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The Signposts Perspectives
2051 AD-2100 AD

Washington D.C., Paris, Israel all become history; Privacy becomes essential; Angels and demons populate cyberspace; Diamond and gold investments crash


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Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Table of Contents


2052 milestone: JackShak returns with a vengeance-- on Jacob Blom's birthday

If anything, the AI is even tougher and more vicious than it was before. Official AI-related think tanks soon declare JackShak a true sentient AI, but also demented, and extremely dangerous.

For years to come JackShak is at the top of the FBI's most wanted list of AIs, with a reward for killing it or capturing a complete, intact, and active copy for study, in the amount of $100 million.

There are other bounties available as well, making JackShak the top hacker prize for a long, long time.

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2006-2056 milestone: The not-so-precious gems and metals investment crashes

Diamonds fall first, and the hardest, when it begins to dawn on consumers that they are essentially pretty but worthless stones that can be manufactured (or often just found lying about in some regions of the world) for pennies. For example, it turned out at the end of the Cold War in the late 20th century that Russia possessed a vast storehouse of diamonds it had accumulated over decades-- enough to cause a global diamond crash all on its own-- but through intense intimidation (and perhaps other methods which exploited Russia's internal corruption of the time) the global monopoly diamond broker managed to keep a lid on this (and other) surpluses for a while. Ultimately, the main monopolistic brokerage responsible for artificially propping up diamond prices for decades finds itself powerless as end buyers begin figuring out it's all just a game of market manipulation.

Some years later many so-called 'precious metals' follow diamonds' precipitous decline in value-- but gold is the one that symbolizes the entire metals debacle for most observers and participants.

The reasons gold holds out a bit longer than diamonds include its historical role as an international store of value for many centuries, and the high stress and many shocks the world is subject to in the late 20th through 21st centuries, which often tempt luckless investors into buying gold as a hedge, only to lose money by the act again and again, over a period of decades. These unwise base many assumptions about gold's value upon a few extraordinary spikes upwards in price, one which occured late in the 20th century, and the rest in the early 21st, during times when the world felt it stood at the threshold of at least a regional nuclear war, possible politically inspired runaway government spending in the west, and/or a substantial ratcheting up of perceived weakness or instability in the USA. However, all these spikes proved relatively short-lived, with few if any gold investors actually profiting from the periods. Another factor shoring up gold over the longer term is its wider real utility in many chemical reactions and manufacturing processes, compared to diamond, which has narrower uses (though some electronics manufacturing comes to use more diamond over time). Too, man-made gold doesn't begin pressuring 'natural' gold prices downwards until years after the diamond rout has already begun to unfold. Where natural diamond enjoys little more value than deft marketing can give it, gold possesses significantly more real manufacturing/industrial value, even after its crash in the markets. In longer term trends, by the 22nd century the inflation-adjusted value of gold is but 2% of what it was near the beginning of the 21st century-- or about where silver hovered in the late 20th. Diamonds however, are worth no more in the 22nd century than a child's dimestore marbles were in the late 20th. Though by the 22nd diamond-derived materials can be found almost everywhere, from image displays to electronic circuitry, diamond itself is a low cost commodity, with the substantial value of its host products residing in other components or mechanisms.

When do these things occur? The first major diamond crash occurs sometime between 2006 and 2035. The first major gold crash follows that of diamonds by some number of years. So the worst case scenario for diamond and/or gold investors could be a major crash in both around 2006, from which they never fully recover. The best case scenario for them may be the first major diamond crash taking place as late as 2035, with the first and largest gold crash following no later than 2056.

In other words, investing in diamonds and gold (and other 'precious' gems and metals) is getting riskier by the year in the early 21st century, and is downright foolhardy later.

"...a multibillion-dollar industry has risen up upon an object that is essentially quite useless."

-- Matthew Hart, author of Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession.

