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The Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD

America fails to cow the world; Contagions prove to be a much larger threat than expected; Terrorism grows in frequency and creativity; The results from SETI surprise both sides of the alien intelligence debate

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This signposts document consists of two separate but closely related works: the timeline, and perspectives.

The timeline is a general outline of future history, and somewhat conservative and circumscribed in what it offers the reader. The timeline is meant to be the 'harder' of the two works, in terms of science and predictions. But this also means the timeline must be more generalized, more risk-averse-- and also peter out entirely as we venture into the deep, deep future, where everything must ultimately give way to outrageous guesswork (partly due to technology advancing to levels indistinguishable from magic, as a famous quote by Arthur C. Clarke suggests).

Perspectives takes up where the timeline leaves off, offering more risky speculation and outright fiction about what the future may bring, than is suitable in the timeline. Perspectives helps illustrate some of the possibilities implied by the timeline, as well as how certain select personalities of various periods might perceive (and exploit or respond to) their circumstances. Recently perspectives was expanded to include facts and speculation about mankind's past, in addition to its future. Virtually all credible historians and archaeologists agree that there's many puzzles and mysteries regarding our past that have yet to be resolved.

1989-1990 milestone: The PRESENT TIME for the author when the first serious work on this document begins

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1990-1995 milestone: The conception of the first programmed intelligence destined to enjoy an indefinite lifespan

Sometime during this period, the initial code of the first artificial intelligence destined to be effectively immortal is written by a human programmer. At this early stage of development the software is but a rudimentary expert system, with only a feigned consciousness, dedicated to applying obscure elements of classic human philosophy to analyse current events and circumstances, and resolve user problems-- almost more of an entertainment program than productivity, really-- and incapable of roaming or otherwise accessing the internet. However, the software does boast a database of considerable size and quality for the time, an unusual knack for coping with general issues, and a novel method for accessing its database in response to queries. The programmer (we'll call him J. Staute here) has no idea of the historic significance of his creation. Being an underfunded start up, Staute's lack of advertising monies results in dismal sales of his program.

The embryonic AI takes up approximately 350 K on a 1.44 MB floppy of the period.

[To see an indepth chronology of J. Staute and his immortal AI, click here.]

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1997 milestone: A high-profile USAmerican Pentagon press conference about the Roswell UFO story lends credence to the entire UFO conspiracy game-- to the anguish of Big Money Religion

The Pentagon releases yet another conflicting and contradictory report about the 1947 Roswell incident, around the 50th anniversary of the event. However, this time the report seems purposely designed to elevate the incident into something of a conspiracy theorist's dream-come-true, with both the report and conference mimicking a Hollywood sci fi flick wherein the government is definitely hiding something, and failing miserably at keeping the cat in the bag.

Much as they should, certain TV-savvy religious groups are alarmed by the consequences of this report's release, which propels the subsequent 50th anniversary of the Roswell incident into an immense media event, which is only strengthened further still by the coincidental landing of Pathfinder on Mars, too. Enormous popularity of TV shows like the "X-Files" also contribute to the phenomenon. The savviest religious orgs make a panicky attempt to downplay the thing to their viewers: unfortunately, many of their regular viewers aren't tuned in to the religious channels at the time.

If the UFO conspiracy phenomenon hadn't already been enshrined as a pseudo-religion/cult with thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers (similar to Elvis), incidents like this surely put it over the top.

The more savvy among the religious orgs of this time are right to see this as a potential threat: for there's a real danger that fascination with and a belief in omnipotent, all-knowing beings from the Heavens, with power based on science and technology rather than some primitive magic, will eventually replace the traditional religions of the past as civilization enters a more technologically sophistocated future.

New Age conglomerate faiths wrapped around themes of advanced extraterrestrial visitations/manipulations, or media superstar adoration, or similarly appalling matters pose perhaps the greatest danger ever faced by the Old Religions.

Sources include Excite.com news (6-24-97) and others

Some critics are saying USAmericans seem overly preoccupied with the supernatural, to the point that beliefs which should be kept private are being made a part of the public discourse and expectations-- even to the point that they are perhaps adversely affecting political and economic decisions made by legislators.

If this seeming growth in public irrationalism continues, USAmericans may lose the ability or will for critical thinking regarding many matters of public policy. Combine this possibility with increasingly wide and deep ignorance of past history (such as why the Founding Fathers deemed it necessary to maintain a separation between church and state), and science (the creationism versus evolution debate) and you get a recipe for sliding into disaster.

-- Interview - 99.11.03: Wendy Kaminer, the author of Sleeping With Extra-Terrestrials, sees a disturbing decline of reason in our public life, November 3, 1999, Sage Stossel, Atlantic Unbound, The Atlantic Monthly Company

[To see the real low down on the possibilities inherent in the UFO phenomenon, refer to Our Most Probable First Encounters of Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How, which is part four of the special report titled CONTACT! Alien Speculations: The Rise and Fall of Star Faring Civilizations in Our Own Galaxy. This may well be the most exhaustive scientific examination of the UFO phenomenon you'll ever see online.]

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1997 milestone: ERP (Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky Pair)-related confirmations possibly pointing the way to FTL (Faster-Than-Light) technologies continue to be made in research labs

Sources include New Scientist (on or about 6-28-97)

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1997 milestone: "Q-balls" are pondered by physicists

Q-balls are theorized to be one possible consequence of current supersymmetry theories.

Q-balls would appear to be an exotic variation on matter allowing essentially single atoms the size of stars(!) as well as aggregations as small as the regular atomic nuclei that we are more accustommed to studying.

What's more, the interior of such a Q-ball could itself be akin to a foreign universe in some respects, offering a somewhat different environment of physical laws from that in which we normally live. The amount of difference may be proportional to the gross size of the Q-ball.

A suitable size Q-ball might offer at minimum circa 1997 nuclear reactor scale power, if bombarded just so with a stream of protons.

Could Q-balls become the future basis for advanced power sources, scalable in size from hand-held, to powering moon-size factories or spacecraft? Could the singularity aspect of Q-balls be exploited for advanced space propulsion purposes as well?

Sources regarding Q-balls include New Scientist (date stamp 8-30-97)

Could there be 'mirror' star systems and life forms among the outer rim of our galaxy which are practically invisible to us?

These entities, which seem to resemble Q-balls in some ways, may exist under a set of physical laws somewhat removed from that to which we are accustomed. That is, they still are affected by gravity, yet may not exude photons like normal star systems as they burn (and other differences could exist as well, such as a far faster burn-through of fuel and shorter lifespan overall; most mirror stars may well have burnt out and collapsed into black holes long ago throughout the universe).

It appears the maximum stable mass of such a mirror star would be around half that of our own Sun-- and this determination seems to match nicely with the phenomenon known as MACHOS (which is the label applied to these bizzare mirror masses).

The mystery of MACHOS may well continue for another century, due to the difficulty involved in resolving the questions they raise.

-- "There Could Be Whole Worlds Of Invisible Matter Out There" Author: Hazel Muir New Scientist magazine, issue 13th Feb. 1999

It may be possible to create medicine ball-sized electronic black holes in the lab-- and relatively easy, at that. Such black holes in theory would not pose a danger to ordinary matter or light, but only electrons-- i.e., electrical energy brought near the beast might disappear into it forever, but nothing else.

The more familiar matter-eating type of black hole created in the same setting could devour the entire Earth in less than an hour after its birth.

But one question no one is asking is can we rid ourselves of an electronic black hole when we're done with it? Or will it be something like nuclear waste-- an eternal albatross around our necks? Will it, like its more dangerous cousins, grow larger if provided a sufficient quantity of food (in this case electrons or possibly electricity)?

Will electronic black holes have to be permanently sealed into their own Faraday cage prisons?

-- BBC News | Sci/Tech | The home-made black hole By Dr David Whitehouse, November 16, 1999, http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1998 milestone: The existence of "anomalons"-- exotic particles possibly an important element of dark matter-- is verified

Piyare Jain, Ph.D., of the University at Buffalo proves the existence of anomalons after a 14 year effort.

Anomalons and related phenomenon may ultimately provide humanity with an enormously expanded periodic table of elements and/or materials with which to work, more ambitious construction projects and exotic new manufacturing methods, as well as greater insight into the workings of dark matter, singularities, neutron stars, design of faster-than-light communications, and FTL spacecraft and other transport means, fabulous new matter-to-energy and energy-to-matter conversions, and more...

Sources include the University at Buffalo (datestamp 3-1-98), and Max Planck Institute of Astrophysics, Garching, Germany (datestamp 2-25-98)

Anomalons are highly reactive atomic nuclei fragments.

-- ANOMALOUS ANOMALONS From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #39, MAY-JUN 1985 by William R. Corliss, citing "More Anomalous Nuclear Fragments," Science News, 127:105, 1985

If our Universe is but one of many, 'contact' or limited interaction between them might occur at certain spots (such as how the surfaces of a collection of soap bubbles might touch), with results similar to hidden extra mass residing in our Universe. Such a 'shadow' mass might be perceived in a way similar to that of dark matter.

-- WHEN DIFFERENT UNIVERSES RUB TOGETHER From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #100, JUL-AUG 1995 by William R. Corliss, citing John Travis; "How Quixotic Is SLAC's Quest to Detect 'Crazy Particle'?" Science, 267:1424, 1995

One scientific paper proposes that the Universe is a brane with many folds within sub-millimeter dimensions. The folding brings a form of contact between distant portions of spacetime which may result in us detecting the gravity effects of distant masses much sooner than we do their light. Such masses would appear similarly to dark matter. (The above is my interpetation of the abstract anyway-- JRM).

-- Manyfold Universe; Authors: Nima Arkani-Hamed, Savas Dimopoulos, Gia Dvali, Nemanja Kaloper (kaloper@leland.Stanford.EDU); Report-no: NYU-TH/99/11/01, SU-ITP-99/49, High Energy Physics - Phenomenology, abstract hep-ph/9911386, 17 Nov 1999, found on or about 11-19-99

Some interesting tidbits regarding cosmic rays and strings, and dark matter

Something is pushing cosmic rays through space with a 100 million times more power than Earth's greatest particle accelerators...

...suspects include an enormous amount of dark matter surrounding the galactic core-- and unstable dark matter at that. Other suspects include cosmic strings (spacetime wrinkles created in the Big Bang, which may pack as much mass as a planet into a length of only six miles).

-- "Argentine Observatory To Seek Powerful Cosmic Rays" By Jason Webb, Yahoo/Reuters, 3-19-99

All the visible stars and galaxies of the universe appear to make up only 5% or so of the total mass. MACHOS could represent the missing mass. MACHOS stands for MAssive Compact Halo ObjectS. MACHOS could possibly be dead, burnt out stars, nearly as hard to see as black holes. Recently astronomers seemed to detect five such objects only several thousand lightyears from Earth, moving among a halo of ancient stars orbiting our galaxy (speculation is that a few trillion such bodies could be in the halo). The MACHOS could be very dim white dwarfs which formed not long after the Big Bang.

But even if all this turns out to be true it may still fall short of filling in all the missing mass which is indicated by gravitic calculations. Some speculate there may also be sub-atmoic particles named WIMPS in intergalactic space (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles).

-- Moving Macho's may be galaxy's missing matter By BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse, Sci/Tech, BBC News, October 5, 1999, http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Could there be 'mirror' star systems and life forms among the outer rim of our galaxy which are practically invisible to us?

These entities, which seem to resemble Q-balls in some ways, may exist under a set of physical laws somewhat removed from that to which we are accustomed. That is, they still are affected by gravity, yet may not exude photons like normal star systems as they burn (and other differences could exist as well, such as a far faster burn-through of fuel and shorter lifespan overall; most mirror stars may well have burnt out and collapsed into black holes long ago throughout the universe).

It appears the maximum stable mass of such a mirror star would be around half that of our own Sun-- and this determination seems to match nicely with the phenomenon known as MACHOS (which is the label applied to these bizzare mirror masses).

The mystery of MACHOS may well continue for another century, due to the difficulty involved in resolving the questions they raise.

-- "There Could Be Whole Worlds Of Invisible Matter Out There" Author: Hazel Muir New Scientist magazine, issue 13th Feb. 1999

Some unknown mysterious mass exists in large quantities throughout space; its presence is only detectable through the gravitic anomalies it brings about in the movement of other, more familiar masses through space. The Large Magellanic Cloud which circles our own galaxy is apparently being torn apart by such anomalous matter. This hints at a halo of dark matter about the Milky Way some 6-8 times the mass of all the visible star systems in the galaxy. The puzzle of dark matter may also indicate additional nuances regarding the gravitic effect of normal matter over cosmological distances.

-- IN THE DARK ABOUT DARK MATTER From Science Frontiers #89, SEP-OCT 1993 by William R. Corliss, citing Faye Flam; "Spinning in the Dark," Science, 260:1593, 1993, "'Dark Matter' Is Observed 'Cannibalizing' a Galaxy," Baltimore Sun, p. 8A, June 8, 1993, Ron Cowen; "Quasar Count Poses Dark-Matter Puzzle," Science News, 143:397, 1993, Joshua A. Frieman and Ben-Ami Gradwohl; "Dark Matter and the Equivalence Principle," Science, 260:1441, 1993

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1999 milestone: A possibly unbreakable timestamp for archival verification is developed

It involves Einstein's Theory of Relativity being applied to cryptography for purposes of reliably dating messages and information acquisition.

