Trouble ahead, trouble behind

Posted in emerging issues, future, health by thenextwavefutures on 23 February, 2009

“While it may seem like the crisis is fully upon us, it will get worse”

That’s how the online official bootleg of the current edition of C-Lab introduces the five pithy and dystopian futures in its article, “Rogue States of Mind“. China (financial implosion) and Russia (collapsing energy revenues) both get a dystopia of their own, along with spreading drought and a boomer-led health crisis.

My favourite – because it works on several levels – is the picture of America deciding to sell off to other nations its “underperforming units”, meaning those states of the union which are no longer regarded as viable. Joe Biden gets to make the announcement because of his “working class credibility”.

Thanks to BLDG BLOG for the tip.

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White bicycles and the politics of consumption

Posted in cycling, emerging issues, innovation, politics, sustainability, transport by thenextwavefutures on 21 February, 2009

The news that the Paris city bike scheme Velib is having problems with theft, even if over-stated, marks a throwback to the first “free bicycle” scheme, introduced in the 1960s by the Amsterdam Provos (nothing to do with the Irish Republicans of the same name) who donated 50 bikes to the city to start the scheme off. Their scheme caught the public imagination – even prompting a cult single – only for the bikes to be confiscated by the police because they constituted an invitation to theft. Embedded in their story is a story about the role of failure in social innovation – and another one, about a politics of consumption.


The drugs problem

Posted in emerging issues, politics, reports, science by thenextwavefutures on 12 February, 2009

This is one of those posts where a picture is worth a thousand words.

It’s prompted, of course, by the news that the Home Office has turned down flat a recommendation from the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs that the classification of ecstasy should be downgraded from Class A, where it sits alongside heroin and crack cocaine, to Class B, in line with cannabis and amphetamines.This would have nudged the legal assessment a little closer to the evidence of harm – as shown by the chart below the fold.


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Underclothes as fashion

Posted in culture, history, innovation by thenextwavefutures on 7 February, 2009

Underclothes first became fashionable as objects of personal display 500 years ago, according to an interesting review by Veronica Horwell in Saturday’s Guardian. The reasons: a combination of new trade patterns, new technology, new cultural influences, and social ideas and practices moving from one area of society to another; in short, a case study in social innovation.