Forty years after its initial publication, a study called The Limits to Growth is looking depressingly prescient. Commissioned by an international think tank called the Club of Rome, the 1972 report found that if civilization continued on its path toward increasing consumption, the global economy would collapse by 2030. Population losses would ensue, and things would generally fall apart.
By Jamin WarrenPosted 03.29.2012 at 10:13 am 16 Comments
On October 3, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program bill into law, delivering $450 billion to failing banks on the premise that it would prevent their collapse and stimulate a faltering economy. Like millions of Americans, Dmitri Williams, an associate professor of communications at the University of Southern California, found TARP troubling—not because the bill provided too much or (as many economists argued) too little, but because it was unscientific. "We did a half-a-trillion-dollar experiment with the economy and had no control group," he says. Setting up a test bed for a program as complex as TARP might be difficult, but it wasn't impossible. Williams had found just such a petri dish in videogames.
Oil won't run the world forever, but it will for the next few decades--so how do we get from here to the next energy economy?
By Paul RobertsPosted 07.12.2011 at 10:16 am 45 Comments
For all our talk of an online future unbounded by physical limits, life in our increasingly global economy still requires the movement of actual people and things, often over long distances. And without a steady supply of prehistoric hydrocarbons, that movement would come to a halt. More than 95 percent of the vehicles on Earth--from cars to trucks to freighters to jumbo jets--run on oil products, and without them we'd be hard-pressed to commute to the office or import our gadgets, much less till our fields or get food from the farm to our kitchens. For now, we must have oil.
By Ben PaynterPosted 09.21.2010 at 12:31 pm 7 Comments
Jobs may be scarce today, but if current trends hold, pretty soon there will be plenty of fun, lucrative gigs. If you have the vision to start prepping now, you could be flying starships, reading minds, or manning a fusion reactor. The jobs are coming. Feel free to thank us over lunch at the hotel you built- on Mars.
Ask a GM employee, any barstool economist, or your dad, and they'll all likely tell you the same thing: American manufacturing ain't what she used to be. But who will think us out of this economic box we've trapped ourselves in? DARPA, of course. DARPA's director told the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) that by replicating the successful model that the semiconductor industry is built upon, other manufacturing sectors can experience similar booms as well.
Journalists have already spilled gallons of ink and hogged terabytes of bandwidth with stories about the implications of switching from the Space Shuttle to the new Constellation system. Of course, most of the reporting has focused on the impact to NASA, thus ignoring another somewhat unlikely victim of the gap between the two programs: the economy of Florida.
As I sit down to write this week's Grouse column, I find myself having to work through one of those rather dull and annoying headaches, which, I'm almost certain, is from repeatedly slapping myself in the forehead over the course of the last few days. It's not that I'm a masochist -- I'm just upset with myself for not being the first to think of a Netflix-style site for books and book lovers.
Lehman Brothers is no more, but it still has one unusual asset
By Doug CantorPosted 04.16.2009 at 3:24 pm 6 Comments
It turns out that when Lehman Brothers went belly-up last fall, it was left with a lot more than just irate investors and billions of dollars in debt. One of the bank's remaining assets is a sizable supply of yellowcake—the type of uranium that is enriched for use in nuclear reactors and weapons.