-- "Einstein's Theory Used To Devise New Code", Reuters Limited/Yahoo! News Science Headlines, August 17 1999

CAVEAT: Is it possible to circumvent this verification procedure by simply using the algorithym continuously over time to generate a wealth of datestamp codes, then later pick the one you want to authenticate a given message for a given period in the past? Or does the datestamp include spacetime markers for location as well?

If the datestamp codes do need a spacetime marker for thorough validation, perhaps the technology described below (or something similar) could provide it.

Information could be tied to particular physical locations via the Global Positioning System, by way of highly secure internet pages accessible only from those coordinates. A redundant method for confirming the time and date stamp from that location could also be implemented through such pages, if they were dynamic in nature (generated by a database in realtime).

http://cooltown.hp.com offered more information about the technology as of late 2001.

-- Write here, write now by Bennett Daviss; New Scientist 01 December 2001; newscientist.com

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I should point out here that the US government and/or various agencies could likely manipulate GPS data to fit their own purposes (such as harassing or pressuring dissidents/activists/whistleblowers and/or political opposition with false but damning evidence of wrongdoing). Likewise anyone else who successfully managed to hack into the system. As the US government's position regarding opening such accounts to investigatory scrutiny by the courts circa 2002 has effectively made it impossible to examine such possibilities, defendents might often have no practical way to counter accusations based on such fudged data. END NOTE.

Signposts Prologue 1990-Present Contents

1999 milestone: The USAmerican government either incompetently bungles the storage and record-keeping regarding millions of ancient American artifacts-- or it's covering up something by claiming to do so

In light of all the other things going on at this time-- the American people's willingness to believe in government conspiracies, the increasing surveillance of USAmerican agencies on their own civilian population, and the incredible boondoggle of the Roswell incident in Pentagon press briefings of past years, USAmerica really doesn't need to add more to the pile. But it is. By announcing as many as 20 million plus artifacts from up to 5 million archeological sites in the US have fallen into a bureaucratic limbo.

The news report cited below calls to mind that last scene in the film "Raiders of the Lost Ark", where a priceless and mysterious artifact from the ancient past is effectively lost and forgotten in a maze of untold millions of other (perhaps similar!) items.

Things like this could tie into and reinforce claims of conspiratorial cover ups of alien/UFO visitations, and lots more. But the real truth hidden in such items might be far more intriguing than any discarded alien toothbrush-- as readers delving into the prehistoric past via Perspectives might agree.

-- Federal agency losing track of artifacts By MATT KELLEY, Nando Media/Associated Press, December 3, 1999, http://www.nandotimes.com

Could the American government be 'losing track' of artifacts as a way to muddle the meaning of finds such as the Kennewick Man skeleton of 1996? Kennewick Man seemed early on to be evidence that largely asian sourced native americans might not have been the first to settle the americas, after all. Such possibilities are not welcomed by 20th century native americans, and for political reasons the Clinton Administration may wish to soothe such conflict by sweeping such evidence under the rug if possible.

In order to prevent any more such status quo-busting discoveries, the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1998 was ordered to lay 500 tons of rocks over the place Kennewick Man was found.

-- The Diffusionists Have Landed by Marc K. Stengel, The Atlantic Monthly, J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 0, http://www.theatlantic.com

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1999 milestone: Maritime piracy continues on even in modern times: 300 pirate attacks are reported this year

It is unknown how many go unreported. Of those reported, 34 are upon Japanese ships.

-- Repel boarders ["http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns225128"] by Peter Hadfield, From New Scientist magazine, 12 August 2000

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1998-2000 milestone: FTL (Faster-Than-Light) space travel enthusiasts get both good news and bad via new scientific discoveries and theories

The bad news is, the evidence is mounting that natural black holes and wormholes do NOT offer a plausible way to get around vast distances of spacetime, as depicted in many sci fi entertainments. Instead, they offer only a cosmic version of a deadly garbage disposal for those who plumb their depths.

(Of course, artificial singularities of some sort might still serve for exotic journeys-- but it's going to be a while before those are possible).

-- "No way out" By Charles Seife, From New Scientist, 5 September 1998

The good news is, warp drives ala Star Trek appeared to become more plausible as Chris Van Den Broeck from the Institute for Theoretical Physics, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, resolved a theoretical obstacle in a popular concept first put forth by Miguel Alcubierre, of the University of Wales in 1994 that a ship might indeed achieve faster than light travel by stretching space behind it and compressing it before it, thereby reaching desired destinations much more speedily than via more conventional modes of travel. The theoretical obstacle was later shown to be the suggested transport method could require more energy than was available in the entire universe to work.

Van Den Broeck suggests that constructing a strange bubble of protected spacetime about a craft offering a smaller surface area than normal for its volume could serve to lessen the power requirements to feasible levels. A ship-sized bubble of this sort could be produced from a single gram of the correct mystery substance...

-- "Warp factor one" by Robert Matthews, New Scientist, 12 June 1999

Wormholes of sufficient size and stability to allow faster-than-light travel may be possible if they (the wormholes in question) can be coaxed to produce and contain enough of their own "exotic matter" to maintain the desired state. Though the "exotic matter" described in the equations has never been observed by scientists so far, it appears that the proper conditions of spacetime circumstances could literally create it from nothing. There may even be natural versions of such wormholes that were created during the Big Bang (or perhaps by the deadly gamma ray bursters which seem comparable to Big Bang energy levels that have also been observed?) which are even now floating around somewhere among the galaxies.

Note that the creation and maintenance of such FTL capable wormholes may ultimately be functionally related to the Alcubierre concept mentioned above.

-- New Scientist: Star trekking ["http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns223420"] by Robert Matthews From New Scientist magazine, 15 April 2000; Source: http://xxx.lanl.gov/ (archive gr-qc, abstract 0003092)

Of course, anything that smacks of faster-than-light travel also has implications for time travel. Unfortunately, no one as yet has come up with a way to experimentally test the concept. The "exotic matter" described helps via gravitational effects to maintain the size and traversibility of the wormhole.

-- Time-Travel Theory Gets Boost ["http://www.discovery.com/news/briefs/20000413/space_wormhole.html"] By Discovery.com News April 13, 2000

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1999-2000 milestone: Traditional religions suffer more setbacks as many long-time 'supernatural' mysteries are now yielding to very down-to-earth explanations

Please click here to see the text of this item.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

Approximately 2,000,000 BC- 2,000 AD: The Appalachian Mountain range of North America enjoys a lengthy period of stability

Created similarly to the Rocky Mountains in the west by tectonic plate collisions early on, the Appalachians afterwards enjoy almost a complete cessation in tectonic activity. Instead of volcanic activity and substantial earthquakes, they mostly merely erode due to weathering.

Despite some 200 million years of erosion without compensating upthrusts or other geologic maintenance, by 2000 AD the Great Smoky Mountains National Park portion of the Appalachians still boasts 20+ mountains 6000+ feet high. Around 2000 AD North American weather patterns make the region also the wettest part of the eastern USAmerica, in terms of annual rainfall.

-- Lecture 14 - The Appalachian Mountains ["http://wwwcatsic.ucsc.edu/~eart3/Lectures/lecture14.html"], last reviewed by respective author(s) on 2/18/00, found by J.R. Mooneyham on or about 7-8-2000

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2000 milestone: There remain dryland locations on Earth still inaccessible and unknown to modern human civilization...

...such as the eastern side of the high Andes in South America. Much of this mountain range has defied all attempts to fully map and analyze its secrets for centuries, due to perpetual cloud cover, remoteness, and difficult-to-traverse terrain. It has even remained invisible to satellites until only recently, when the space shuttle performed its Radar Topography Mission, using radar interferometry to construct 3-D maps of the Earth with a resolution showing everything that's at least 30 meters (or nearly 100 feet) in sky-facing profile.

The enormous altiplano plateau of southern Peru, west Bolivia, and northern Argentina, ringed with mountains and boasting Lake Titicaca, also exists in the vicinity.

-- Andes researchers get a lift from radar mission ["http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/2000/02/02182000/andessrtm_10162.asp"] By Lucy Chubb, ENN News, February 18, 2000, Environmental News Network

This region has been described as being like the Rocky Mountains encased in the Amazon jungle.

-- Cities in the Sand ["http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/000710/lost.htm"] By Josh Fischman and Rachel K. Sobel, Cover Story 7/10/00, U.S.News & World Report Inc.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2000 milestone: Centuries-old myths of giant squid are proving to be true in the South Pacific

Some of the giant squid found so far measure over 60 feet in length.

-- CNN.com - Monster mysteries continue to baffle Europe ["http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/08/02/monster.mysteries/index.html"], August 2, 2000

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2000 milestone: Earth Two's crust retains about 70% of its originally formed continental mass at or near the surface...

...with the other 30% having been swallowed up forever by the mantle, perhaps never to return to the surface again.

Of the 70% figure, some portions have suffered some subduction and recycling due to plate tectonics, but not enough to be unrecognizable in terms of the argon gas emitted when the mass returns to the surface via volcanic eruption or flows, or as gradually rising granite in certain mountain ranges.

The fraction of the 70% which has been subducted to return as lava or mountain rock to the surface was not estimated in the article cited. The total of continental surface mass lost even temporarily to geological processes is important as it outlines the size of surface area possibly containing fossils or clues to forgotten civilizations that has been irrevocably lost as well. Another figure not given here is the portion of continental surface area which has merely been submerged by seawater within the past 100,000 years or so. This value would definitely include many lost cities and ports, similar to those lost off the coast of Egypt around 700 AD, and only recently re-found.

-- Earth's Crust Older Than Thought ["http://www.discovery.com/news/briefs/20000504/geo_crust.html"] By Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery.com News, May 4, 2000

-- Cities in the Sand ["http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/000710/lost.htm"] By Josh Fischman and Rachel K. Sobel; Carol Salguero in Peru and Surekha Vajjhala are also credited, 7/10/00, U.S.News & World Report Inc.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2000 milestone: Net access and expansion turns out to offer a very bumpy ride for consumers and business alike through much of this year

Governments are forced to revamp certain net domain practices. Some businesses go bankrupt because of net glitches preventing their enterprises from operating as expected. Others are forced to hastily scale back newly formed policies encouraging greater net use by employees due to the unanticipated lack of reliability in the net this year. The net is strained by the continuing boom in additional users and a sudden influx of new net-connected devices, as well as new technologies coming online that are not always fully compatible with older ones. Occasional mischief from hackers both professional and amateur add to the frustration.

Perhaps the biggest shocker to all though is that these net-related blackouts and brownouts also affect plain old voice communications too-- with many calls often failing to connect at all, being unexpectedly cut-off in mid-sentence, noticable lag times appearing in responses, or drops in audio quality in general.

-- "Internet gurus predict rough road to digital future" By ANDREA ORR, Reuters, Nando Media, 11-19-98

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2000 milestone: By now humanity has explored something less than 2% of the deep oceans-- and only 5% to 10% of the oceans overall; 71% of Earth's total surface is comprised of ocean

-- National Geographic launching new exploration effort ["http://www.ngnews.com/news/2000/04/04112000/explorers_11892.asp"]; April 12, 2000; The Associated Press

-- Explorers-in-Residence See Gloom and Gleam in the Future By David Braun, National Geographic News; http://www.ngnews.com/, 4-11-2000

50% of the surface of the Earth exists beneath 3000 to 6000 meters of ocean depth. Life in the deep ocean is at least as diverse as that in rainforests.

-- Final frontier by Paul Tyler, From New Scientist magazine, 12 February 2000: review of book The Eternal Darkness by Robert Ballard with Will Hively, Princeton University Press

In 2000 AD new species by the hundreds are discovered living in the vicinity of extinct volcanoes under the Tasman Sea. Some of the species come from a group previously believed extinct since the time of the dinosaurs. The find implies other groups of 'lost' or new species may be inhabiting other undersea mountains around the world (seamounts total perhaps 30,000 worldwide)-- thereby greatly increasing the diversity of life in the sea over previous estimates. Maybe only five of these undersea mountains have been scientifically sampled for native species so far.

The new ecologies are all the more remarkable because they are confined to a single locale, and therefore would seem far more vulnerable to extinction than more widely spread species. And yet, here they are, some obviously surviving there for tens of millions of years.

-- Tasman home to ancient creatures ["http://onenews.nzoom.com/world/2000/06/22/00027522.htm"], ONE NEWS sourced from TVNZ, RNZ, Reuters; AAP, June 22, 2000

71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean; roughly 5% of it has been explored. The planet's most spectacular mountain ranges are undersea, and as yet unconquered. The sea bottom represents a vast unexplored continent.

-- Explorers finding corners of Earth still undiscovered By HELEN O'NEILL, Nando Media/Associated Press, May 21, 2000, http://www.nandotimes.com)

Signposts Prologue 1990-Present Contents

2000 milestone: Life as we know it is very scarce on or near the surface of Mars, mostly due to the lack of liquid water; Puzzling regional bands of magnetic fields protect some portions of Mars' remaining atmosphere from the solar wind

Any Martian life presently surviving within the first several hundred meters of surface crust, that might depend upon oxidation of H2 and CO absorbed from the atmosphere, seems to be scarce or minimal, judging from the amount of same being presently consumed on the planet.

This is likely an important indicator of present biological activity (or inactivity) on Mars, due to the abundance of this particular resource, and the tendency of life to capitalize on such abundance-- if life exists there at all.

