NUEVAS Y VIEJAS APROXIMACIONES AL FUTURO CERCANO.

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FUTURIST UPDATE
News & Views from the World Future Society
January 2004 (Vol. 5, No. 1)
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ONLINE version:
http://www.wfs.org/futupjan04.htm


ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FOOD FROM BIOTECH
Applied to food-production processes and not just to food itself, biotech could be good for the environment--and for the food industry.

The use of enzymes in fruit and vegetable processing, for example, could save energy and reduce waste, but there is a "know-how deficiency" in the industry, according to a new study by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research.

Only 8% of the firms studied currently use biotech processes for environmental protection in their production, though 41% said they would like to do so. Production with biotech processes could save money because of the lower demand on energy input, the study notes.
SOURCE: Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research:
http://www.isi.fhg.de/pr/2003engl/epr17/epr17.htm


MATHEMATICIANS TACKLE GLOBAL PROBLEMS
When mathematicians solve problems like finding the highest prime number, most non-mathematically inclined people see little to get excited about. But if the math experts could stop an epidemic, we will
all cheer.
A new international Institute of Mathematical Sciences based at Imperial College London aims to apply mathematical problem solving to those sorts of real-world issues. In addition to studying outbreaks of
epidemics and their control, the Institute will tackle topics like bio-statistics, fluids in engineering, tools for financial analysis, fraud modeling, and uncertainty and risk prediction.

"We envisage an institute comprising researchers carrying out mathematical research useful in the immediate term to other disciplines, alongside work that might not be useful to others for decades," says Phil Hall, the Institute's first director.
DETAILS: Imperial College London,
http://www.ic.ac.uk/P4785.htm

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RAY KURZWEIL TO SPEAK AT WORLDFUTURE 2004
Visionary inventor and author Ray Kurzweil will lend his insights at the Society's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., this summer, along with some 100 other speakers confirmed so far. Kurzweil is scheduled to speak at the opening plenary session and at a special event the following evening.

"WorldFuture 2004: Creating the Future Now!" will be held July 31 through August 2 at the Grand Hyatt Washington; the Professional Members' Forum follows on August 3.
DETAILS:
http://www.wfs.org/2004main.htm
REGISTER NOW (Save $200 before December 31):
https://www.wfs.org/2004regfrm.htm
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LOWERED EXPECTATIONS FOR WORLD POPULATION
The United Nations has looked farther into the future than it ever has before--and it sees fewer people than it once expected.

By the year 2300, Earth will carry 9 billion humans, according to the UN Population Division's medium projection. (The low scenario forecasts 2.3 billion, and the high, 36.4 billion.)

Previous long-range projections foresaw population peaking at 10 to 12 billion; the lowered expectations are largely due to declining fertility in developing countries. Demographers now expect that future
fertility trends in developing countries will continue to follow the path experienced in the developed world.
SOURCE: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division:
http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/longrange2/longrange2.htm

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2004 WORLD CALENDAR
Think globally every time you check your calendar! The six-language 2004 World Calendar showcases the holidays of the world's five major religions and the national and bank holidays of a hundred nations.

Order several calendars for family, friends, clients, and students. Remember, World Future Society members get a discount! Orders received by noon Eastern Time can be shipped by priority mail the same day.
DETAILS:
http://www.wfs.org/wfsblurbs.htm#calendar
ORDER NOW:
https://www.wfs.org/reportorder.htm

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CLICKS OF THE MONTH: CELEBRATING A CENTURY OF FLIGHT
In honor of the Wright brothers' momentous achievement 100 years ago--launching the future in a whole new direction--we offer an array of exciting sites to explore:
U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission:
http://www.centennialofflight.gov/
Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum exhibit:
http://www.nasm.si.edu/wrightbrothers/
Wright Brothers National Memorial (National Park Service):
http://www.nps.gov/wrbr/
First Flight Centennial Foundation:
http://www.firstflightcentennial.org/
Wright Brothers Aeroplane Co. of Dayton, Ohio:
http://www.first-to-fly.com/
"Peering into the Future with Wilbur and Orville Wright" by Malcolm Wells (an imagined dialogue, reprinted from THE FUTURIST):
http://www.wfs.org/wrightbros.htm


FUTURISM LIVES
Recent ado about whether "futurism is dead" proves that no bad deed goes unrewarded (their bad deed, our reward). A negative article about futurists and our Society in WIRED magazine's December issue brought out the best in futurists, who rallied to the field's support. (See our re-cap and response at
http://www.wfs.org/futurism.htm.)

Before that issue of WIRED hit newsstands, WFS headquarters received a "heads-up" message forwarded from several people. Included with most of those messages were some lengthy and very thought-provoking rebuttals.

After the issue came out, more responses popped up on message boards and weblogs, such as The Guardian's onlineblog.com, Stuart Henshall's Unbound Spiral, the Institute for the Future's Future Now, and Phil Gyford's Overmorgen.com.

And we heard from several working futurists and long-time friends of the Society; we've posted some of their comments along with the WFS editorial (
http://www.wfs.org/fbeditorial03.htm). This is all excellent
proof of life: Response to stimuli.

Clearly neither futurism nor the World Future Society is dead--nor are we above fair, reasoned, constructive criticism. It's how we grow. Here are some things you, as a passionate supporter of the field, can do to help us grow sustainably into the future.

 

 

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