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MindBullets is a part of the global FutureWorld Network, constantly sensitive to changes in the technological, economic, social, political and business landscape.

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE DESERTS GONE?
Published on: 23 March 2017  
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Climate change is making the world greener
Dateline: 11 August 2028
Climate change is a reality that we've all come to accept, even though the debate surrounding the root cause of climate change rages on. Whether it's warming caused by carbon emissions, natural release of methane gasses, dimming caused by polluting aerosols, or just the cosmic cycle of the solar system, the fact is the climate has changed. The change has been quite dramatic in some regions, while barely noticeable in others; but the climate continues to change, despite the best efforts of activists ...
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WALLS GO UP, TRADE COMES DOWN
Published on: 23 February 2017  
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Global downturn follows isolationist resurgence
Dateline: 7 March 2021
Brexit, Trump and now Le Pen. As the old, established economies turn inward and nationalist, global trade and co-operation suffer. It's been left to the new, New World, what used to be called Emerging Markets, to carry the torch of free trade. As Tim Harford notes: "The first and most fundamental insight is that all human civilisation is built on some sort of trade." ALL human civilisation. Productivity and progress rely on exploiting comparative advantages with trade, to everyone's gain. But the ...
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SUMMER'S SUN WILL KEEP YOU WARM IN WINTER
Published on: 26 January 2017  
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New energy storage system saves summer's heat for winter's chill
Dateline: 25 January 2021
We humans like our comforts, and temperature is one of the most important. In summer, we want our homes and offices to be pleasantly cool, and warm and cozy in winter. We run air conditioners to beat the summer sweat, and light roaring fires to warm our homes in winter. What a waste! What if we could save summer's heat, and release it in winter? Swiss scientists began playing with technology to do just that, back in 2017, and now it's being commercialized. The SunBank system uses summer's sun and ...
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SAY HI TO DECEPTIVE VEGGIES
Published on: 13 October 2016  
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Synthetic Biologists say it’s not what it seems
Dateline: 4 February 2022
The sugar taxes did not work, the juice cleanses came and went, and now that obesity rates have broken through the roof, it's time for us to try something different. In 2016 Oxford scientists created oranges that tasted and smelled like grapefruit. They were driven by purely economic reasons back then, as it took about 400,000kg of grapefruits to produce 1kg of grapefruit flavouring for use in other food products such as sweets and drinks. From there the technology improved exponentially as ...
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CHINA TRUMPS TRUMP, RUSSIA LOOMS LARGE
Published on: 6 October 2016  
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Brexit looks benign in the face of new shocks
Dateline: 14 October 2017
Disruption and turbulence are the new normal, as Black and 'Grey' Swans hatch repeatedly. When the British voted to leave the EU, it was a great shock to the global system, and markets reacted in both predictable, and unpredictable ways. While everyone was 'waiting and seeing' which way the wind would blow, Donald Trump became POTUS, sending another shockwave through the world. Within a year, France and Germany saw populism and reactionary forces replace their governing parties, and the EU is ...
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LET YOUR SHIRT FIX ITSELF
Published on: 29 September 2016  
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Self-repairing clothing works like magic
Dateline: 26 November 2019
With Millennials lacking basic needlework skills and only thinking of Twitter when you say 'thread' - someone had to come up with a sewing solution that is so easy, even the laziest among us would have no excuse. Researchers at D-IT in Paris have created a detergent that can infiltrate torn or damaged clothing fibers and enable them to re-attach. Just use cold water, a spoonful of Mendy (provisional name) and 25 minutes later your sweater will really be as good as new! Mendy was developed from an ...
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FUSION'S FATAL FAILURE
Published on: 12 May 2016   2 Comments
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Power from nuclear fusion is forever beyond our grasp
Dateline: 12 May 2026
The greatest nuclear fusion experiment, ITER, has been mothballed barely a year after being switched on. "It's unlikely we'll ever achieve ignition," said the project's acting chief scientist, "and without substantial budget increases, it's not worth doing anything else." The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project was begun in 2006, but took almost 20 years to reach completion, to the point where it could be activated. After decades of delays and cost overruns, there was ...
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SOLAR POWER GOES VIRAL
Published on: 10 March 2016   9 Comments
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Rooftop, backyard and portable solar is the new meme
Dateline: 15 March 2022
The biggest energy revolution in 150 years has arrived gradually, then suddenly. Now it's here. Personal solar power has displaced central utilities completely for individuals, homes and small businesses. What's more, large businesses and corporate campuses are also contributing to the energy internet, sharing their excess power in slack times, and buying back from the smart grid when they need to. Utility-scale generation has shrunk to essential services only, heavily subsidized by the ...
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CATALYZER CAPTURES CARBON
Published on: 25 February 2016   1 Comment
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New process integrates solar power into the hydrocarbon economy
Dateline: 26 February 2026
A new process for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turning it into usable liquid fuel has been commercialized and scaled up. Originally invented ten years ago, the process uses a unique catalyst to bond hydrogen in water with CO2 in the air to form methanol, a useful liquid chemical that can be burned in combustion engines or used to manufacture more complex chemical compounds. The key to making this a viable industry is the low cost of solar power, which is sufficient energy input ...
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DNA SAVES THE WELFARE STATE
Published on: 18 February 2016   1 Comment
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You can thank grandpa for those wonderful genes of yours
Dateline: 3 March 2019
Globalization and mostly-free movement of people has been all well and good so far, but when some localities are being inundated by masses looking for the Italian Dream or the life of plenty in Portugal, it's only a matter of time before a tipping point is reached. After the migrant influx of the 20/teens, EU bureaucrats are having a tough time; too many people, too few resources. Now, several governments have started to add a genetic component to their immigration programs in order to cope with ...
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SOLID HYDROGEN BREAKS THE RULES OF PHYSICS
Published on: 21 January 2016  
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Hydrogen compressed beyond a liquid into a metallic state is the ultimate super conductor
Dateline: 25 January 2035
Imagine a stable, solid metal that is made of pure hydrogen - the ultimate solid fuel and lightweight material. That is now within our grasp, as scientists perfect a new method of 'growing' hydrogen crystals and nano-wires. Twenty years ago, scientists saw the first signs that achieving metallic hydrogen was possible. By compressing microscopic amounts of hydrogen between two diamonds with massive force, the gas was observed to partially solidify, proving the theory that, with sufficient force, ...
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SUMMER OF SUPER SURPLUS
Published on: 17 December 2015   1 Comment
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Commodity prices hit 60-year lows as oil halves
Dateline: 4 July 2016
The world is awash with basic commodities, and for many people, prices have not been so low in living memory. It's back to the 1950's in real terms for resources like coal and iron ore; wheat and corn are dirt cheap too. Fueled by fears of climate change and radical new energy and transport technologies, oil has halved in a year and is now floating around US$ 20 per barrel. Supply continues to exceed demand worldwide, as producers fight for market share. Global electricity prices have continued ...
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CHOCOLATE DEFICIT LEAVES A BAD TASTE IN THE MOUTH
Published on: 12 February 2015  
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A not so happy Valentine's Day
Dateline: 14 February 2019
For the last couple of years the world has been running a chocolate deficit and it's probably not going to change anytime soon. At the moment, the global cacao sector is already in need of one million tons of cacao and the current projection is that we will have a shortfall of 2.2 million metric tons of ebony goodness by 2030. It's a real multi-faceted challenge. Ivory Coast and Ghana, which produce more than 70% of the world's cacao, have been suffering from climate change-induced droughts and to ...
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UN DECLARES POVERTY ILLEGAL
Published on: 29 January 2015  
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Inequality next in the firing line
Dateline: 12 January 2021
The first resolution to come out of the United Nations for the new year is somewhat startling. Poverty has been declared 'illegal'. "A minimum living standard should be regarded as a basic human right," said the secretary general. "In this day and age, governments must ensure that for all their citizens, or step aside and let more competent people govern!" Another item on the agenda is to reduce global inequality, not only within nation states, an increasingly archaic concept, but also between top ...
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COLLAPSE OF RUBLE THWARTS RUSSIA’S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS
Published on: 22 January 2015   1 Comment
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Putin blames oil price for Russia's cash crunch
Dateline: 5 January 2017
The oil price plunge could not have come at a worse time for Russia. Just as Putin was flexing his muscles, taking back Crimea and calling the shots over gas deliveries, the value of Russia's major export commodities collapsed. As oil more than halved in value, demand for Russia's inexhaustible natural gas also dried up. Sanctions against Russia's involvement in Ukraine were helping EU states to turn to cheap Saudi oil instead. The ruble took an immediate pounding as Russian oligarchs sought to ...
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WHAT BILL GATES WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS
Published on: 25 December 2014  
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The new lifestyles of the rich and famous leave luxury brands in the lurch
Dateline: 22 December 2021
The glitzy shopping mall might have been the Mecca of money in the nineties, but no more. The higher level need for amazing experiences is replacing the accumulation of bling and BMWs - for those with deep pockets at least. There's a huge disparity when it comes to what consumers want. Millionaires and billionaires in America and Asia are no longer interested in Louis Vuitton luggage and Jaguar convertibles. Instead, the wealthy are forking out thousands for experiences they deem valuable, ...
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THE NEW COLD WAR INTENSIFIES
Published on: 11 December 2014  
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Business in the firing line as governments spar
Dateline: 2 April 2015
Forget about McDonald's trying to outperform KFC or Coca-Cola aiming to increase sales over Pepsi. Those were the days, my friend! Lately, businesses are primarily competing against governments' geopolitical agendas - and then against each other. Let's refer to the best case in point: Russia. Following the Crimean crisis, the 2014 sanctions against Russia and Donetsk have been ratcheted up, but Russia has decided that the party is not nearly merry enough yet. After banning several G20 nations ...
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PEAK OIL IS HORSE MANURE
Published on: 4 December 2014   1 Comment
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The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones
Dateline: 20 January 2021
Back in the day, when horse drawn carriages and buggies were the preferred mode of transport for anyone, there was a big fear in Paris, London and New York that there wouldn't be enough stabling for all the horses required in the future, to say nothing of all the manure that was piling up in the streets. Then we invented motor cars, and the problem of peak horse manure disappeared. That's a salutary tale to bear in mind when we talk of peak oil. There will be a time when our consumption of oil ...
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GOLD AT $800, OIL AT $64
Published on: 20 November 2014   5 Comments
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The mini-boom is on
Dateline: 6 November 2016
Two years ago we saw the first faltering of the oil price, as Brent crude dipped below US$80 per barrel. Gold was also weak, at about US$1100 per ounce. This despite the ongoing crises in the Middle East and Ukraine. What was happening? Some put it down to weak demand and plentiful supply. Although the global economy had stabilized, there was no great appetite for oil at these prices. The United States was also producing more of its own oil and gas, becoming less dependent on the Gulf for ...
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NEW DIMENSION FOR METAL MINING
Published on: 18 September 2014   4 Comments
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3-D printing creates unusual alliances
Dateline: 26 August 2016
Five years ago, it would have seemed an unlikely partnership. But the alliance announced today between BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining group, and printing technology company Hewlett Packard, makes perfect sense. And the reason? 3-D printing has gone mainstream as an industrial production technique, and HP-BHP wants to corner the market. There's hardly an industry within which 3-D printing is not hard at work, from construction to aerospace. And the demand for the specialized metal ...
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