-- BusinessWeek Online:Why Are Diamonds Forever? Interview of Matthew Hart by Karin Pekarchik, Edited by Patricia O'Connell; DECEMBER 5, 2001

-- Ten Reasons Why You Should Never Accept a Diamond Ring from Anyone, Under Any Circumstances, Even If They Really Want to Give You One By Liz Stanton, CPE Staff Economist; (2/14/02)

-- "CRACKS IN THE DIAMOND TRADE" and "INDIA'S DIAMOND-STUDDED DILEMMA", Businessweek (on or about 2-19-98); in the months previous to this, Businessweek had also published pieces about gold's recent price drops, as well as reports about major world banks, etc., dumping or considering dumping their gold reserves onto the market. There was also "Wear-resistant Diamond Coating Created By Sandia Scientists: Superhard Material Thickly Coats Metals, Plastics, Also Stands Alone", Sandia National Laboratories, April 9 1998

An immense gold deposit in the core of a collapsed undersea volcano 250 miles south of Tokyo Japan, and 4000+ feet deep has been discovered. There may be eight other similar sites nearby.

-- "Huge Gold Deposit Found Under Sea Off Japan" By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent, Reuters/Yahoo, 2-11-99

-- "Man-made gems fool diamond dealers, pawnbrokers" By TESSIE BORDEN, June 14, 1999, Nando Media/Associated Press

-- "Simply brilliant: UF/Russian team makes gem-quality diamonds", EurekAlert! Contact: Reza Abbaschian, rabba@mse.ufl.edu, 352-392-6609, University of Florida, 18 AUGUST 1999

Adjusted for inflation, one USAmerican dollar invested in 1802 in gold would have been worth only 84 cents by 1997 (yes, the investment would actually have lost value).

-- Robot Wisdom WebLog for June 1998 citing http://www.nybooks.com/nyrev/WWWfeatdisplay.cgi?1998062522F

-- Have You Ever Tried To Sell A Diamond? - 82.02 by Edward Jay Epstein; F E B R U A R Y 1 9 8 2; theatlantic.com

"Only recently has chemistry been able to grow large, gem quality stones at approximately one-third the price of mined diamonds..."

"Companies...are now creating lab-grown diamonds...virtually indistinguishable from their mined counterparts...They are chemically and physically true diamonds."

-- Chemistry puts new sparkle in diamonds; eurekalert.org; 10-Feb-2004; Contact: Allison Byrum; a_byrum@acs.org; 202-872-4400; American Chemical Society

"Not only were the diamonds so hard that they broke the measuring equipment, we were able to grow gem-sized crystals in about a day"

-- Large diamonds made from gas are the hardest yet; eurekalert.org; 25-Feb-2004; Contact: Dr. Russell J. Hemley; Hemley@gl.ciw.edu; 202- 478-8951; Carnegie Institution

-- Yahoo! News - Diamonds Made from Gas Harder Than the Real Thing; Feb 26, 2004; Reuters; story.news.yahoo.com

-- A `Crystallized Fart' Lasts Forever; August 20, 2003; ncbuy.com

-- Diamondoids Can Be Refined From Crude Oil by Charles Choi; May 07, 2004; spacedaily.com

-- Are Diamonds the Terrorists' Best Friends? By Leela Jacinto; abcnews.go.com; accessible online 4-19-04

-- De Beers Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing

-- Yahoo! News - Miner in Guinea Digs Up 182-Carat Diamond

"...scientists...made a pure glass that may prove nearly as valuable as real diamonds."

-- Los Alamos pressure process makes pure zirconium glass; eurekalert.org; 15-Jul-2004; Contact: Jim Danneskiold jdanneskiold@lanl.gov 505-667-1640 DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2056 milestone: An intact copy of JackShak is captured and contained by a mercenary hunter-killer team; all of USAmerica's deepest secrets are revealed to the world

They promptly sell it to a well financed terrorist group, with access to some of the most talented programmers in the world at this time.

Developed government-financed assassins terminate the human partners of the hunter-killer team within two weeks of their turnover of JackShak to the terrorists.

Tactical nuclear strikes are made on several tiny isolated enclaves of programmers apparently working to make their copies of JackShak even more dangerous and targeted differently from Blom's original programming. A few small developer houses are located in densely populated areas however, and so destroyed instead by highly focused microwave beams from satellites (incinerated). However, the terrorist group had been rapidly releasing into circulation copies of JackShak after each incremental change achieved, and so the strikes do not prevent some modified versions of JackShak from escaping.

The terrorists are able to use a modified JackShak to break into critical USA systems during this period largely because US technological innovation has been slowing relative to much of the rest of the world for decades now, due to USAmerica's misguided intellectual property laws and lack of restraints on business monopolies, and the long standing 'martial law' the US has maintained in its networks for many years now. The homogeneous nature of US computers and networks due to enshrined business monopolies also made the system easier to compromise.