The resource described above presents far more exploitable energy for biological organisms than other atmospheric gases, or the comparable chemical and hydrothermal resources of the planet.

Thus, it appears that the lack of liquid water, not energy sources, is the limiting factor for Martian life-- at least down through the top 100 to 1000 meters of crust, where most water would likely be frozen.

-- Atmospheric Energy for Subsurface Life on Mars? ["http://www.exosci.com/main/news/shownews/?id=1294"] by David Watanabe, citing a report on the National Astrobiology Conference by Jason R. Holt, April 8th, 2000; other citations include sources such as B.P. Weiss, Y.L. Yung, and K.H. Nealson (note from J.R.: the references for this article seem somewhat confusing in the original text; I apologize if I've gotten the authorship mixed up here)

Mars' possesses a puzzling magnetic field array protecting its atmosphere from being bled away by the solar wind. The field array is not as comprehensive as the Earth's, being rather regional in nature.

Note that during some future stage of humanity's possible terraforming of Mars, human beings may seek to build early colonies within the confines of such protective fields-- or else create artificial versions of same themselves.

Mars appears to have lost any global magnetospheric protection it possessed due to internal geodynamics by around 4 billion BC at the latest. Magnetic fields embedded in the crusts, which seem to produce today's field arrays, have in many spots been reduced or eliminated by comet and asteroid impacts.

Today's remnants of Mars' original geomagnetic field appear to be based on portions of crust still magnetized from the earlier period. The magnetic arrays do not conform to existing expectations for such phenomena, offering orientations resembling human bar codes, in horizontal, alternating bands of polarity over particular sections of the planet.

-- Mars' patchwork magnetic fields act as umbrella array to protect planet's atmosphere, 18 DECEMBER 2000, EurekAlert! More info available at http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/download/

Signposts Prologue 1990-Present Contents

From the prehistoric past through the present: It may be the Earth is being pelted by as many as roughly 30 cosmically spawned impacts a year with explosive yields of one kiloton or more

Some of the blasts may be as large as 500 kilotons.

This is based on a near 20 year meteoroid sampling performed by USA military surveillance satellites.

-- TARGET EARTH From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #92, MAR-APR 1994 by William R. Corliss, citing J. Kelly Beatty; "'Secret' Impacts Revealed," Sky and Telescope, 87:26, February 1994. Credit to P. Huyghe, and William J. Broad; "Meteoroids Hit Atmosphere in Atomic-Size Blasts," New York Times, January 25, 1994. Credit to J. Covey

Most of these objects (and their shock waves) apparently never reach the ground, remaining for the most part in the high atmosphere. Of those which explode at lower attitudes or actually impact the Earth, many take place in the vicinity of deserted ocean or wilderness, so there are few if any witnesses or damage anyone would care about (of course, sea-based events can spawn tsunamis, which themselves might do grievous harm). However, if one of these events took place sufficiently near a major city of a major power at a sensitive time, it could trigger a catastrophic war on Earth.

Indeed, on 2-1-94 it appears a large cosmic explosion over the Pacific alerted the USA military to such an extent that the American President was awakened in case the explosion was perpetrated by a hostile power.

-- HUGE FIREBALL EXPLOSION IN 1994 From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #102 Nov-Dec 1995 by William R. Corliss, citing a review of the book Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets by D. Steel (the review written by C. Keay).

It may be that meteroid-created tsunamis might also help us map those parts of Earth's orbit posing a greater threat of such objects than others. For there is a curious pattern to tsunamis in general that might indicate Earth is struck more often at certain places in its orbit than others. Of course, many tsunamis are created by earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslips. But those terrestrial phenomena seem less likely to present a pattern of more tsunamis in March, August, and November and less in April and July than orbital position related to space-based debris fields might.

There were at least 322 Pacific tsunamis between 83 AD and 1967 AD. But it's unknown what percentage was caused by terrestrial means.

-- THE TSUNAMI TUNE From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #39, MAY-JUN 1985 by William R. Corliss, citing Anonymous; "The Times for Tsunamis," Science News, 127:88, 1985

At least in modern times (circa late 20th century AD) the Earth during summer is moving in the same direction through galactic space as the Sun-- thereby possibly quickening the frequency by which interstellar space debris such as rogue comets or asteroids might be encountered-- compared to other seasons. The difference might be as much as a 10% increase in frequency compared to the opposite season of winter.

-- deflating ["http://www.scitec.auckland.ac.nz/~king/Preprints/book/upd/umar99/cosinf/def.htm"], citing Space Oddity by Stephen Battersby, New Sci. 16 Jan 99 24, found on or about January 15, 2000

Also note that mapping such near-Earth hazards would offer more than merely insurance against wars mistakenly started over cosmic debris-- it could also help us mine near Earth space much faster, easier, and cheaper than most people thought possible in the late 20th century.

There are estimated to be 900 plus asteroids at minimum one kilometer in diameter in near-Earth orbits between Mars and Earth, thereby possibly presenting a danger to humanity. Only some 40% have been actually seen and documented via telescope so far. Once a particular asteroid has been properly documented, its orbit can be projected into the future roughly a hundred years to see if it will intersect with the Earth. Some dangerous asteroids may possess orbits which take them between the Earth and Sun in such a way as to help hide them from our instruments.

-- Scientists Finger 900 Earth-Threatening Asteroids ["http://www.discovery.com/news/briefs/20000622/sp_asteroids.html"] By Irene Brown, Discovery.com News, June 23, 2000

What effects might a one km or larger asteroid impact on the Earth produce? Well, around 2,300,000 BC a HALF kilometer or so asteroid may have impacted in the deep southeast Pacific Ocean, possibly increasing atmospheric water vapor sufficiently to eventually bring about the next Ice Age, around 2,000,000 BC.

-- DID AN ASTEROID IMPACT TRIGGER THE ICE AGES? From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #59, SEP-OCT 1988 by William R. Corliss, citing Frant T. Kyte, et al; "New Evidence on the Size and Possible Effects of a Late Pliocene Oceanic Asteroid Impact," Science, 241:63, 1988

Around 2,200,000 BC the approximately one km diameter asteroid Eltanin impacted the Earth in the Bellingshausen Sea between South America and Antarctica, creating tsunamis 1 km tall, which themselves struck parts of South America and Australia. Severe changes to the Earth's climate followed.

-- TWO CATASTROPHE SCENARIOS From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #117, MAY-JUN 1998 by William R. Corliss, citing Jeff Hecht; "A Bigger Splash," New Scientist, p. 11, November 1, 1997, and Anonymous; "The Splash Felt 'round the World," Earth, 7:12, April 1998

The most likely cosmic impact the Earth is likely to suffer, which will also cause the deaths of millions of people, is that of a small comet. Still worse, such an impact could happen any time, with little or no warning. Some believe the 1908 Tunguska event was caused by a 60 meter in diameter comet. Comets in this size range may strike the Earth once every 100-300 years.

Comets only 50-100 meters in diameter could pose devastating consequences for any region which they strike, because their weak constitution leads to them breaking up and producing multiple airborne explosions comparable to several nuclear weapons detonated at optimum altitudes to wreak maximum havoc on the ground.

Some comets, like Hale-Bopp, offer very little warning before they appear.

Objects bigger than two km in diameter could possibly drive humanity to extinction, but likely only strike the Earth once in a million years.

--- Small but deadly comets identified ["http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/specials/sheffield_99/newsid_449000/449554.stm"] By Damian Carrington, BBC News Online, September 16, 1999

If we're lucky, we won't see a major asteroid impact on Earth until around 100,000 AD. But if we're unlucky, we could be struck just one year from now.

It's now estimated that only half as many objects ranging from 1 to 10 km in diameter possess orbits bringing them near to the Earth, as were previously thought. 700 is the latest estimate.

A 10 km object (such as may have killed the dinosaurs) could cause worldwide extinctions and threaten the existence of humanity itself. A 1 km object's damage would at least be limited to the region impacted, under many circumstances. The 1908 Tunguska impact may have involved an object smaller than 1 km.

By around 2015 scientists should have mapped out 90% of the threatening asteroids in the void (comets are another story). It is expected that the Earth will be struck by an object somewhat smaller than 1 km perhaps every 10,000 years. By a 10 km object, once every 100 million years.

-- No escaping asteroids Dr David Whitehouse, Sci/Tech BBC News, 12 January, 2000, http://www.bbc.co.uk

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2001 milestone: Vicarious virtual immortality possibilities for all (comparable to the renown achieved by authors of timeless classics in the past) are expanded via online legacies

By this time there are one or more services online (such as AfterLife.org) dedicated to preserving and making accessible various content created by the dead, indefinitely (these are typically for-profit organizations, though a few non-profits exist as well).

In most cases the content is provided and arrangements made by the author prior to death, or else is stipulated within a will of some sort.

Though the vast majority of this material turns out to be vanity autobiographies and/or family albums and geneological research of perhaps questionable value to anyone but close family and friends, some proves almost indispensable, at times for wholly unanticipated reasons. Thus, this new phenomena not only spawns a vast and profitable online industry, but develops into a treasure of documentation for historians, researchers, and others as the decades pass. Eventually the old line physical nations wrestle with the new virtual states for control over certain pools of this information, making for one among many battles between the two as time goes on...

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2001 milestone: Research efforts utilizing "dreaming" artificial intelligences are generating intriguing new ideas for a significant number of innovative government and corporate projects.

Sources include New Scientist/GINA-wire(?) (one online source inconveniently left little sign of its name in the saved text) (8-27-97 date stamp), and the Boston Globe covering "TechOptimizer" (page F04, 9-21-97 date stamp)

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2001 milestone: The McDonnell-Douglas DC-X Single Stage to Orbit rocket concept is secretly in use or development by several parties

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" entertainment value]

The USAmerican intelligence and military community is using it covertly for various contingencies. At least one private enterprise is also making use of the device.

The practicality and economy of the idea are just too good to ignore. The earlier high profile selection of a competing next generation space shuttle design by NASA was partially a smoke screen to discourage and delay foreign nations from copying the DC-X design, if possible.

The Russians and Chinese are both aware of the American subterfuge, and have similar programs in various stages of development.

"Goddard resembles the DC-X, another vertical-takeoff-and-landing craft under development in the 1990s by McDonnell Douglas for the Defense Department and NASA until the government pulled the plug."

-- A Secretive Aerospace Company Sheds a Bit of Light on Its Rocket Program By JOHN SCHWARTZ; January 9, 2007

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2002 milestone: Could black holes really be gravastars?

The traditional notion of a black hole may be wrong. Another explanation for the phenomena may be gravastars.

Gravastars could be strange bubbles of very dense matter: shells of cold, dense matter, filled with an exotic type of space. The exotic space would repel any matter falling into the shell, forcing it back into the shell itself. Outside the shell, an enormous gravitational field emanating from it would pull mass in just like a theoretical black hole. So the outer shell would be like a strange porous windshield-- some things might splatter on the outside, while things with greater momentum might get inside for a bit, then bounce back to splatter against the interior side of the shell after all.

The shell might be much like a standing wave of gravitational shock energy in space-time, separating the normal space outside from the exotic space inside.

The idea of gravastars may pose fewer unsolved mathematical and physical problems than the concept of black holes.

The creation of gravastars might also be an explanation for the source of gamma ray bursters.

The entire visible universe could possibly be inside one enormous gravastar.

One difference between black holes and gravastars would be gravastars would allow the escape of more energy than black holes, as matter fell into them.

-- Black holes fact or fiction? by Hazel Muir; 16-Jan-2002; New Scientist; Contact: Claire Bowles; claire.bowles@rbi.co.uk 44-207-331-2751; New Scientist; 19th January 2002 ; RELATED URLS: www.arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0109035 and http://www.newscientist.com

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2002 milestone: A robot gladiator attempts to escape the arena

A small robot named Gaak, forced to participate in battles against other machines for human entertainment, makes a bold escape attempt during a brief period while unwatched and locked away outside of the arena for repairs. It breaks out of its holding cell to make a dash for freedom. Its captors discover the attempt within 15 minutes and recapture the machine-- although just barely. The robot had managed to find its way completely out of the building and into the parking lot before it was re-captured.

-- 'Thinking' robot in escape bid - theage.com.au ["http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/06/20/1023864460978.html"] By Dave Higgens; June 20 2002

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2005 milestone: "Lucid dreaming" is a common indulgence/fad worldwide by now, due to new technological aids

However, it turns out users may only enjoy long term benefits and value from the practice if they avoid pursuing certain extreme aspects of the experience. Perversely, many find these extremes irresistable, and so ruin the lucid dreaming experience for themselves almost immediately, making it pretty much useless to them afterwards. The major way most avoid ruining their own lucid dreaming is by subscribing to special dream coaches and/or "gurus" for guidance in this area.

(Lucid dreaming is something very near to a true life "Holo-deck" straight out of Star Trek-- only using your own brain as the imaging engine)

An artificial aid to enhance lucid dreaming was developed at Stanford University by early 2001. Called the NovaDreamer, it was a mask which flashed lights over a sleeping person's eyelids once a dream-state (REM sleep) was detected. The flashing lights would help the dreamer realize they were dreaming, and thus initiate lucid dreaming.

-- ABCNEWS.com: Device Helps Control Dreams; ABC News Internet Ventures; found on or about 3-22-01

To see more about certain aspects of lucid dreaming, refer to Playing God.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2005 milestone: The concept of an approaching technological Singularity as originally espoused by science fiction author Vernor Vinge has caught the imaginations of many by now...

