February 2000 Archives

The softening of opinions on drugs takes two big steps: Cleveland has become the first police force to suggest considering "the legalisation and regulation of some or all drugs" and a Police Federation report recommends that ecstasy should be downgraded and classed as a soft drug like cannabis.

The century's scientific challenges


A press release from the United States Geological Survey listing the demands being placed on the world's resources. Nothing surprising in themselves, but a good round-up of problems: Safe, clean water; natural hazards; urban growth; emerging infectious diseases; biological invaders; global change; lifecycle of Earth's natural materials; USA's water infrastructure; coastal waters; "putting information in its place."

Making the best of your future

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A comparative review of two new business-oriented but wide-ranging futures books: 'The Visionary's Handbook: Ten Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business' by Watts Wacker, Jim Taylor, and Howard Means, and 'The Soul at Work: Listen, Respond, Let Go' by Roger Lewin and Birute Regine.

1999 saw a large increase in the use of industrial robots around the world. The increase is attributed to the decreased cost of robots (40 per cent cheaper than 1990), and higher labour costs and labour shortages in the developed world. Significant automation of sectors other than the car industry (which was a major driver of the current increase) is expected. (via Moreover)

IBM have developed a method of transporting information around an integrated circuit using the wave nature of electrons rather than wires. This will allow smaller chips than conventional methods. (via Haddock)

China to attempt manned space flight?

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There are rumours China may launch men into space very soon, despite "western experts'" speculation that it would be years before the nation was ready.

Perhaps an oversimplistic comparison of the state of the Internet in the world's largest countries, but interesting nonetheless. The Chinese government has closed 127 Internet cafes in Shanghai, in the same week the Delhi government launches its first cybercafe, undercutting the prices of local private enterprises. (via Moreover)