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 BY WHITFIELD DIFFIE AND SUSAN LANDAU; found on or about 10-25-01, and other sources

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.

One of the new targets of the terrorist-modified JackShak turn out to be the USAmerica Center for Disease Control and related agencies in allied nations, resulting in some terrifying leaks/distributions of deadly infectious agents into the surrounding communities. Fortunately, casualties worldwide from this are limited to less than several million.

Another target is the USAmerican military-industrial complex: specifically, its research departments. The new JackShak AI doesn't destroy any data there, but instead transmits huge amounts of it worldwide not just to terrorists but virtually any computer user which happens to be connected at the time. The data is heavily encrypted on a timelock, so only hours after it has safely been distributed worldwide to untold numbers of recipients can the first copy be decoded by anyone who might then alert authorities-- and by then it is too late.

This global distribution of USAmerica's deepest military R&D secrets essentially gives away $trillions of USAmerica defense research to anyone that wants it for free-- including USAmerica's competitors/enemies, and all terrorists and criminals everywhere equipped with a net terminal.

Just how feasible a scenario is the above? Check out the references below:

-- Slashdot Student Uncovers US Military Secrets posted by CmdrTaco, May 16, '04; slashdot.org and Student uncovers US military secrets By Lucy Sherriff; 13th May 2004; theregister.com

-- Yahoo! News - Military Budget Plan Ends Up on Internet; story.news.yahoo.com

-- The Secret Facility That Can't Keep Its Secrets

-- 'Cowboy' nuclear scientists ride roughshod over lab security

-- Yahoo! News - Classified E-Mail Left Nuclear Lab

-- Los Alamos Halts All of Its Classified Research After Data Vanishes

-- Yahoo! News - Classified Data Missing From Lab in N.M.

This rupture of USAmerican secrets also alarms and enrages the entire world as they see what increasingly paranoid and extremist USAmerican military research has been doing over past decades. Though USAmerica tries frantically to limit the political, economic, and security damages from this information release, there's not much it can do about it. Even USAmerican citizens themselves are by and large astonished and incensed by what's been revealed to them, leading to major turnovers of elected officials in government for years to come, and related shakeups in both military and intelligence agencies.

Various 'unthinkable' 'super-weapons' and 'doomsday' strategies discovered within the bowels of USAmerica's military-industrial establishment-- weapons and strategies ready for immediate use-- include lethal and indefinite contamination of major inhabited regions worldwide within a matter of hours or days of the order, ethnic or even family relation cleansing by genome, and more. And it turns out that most of these systems have been functional, awaiting only execution orders by US Administrations, for decades.

"We basically have a scorched earth policy. If we are going to lose, we...contaminate the world. If we canít have it, nobody can."

-- The Heavy Stuff by Paul Krassner; The New York Press; Volume 16, Issue 37

"the US may consider developing biological weapons "that can target specific genotypes [and] may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool"..."

-- Rebuilding America's Defenses, by the neoconservative...Project for the New American Century; September 2000

-- This War on Terrorism is Bogus; The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination by Michael Meacher; September 6, 2003 by the Guardian/UK

The risk of madness at the top

There is one critically important factor which should definitely be included in any consideration of allowing any nation to develop or maintain 'doomsday' type weapons systems: the possibility of mental illness among powerful government and business leaders worldwide. Mental illness in this group could have catastrophic results for the world as a whole, even regarding issues far less dangerous than doomsday weapons.

Thus, it would seem only prudent that all our top leaders in both business and government be subject to regular, scientifically credible, and independent mental evaluations, and the results made available in timely fashion to the public. Indeed, it was recently recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that all adults be tested for one particular element of mental illness on a regular basis-- depression.

Believe it or not, the President of the USA's annual medical examination does not currently, and never has, included even a routine psychiatric examination.

Virtually all other personnel expected to endure unusual stresses-- such as FBI and CIA agents, and professional pilots-- must at minimum pass a single such exam to begin their jobs. Not so the Presidency circa 2002, even though psychiatric problems there could literally bring on the end of the world.