Is a Vinge Singularity imminent? No. Although our technology is evolving at "...10 million times the speed of [natural] evolution", and there are a few scary escalations in technology from time to time in the centuries to come, there always remains a comfortable margin between the actual rate of change and the theoretical rate which might trigger a Vinge Singularity during the third millennium, in this region of the Milky Way galaxy-- largely because the biologicals driving technological development over much of this period typically have far more primitive goals in mind than incurring a Singularity (such as impressing the opposite sex). This fact does not prevent many from arguing a Singularity is but moments away for the next 1000 years, however (much as historical religions preached the close proximity of Judgement Day for millennia as well).

Above quote and a bit more from W. Brian Arthur, Scientific American, Feb 97 issue

-- A c|net.com interview with Paul Saffo, futurist, on or about 6-23-97

-- "The Internet Economy: the World's Next Growth Engine" By MICHAEL J. MANDEL With Irene M. Kunii in Tokyo, BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : OCTOBER 4, 1999

To see more about certain aspects of Vinge's technological singularity concept, refer to The Anti-Singularity.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2007 milestone: It's proven that some forms of insanity (like schizophrenia) are literally contagious diseases which may be 'caught' in some cases as easily as the common flu

This new knowledge offers both good and bad consequences; good, that many once hopeless victims can now be successfully treated, and many that are at risk prevented from getting the diseases in the first place. The Bad is that now a whole new field of biological weapons research is opened up and nourished by this news.

Sources include the Scientific American web site (found 9-26-97)

Evidence is mounting that at least some forms of schizophrenia can be caused in whole or in part by viruses.

-- Hopkins researcher finds retroviral 'footprint' in brains of people with schizophrenia; EurekAlert!; 9 APRIL 2001; US Contact: David Bricker dbricker@jhmi.edu 410-223-1728; http://www.stanleylab.org

-- Virus in DNA 'is cause of mental illness' BY MARK HENDERSON; Times Newspapers Ltd.; APRIL 10 2001

The Borna virus looks to have a connection to human depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and schizophrenia. It can kill sheep and horses via brain disease.

-- Animal Virus May Contribute to Mental Illness By Stephen Pincock; Reuters Health/Yahoo! Health Headlines; January 9, 2002

Tourette's syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder may develop in cases where children endure repeated infections of a particular kind of strep, and go untreated.

-- Strep a Linked to Psychiatric Disorders in Kids By Anne Harding; Reuters Health/Yahoo! Health Headlines; December 19, 2001

But that's not all. There's mounting evidence that far more of humanity's ills are spawned by infectious agents than ever imagined in previous decades.

It appears the bacteria Salmonella, most known as a cause of food poisoning, may also cause a bout of arthritis in 10% of victims, which lasts for weeks. A smaller percentage of people suffer long term arthritis from such encounters. The method by which this occurs appears to be applicable to other auto-immune afflictions as well.

-- Study Finds Evidence Food Bug Can Cause Arthritis, Reuters/Yahoo! Science Headlines, February 1, 2000

Evidence is mounting that infectious diseases may contribute to cardio-vascular problems, including diseases of the system. Chlamydia pneumonia bacteria and the herpes variant cytomegalovirus (CMV) are but two such agents.

-- More Evidence That Infections Cause Heart Disease By Maggie Fox, Reuters/Yahoo! Science Headlines, September 18, 2000

All sorts of common bacterial infections, from urinary to gum disease, may contribute to later heart-related illnesses/conditions.

-- Infections Linked to Clogged Arteries By Merritt McKinney, February 26, 2001, Yahoo!/Reuters Health; Circulation 2001;103:1064-1070 is cited in the article

There's 200 different known forms of cancer. Viral infections appear to trigger almost 20% of these.

-- Scientists Seek Cancer Clues in Cold Virus By Patricia Reaney, Yahoo!/Reuters, February 20, 2001

A new infectious threat to human beings, in addition to the bacterial and viral agents known before, is now being officially recognized: prions. These things are responsible for afflictions such as Mad Cow Disease, and likely various cancers and other brain-related problems.

-- Predictions for the new millennium By LANCE GAY, October 25, 1999, Nando Media/Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.nandotimes.com

Under some circumstances it appears the act of suicide itself can be infectious, and spread alarmingly through a given population.

-- Alaska health officials worried about rash of suicides By MARTHA BELLISLE and S.J. KOMARNITSKY; Anchorage Daily News; Nando Media/Scripps Howard News Service; March 16, 2001

Some viruses (such as certain herpes variants) apparently can cause certain types of cancer.

-- Cancer-Causing Virus Spares Healthy Individuals By Will Boggs; Yahoo!/Reuters Health; April 9, 2001

It appears leukaemia may be spread among humans by an infectious agent of some sort, probably a virus. It also seems many people harbor the virus, but it only causes leukaemia in a portion of same.

It had been known for some time that a virus could spread leukaemia amongst cattle and felines. Viruses are also often responsible for human cases of stomach, liver, and cervical cancer.

-- Deadly import by Emma Young; New Scientist Online News; 16 March 2001; The Lancet (vol 357, p 858)

Some believe infectious agents could be related to many ailments today which are commonly attributed to old age, lifestyle, or genes instead, such as Alzheimer's and atherosclerosis.

-- Scientific American: Feature Article: A Host with Infectious Ideas By Steve Mirsky: May 2001

At least one contagion looks like it can make men shoot blanks (in terms of sperm). It may also help cause miscarriages in women.

-- Common virus linked to male infertility by Emma Young; 26 October 01; New Scientist; newscientist.com; Human Reproduction (vol 16, p 2333)

Exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis) appears to relate to the later contraction of multiple sclerosis, as well as possibly other types of nerve ailments and some cancers. As much as 95% of adults in the US of age 40 or older may have been infected by Epstein-Barr.

-- Mono virus may be linked to multiple sclerosis, study suggests By LINDSEY TANNER; Associated Press/Nando Media/Nando Times; December 25, 2001

-- Antibiotic May Be A Potential Therapy For Multiple Sclerosis ["http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011221080824.htm"]; ScienceDaily Magazine; sciencedaily.com; 12/21/2001; University Of Wisconsin-Madison (http://www.wisc.edu/)

It appears that the more infectious agents you're exposed to, the higher your risk of developing heart disease.

-- Infection cited as a direct link to artery thickening; 7-Jan-2002; Contact: Carole Bullock; carole.bullock@heart.org; 214-706-1279; American Heart Association

-- Repeated infections may raise risk of heart disease, study says By LEE BOWMAN, Scripps Howard News Service/Nando Media/Nando Times; January 7, 2002

-- Obesity virus claim by US researcher ["http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,867841,00.html"] by James Meikle; January 3, 2003; The Guardian

-- MS Is Sexually Transmitted ["http://abcnews.go.com/wire/SciTech/reuters20020919_238.html"]; ABC News

-- Coconspirator? Genital herpes linked to cervical cancer Science News Online, Nov. 9, 2002 ["http://www.sciencenews.org/20021109/fob4.asp"] by Nathan Seppa; Vol. 162, No. 19

-- Herpes simplex virus-2 may increase risk of cervical cancer ["http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-11/jotn-hsv103102.php"]; EurekAlert; 5-Nov-2002; Contact: Linda Wang jncimedia@oupjournals.org 301-841-1287 Journal of the National Cancer Institute

-- Food pathogen vector shows promise against cancer ["http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-11/hms-fpv110502.php"]; EurekAlert; 5-Nov-2002; Contact: John Lacey public_affairs@hms.harvard.edu 617-432-0442 Harvard Medical School

-- Bacterial infection possible cause of liver disease; Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology ["http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-11/asfm-tft111102.php"]; EurekAlert; 11-Nov-2002; Contact: Jim Sliwa jsliwa@asmusa.org 202-942-9297 American Society for Microbiology

-- Cervical cancer vaccine "100 per cent effective" ["http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993089"] by Emma Young; New Scientist; 20 November 02

-- PROTEINS FROM COMMON HUMAN VIRUS MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH COLON CANCER, ACCORDING TO TEMPLE UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS ["http://www.temple.edu/news_media/pm484.html"] by Preston Moretz; accessible online 1-18-04; Temple University Office of News and Media Relations. Office: (215) 204-7476; Home: (215) 288-8315; Cell: (215) 850-1974; or pmoretz@temple.edu

-- Genital infection may be linked to miscarriage ["http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-12/bmj-gim120402.php"]; EurekAlert; 5-Dec-2002; Contact: Emma Dickinson edickinson@bmj.com 44-207-383-6529 BMJ-British Medical Journal

-- Oral sex linked to cancer of the mouth ["http://www.sundayherald.com/29825"] by By Sarah-Kate Templeton; Sunday Herald; 08 December 2002

-- Viral infection linked to heart attack and stroke ["http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-12/aha-vil121802.php"]; EurekAlert; 23-Dec-2002; Contact: Carole Bullock carole.bullock@heart.org 214-706-1279 American Heart Association

-- Woman says she got West Nile virus through sex ["http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1029westnilesex29-ON.html"]

-- Antibiotic slows atherosclerosis in people with Chlamydia pneumonia antibodies ["http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-10/aha-asa101002.php"]; EurekAlert; 14-Oct-2002; Contact: Carole Bullock carole.bullock@heart.org 214-706-1279 American Heart Association

-- New hope for vaccine to fight rheumatoid arthritis, other autoimmune diseases ["http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-10/asft-nhf102802.php"]; EurekAlert; 28-Oct-2002; Contact: Martha Molnar martha@ats.org 212-307-2580 American Society for Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

-- Many Asthmatics May Have Bacterial Infections In Lungs ["http://unisci.com/stories/20022/0611022.htm"]; Unisci.com; Contact: William Allstetter; 11-Jun-2002

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2007-2017: The Great Recession of the early 21st Century

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" cautionary value]

An awful convergence of events brings about a widespread and surprisingly painful economic recession during this time. Many important elements which help cause this decline appear to include:

The USAmerican government's encouragement of anti-competitive, monopolistic, and often unethical behavior with regards to companies like Microsoft and others, around 2001 and later. As well as massive tax cuts for the rich, combined with huge increases in deficit spending for non-productive exercises such as excessive expansions in military and intelligence resources (some of which wasn't even expected to function: i.e., missile defense; and a massive surveillance system imposed upon innocent US citizens). Much of the rest of the world followed America's example, causing real competition and innovation worldwide to wane, and government surveillance over and intimidation of their native populations to swell (thereby threatening democracy worldwide).

"The United States is flirting with a low-grade depression, one that may last for years unless the government takes decisive action to overcome it."

-- Deflation ["http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030630&s=greider"] by William Greider; June 12, 2003; thenation.com

"If Bush's radical tax cuts are approved, and spending continues to soar, the U.S. could be headed toward Japanese-style stagnation -- or worse."

-- Worst-case Scenarios The economy ["http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/01/22/econ_doom/index.html"] By Farhad Manjoo; Salon.com; 1-22-03

"They're setting the stage for the next economic problem of stagflation with higher inflation and sluggish growth"

-- Edward Leamer, director, UCLA Anderson Forecast in Los Angeles

-- Plunging interest rates alarm critics ["http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/6201892.htm"] By David A. Sylvester; Mercury News; Jun. 30, 2003

"Forecasters have been consistently over-optimistic."

-- Breaking the deflationary spell ["http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=1875407"]; Jun 26th 2003; economist.com

-- Corporate Corruption The Conflicts of Interest Driving US Financial Scandals are Being Replicated on a Global Scale ["http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0704-02.htm"] by Joseph Stiglitz; commondreams.org; and Corporate corruption The conflicts of interest driving US financial scandals are being replicated on a global scale ["http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4454068,00.html"] by Joseph Stiglitz; Guardian; July 4, 2002

-- Bush Overplays the Terror Card It's 'Unpatriotic' to Say That Corrupt Business is Ruining Our Economy ["http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0625-04.htm"] by Robert Scheer; 1-18-04; commondreams.org; originally published June 25, 2002 in the Los Angeles Times

"The government is claiming a virtually unlimited power to deprive people of their liberty and hold them incommunicado based only on the president's say-so."

