Shell's 2050 energy scenarios

Shell, the grandfathers of scenario planning, have a new set of scenarios that look at the world in terms of energy, through to 2050. There’s a PDF document that summarises the two scenarios — “Scramble” and “Blueprints” — and below is my summary of their summary. I must admit I’m not currently hopeful about our ability to cope with this stuff, given how poorly governments are able to handle other impending disasters… (Via City of Sound.)

No Space Elevator News

The Times has an article about “boffins” (quality journalism, eh?) from the Japanese Space Elevator Association (Google’s English translation) wanting to build a space elevator (a very long and strong cable tethered to Earth and stretching into the sky that would make it easier and cheaper to get things into space).

No, that doesn’t seem very surprising, but I’m not sure what the actual “news” element of this is because, as The Space Elevator Blog says “the article mentioned no new breakthroughs in this effort.” The blog continues:

We’re all waiting for the breakthrough in carbon nanotubes and the accelerating pace of research into this field means, IMHO, that this is not far away at all; I think we will see “the breakthrough” before this decade is out. And, when that happens, the idea of a Space Elevator could move very quickly from an academic exercise to a new “space race”…

For those unable to attend the 1st Japan Space Elevator Conference in November, the 2nd International Space Elevator Workshop in Luxembourg might be closer to home.

The Spaceward Foundation also has a US$4 million competition which seems to be focused on (a) building devices that can climb a vertical tether (the cable) nov 7th and (b) creating the strongest possible tether. The competition is tentatively scheduled for 7th November.

The completists among you might also find interesting stuff on The Space Elevator Reference. (The Times article via io9’s equally news-free coverage.)

Gaming in 2043

Bruce Sterling recently gave the keynote address at the Game Developers Conference in Austin, Texas, on the subject of computer games thirty five years from now. It’s fairly long, and here’s a summary of a few of the more concrete bits:

Computers in 2043 are dull commodity items, this one looks like a small towel. Computer games in 2043 change reality, rather than being self-enclosed worlds looked at on a screen — hang up the towel and look through it and you see the world differently.

Game designers in 2043 have seventy years’ worth of computer game history to draw upon.

A powerful computer is made up of many tiny units, like grains of salt, with quantum computing power, each grain with the power of an entire server farm.

Who has become rich because of the success of multiplayer online games? Bankers. Entertainers can get rich but can’t manage money so don’t stay rich. “So, guys who want to make a lot of money go into the areas of games where people make money. And they’re not game players. They are bankers.” “The gaming bankers ARE the normal bankers. In 2043 there isn’t any other kind. The old kind are all extinct.” The people who make the games just provide the world in which other people, bankers, get rich.

The end of the talk is a more general rallying cry to be distruptive and “live every hour”. (Via Infovore.)

Pranksters

At Conceptual Trends and Current Topics Kevin Kelly discusses a Wall Street Journal article about pranksters such as Improv Everywhere.

Geoscale engineering

The Economist has an article summarising a journal from the Royal Society titled ‘Geoscale engineering to avert dangerous climate change’. There are two basic ways to lower the Earth’s temperature and several ways of achieving both. The article summarises them:

Live gaming events

Here’s a report about a live broadcast of an event from the mulltiplayer online game World of Warcraft. 4,000 people are expected to watch a team of players perform a raid within the game world, an event that will take three to four hours.

Seasteading

Danny O’Brien has an interesting post about Seasteading — creating small autonomous states that can exist on platforms at sea, independent of existing governments.