-- Their Annual Checkups Should Be Complete (washingtonpost.com) By Alen J. Salerian; May 12, 2002; Page B03

-- Federal panel urges screening of adults for depression;The Associated Press/Nando Media/Nando Times; May 21, 2002

-- Fighting Mad Leader Disease (possibly by Rebecca Sloan Slotnick); Science Observer; November-December, 2001

-- Dementia has dictated our history

-- 'dangers of the corporate psychopath'

Perhaps as bad as the exposure of America's worst military secrets is the fact that the same technique makes all of USAmerica's most intimate business details accessible to the world too-- or at least a 'snapshot' of it all, current during the days of the calamity. This divulgence too wreaks havoc with various institutions of USAmerica, hitting the nation where it hurts-- its wallet.

Note that this landmark exposure of virtually all a country's greatest secrets could never have happened had there existed more diversity and competition in America's networking and computing systems, America's pace of innovation had kept up with the rest of the world, and the nation had not maintained effective martial law across all its networks for almost two generations by now.

Unfortunately, the roots of USAmerica's problems still are not addressed, as organizations like the modern descendents of the circa 1997 National Security Agency and CIA remain basically intact throughout all the so-called reforms, and behind the curtains of USAmerican secrecy very little truly changes. The already enormous secret budget of these organizations grows still larger (supposedly to help reduce the negative security impact of the global divulgence of secrets and prevent more), further weakening USAmerica by almost any reasonable measure. However, the attitude of USAmerican citizens and their global neighbors towards USAmerica as a viable nation are changing, even if USAmerica's secret bureaucracy is not....

Unknown to the general public at this time, a suitable sample of the virulent JackShak strain is now captured, contained, analyzed, and immunization strains re-released to drive free roaming JackShak code off the nets forever-- by the corporation originally began by J. Staute. The reason is not altruism, but rather because JackShak strains had finally spread far enough to attack Staute's enterprise directly. Unfortunately for JackShak, Staute's corporate AI was too adept at defending itself, and enjoyed vast resources from which to draw upon for sustenance that JackShak lacked. As usual when the enterprise AI dispensed with the threat, it made sure to do the job completely, by wiping out JackShak EVERYWHERE. Also as usual, the enterprise AI fully catalogs the surprisingly sophistocated techniques imparted to the code by Jacob Blom years before, to add to its own deep knowledge of cyber-security measures and how to break them.

It is apparently only coincidence that Staute's enterprise AI meets and destroys JackShak only months after JackShak's arguably greatest impact upon the world.

However, as the enterprise never discloses its feat to the public (for a variety of reasons), the myth of JackShak lives on among hackers and citizens alike...

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2057 milestone: By this time important research has begun into luck being possibly genetically based (at least in part)

This research is very obscure at the moment, and often ridiculed the few times it's discussed in public. However, certain corporations and government agencies are taking it very seriously indeed, due to seeming statistical and anecdotal anomalies of past centuries, discovered by new AI software designed to pinpoint here-to-fore unknown elements involved in strongly one-sided criminal, entrepreneurial, gambling, and military successes (where seemingly vastly outclassed individuals or small organizations repeatedly won against impressive odds).

The largest (and one day to be most well known) example of such research projects is named "Cheating Heart".

In my old article Normal Luck, I theorized that it may turn out some people are sort of metaphysically lucky, and so taxing them more heavily than other folks might not only fail to harm them, but prove to be a perpetual fountain of wealth.

Austan Goolsbee of the the National Bureau of Economic Research seemed to uncover statistics that back up this idea.

-- "SOAKING THE RICH DOES WORK" By Peter Coy , Business Week: 5-11-98

Washington politicians who had opposed raising taxes on the top income brackets in 1994 because they believed it would spark a recession, instead found the budget deficit and interest rates both fell after passage, triggering record profits and a stronger economy.

Many politicians also resisted raising the minimum wage-- officially their reason was that it would increase unemployment among the poor (but unofficially many likely felt it was bad for the big business interests and wealthy supporters which financed their election campaigns). Instead, the minimum was raised over their protests, and the economy strengthened to such an extent that unemployment actually fell far enough to create labor shortages-- and the rich got richer.

-- OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY, Editorials, Business Week/The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., November 23, 1998

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2067 milestone: The End of History comes to pass after all-- for a few select areas around the globe....