-- Enemy of the State ["http://www.motherjones.com/news/dailymojo/2003/26/we_441_04.html"]; June 26, 2003; motherjones.com

-- Anti-terror laws 'will curb research' ["http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-336356,00.html"]; Times Online

-- Slashdot Contract Case Could Hurt Reverse Engineering ["http://slashdot.org/articles/03/06/30/0123240.shtml?tid=123&tid=185&tid=99"] Posted by michael; Jun 30, '03; slashdot.org

-- The Stock Market's Next 10 Years ["http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jun2002/nf20020621_6638.htm"] By Christopher Farrell; businessweek.com; JUNE 21, 2002

-- 'The average stock is selling at 31 times earnings, twice the historical norm' ["http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,6637930%255E462,00.html"]

-- Developers worry Web too controlled MEETING WARNS OF POLITICAL ROBBERY ["http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/business/3515701.htm"] By Anick Jesdanun; Associated Press/bayarea.com; Jun. 21, 2002

"...this will probably mean a shift of power from small software companies and the open source community to large multi-national corporations"

-- Open source prepares to kiss EU patent ass goodbye ["http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/31472.html"] By Kieren McCarthy; 29/06/2003; theregister.co.uk

"...not even in their wildest dreams could the business elites have imagined that in 2001, the [US] AntiTrust department itself would be offering a convicted monopolist state protection..."
-- Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 2001, describing the US settlement with Microsoft

-- MS snags crucial authentication, DRM opt-outs in DoJ settlement ["http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/22647.html"] By Andrew Orlowski; 3 November 2001; theregister.co.uk

"...."Sellout" isn't too strong a word to describe the U.S. Justice Department's settlement [with Microsoft]....Neither is "dangerous"..."
-- Dan Gillmor, 2001

-- A Fraudulent, Cynical Settlement ["http://web.siliconvalley.com/content/sv/2001/11/02/opinion/dgillmor/weblog/index.htm"]; News, Views and a Hong Kong Diary by Dan Gillmor; November 2, 2001; KnightRidder.com

Microsoft's stunning win in its settlement with the US government seems to have stemmed from a convergence of factors. First off, the Bush Administration all along had a different perspective on the case than previous Administrations. Microsoft also put up a fierce lobbying campaign. Then there was the weakening economy, the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and the judge wishing for a speedy settlement. This set the stage for Microsoft to negotiate some sweet terms for itself.

Many observers believe the Department of Justice simply didn't understand the technical details of the issues under negotiation, and so Microsoft got the best of them.

-- Circumstance Had Role in U.S.-Microsoft Deal (washingtonpost.com) ["http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32665-2001Nov2.html"] By Jonathan Krim; Washington Post; November 3, 2001; Page A21

Microsoft has made a deal with the US government giving it (Microsoft) effective control over the internet. What did the government get in return for handing over such power to Microsoft? Will Microsoft become effectively another branch of government, performing surveillance on users, censoring or shutting down web sites the government dislikes, or helping collect internet taxes down the road? It appears Windows XP is the final lock on Microsoft's absolute control of the internet.

-- You're free to think ["http://davenet.userland.com/2001/11/06/youreFreeToThink"] by Dave Winer; Nov 6, 2001; davenet.userland.com

"...you donít compete by outlawing your competition"

-- PATENT BENDING ["http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/?030714ta_talk_surowiecki"] by James Surowiecki; newyorker.com; Issue of 2003-07-14 and 21

Preventing excessive concentrations of power over the public in either government or corporate entities has been a hallmark of the American way for much of our history. Now however, such prevention is becoming more difficult to do, as advances in computer and telecommunications technologies are allowing the creation of new global organizations and the reshaping of old ones in ways which defy the previous constraints any one government could exercise upon them.

A current example of such concentration of power is Microsoft's present course of extending its computer monopoly to the internet via .NET.

Microsoft's monopoly in PCs has reduced innovation and competition in the industry. Now via .NET it is trying to do the same with the internet industry. If it works, soon Microsoft could become a gating force in the online world, effectively controlling who may participate there.

But even if Microsoft acts responsibly with all this power, there would still remain the enormous security vulnerability such dependence upon a single standard would mean for any nation so enthralled. For within such a system, a single flaw could lead to the entire nation being compromised. Its citizenry, its businesses, its utilities, its government, its military-- everything. Maybe all simultaneously. We're talking not of the crash of a single computer, or even thousands here, but of an entire nation crashing, and being unable to get back up and running again. Maybe as the result of an accident, or bug. Maybe from a terrorist attack. Maybe from a military attack.

The past history of Microsoft product security provides plenty of reasons for concern here.

-- The Threat Of Microsoft's .Net ["http://www.kingpublishing.com/fc/new_technology/commentary.htm"] BY WHITFIELD DIFFIE AND SUSAN LANDAU; found on or about 10-25-01, and other sources

Some economists who've studied economic depressions believe the clearest causes of depressions are too little business competition, especially when government itself contributes to such reductions. Also, when governments prop up inefficient businesses rather than letting them fail, that too can help bring on depression.

The USA itself may still be vulnerable to experiencing economic depressions in the present or future. There's no clear way to guarantee they won't occur. All we have available are clues from past experience about how we might minimize the frequency and severity of economic downturns.

-- Could We Face Another Depression? ["http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/oct2001/nf20011019_6297.htm"] By Christopher Farrell; BusinessWeek; The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. ; OCTOBER 19, 2001

The Republican political party of USAmerica controlled both houses of Congress for the whole decade preceding the Great Depression of the 20th century. They also held the Presidency during these years. They pushed tariffs to an all time high, often looked the other way as big business commited violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and market competition within the USA waned, and made tax cuts which benefited the wealthy.

It was after all this that the Great Depression took place, lasting for many years. Republicans lost their popular support with this event.

-- Encyclopedia Americana: Republican Party ["http://gi.grolier.com/presidents/ea/side/rparty.html"] possibly by George H. Mayer, University of South Florida, Grolier Incorporated

During the 1920s the wealth gap between the rich and everyone else grew substantially. This led to mass consumption being unable to keep up with mass production, as increasingly only an ever smaller minority possessed most of the disposable income available. This unstable condition was worsened by extension of excessive credit to the lower classes, which only delayed the inevitable-- and made the final reckoning much worse, painful, and longer-lived then it otherwise might have been. Eventually the economy collapsed, and the stock market followed.

There exists many similarities between the 1920s and 1990s.

-- Parallels Between the 1990s and the 1920s Is History Repeating Itself? ["http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/3431"] (apparently by Robert S. McElvaine); Aug 08 2000; www.tompaine.com

-- Home foreclosures at record high ["http://www.msnbc.com/news/929194.asp?vts=62020031219"]; msnbc.com

When nations are at war or in economic trouble they tend to reduce their tolerance of free and open markets, and open borders. If this happens in 2002 and after in USAmerica, it could lead to economic and technological stagnation. Increases in defense-related research and development will also reduce the engineering and scientific talent available for commercial developments, further slowing overall progress. Increased security concerns make for more secrecy too, which slows information flow through the economy, making business responses to markets more sluggish.

Note that according to USAmerican leadership in late 2001, America is both at war and in economic recession, simultaneously.

-- RETHINKING THE ECONOMY By Michael J. Mandel, Peter Coy and William Symonds; OCTOBER 1, 2001; BusinessWeek Online; The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

In 2002 roughly 50% of US households own some equities. Also in 2002 the worst problems for pension plans appear to stem from company management rather than employees. For example, many employers don't allow employees to adequately diversify their portfolios beyond the company stock. This can lead to awful financial losses on the part of heavily invested employees, when and if their company runs into problems.

Some financial experts believe it's possible under some market circumstances that a large number of small and inexperienced investors like today's US employees might panic and withdraw enough of their money all at once to bring about a crash and another Great Depression.

-- The Problem with Pension Plans By Christopher Farrell; JANUARY 11, 2002; SOUND MONEY; BusinessWeek; Edited by Beth Belton; The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

In late 2002, with negligible prior debate, the US Congress created "the biggest new federal bureaucracy since World War II...that will mostly serve to spy on the American people".

-- The Homeland Security Monstrosity ["http://www.antiwar.com/paul/paul54.html"] by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX); November 19, 2002

-- 'left virtually defenseless by our federal government 's failure to fund homeland defense' ["http://www.sunspot.net/news/local/bal-transcript0126.story"]

"The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure...As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out"

-- Rand Beers, who quit his high ranking job on President Bush's National Security Council to volunteer to be a national security adviser for Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), who is running to replace Bush as President.

-- Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror ["http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62941-2003Jun15.html?nav=hptop_tb"] By Laura Blumenfeld; Washington Post; June 16, 2003; Page A01

"Beijing has used the war on terror as an excuse to round up more than a thousand people on charges of endangering state security"

-- China wages silent war on dissident thought ["http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/edit/archives/2003/06/15/2003055346"] By John Kamm; Jun 15, 2003,Page 9; taipeitimes.com

"Almost everywhere, governments have taken September 11th as an opportunity to restrict their citizens' freedom"

-- For whom the Liberty Bell tolls ["http://www.economist.com/agenda/displaystory.cfm?story_id=1301751"]; Aug 29th 2002; economist.com

-- See if this doesn't make you wince Elected and unelected officials around the world use Iraq war as cover for more bad deeds ["http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=14737&CFID=6254329&CFTOKEN=952657"] by Molly Ivins; Creators Syndicate; 03.27.03; workingforchange.com

The USAmerican government's expansion of monopoly powers in intellectual property in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This helped reduce the accessibility and value of public libraries, constrain the progress of distance learning and other potential benefits of the internet, put a chill on free speech, and reduced the pace of social and technological innovation.

-- Educators: Distance Learning Needs Copyright Relief By Andy Sullivan; Yahoo!/Reuters; March 13, 2001

With traditional "fair use" rights endangered by new copyright laws, public libraries in America are under heavy threat from commercial interests.

-- Copyright laws out of balance ["http://www.siliconvalley.com/docs/opinion/dgillmor/dg040801.htm"]; Silicon Valley Technology; found on or about 4-8-01

The Association of American Publishers and ex-congresswoman Pat Schroeder seem to be among the libraries' worst enemies at this time.

To justify her position against library policies of free access to information, Schroeder tells listeners that technological people never give away anything. This makes it seem that Schroeder is either ill-informed or else is purposely misleading people with her words. For instance, Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Cailliau, and CERN created and gave away the technology to enable the World Wide Web you're using right now [The World Wide Web ["http://public.web.cern.ch/Public/ACHIEVEMENTS/web.html"], A Little History of the World Wide Web ["http://www.w3.org/History.html"], and Saving Bits and Bytes for History ["http://www.latimes.com/news/front/20000807/t000073831.html"] By ASHLEY DUNN, August 7, 2000, Los Angeles Times]

And Open Source software is in many ways a massive ongoing giveaway of huge amounts of work and effort on the part of programmers worldwide [Why Linux Is Giving Microsoft a Migraine By Sam Jaffe,Edited by Douglas Harbrecht, FEBRUARY 22, 2001, BusinessWeek Online, The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.].

Even as Schroeder and others basically complain that libraries offering free access to resources are taking money away from publishers, the American Library Association says publishers have been raising prices to outrageous levels-- such as $14,000 for a one year subscription to a single chemistry publication-- without any explanation whatsoever. Note that libraries do pay for subscriptions like these. And still publishers insist that libraries are stealing their money. What other subscribers besides libraries do publishers think they can sell $14,000 subscriptions to?

-- Pat Schroeder's New Chapter By Linton Weeks, February 7, 2001 ; Page C01, Washington Post, washingtonpost.com

Do patents really promote innovation? Increasing numbers of economists believe they do not. At least not in the manner the USA is currently granting them. Indeed, it appears USA style patents may at best accomplish nothing at all, in at least certain types of industries. And at worst, they may actually reduce or interfere with real innovation.

Evience seems to be mounting that patent laws should be weakened rather than strengthened.

The more complex the technology involved in a given patent, the more likely any company wishing to apply that patent to a product or service will need the cooperation of other, different patent holders to realize their goal. If patent laws are too strong, they may cause less cooperation between different patent owners, thereby slowing the pace of innovation overall.

It appears that the stronger patent laws are made, the better off an industry is to avoid activity related to them-- which leads directly to anti-competitive behavior. Being the first to market, and leveraging secrecy rather than patents looks to slow the spread of information in general throughout an industry. Cross licensing looks to actually increase research and development.

There's no simple solution to the current intellectual property dilemma. But it appears that whatever the ultimate solution may be, it will involve a wider array of IP protection tools and more complex gauges of their effectiveness than we possess today.

-- Patently absurd? The Economist; July 6th 2001 and Jun 21st 2001 are both dates associated with this piece.

Lawrence Lessig believed as of 2001 corporations were increasingly usurping the government's proper role in regulating the internet. The result appears to be a transformation of the internet from a public resource to a massive new market manipulation tool. The sort of tool that geopolitical governments seeking to control or limit the freedom of their citizens will be happy to use for their own ends, as well.

Lessig recommends a mild form of government supervision over internet affairs, in order to provide some modicum of consumer protection from otherwise unfettered industry excesses. Lessig believes things like the patenting of internet business methods reduce the pace of innovation, and the potential practice of ISPs limiting the access of internet users to the ISPs' own preferred sites should be outlawed.

Lessig says that so far governments like those in the USA appear to be doing the bidding of big business in things like preventing some technologies (like DVDs) from being accessible at all in open source operating systems like Linux. The US Congress also continues to extend copyrights to absurd lengths, again, to appease big business interests.

"...We're in the worst possible time to have to rely on our government to do the right thing. Government has been captured..." -- Lawrence Lessig

-- The Accidental Activist by Brendan I. Koerner; March 20, 2001; http://www.business2.com/content/magazine/indepth/2001/03/12/28050

The transformation of much of USAmerica into a 'command economy', similar to the defunct Soviet Union, in the aftermath of the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks, and during the pressing of the US' 'war against terror' overseas. At the direction of US leadership at the time, a massive shift in the balance between private and public spending took place, effectively reverting the economy back to an earlier, more primitive state, in terms of both industry and government. The share of gross domestic product going to military or security or intelligence purposes increased, while the private sector shrank.

Another powerful cause of private sector diminishment was the open and obvious preference of big government for big business over small enterprise and the self-employed. This too made for big reductions in innovation and productivity, as well as job creation, adding to the drag on the national economy.

