The Speculist: FastForward Radio -- Signs of the Times


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FastForward Radio -- Signs of the Times

In California, garages are being converetd into more or less permanent housing, while "temporary" restaurants (and other establishments) are popping up and disappearing at an astounding rate.

Meanwhile, the Dow once has again topped 11,000 in spite of scant good news in the jobs market. What's going on?

Can today's trends tell us much about tomorrow's reality? It's not just the economy: what can data points about life expectancy, personal income, costs of goods, rates of miniaturization of technology, and deforestation/reforestation tell us about the world we'll soon be living in?

  • Here's an on-point article by Robert Reich in the Wall Street Journal.

  • Stephen imagined fully automated fast-food restaurants here.

  • And Stephen pointed to an article by Martin Ford in Forbes here.

  • Get Cory Doctorow's novels free online here. The novels "Makers" and "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" have been a great inspiration to us in this conversation.

  • Phil brought a recent Victor Davis Hansen article "A Tour Through Recession America" into the discussion. Normal link here. But it wasn't working this morning, so here's the Google cache link.

  • There's the shantytown in "Makers" that would be a tolerable and often fun place to live, but Margaret Atwood had a darker vision in her novel "Oryx and Crake." From Wikipedia:
    "In flashbacks, we learn that Snowman was once a young boy named Jimmy, who grew up in the near, yet undefined future. His world was dominated by multinational corporations which kept their employees' families in privileged compounds separated from a global lower moiety of pleeblands. Shortly after Jimmy's family moved to the HelthWyzer corporate compound (where his father worked as a genographer) Jimmy met and befriended Glenn (referred to throughout the novel as Crake), a brilliant science student."
  • Here's the pancake stacking machine Stephen mentioned.

  • Signs of the Time:

    • Focus Fusion is showing great promise - this could bring us practically free energy.

    • Skip the Hard Cell: Flexible Solar is on the way

    • Forget skin grafts - printing new skin cells on burn victims.
  • The music this week is Ezra Thomas' "Mortal Days."


Enjoy the podcasts, but they are often hard to hear. Any chance of getter better mics and balancing the volume among the guests?

Also, can't find you contact page, so had to use a comment for this.

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