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

...as by this date Washington DC, Paris France, Israel, much of the Mideast oil fields, and other spots in Europe/Asia have been decimated by nuclear war/terrorism or similarly devastating acts and/or accidents. This series of events proves a powerful boost for electric and fuel cell automobiles and alternative energy sources in general, though a decade or two of substantial pain is also endured in the transition. Worldwide pollution and environmental damage increases dramatically for a decade or so after the disasters, due to the world's need to fall back on dirtier fuels until technology catches up to demand, and the radioactive aftermath of events. Other fall out from these disasters is greater independence of households from utility grids, heated and air conditioned clothing, further advances in mass transit and telecommuting, and perceptions of increased value to Mall city living.

Fortunately, around the same time these catastrophes take place, important breakthroughs in nuclear fusion or similarly substantial energy generation technologies-- as well as super conductors-- have been made, which helps greatly reduce the impact on the world from the loss of the Mideast oil fields. Problem is, the exploitation of the breakthroughs was moving pretty slowly until these events took place, resulting in the need for crash government programs to accelerate development afterwards-- which causes public perception problems when the inevitable problems and scares result from the speed up, similar to those seen in USAmerica for Three Mile island decades before.

Nanotechnology is coming online in significant ways here-- but primarily in military and medical technologies. So it doesn't directly impact energy shortages during this period.

Some estimates above are loosely based on information in "2015: Power and Progress" from the Institute for National Strategic Studies, July 1996, edited by Patrick M. Cronin

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

USAmerican intelligence agencies believe almost all the major East Asian powers (including China, India, and Pakistan) might engage in an arms race if the USA begins construction of a national missile defense project. China might add to its missile forces to make up for the new American defenses-- to prevent its nuclear weapons from losing their strategic value with regards to America. China's buildup could drive its regional neighbors to do the same for their own peace of mind.

-- Fears of Asia Arms Race From U.S. Missile Plan-Paper, Yahoo!/Reuters, May 28, 2000

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2000-2060s sub trends and detours: A brief but terrifying flirtation with all out war in north america, a significant shift of assets from old players to new ones, and perhaps the last gasp of efforts at centralizing authority and old style geopolitical states retaining control over the course of human history


One important factor in the relative slowdown experienced in developed nations compared to developing states over this time, in regards to improving living standards, and the accompanying rise in daily stress (especially USAmerica), is an international effort to immunize the global networks against new security and operational threats in a wholly automated fashion. The primary agent of the task is a powerful distributed processing-based AI, to become later known in hacker circles by the name of "Pudget". Pudget largely does its job well for a time, but eventually does it too well, subtlely slowing the pace of innovation in those states it's supposed to protect, and, by virtue of global competition reactions to this, incurring an economic slowdown which gradually builds for years, then suddenly with little warning contributes to plunging the developed nations into a sharp and severe depression once financial institutions realize the trend and difficulty in reversing it via normal channels any time soon. A very brief but nasty war erupts piecemeal in North America as one consequence, not only between North American factions themselves, but between the North Americans and other world states as well, because Pudget's immunization efforts 'leak' out into the rest of the world too, causing significant problems even for those who didn't join its association. Only a relatively small number of people are killed, and physical assets destroyed or damaged in the war (because much of the war takes place online); the most long term injurious effects are virtual; many significant assets change hands under dubious circumstances here, and a combination of Pudget's mechanations and piggy-back manipulation by hackers both small-time and big make it impossible to fully correct many of the things that go wrong here (Plus, the secret findings of important corporate and government experts in the aftermath determine it would be far more dangerous to unravel the new order than it is to keep it; as the largely illegal assets and control shift turns out to be what ended both the war and economic chaos, and fairly rapidly brought back prosperity and security to all involved afterwards. There seems little reason to risk a return to the scary times with remedial action for any but the mostly enormous corporations and government bureaucracies which lost assets, authority, or prestige as a result of events).

-- "Brave New World" by JACK FISCHER, Mercury Center. Found on the web on or about April 17, 1999

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

-- Predictions by Frances Cairncross, senior editor of the Economist magazine:

Cairncross predicts the declining costs of long distance telecommunications (and increasing accessibility to the internet) will allow the economic rate of growth and living standards worldwide to rise more and faster than it would otherwise. Something the article cited below doesn't mention is one particular flipside to all this connectivity: i.e, huge assets may more rapidly change hands in the new environment too, making for sometimes chaotic transitions to wholly new global economies virtually overnight. Not all substantial asset transfers of this period will be considered legitimate by the powers-that-be, either. Other effects of this connectivity may be perceived as detrimental in other ways (with human or machine judgement errors more rapidly propagating globally than they ever could before), and wholly unanticipated 'balancing' effects being performed by markets somewhat beyond the control of human beings to 'increase overall world efficiency' by diverting economic growth/assets from developed nations to underdeveloped areas-- wherever such investment is seen as significantly more potentially profitable than alternatives. Such actions may cause relative stagnation in already developed nations for years, as the market propels developing nations up the ladder instead.