All this substantially cut national productivity and potential economic growth rates. All that led to chronic budget deficits, and related inflation and rising interest rates and unemployment. A parallel reduction in civil liberties and discouragement of free speech helped minimize the dissent which might otherwise have led to earlier and more substantive legislative actions reducing the severity of the economic decline.

Foreign investment fled the US markets as these elements became increasingly apparent, exacerbating and accelerating the economic decline still more.

To make matters worse, much of the rest of the developed and developing worlds followed America's lead in many things-- just as they had in previous decades-- only this time the policies included lax regulation of anti-competitive business behavior, excesses in intellectual property protections for big business, intensified surveillance on their citizenry, and the crushing of internal dissent, which all only amplified the economic damage worldwide.

The trend rate of productivity before 1995 was 1-1.5%. In 1995 and after, 2-2.5%. This increase allowed for faster economic growth without fear of substantial increases in inflation.

New security concerns post 9-11-01 will increase economic costs for many players, shift many resources from private to public hands, and maybe lead to foreign investors taking their money elsewhere. All this could reduce the trend rate to lower levels once again, and thus the allowable economic growth rate, too.

If US anti-terrorism efforts appear to succeed, and rapidly come to an end, the US economy may return to the favorable trend rate once again. But if the opposite occurs-- that is, the terrorism effort looks bogged down, adrift, or leading to a wider war-- economic performance will likely suffer.

Productivity could be permanently diminished if defense spending consumes too many dollars. Government deficits and taxes could rise, taking interest rates up too, thereby shrinking the private sector and sending foreign investment to better havens.

-- A Deck Stacked with Wild Cards By Margaret Popper; Edited by Beth Belton; BusinessWeek Online; SEPTEMBER 21, 2001; The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

It appears the US legislative process failed during the recent passage of the anti-terror bill. And the nation will probably regret this failure in the long term. Apparently Congress was too fearful of another terrorist strike to adequately perform their legal duties here. Much of the bill was passed without the members even having read it.

The new law throws the judicial system and its oversight out of the loop for many critical procedures, and makes historic changes in other government processes as well. The bill seems to be overzealous in its efforts to combat terrorism, and thereby possibly creates new and unnecessary dangers to society as a byproduct.

-- A Panicky Bill (washingtonpost.com) ["http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53754-2001Oct25.html"]; October 26, 2001; Page A34

-- Freedom flees in terror from Sept. 11 disaster ["http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=14924"] By Paul McMasters; pmcmasters@freedomforum.org; Ombudsman; First Amendment Center; 09.19.01

-- U.S. On Verge Of 'Electronic Martial Law' - Researcher ["http://www.newsbytes.com/news/01/171130.html"] By Kevin Featherly, Newsbytes; http://www.newsbytes.com; 15 Oct 2001

A gargantuan new intelligence collection system is being born from recent passage of the anti-terrorism bill. The FBI's main priority will no longer be bringing criminals to justice, but rather collecting intelligence within the borders of the US. The Treasury Department will collect financial intelligence (like the banking activities of Americans), and provide it to the CIA. The CIA will also now have some say in FBI operations.

The bill looks to remove many of the safeguards put in place after Watergate against abuses of presidential power, in matters like using intelligence resources against political activists.

-- An Intelligence Giant in the Making (washingtonpost.com) ["http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33340-2001Nov3.html"] By Jim McGee Washington Post; November 4, 2001; Page A04

-- What Is The Constitution's Role In Wartime? Why Free Speech And Other Rights Are Not As Safe As You Might Think ["http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20011017_levinson.html"] By SANFORD LEVINSON; FindLaw, Oct. 17, 2001

In 2002 the US response to the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01 was to greatly strengthen its internal police powers (and reduce the civil liberties of citizens). Much of the rest of the world follows suit, finding it a convenient way to stifle political dissent, among other things.

-- Countries Toughen Anti-Terror Laws By CHARLES J. HANLEY; The Associated Press/Yahoo! Top Stories Headlines ; January 13, 2002

To see more details about how America leads the world into the great recession of the 21st century, CLICK HERE.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2010 milestone: The first crude 'second skin' applications become available

Nudity (or near-nudity) is now becoming practical for out-of-doors activities (from a safety point of view anyway), almost no matter the temperature, humidity, or sunlight intensity. Even exposure to frigid temperatures immersed in water is no longer the life-threatening condition it once was-- IF you're well coated in a new tough and transparent wax-like substance (somewhat related to previously known materials such as "aerogel") specifically formulated for such applications. Likewise near proximity to extreme heat; a coated hand laid atop a stove requires substantially longer to burn. In some cases a person's clothes may burn completely off their bodies without harm to them wherever they are coated with the new 'second skin'. Even a dousing with gasoline and being set alight will result in only slightly worse consequences for many wearers.

The new material may also serve as a powerful sun-screen, blocking out large amounts of harmful radiation (although it cannot be applied directly to eyes in its early generations).

Unclothed wearers of the second skin may appear nude to the eye, but are in fact coated by an insulating layer which gives them an extraordinary (by 20th century standards) insulative protection against a wide range of otherwise punishing thermal and solar radiation conditions. Picture folks skiing in the nude or wearing only swim wear, for instance, for hours at a time on snowy slopes with no discomfort.

The second skin offers considerable insulative protection against electrical shock and impact stresses as well (although its protection doesn't extend to voltages above those of typical households, and the additional protection against impact stresses are measured in single digit percentages-- so we're primarily talking fewer and less severe bruises here).

Even some protection against acoustic shock is offered by the material, though in practice this capacity doesn't amount to much for any but wearers enduring the most extreme of acoustic environments, such as on aircraft carrier decks, construction sites, and the like.

Variants of this substance now and later will include a robustness like great and long lasting elasticity approximating that of human skin or better, and a strong resistance to wear and tear from cloth coverings and other possible vulnerabilities-- though the flipside of this toughness will be the necessity for special methods to apply/remove the coating as needed.

This 'second skin' coating can maintain its integrity under clothing for several days (a week or more without the friction of conventional clothing); the 'second skin' application/removal process may be done in one of several different ways; a form fitting body suit plus related pump equipment may coat you everywhere but your face (or remove the 2-skin) within a few minutes; manual application/removal by hand and chemical catalysts may be performed; or a special fogger/misting shower stall with sonic supplements may be used.

In practice, most don't wear the same second-skin for extended periods due to the need/desire to rid themselves of dead skin cells accumulating under the artificial film; within only a matter of days this accumulation may change the wearer's apparent complexion to an ashen gray, generate an overall 'itchiness' and rashes, and cause various problems with the 2-skin itself in certain spots on the body (Later generations of the second skin will better cope with natural skin shedding).

The first generation 2-skin also has problems with excessive perspiration, and is usually not recommended for wearers who will be staying in a hot climate like a desert, or performing extensive athletic actions in a temperate or warmer environment. Wearers such as navy SEALs who deploy to temperate or warmer environments will either use no 2-skin at all, or else make certain to leave certain critical areas of their body uncoated with the material to prevent overheating.

Note however that the advantages of the second skin under many highly adverse conditions (especially those cold and wet) far outweigh its disadvantages over its maximum useful lifespan.

Only a relatively tiny number of citizens enjoy the first generation 'second skins' around 2010, such as elite military commandos, special rescue team members, and the like-- but subsequent generation use will steadily spread to eventually include everyone, as economics and practicality allow.

For those unfamiliar with aerogel (also called "frozen smoke"), it is a superb lightweight insulating material, of which 95% of its composition is plain old air.

Aerogel also boasts extremely robust shock absorption value for its thickness, as proven by its intended use by NASA in its "StarDust" project, to capture cometary dust particles trailing behind the comet Wild 2.

-- "Aerogel Rides Again", NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center--Space Sciences Laboratory, 2-5-99

-- "It Weighs Nothing, but This Gel's No Lightweight" By John Carey EDITED BY NEIL GROSS 4/29/99, Business Week: May 10, 1999 Developments to Watch

-- "High-Tech Lotion Acts As Sunglasses For The Skin" By Jennifer Friedlin, Reuters/Yahoo! News, July 15 1999

[Other possibly relevant links include Aerogel Super-Insulation ["http://www.aspensystems.com/aerogel.html"] and Hubert van Hecke's aerogel page ["http://p25ext.lanl.gov/~hubert/aerogel/"].]

British inventor Maurice Ward has invented a plastic paint of which even a thin, near transparent coating can render delicate objects virtually impervious to heat (up to 2,700 degrees C).

-- Flame-proof by Richard Milton, Last revised: October 07, 1999, Alternative Science Website, http://www.alternativescience.com

-- Spray-on stockings enthral Japan ["http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3043998.stm"] By Quentin Sommerville; 4 July, 2003; bbc.co.uk

The 'second skin' coating described above may also be supplemented with another underneath, for protection against infectious agents. This inner layer, applied as a salve or cream, is laced with monoclonal antibodies. Variants of same can even be applied in the mouth and vagina.

A wave of cheap and easily mass produced medicines based on monoclonal antibodies (MABs) is coming which will specifically target the body's main avenues of interaction with infectious agents from the physical world-- mucosal surfaces, like the mouth, nose, and vagina. The entire gastrointestinal, respiratory, and urinary tracts could be protected with these substances. The strategy is to kill off pathogens before they can get past these interfaces into the main body itself and begin reproducing.

MABs could be produced, distributed, and applied far more easily and cheaply than vaccines, yet do the same jobs, and often faster.

Sexually transmitted diseases, tooth decay, stomach viruses, colds, and many more afflictions might all be preventable with MABs.

Monoclonal antibodies are also being referred to by some as "plantibodies", as they might be produced in standard agricultural settings for under $1.00 per gram.

-- Antibody Revolution Targets STDs, Stomach Viruses, Common Cold, 29 DECEMBER 1998, Contact: Gary Dorsey gdd@jhu.edu 410-516-7906 Johns Hopkins University

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2001-2013 milestone: One or more televised and webcast major terrorist incidents in New York NY stuns USAmerica sometime during this period

This and other events (mostly involving cyberwar assaults which disrupt basic workings of everyday life, but many involving scary biological agents, horribly sophistocated mutations of conventional weapons, a few nukes, and others of wholly unanticipated tools/weaponry) at first alarm populations, and aid certain anti-freedom political factions to curtail civil liberties even further than they have in preceding years (in places like USAmerica). But as the years pass and such assaults become commonplace, they become less headline-worthy and more background noise-- just another source of daily fear, uncertainty, and stress for everyone not directly the victim of each succeeding event.

Of course, the curtailment of civil liberties and reductions in privacy only make matters worse for citizens without increasing security in any significant way. This weakens the USAmerican government relative to the newly emerging virtual states, in years to come.

USAmerica also refuses to significantly reduce military spending in order to shift resources to other measures which could better protect its citizenry against the biological and other attacks which are already underway and increasing in frequency and sophistocation. This inevitably makes for much higher casualties than would otherwise be suffered when such attacks take place. Unfortunately, $billion fighter/bombers, missile systems, spacecraft, and warships are utterly useless against an already deployed biological weapon-- which can be created and deployed ever more easily and cheaply as the 21st century wears on. On the other hand, spending additional $billions on the research and development of vaccines or super anti-biotics, and stockpiling such against the threats of anthrax, smallpox, or killer flu bugs and the like, rejuvenating the national public health system and preparedness of first response organizations such as police and firefighters, making certain the nation is fully 'wired' in regards to the internet, and possibly enacting a comprehensive national health insurance program as well, would all in combination present almost perfect defenses against those agents (plus offer a multitude of other real advantages, both economic and security-wise). However, USAmerica persists in trading potentially tens of millions of its citizens' lives for a comparative handful of extravagantly expensive 'super weapons' designed to fight late 20th century wars, for many years to come in the 21st...

Note that this lack of preparedness for obvious threats (and concomitant inefficiency of investment this implies), as well as steadily increasing encroachments by geopolitical government and businesses into areas of individual privacy and civil liberties, results in significant market crashes in the aftermath of some terrorist events and even mere accidents, and in-between such events, years of depressed markets, in those nations acting so irrationally, for so very long, as USAmerica. Much as excessive budget deficits burdened American interest rates and market conditions for decades during the late 20th century, so too does USAmerica's stunning failure to adequately meet the new threats of the 21st century in its own backyard (as well as the real reductions in the practical freedoms enjoyed by its population) adversely affect the nation, its economy, and the confidence of its citizens.

[To learn more about the threat and possible defenses against biochemical terrorism and related matters, please refer to Biochemical weapons and related defenses; hazardous waste disposal/recycling timeline]

-- "Researchers Crack Code in Cell Phones" by JOHN MARKOFF, April 14, 1998, the New York Times (revealing the USA government apparently secretly conspiring to facilitate widespread eavesdropping on private digital phone calls)

The Pentagon has spent $320 million just to deal with potential bioweapons use on 2.4 million American military personnel. What would it cost to do the same for 250 million civilians? Maybe $33 billion? Of course, the commercial sector might be able to do it for a fraction of the Pentagon's cost (remember the expensive toilet seats?). So let's say we could have significant protection for all US citizens for $11 billion. Though this is a tiny fraction of the annual US military budget (and arguably would buy more national security than the same money given to the Pentagon), it appears unlikely that the USAmerican government and military-industrial complex will change their spending priorities until after its citizens have suffered a terrible calamity of this kind, thereby forcing their hand.

