FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

[NEW FEATURE] Off the Wire, 7-25-06

"Off the Wire" is a new FutureWire segment, a roundup of links to various stories that FutureWire readers may find interesting. I will post "Off the Wire" segments as frequently as possible. Naturally, suggestions for stories are always appreciated...

At a recent Brainstorm Conference hosted by Fortune magazine, an age gap became apparent when discussing the benefits of the Internet. Hmmm... how do you suppose that played out? [CNN/Money]

Though President Bush recently vetoed a bill that would have increased federal support for embryonic stem cell research, he is clearly going against the tide of public opinion. A survey by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press found that Americans strongly support using embryos for such research (57% to 30%) -- support that cuts across nearly all religious categories. White evangelical Christians were the only group found to strongly oppose embryonic stem cell research.

Back in June, members of Congress -- with input from environmentalists, industry and even the "big three" Detroit automakers -- kicked off a "25x25" campaign to convert 25% of US energy consumption to renewable sources by 2025. Despite its broad support (politicians from Newt Gingrich to Bill Clinton have signed on), and the fact that 98% of Americans favor developing renewable energy, the fate of the effort is uncertain. Plus, with the news being dominated by events in the Mideast these past few weeks, you can be forgiven for not having heard much about "25x25." [Christian Science Monitor]

Go see a glacier now, while there's still time. The melting of glaciers in the European Alps has accelerated greatly since the 1970s; they now cover only half the area they covered in 1850. Scientists at the University of Zurich estimate that if summer temperatures rise by 5°C by 2100, virtually all of Europe's Alpine glaciers will vanish. The situation mirrors that of North America; in Montana's Glacier National Park, the number of named glaciers has shrunk from 150 in 1850 to 26 today. [LiveScience.com]

The Pew Internet & American Life project has released a survey of bloggers. Not surprisingly, the survey found that most bloggers are novice writers under age 30 who blog primarily to share their personal experiences. [UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis explores the implication of this survey, especially the suggestion that bloggers "don't consider themselves journalists."]

Venture capital investments in startup firms have reached the highest level since the first quarter of 2001, totalling $6.73 billion. Biotech, pharmaceuticals, alternative energy and IT were among the winners. [Red Herring]

Tech-savvy book lovers in Sweden can now download and listen to audiobooks through their cell phones, through a new service by Bokilur (literally, "book on phone" in Swedish). [Springwise]

Marketing firms that have had success in online ad campaigns see social networking sites as fertile ground. A survey by Forrester Research in December 2005 found that 51% of marketers surveyed planned to leverage social networks substantially over the next 12 months. A slightly smaller percentage planned aggressive campaigns around RSS and mobile devices. [eMarketer]