Other predictions/speculations from Cairncross:

* a paradoxical simultaneous decline and rise in government powers over the individual. On the one hand, global commercial sales of books and other products and service reduce the censorship power and economic and legal control of individual governments over citizens. Yet at the same time it will become easier for governments to spy on citizens and locate them as it wishes. The ultimate socio-economic consequences of this paradox are unclear...This paradox makes for greater risks of political miscalculation and greater opportunities for entrepreneurs, as well as increased probability of a roller coaster ride regarding employment, education, law enforcement, and other matters for average citizens in the 21st century.

* less risk of substantial military conflicts in the future, as better communications leads to greater global democracy, and democracies don't war with one another as much as other types of nations do. The risk of major military conflicts may be lowered for much of the 21st century, but it still exists, and other conflicts like trade wars and small scale (but very intense) military actions may actually see an increase in likelihood in the absence of more overtly violent and protracted struggles.

Cairncross has published a book on these subjects: "The Death of Distance".

-- "An economist ponders the impact of technology" by JENNIFER FILES, The Dallas Morning News/Mercury Center, 7-8-98

Some interesting points relating to major future conflicts amongst traditional geopolitical states and between them and emerging virtual states

Charles Dunlap in his "21st-Century Land Warfare: Four Dangerous Myths" offers some warnings for geopoliticals in regards to physical land-based warfare in the 21st century. Though Dunlap for the most part doesn't seem to consider the possibilities of conflict with virtual states, still some of his points seem relevant to the issue.

-- "21st-Century Land Warfare: Four Dangerous Myths" by CHARLES J. DUNLAP, JR., From Parameters, Autumn 1997, pp. 27-37, and other sources.

Colonel Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. (USAF) is Staff Judge Advocate, United States Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska

-- Strangled by security? - ZDNet Tech Update By Dan Farber; January 5, 2003; techupdate.zdnet.com

-- Keep Your Enemies Closer Why hackers are good for business - and vice-versa. By Brendan I. Koerner; Issue 11.02 - February 2003; wired.com

-- Slashdot Microsoft Worms Crash Ohio Nuke Plant, MD Trains Posted by michael; Aug 21, '03; slashdot.org

-- Do-gooder worm fixes Blaster hole by David Cohen; 19 August 03; newscientist.com

-- Worm that targets 'Blaster' hinders Air Canada operations - Aug. 19, 2003; AP; cnn.com

-- Slashdot Security Tools More Harmful Than Helpful? Posted by CowboyNeal on Friday April 09, 2004; slashdot.org

Staute's corporate empire/virtual state is one of the benefactors of this debacle, partly due to its long history and expertise in regards to security matters both virtual and physical, and long term indepth research into likely future scenarios and preparation/investment for same. Another element which helps it survive and prosper here is the pseudo-USAmerican constitution and Bills of Rights for employees, customers, and competitors which Staute impressed upon all his enterprise operations decades before. This structure does well at maintaining the Staute state/enterprise as a true meritocracy, while also doing much to correct excesses and mistakes internally before they can spread sufficiently to weaken or slow the state in any way that matters.

Yes, the fall of Pudget becomes the greatest known hacker feat in history-- so far.

The Pudget project, of course, is dismantled, and the world is forced to return to its almost 'grass-roots' efforts at containing and/or eliminating network pests and threats, with hunter-killer teams such as thrived before Pudget. The hunter-killer teams in the developed nations almost disappeared entirely during Pudget's short reign (creating lots of unemployed hackers), but other world states retained their own (all of which contributed to the whole Pudget debacle described previously). Now, hunter-killer teams worldwide flourish once more...