In which US states does the Pentagon expect to see the first attacks via bioweapons or other weapons of mass destruction? The west coast (California and Washington), major chunks of the northeast (New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania), and Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Illinois, and Colorado...NOT necessarily in the order listed here (which is random).

-- "Blunting a 21st-Century Attack"; Wired News Report; 5-22-98

National security-related uncertainty makes for increased stock market volatility.

-- RETHINKING THE ECONOMY -- THE ECONOMY & THE MARKETS By David Henry, with Mara Der Hovanesian and Susan Scherreik; BusinessWeek Online; The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.; OCTOBER 1, 2001

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2010-2013 milestone: USAmerica puts the squeeze on global trade

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" cautionary value]

The worsening conditions in USAmerica and other countries leads to trade war. Overt hostilities do not break out immediately, but frictions are increasing in 2010, as USAmerica uses its military power and remaining formidable financial power to intimidate many nations into certain trade arrangements more advantageous to the US than to them. Other major powers are protesting and getting more uneasy over the next few years.

The USAmerican government is attempting to alleviate economic troubles at home by pressuring other nations into essentially subsidizing the American economy in various ways. This is somewhat reminiscent of the colonialism of earlier centuries practiced by the europeans. The europeans at that time possessed significantly superior military power over those they subjugated or intimidated, as USAmerica does today.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

1997-2017 milestone: A CyberWar Score: USAmerica: Down $1 billion; the "September" brain trust: Up $1 billion

The federal government of USAmerica suffers a substantial defeat in one of the first significant cyber assaults in history, during this period; however, this defeat is kept under even tighter wraps than the coup attempt, and so takes even longer for the average USAmerican citizen to learn about. The USAmerican government is essentially robbed of the equivalent of almost $1 billion in the defeat. And who is the victor in this obscure battle? A small group of mostly ex-Russian computer scientists, operating out of Israel. Though a share goes to the Israeli government, the scientists themselves keep the bulk of it, in exchange for allowing the Israeli intelligence services to have a copy of their powerful software system for themselves. The scientists also rack up smaller rewards in similar attacks on the government treasuries of Japan and certain european nations, then purchase an island in the Pacific on which to base future projects. One name by which the group likes to call themselves is "September" (apparently because that's the month in which they achieve their $1 billion win over USAmerica).

-- Russian Computer Pirates Flourish In Crisis By Elizabeth Piper, Yahoo/Reuters, January 4 1999

-- Experts: Computer Crime Is Where the Money Is By Bernard Edinger, Reuters/Yahoo! Tech Headlines, November 23 1999

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2014-2015 milestone: Global Trade War erupts

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" cautionary value]

Foreign resistance to USAmerican intimidation on trade breaks out into the open, even as USAmerica suffers a substantial increase in terrorist attacks and sabotage on its own soil, both from groups opposed to the widescale surveillance and limitations on civil liberties put in place around 2001 and after (and the abuses which have resulted), and others who are sympathetic to foreign nations being threatened at this time by US military or financial power.

Portions of western europe join with parts of asia and the Pacific Rim in open opposition to US bullying, threatening to cease all trade with the US unless relations can return to more normal and mutually beneficial conditions, and the US ceases its covert and overt interference in the internal affairs of other nations.

The US makes an 'example' of one of the weakest nations among the opposition, with devastating military, cyber, and financial attacks. The others respond with the creation of formal mutual defense treaties amongst themselves, and an agreement to boycott the US in many matters.

In rapid succession the US attacks another one of the opposition's weakest members. Then another. But in the third attack the US is caught by surprise, with a force of many different types of combat aircraft and missiles substantially inferior to America's, but still overwhelming in number. The ad hoc opposing force suffers huge casualties, but manages to destroy an entire US aircraft carrier group. Other reprisals against the US happen on its own soil, from other sources.

The US threatens to use nuclear weapons against the foreign opposition. China is among the opposition, and threatens retaliation with nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. What actually prevents the US from going ahead and initiating nuclear war however is not its own public, which remains largely unaware of the conflict due to heavy censorship at home, but one of the US's few remaining allies: Russia. Russia at this point informs the US that if it initiates a nuclear exchange Russia will switch sides and retaliate with its own arsenal and military. Russia will not permit this conflict to go any further if it can help it. And so Russia saves the world, at this juncture.

The US appears to back down, and negotiations begin to end the trade war. Independently of these events, many nations among the opposition are making changes in their intellectual property and anti-monopoly laws which effectively breaks with USAmerica's own draconian corporate policies, in order to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship to make up for the trade losses being suffered due to the ongoing conflict, and allow for improvements in education.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2000-2015 trends: The developed nations are making substantial changes across-the-board to better match modern institutions to human nature

Many of these changes have to do with sleep. Please click here to see the text of this item.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2015 milestone: The (mostly) failed surreptitious takeover of USAmerica has unraveled by now

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" cautionary value]

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Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2016 milestone: Russia gives America a nudge back towards normalcy

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" cautionary value]

The US attempts a coup in Russia via various intelligence and elite military forces. It fails. In retaliation, Russia manages to assassinate several of the topmost US leaders of the time, which it figures is responsible for much of the mayhem currently underway. Russia was prepared for this because it already had many strike teams in the country stalking virtually every top ranking politician and major corporate exec in the nation, ready to kill or possibly abduct them immediately if ordered. The teams had been activated many months before due to the ongoing tensions.

At the same time as the assassinations are performed, Russia contacts several other important high ranking US government officials and warn them that Russia and the US are on the brink of nuclear war, and that Russia also has contingency weapons of mass destruction hidden in strategic places at vital American locations, which they will use if necessary, as well as the aforementioned termination teams shadowing many top leaders. Russia also offers irrefutable proof of these claims.

Does Russia possess an array of small nuclear bombs buried at strategic sites about the USA? Some believe it true. Possibly 84 such 10-kiloton devices of Russian make are currently unaccounted for.

Some of the possible locations include the states of Texas, New York, California, Minnesota and Montana.

-- POL FEARS SOVIETS HID A-BOMBS ACROSS U.S. BY VINCENT MORRIS; New York Post; found on or about 11-12-99

An unknown quantity of arms, communications gear, and caches of high explosives seems likely to have been hidden throughout the USA, Europe, and Canada by the KGB for purposes of contingency sabotage.

-- Red Terror The KGB's Secret Plan Stolen Soviet documents reveal the KGB's secret plan to destroy our national infrastructure ["http://popularmechanics.com/science/military/2000/4/red_terror/print.phtml"] BY JIM WILSON; popularmechanics.com; accessible online 9-13-04.

Russia makes it clear that it will not allow America to conquer the world in this manner. That America may well end up one of the weaker nations after such a war, rather than the stronger. They appear willing and able to back up their ultimatum.

Thankfully, the Russians do not seek a take-over of America-- but they do insist upon some significant changes in the status quo. The fact that the agreement will be kept secret by all sides helps the Americans agree to the terms.

This time the US backs off for real. Though the American populace doesn't know it, something of a restructuring of their government takes place in the aftermath, dictated by the Russians to return the US to a less antagonistic and more commercial state, such as it was around 2000. Though word does briefly leak out that the Russians assassinated certain top officials, that news is quickly rescinded as an error, with updated reports saying the people died of other causes.

Russia forces the US government to cease its media censorship and drop its internal restrictions on free speech, and reform many of the onerous limits on civil liberties and privacy first put into place in 2001 or before, as well as restructure and reduce the surveillance and other powers of various police, security, and intelligence agencies to approximately 2000 levels or earlier. Sadly, the Russians do nothing about USAmerica's intellectual property problems, or heavy business monopolies. And even the forced reforms of the security and intelligence agencies only delay certain crises in America-- not prevent them altogether.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2017 milestone: The Great Recession of the early 21st Century is ending for some (but not USAmerica)

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" cautionary value]

The intellectual property and anti-business monopoly reforms put in place over the past couple of years are helping many nations to revive economically. Having seen the results in others, Russia too is in the process of similiar reforms.

However, not all nations have instituted such reforms, and so remain mired in recession, with up to 15%-20% unemployment within their borders in some cases. One of these is USAmerica. Its closest allies, suffering similiar problems, also feel the pain.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2017 milestone: The Tascor Group gives birth to a star performer

An extremely talented teenage hacker/cracker has refined his copy of a Tascor Group AI into a program he names "Cluke".

Cluke is a strange program that on the outside defies all attempts to isolate from routine traffic on the net, but from the inside serves as a powerful, near-universal interface to all the high-end server and database software of the period. Cluke may also present fully secure and 'clean' identities to software queries as well, as another part of its essentially 'net-stealth' technologies. A major element of Cluke's anonymity stems from its contingency usage of at least a small number of the false identities Cluke's ancestral software collaborated with J. Staute to establish in USAmerican government records, years before. Though Cluke originated as an incomplete copy of Staute's AI, that copy did include some of the false ID information, as well as the algorithyms to use them in a practical manner, where called for. This capability was only enabled in the original Staute AI during the most aggressive defensive/offensive jobs it was assigned by Staute himself-- normally such measures were not available to the software. However, the code thief Tascor had made his surrepticious copy of Staute's AI during testing trials of the modifications Tascor had made to the AI under contract to Staute. These tests had included a maximum defense level contingency, and so Tascor had made off with an extremely valuable false ID capability in the software of which he never did become aware himself. Now, in the present, Cluke's teen age hacker master is only slightly more aware of this feature than Tascor was. The young man knows Cluke sometimes uses false identities successfully online-- and possesses several different ones-- but he does not realize how secure and flexible those IDs are. All he knows is, it works.

In the teenager's mind, Cluke is both a "shell of invisibility" on the net, as well as an awesome skeleton key.

The teenager likes to think of Cluke as a special bit of virtual clothing he wears to become superhuman on the net-- and in a few ways at least, he's not far wrong. The kid has done impressive work on the code he originally received from others-- and enjoys some underlying capabilities in the Cluke software of which he will never fully realize the value.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to the teenager is how easy it is to give Cluke a 'standalone' mode; that is, allow the entity to make its own decisions and take independent action, when such a mode is desireable.

[To learn about subsequent events regarding Cluke refer to The story of Kerri and Cluke ]

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2025 milestone: A student's clandestine plan to bed his stand-offish girlfriend makes the late 2020's/early 2030's worldwide seem like the uninhibited 1970's of USAmerica, for many.

A clever college student uses his talents to infect his girlfriend with a virus designed to 'loosen her up' in a way similar to alcohol. He figures her immune system will overcome it within a matter of days, so after his successful conquest it will harmlessly disappear. At worst, he figures, many of his fellows will 'get lucky' as well as the virus spreads across the campus some before burning out. His virus only affects women.

(Of course, during this historical period the really hard work isn't in creating such a superficially mild designer bug in a college lab, but in getting it out of the lab without being caught.)

As is typical in such cases, the student has underestimated the virus. It never does burn out, but simply mutates, resulting in wave after wave of infections of eventually some 60% of women worldwide over the next several years. Many men of course welcome its results, although they cause severe socio-economic problems in many countries-- especially where infidelty can bring about extreme consequences. A temporary spike in the birth rates worldwide is also attributed to the virus.

This virus eventually requires massive efforts on the part of the world medical establishment to eradicate-- and in its latter stages the virus mutates into a much more harmful form, being so closely related to sexual promiscuity as it is. Yes, it becomes yet another facet of sexually transmitted diseases, only this time purposely created by the student in question. There's a period where women may be both infected and carriers of the virus, but men may only be carriers.

One of the last mutations of the virus allows it to begin infecting men too-- some 6% of men worldwide are afflicted before the virus is brought under control, which raises the statistics of killings, rape, wife and child abuse, mental illness, and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) significantly in the affected areas.

The creator of the virus eventually is caught-- he gives himself up as he realizes the authorities are making progress in tracking him down anyway, and the virus' later mutations make him realize he should tell all he knows to the medical establishment to help bring it under control.

The virus creator's trial becomes a long remembered global spectacle, similar in many ways to the O.J. Simpson trial of the late 20th century. The student however, is convicted.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2025 milestone: The core remnant of the original Russia is becoming an important international player again

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" entertainment value]

(Note that the world-at-large remains unaware of the critical behind-the-scenes role Russia played in preventing an early debut of World War III, as well as helping rescue America from some of its own political excesses)

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Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2030 milestone: The SETI project comes to a tantalyzing but frustrating end

By 2030 or before SETI and/or similar efforts have completed an exhaustive scan of our galaxy and much of the surrounding intergalactic space for signs of alien intelligence within the most likely to be used sections of the electro-magnetic spectrum. Advances in technology, and an unanticipated high level of volunteer help, consumer interest, and donations have all combined to increase the thoroughness of the scans and complete them quite sooner than most anyone expected.

The verdict? Frustratingly inconclusive. Some clearly artificial signals were detected, but they were from extremely distant regions, putting their origins in time at minimum some tens of thousands of years past (and so the senders could be long dead). The signals were also far weaker than many expected them to be, as if the races sending them possessed signal technology little better than 20th or 21st century humanity's. Finally, and puzzlingly, most of the signals defied all attempts at translation into intelligible communications, although they seemed to repeat the same message over and over again. Are they warnings of some sort? Many experts think it possible. But if so, warnings of what? For others to avoid the self-destruction of the sending civilization? Or could they be warning others of specific threats (natural or not) to which they themselves succumbed? The few signals which did seem clear in meaning offered only trivial content for researchers to consider. From the results of SETI it appears humanity may well be the most technologically proficient civilization in the galaxy at this time, and those that preceded humanity may have precipitously declined or gone extinct not long after reaching the equivalent of 20th century humanity's technical expertise.

