Ageing into infinity

Posted in books, emerging issues, science, technology by thenextwavefutures on 28 September, 2007

The populations of the rich countries are ageing (pretty quickly) and scientists are working hard to extend ‘normal’ longevity into the 90s, 100s, or beyond. Author Gemma Malley has explored the consequences in an interesting ‘what.. if’ novel  for young adults, The Declaration, set in 2140. This caught my eye in a short interview in The Big Issue. It’s not online, so I’ve retyped the good bits below.



nextwavenotes 26:09:07

Posted in children, crime, football, global, reports, social, trends by thenextwavefutures on 26 September, 2007

An update on some recent reports and other relevant items.

The UK Gambling Commission finds no increase in prevalence of addiction – but uncovers some interesting contradictions in attitudes; perceptions of UK child poverty, and cyber-bullying moves in from the edge; the UN takes on corruption in Africa; booming demand for global shipping capacity; and a folksong take on honour killing.


Visual pollution and the mental environment

Posted in advertising, emerging issues, energy, environment, media by thenextwavefutures on 24 September, 2007

The notion that on-street advertising – ‘outdoor’ as it’s known – is a blight which might damage the public’s “mental environment” was floated by Culture Jammers in the last decade – as part of a wider critique of the impact of advertising. It was one of those weak signals of change which seemed unlikely to happen soon. But now Sao Paulo – the world’s fourth biggest city – has acted on it.


Containers and the growth of world trade

Posted in affluence, books, business, economics, global, sustainability, trade, transport, trends by thenextwavefutures on 23 September, 2007

I blogged a while ago about how the shape of container ship had influenced the shape of the modern cruise ship. There’s some striking data on the long-term growth in global shipping traffic.

shipping containers (more…)

Looking backwards at the future of the fax

Posted in books, future, history, technology by thenextwavefutures on 22 September, 2007

Jason Kottke has been trawling through the newly accessible archives of the New York Times. One of the things he’s found, in the NYT in 1907, is the first reference to something which became the fax, which finally came into mass use in the 1980s.


If the planet were a business

Posted in affluence, business, economics, future, retail, sustainability by thenextwavefutures on 21 September, 2007

I spent Friday at an event in Reading organised by the Sustainable Development Commission to explore the sustainable future of the retail sector. Easy to imagine that in the coming world of more expensive energy, increased transparency, tighter borders and tighter money, maybe there isn’t one, at least not in a form similar to that of today, but we were asked to think about radical possibilities.


Surveillance scepticism and the world of “pre-crime”

Posted in books, civil liberties, crime, emerging issues, reports, security, social by thenextwavefutures on 18 September, 2007

More than half think that Britain “has become a surveillance society”, while experts suggest that the police should put new limits on its DNA database.


nextwavenotes 18:09:07

Posted in affluence, economics, energy, oil, science, sustainability, trends by thenextwavefutures on 18 September, 2007

Some recent reports and trends – the Conservatives propose a happiness index; first UK wave turbine off Cornwall; and Greenspan teases on oil and the war. (more…)

Fashion under fire from liberals and conservatives

Posted in business, children, consumers, emerging issues, ethics, fashion by thenextwavefutures on 17 September, 2007

With London Fashion Week upon us, industry critics – and the independent inquiry set up by the fashion industry to deflect criticism – are both active. But the ethical challenges faced by the industry seem to be getting sharper, across the political spectrum.


The dark side of the earth 2007

Posted in crime, global, politics, poverty, reports, trends by thenextwavefutures on 14 September, 2007

The latest State of the Future 2007 (press release and executive summary can be found here), from the United Nations-backed Millennium Project, is, frankly, depressing, despite its attempts to reassure. Consider: the richest 225 people on the planet earth earn as much as the poorest 2,5 billion. The revenues from organised crime are running at twice the world’s defence budgets. And 27 million people – mostly Asian women – are held in slavery, far more than at the height of the African slave trade. Thank goodness that incomes are rising, health outcomes are improving, and life expectancy increasing.