-- Vigilante hacking touted as virus cure - Tech News - CNET.com; Reuters; August 4, 2002; news.com.com

-- Hollywood wants the right to hack your computer by Dave Winer; Jul 26, 2002; davenet.userland.com

-- Hacking, hijacking our rights By Dan Gillmor; Jul. 28, 2002; siliconvalley.com

-- Computers under attack can hack back, expert says; Reuters; Aug. 03, 2002; siliconvalley.com

The ZEE-roes (rhymes with heroes). Late during this period something of an offshoot of the variously organized Vigilantes (Survivalists/Anarchists) from previous decades makes its first substantial appearance on the world stage: bizzarre and often dangerous self-appointed "super-heroes", loosely based on concepts previously found only in children's comics of the past century or so. These self-proclaimed heroes make of themselves a huge headache for both the law enforcement agencies and militaries of the world, for decades to come. To their credit though, along the way they make life harder for certain criminals, despots, and terrorists, too. Overall however, these characters are largely a net negative for the world, usually acting more like super-villains than super-heroes to many objective observers.

-- Yahoo! News - ZEROS AND HEROES; New York Post; Aug 21, 2003; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Who was that masked man? By Adam Lusher; 11/05/2003; dailytelegraph.co.uk

-- Meet the Anti-Sex in the City Superhero; Superhero for Single Girls; By Bryan Robinson; ABC News; accessible online 4-19-04; abcnews.go.com

-- The Next Generation Biotechnology May Make Superhero Fantasy a Reality By Joel Garreau; Washington Post; April 26, 2002; Page C01; washingtonpost.com

"...people are as outlandish as they can afford to be"

-- Jim Henley

-- Gaudy night: Superhero stories and our own by Jim Henley; Mar 21, 2004; affbrainwash.com

-- Slashdot eBay Fraud Vigilantes Posted by timothy; Mar 20, '04; yro.slashdot.org

-- Anti-piracy vigilantes track file sharers By Kevin Poulsen, SecurityFocus Mar 18 2004; securityfocus.com

-- With Internet Fraud Up Sharply, eBay Attracts Vigilantes By KATIE HAFNER; March 20, 2004; nytimes.com

-- Superhero' takes on clampers; 16 September, 2003; news.bbc.co.uk

--Caped crusader saves the day in English town; May 3, (2002 year date stamp); in.news.yahoo.com; Reuters

-- Yahoo! News - 'Cold Case Cowboys' Ride Again By Tomas Alex Tizon; Jan 29, 2004; Los Angeles Times; story.news.yahoo.com

Only the most infamous or popular of these individuals ever become widely known by their chosen name or title-- most instead fall into a clump and are all referred to by various generic denigrations/slang or other labels, such as "zee-roes" to distinguish them from others truly deserving of the term "heroes".

Yes, the new plague of self-proclaimed "super-heroes" is pretty much a decadent variation of the Vigilante groups of previous years. The new "heroes" are much more impulsive and unilateral in their decisions and actions, and rarely consider the consequences of what they do, compared to the Vigilantes proper. Mostly this is because they are solitary, or consist as a very small group of only two or three individuals-- much like many terrorist and criminal teen gangs of earlier history. They also typically have a very narrow, polarized perspective on events and people-- i.e., usually they see something as either Heavenly Good or Hellishly Evil, with nothing or very little in-between. The new "heroes" are usually poorly educated, self-indulgent, and immature, but also somewhat well off financially (usually through inheritance or other means not truly their own). Yes, as in all things there's a few exceptions, but the exceptions do NOT balance out the rest by any means.

New technology and technology-based opportunities and prosperity are at the roots of the Zee-roes' strength and protection from authorities (much as it was/is for their Vigilante predecessors). The newly emerging virtual states also provide much cover and anonymity for the "zee-roes", though this is largely incidental. In general the existence of the zee-roes hurts the image of the virtual states-- a fact which is exploited to the hilt by geopolitical propaganda.

The zee-roes usually sport some special advantage over most other citizens-- some niche capacity or capability which they can exploit under certain circumstances to impose their will on events. One example is the new brain-to-computer interfaces, which for a time work well for (and are affordable to) only a minority of the population. Another example would be certain cyborg supplements, or possession of advanced devices of other kinds. Many technological developments generate other niche opportunities for zee-roes (usually lasting only a few years at most however-- therefore zee-roes are like living examples of techno-fads in society during certain periods).

One of the few things that separate zee-roes from common criminals and other riff-raff is their desire for publicity for their actions (in place of money), and to be loved and admired (or feared) by the masses. The zee-roes will prove a stubborn affliction for human society to rid itself of in centuries to come, as both old and new zee-roes may continuously exploit newly emerging technologies in order to maintain their slightly superior capabilities over others, and thus their imagined status.