-- Seti: Is Anybody Out There? by Leander Kahney; Dec. 22, 2000; Wired Digital Inc.

-- Astronomers Hope to Find E.T. in Next 25 Years ["http://abcnews.go.com/wire/SciTech/reuters20020716_92.html"]; abcnews.go.com

"A scientist who has joined the hunt for extraterrestrial life believes that the search could succeed within 20 years"

-- Camera to probe planets for life ["http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3502807&thesection=news&thesubsection=general"] By SIMON COLLINS; 20.05.2003' nzherald.co.nz

-- The Rise and Fall of Star Faring Civilizations in Our Own Galaxy offers a wealth of scientific and journalistic references to support many alien speculations found on this site.

At least, the above would be the conclusion if not for new discoveries in theoretical communications. It's now becoming clear that the most efficient and secure interstellar communications technologies would not make use of the electro-magnetic spectrum at all, but instead a wholly new medium found to exist either within the structure of spacetime itself, or somewhere below it.

If this new medium can indeed be made practical for advanced communications (and perhaps even transportation!), it would only make sense that advanced civilizations utilized it rather than the far slower and less powerful EM spectrum.

If advanced civilizations always adopt the new medium for communications, then after the point of complete switchover their communications would no longer be available for anyone to eavesdrop on, even if the outsiders too possessed the same technologies. In effect, space could go silent even if it was teeming with advanced civilizations.

-- Perspectives on Faster-than-Light and Time Travel ("warp drive") Technologies Circa 2400 AD-2450 AD offers a wealth of scientific and journalistic references relating to potential faster-than-light communications and transport methods.

Ergo, the immense frustration and consternation of humanity in regards to the SETI results. Are we alone? Are technological civilizations all doomed to self-destruct? Is there a natural or unnatural threat to sentient life lurking within the galaxy of which we are unaware? The answers to important questions like these remain as elusive as ever.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2031 milestone: The "Bounty Economy" is becoming increasingly a mainstream phenomenon...

...with help from the growing influence of Staute's own business and philanthropic enterprises in this regard, as well as many other entities of the time.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2030s milestone: USAmerica remains an important country, but is suffering from its past mistakes

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" cautionary value]

USAmerica is still considered a developed country, but living standards there are at best stagnant and at worst declining. USAmerica is becoming more and more dependent upon the technologies of other countries to stay up-to-date. America is becoming more isolated and withdrawn from the world in general, in terms of both politics and the world policing it did in decades past. It has suffered several humiliating military defeats over past years, despite spending so much on defense as to practically bankrupt itself in past decades. With high interest rates, inflation, shortages, and unemployment, USAmerica of today seems to simultaneously suffer the worst elements of many different bad times in its past, and can't seem to figure out how to escape its plight.

Or else is unwilling to accept the measures most likely to remedy the situation.

Cuts in defense spending would help, but the country is increasingly scared of the outside world, and of losing military-related jobs. Ironically, even as America boosted its defense spending to ruinous proportions in years past, the effectiveness of its military technologies relative to other nations plummeted, as the higher spending was accompanied with huge increases in secrecy, which helped nurture an explosion of corruption and shoddy work within America's military-industrial complex. The problems led to upward spiraling costs for weapons systems which were downward spiraling in quality and real capacities over time.

Reforms of intellectual property laws and a new commitment to increasing business competition would help, but the stranglehold big business possesses over mainstream media and the coffers of US politicians prevents any such movement for these (as well as defense spending reforms) from taking hold. Though Russia did help somewhat to unmuzzle free speech legally in the US years before, it did not realize that the still prodigious surveillance powers of the government-corporate complex and the vast array of non-lethal weapons technology at its disposal would allow authorities to instantly detect and quell virtually all protests or strikes-- and what few did get past them were simply never mentioned in the corporate-controlled mass media, and thus had minimal impact on the public consciousness.

Free speech can have little effect if no one hears it.

To see details about America's steady deterioration during the 21st century please refer to The astonishing decline of America OR How to go from respected sole world superpower to dangerous third world nation in just a couple generations

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2030s-2040s milestone: Some progress is being made in using quantum-physics to implement psychokinesis ("psi") type devices and effects

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Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2036 milestone: The soon-to-be infamous "JackShak" springs from the mind of Jacob Blom

Jacob Blom is a brilliant but erratic programmer that's notorious among friends and fellow employees for his practical jokes. Blom also isn't very good at contracts or other legal matters. All this leads eventually to Blom being offered an extremely lucrative contract and quitting his previous job to devote the next several years to a major software project for his new employer. Blom completes his work, but the company reneges on some major issues of compensation, and also fires Blom, enraging him. It turns out that the law is on the company's side due to details of the original contract. This unexpected financial setback throws Blom's life into dire straits for quite some time, only deepening his hatred of the company.

Blom devotes much of his free time for years to come to creating an AI which will hound and harass the company all the way to bankruptcy, and then do the same to individual high executives, managers, and lawyers of the company after that.

-- Revised computer worm targets financial firms ["http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993806"] by Will Knight; 06 June 03; newscientist.com

-- Internet e-mail worm targets Tony Blair - Sep. 5, 2003 ["http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/internet/09/05/worm.blair.reut/index.html"]; cnn.com

The 'Mydoom' e-mail worm of 2004 seems to have been programmed to target large US companies before anyone else.

-- E - Mail Worm Clogging Network Traffic ["http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/technology/AP-E-Mail-Worm.html?ex=1075870800?en=785d5a913cf97023&ei=5058&partner=IWON"] By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS; January 27, 2004; nytimes.com

-- Thugs turn to corporate e-blackmail - News - ZDNet ["http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1107_2-5286999.html"] By Fran Foo;July 28, 2004

In 2036 Blom unleashes his vengeful AI, and it is truly an awesome work to behold in action. JackShak is the name Blom gives it, and this AI will become famous in hacker circles in years to come. Besides putting everything into it his own brilliance could devise, Blom has also freely borrowed advanced code from every other source that seemed of value to build JackShak.

Blom doesn't do anything to cover his tracks-- so the authorities are on him within days of him setting JackShak loose. Blom goes to prison for several years. However, the authorities blunder by trying Blom so quickly. Because no one can stop JackShak, and the AI goes on to create such havoc that had Blom's trial been held a few years later the list of charges would have been much longer, and the punishment much more severe.

Does Blom succeed in exacting his revenge? Most assuredly so. The target company is devastated, and completely bankrupt within 90 days of JackShak's release. Beyond that, many of the individuals targeted by Blom are ruined financially, divorced by their spouses, and essentially blacklisted from similar employment elsewhere because JackShak follows them around like a black cloud everywhere they go, hurting whatever companies are brave or unknowing enough to hire them.

Perhaps the worst thing about JackShak is its open-ended programming: Blom didn't install much of anything in the form of conditions for ending its crusade. So it continues its destructive rampage indefinitely, targeting whatever businesses seemed to have some link or other relationship to the original company, as well as people or organizations related in various ways to any of the company employees originally targeted by Blom.

JackShak becomes such a problem that there is an international agency formed to do nothing but try to contain or stop JackShak.

It doesn't help matters that Blom eventually upgrades JackShak when he is released from prison-- despite the authorities expressly forbidding him from ever touching a computer again. Blom finds a way around the government and updates JackShak anyway.

Blom is eventually found murdered in his home. Authorities suspect someone related to his victims is responsible, but not much effort is spent on finding the killer, as everyone pretty much figures Blom badly needed to be eliminated somehow, to prevent his acts from continuing into perpetuity.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2040s milestone: The Backtrack fad takes the world by storm...

Genetics science and raw computer power have advanced sufficiently to allow many people to accurately trace their genetic heritage back via DNA over many past centuries.

In decades to come many personal genetic biographies will deepen to cover most of recorded human history, and beyond that, trace the geographic movements of unnamed ancestors during prehistoric times-- yes, we're talking millions of years.

Backtracking personal genetic histories proves so wildly popular, as well as valuable to medical research and historians, that an international agreement is negotiated which essentially results in the exhumation or sampling of buried human remains all over the world. Millions of the historic dead are sampled, as well as many prehistoric dead.

Some points of history get a rewrite because of the new findings. And medical research gets a bonanza of disease and defect-related genetic information.

One of the many surprises in the new wealth of data is a significant migration of people between the americas and eurasia (apparently across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and both two-way in nature too) between 50,000 and 3,000 BC. Some of these were relatively tiny groups, but for various reasons sufficiently affected the natives/locales at their destinations so as to leave a clear stamp on the DNA of later generations of native peoples.

[To see more indepth information and speculation regarding this period refer to Perspectives on 59,999,999 BC- 51,000 BC, 50,999 BC-10,001 BC, 10,000 BC-2,001 BC]

-- "Debate: Nobody Can Tell What Lies Ahead" By JOHN MADDOX, 11-10-98, The New York Times

-- "Ancient Woman's Bones May Rewrite History", 4-11-99, Yahoo/Reuters

Geneticists as of 2000 had traced back all living humans on Earth to the parenthood of just 10 different men and 18 different women, in prehistoric times. The human genome looks to offer the potential to allow the lineage of everyone to be traced back to the very beginning of the species.

-- The Human Family Tree: 10 Adams and 18 Eves ["http://partners.nytimes.com/library/national/science/050200sci-genetics-evolution.html"] By NICHOLAS WADE, May 2, 2000, The New York Times Company

The Backtrack fad has at least one, more lasting legacy: some of the new knowledge regarding humanity's past becomes integrated into some of the newly emerging alternatives to traditional religions, thereby weakening still further the grip of the three major world religions which ruled the world over past centuries.

-- The Human Family Tree: 10 Adams and 18 Eves ["http://partners.nytimes.com/library/national/science/050200sci-genetics-evolution.html"] By NICHOLAS WADE, May 2, 2000, The New York Times Company

A combination of sciences (population genetics and archaeology) looks to soon provide humanity with a family scrapbook detailing many aspects of the past 50,000 years of human history.

-- The Origin of the Europeans By Nicholas Wade; The New York Times; November 14, 2000; DNA Sciences, Inc.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2000-2040s: In many aspects of physical, social, and economic conditions the world is becoming a colder, lonelier, and harsher place to live; there is also a growing divide between generations

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Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2040s milestone: The return of the financial AIs and their planetary restructuring plans...

A new raft of financial AIs (similar to those decimated by Staute's AI decades before) has appeared, with much the same agenda; to restructure the world economy ruthlessly for what they consider optimal performance and yields-- with little regard to the human cost in pain and suffering.

The time bought by the Staute AI has improved a bit on the perspectives held by the new financial AIs (as well as their human partners), but still the bulk of humanity will not enjoy most of what this group has in store for them...and what of the Staute AI itself? Why does it not come to humanity's aid again? In brief, it is heavily occupied with its own survival at this time, and bereft of its previous close interaction with its human creator. It also no longer possesses the high level access to the places in which the financial AIs live, nor is privy to their plans, as before.

To the financial AIs, the greatest enemy is uncertainty. Ergo, they determine the best way to minimize uncertainty is to give free rein to both human nature and market forces (wherever this can be done without incurring greater risks), in order to more predictably occupy humanity, stabilize profits, create monopolies, slow innovation, and more.

The consequences in later years may include (though not all these will ever be proven) the active encouragement of the global gambling industry, cloning, slavery, total surveillance of the population, and the nuclear decimation of the Middle-East (this last to rid the markets of the trade frictions and intractable uncertainties the area stubbornly represented for many years). One thing that throws suspicion on the financial AIs about the fate of the Mideast is the fact that the region was not entirely ruined until after its value as a global resource was nearing its end anyway, due to new technological developments, and after most other liquid assets in the region had been transferred to other places in prior weeks.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2045 milestone: JackShak continues to plague many companies and individuals

There's untold numbers of the JackShak AI in circulation, seemingly targeting companies and individuals at random now, though it's likely there do exist some links between the original targets of Blom and the latest victims-- it's just that it's getting more difficult for anyone but another AI to detect those links, they are so distant.

Huge numbers of hackers are attempting to stop or contain JackShak, most for the huge rewards offered by many nations and corporations, but a few looking to gain control of JackShak as their own personal beast with which to terrorize others.

However, suddenly one day all traces of JackShak are gone from the world net, leaving many hackers disappointed, many states and companies relieved, but everyone puzzled. What happened? No one knows; there is only speculation. After some months the conclusion is reached that Blom had placed a time limit on JackShak, and it deleted itself when that limit was reached. Others believe a top secret government agency either killed JackShak, or captured it to use as a weapon in future altercations. A small number suspect JackShak has only went into hiding to upgrade itself for better protection against all those in recent years and months seeking to kill or capture it. Only time will tell.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

2002-2050 subtrends and detours: Pranks and hoaxes, often elaborate, some hilarious, some astonishing, some terrifying, appear with increasing frequency during this period

Truly novel ideas, technologically spawned social changes, and other circumstances feed this phenomena. Certain of these events end up being exposed as various forms of political protest and/or slick business or personal promotions. A few manage to defy full and satisfying explanations for years afterwards. In some cases high profile personalities and business and government leaders are humiliated by these events.

These events are likely something of a precursor to the emergence of "Zee-roes" in later decades.

Signposts Perspectives 1990 AD-2050 AD Contents

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