicted everybody would be wearing jumpsuits by 2010. He envisioned a world where everybody worked a three-day week and had their electric cars delivered in tubes of liquid.
21 Photos Of Nature Winning The Battle Against Civilization You might have to plant the flowers in your backyard to see some green action, but plants will grow from just about anywhere if you give them enough time. If you abandoned your home today and returned many years later, you might find trees growing right out of your bedroom walls, and plants the size of beanstalks shooting straight up out of your floorboards. Plants are incredibly resilient, and can grow from the most unlikely places so long as they have a source of sun and water. These man-made objects, buildings, and entire cities are no match for the rapid growth of plant life. Check out these unbelievable photos of nature wining the battle against civilization. The Bicycle Tree
How Languages and Genes Evolve Together As human populations disperse, the separation leads to changes both in genes and in language. So if we look at human DNA and languages over time, we should find that they differ along similar geographic lines. It’s an intuitive theory, but difficult to prove. That is, until researchers decided to match large collections of geographic, linguistic, and genetic data on hundreds of human populations worldwide. A new study (PDF), published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, quantifies the complicated relationship between these three factors.
Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”. It doesn’t belong there. What Humans Are Really Doing to Our Planet, in 19 Jaw-Dropping Images Last week, Pope Francis and church officials encouraged everyone to consume less and think more about our impact on the environment. It's a timely warning because the next six months will be critical to our future. Ahead of a series of major events later this year, The Foundation for Deep Ecology and the Population Media Center released a collection that illustrates the devastating effects of out-of-control growth and waste, and it's breathtaking. "This is an issue that people care about, and oftentimes it's just not discussed by mainstream media," Missie Thurston, director of marketing and communications at the Population Media Center, told Mic. It's difficult to always know the impacts of our daily choices, like the real effect of buying a bottled water or an extra TV or laptop. Electronic waste, from around the world, is shipped to Accra, Ghana, where locals break apart the electronics for minerals or burn them.
Futurology - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks If you could see your future, would you try to make it better? If you were a Soviet in 1980 and you knew that spiraling debt would destroy your country, would you do something to stop it? If you were a German in 1933 and knew that the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State would lead to a world war, tens of millions of deaths, and the leveling of your nation, would you oppose it? Its safe to assume that we would all say yes to these questions. Our only excuse in letting these patterns reoccur is a claim that we can't see the future with any degree of certainty, but is this claim true?
New Orleans ten years after Hurricane Katrina - where is it now? Today marks the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Louisiana coast, wreaking havoc throughout the gulf and notoriously causing a breach of the levees which were supposed to protect New Orleans. I won’t sit here and hypothesize on whether that breach was intentional or whether officials were at least complicit, instead I want to focus on where New Orleans is now, and where it should be. A few weeks ago I went to New Orleans to volunteer with lowernine.org on rebuilding houses in the lower ninth ward. I was only able to stay a week unfortunately, but it’s amazing how much work can be done on a house in a week’s time.
Robots are getting more like us and famous scientists are concerned If 1984’s cautionary tale, The Terminator, is anything to go by, humanity should be wary of any more advances in robotics or artificial intelligence. Elon Musk recently pledged $10 million to keep artificial intelligence from running amok, and physicist Stephen Hawking told the BBC in December: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Musk and Hawking are backed by other scientists, professors, and security analysts who are worried about the rise of artificial intelligence that doesn’t do what humans ask. Even so, scientists continue to research more human-like robots, with more human-like intelligence and thought processes. Here are a few examples from just this month: