MindBullets is a part of the global FutureWorld Network, constantly sensitive to changes in the technological, economic, social, political and business landscape. The MindBullets Contributors scan this rapidly changing environment for clues about possible future trends. The results of this synthesis are combined by our contributors into an on-going series of MindBullets: News from the Future - with a summary emailed to you every Thursday and the complete MindBullets data base available online to explore each scenario in more detail. Exciting scenarios of alternative futures based on breakthrough thinking today. A powerful tool to help you learn from the future - a new MindBullet every week!

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Filtered by tag: Resources

COFFEE IS THE NEW BLACK (GOLD)

Published on: 11 July 2019 1 Comment

Everyone wants a tastier caffeine fix - and an energy boost!

Dateline: 27 October 2028

Climate change, crop disease and deforestation - things were not looking good for the coffee bean in recent years. For some coffee connoisseurs, the panic reached crisis levels, and so they intervened, only to revolutionize the joe we all know. December 2018 saw the launch of Atomo molecular coffee - coffee made, well, without coffee! Through a process of reverse engineering, they also managed to remove the traditionally bitter taste that coffee lovers have learned to accept. In fact, there ...

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DEAD BATTERIES WORSE THAN NUCLEAR WASTE

Published on: 2 May 2019 2 Comments

China is drowning in unusable electric car batteries

Dateline: 3 May 2024

They say that the only real problem with nuclear power is taking care of the depleted fuel rods, often called nuclear waste, for hundreds of years after they've ceased to function. Sure, a small percentage can be 'reprocessed' into new types of nuclear fuel, but costs are so punitive, most power stations simply store the used fuel on site. Now we're running into a similar problem with electric cars, but on an exponential scale. New energy vehicles, or NEVs, have been a runaway success, in the US, ...

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HYDROGEN ECONOMY EXPLODES

Published on: 4 April 2019

Cheap solar powers the next energy revolution

Dateline: 5 April 2036

Now that solar power has become so ubiquitous and abundant that it's almost free, energy companies are turning to the most efficient and harmless way of storing excess electricity for later use - hydrogen. It's over 30 years since Jeremy Rifkin predicted the hydrogen economy, but it's finally in full swing. The beauty of hydrogen is that it's easily manufactured from water if you have lots of spare power, can be stored and transported, burnt as ultra-clean fuel, or simply converted back into ...

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CRUISING THE CROWDED SKIES

Published on: 18 October 2018 1 Comment

Everybody who's anybody is a frequent flyer

Dateline: 20 March 2038

In the last couple of decades, air traffic has rocketed. Annual air passenger numbers have shot up from less than 8 billion in 2018 to over 20 billion today. That's almost three times the world population, every year! Bearing in mind that hardly any flights exceed 24 hours, that means that, on average, 60 million people are boarding flights, somewhere, every day. And that doesn't include drone taxis and private planes. The only way major air terminals can cope with the hordes is increased reliance ...

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CHINA STEPS INTO THE BREACH

Published on: 2 August 2018

Together with India, they make a formidable pair

Dateline: 8 August 2020

The vacuum left by America's leadership crisis has been filled, but not by Europe. Power has shifted to the east, and now China is stepping up to the plate in a big way. In a world where western free market ideology has become tarnished and mean, China's economic imperialism is eagerly welcomed. Make no mistake, Russia still has command of massive resources, but its technology seems rooted in the industrial age; an economic minnow, left stranded by the tsunami of digital tech sweeping the ...

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IT'S GOING TO BE A COLD, DARK CHRISTMAS

Published on: 14 December 2017 4 Comments

Climate change reversal catches almost everyone by surprise

Dateline: 21 December 2025

It's almost a decade since those 'hottest years on record' culminating with the 2016 El Nino. But no-one expected it to cool down this rapidly. In 2017, Parisians and other rich communities were still throwing money at the problem of 'global warming', convinced that the modern warm period was spiralling upwards. That was the year it snowed in Mexico and blizzards shut down major EU airports. On top of that, we all thought we'd reached peak electricity, and consumer power consumption would decline ...

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FARMING THE HIGH SEAS WITH ROBOTS

Published on: 16 November 2017

That's no tasty tuna, it's Robofish

Dateline: 12 September 2027

When is a robofish actually a cowboy or a sheepdog? When it looks after your fish, farmed in the open sea. Fishing as a food source has long been big business, but wild stocks have been severely over exploited in some areas, and fish farming has become a viable alternative. But farming fish in sheltered estuaries and bays offers limited scope for improving global food security. The best place for serious fish farming is the open sea, in deep water, but the infrastructure costs were considered ...

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SHORT TERM IS THE NEW LONG

Published on: 26 October 2017

Long term strategy requires short term agility

Dateline: 27 October 2020

It sounds like a contradiction in terms, but short is the new long, and long is the new short. Effective executives need to have a long-term perspective, to really think about the future opportunities, as well as the challenges, that exponential change brings to the surface. But execs equally need to be able to take decisive, short term action, in order to make those long term plans a reality. Once you understand the future, and you've designed your future, you need to create it, and that means ...

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THE CARBON BUBBLE BURSTS

Published on: 20 July 2017 4 Comments

Stocks crash as executive orders bite

Dateline: 5 February 2021

US President Bernie Sanders has signed a series of Executive Orders designed as emergency measures to combat climate change. The net effect is to make fossil fuels way too costly to produce and consume, forcing emissions lower and a massive swing to nuclear and renewable power. On top of that, the plummeting cost of solar has convinced many consumers, even those skeptical about global warming, to switch to a system of distributed power generation and consumption. These micro-grids and rooftop panels ...

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WATER IS NO LONGER THE NEW OIL

Published on: 27 April 2017

Water in plentiful supply as 'Star Wars' tech makes it out of fresh air

Dateline: 24 April 2020

The first Star Wars movie featured Vaporators on the planet Tatooine for water farming from the atmosphere. Now they are available on Earth, although they look slightly different in real life. It's been known for many decades that condensing water vapor from the air holds the key to water supplies in arid, inland areas; but getting that water from dry rather than humid air was the challenge. By the same token, desalination has offered a solution for coastal cities, but only at substantial energy ...

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE DESERTS GONE?

Published on: 23 March 2017 1 Comment

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 3 Comments

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 1 Comment

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

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

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

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 6 Comments

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 18 Comments

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 2 Comments

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

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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