Fortunately for society quite a few of these misfits and annoyances take care of themselves, due to death or injury resulting from not-quite-safe-yet technologies, or else from overestimating the feats they can perform with their toys (or underestimating the will and capacities of non-zee-roes).

Zee-roes on Earth and/or within the settled regions of Sol System between 2000 AD and 2500 AD


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Santa Claus transforms from a rich nation's children's fantasy to a poor nation's children's hope. One of the more prominent (and actually worthwhile) groups of Zee-roes that first appear during the 2030s are of the 'Santa Claus' variety. All but a handful of these fail to sustain themselves for long-- but that handful that succeed apparently join forces eventually to make the old Christmas fantasy figure a reality (of sorts) for the children of developing nations, during the last two thirds of the 21st century.

The framework is this: every January several hundred families are selected at random from the poor of dozens of impoverished nations around the world. Then over the next eleven months the children of those families are randomly and covertly monitored in public word and action by the 'SC' faction(s). This monitoring is typically performed wholly via automated means, and only in public areas, and/or commercial databases. If it becomes clear a child or family has become aware of the monitoring, that family is dropped from the pool. Typically children may be on occasion observed at school or playing outside their home. The children are scored primarily on their gentleness, fairness, and concern towards others (especially towards children smaller or younger than themselves), and ability to control their temper when provoked-- again, especially where it is a smaller or younger child responsible for the provocation. They also earn points for both the quantity and quality of the teaching and other aid they undertake towards their peers or smaller/younger children. A child's school grades also count, but are weighted much less than other matters; 'average' grades are considered perfectly acceptable, and lower than average only detract slightly from overall points. Leadership qualities offer another area of scrutiny, but usually can only be measured as a part of the teaching and other aids children offer to peers and smaller children.

Near the end of every year, a handful of children are selected as the 'best' of those monitored from a particular nation, and their families are rewarded by the SC faction(s). Rewards vary according to the families' present circumstances, but at times include miscellaneous things like substantial debt relief, new and better paying jobs for parents, free medical insurance, a new home, a new automobile, a much improved home and mobile computing network, scholarships, etc.-- with the families themselves sometimes (but not always) participating in the selection of reward elements via interviews and discussions with the SC faction(s) (to help insure that maximum benefits are bestowed for minimal monies). The news of selection itself often results in still more rewards coming to the family or child from third parties too-- in some cases spilling over to benefit the entire neighborhood with a new library, source of employment, or other help.

Obviously the SC faction(s) early on enjoy their own independent and substantial sources of wealth from which rewards may be drawn for chosen families. But after the consolidation of the faction(s) into a single entity, and the creation of an established track record over a decade or two, they attract new supporters which enable the operation to greatly expand its scope towards the end of the 21st century, and thereby enable a much greater number of poor families to enjoy the hope that they too might someday win the SC sweepstakes.

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2076 milestone: "Nick of Time" becomes widely known as one of the few true 'Good Guys' among the Zee-roes crowd

"Nick of Time" is the alias of a Zee-roe who enjoys one of the fastest net connections on the planet at this time, and has constructed a hardwired AI customized to his personal use in order to amplify this advantage still further.

Ever heard of 20th century comic book heroes like the "Flash" of DC Comics, or "Quicksilver" of Marvel Comics? Those were fictional superheroes who primarily could simply do everything extremely fast.

Nick of Time becomes something of a true-life analog to those fictional beings, during this part of the 21st century.

No, Nick can't physically move at lightning speeds-- indeed, the public never sees his physical form at all until after his death-- but he can think and learn and search at world-beating speeds, thanks to his heavily customized interface, hardwired AI, and literally mind-blowing speed of his net connection.

Nick frequently comes to the aid of individuals or agencies severely pressed for time by terrorist or kidnapper deadlines or to rescue victims after disasters or accidents. Nick usually develops not merely one but several full-blown, detailed plans for how victims/hostages might be rescued/saved, and individual terrorist plots foiled, in only a matter of minutes, supplying them to the relevant people or organizations requiring them immediately, during the time frame when the hostage takers are most vulnerable and often still consolidating their gains. In those cases where Nick can't save the victims, he often manages instead to track down the terrorists or criminals most likely responsible-- again, within minutes of the incident hitting the news media.

Apparently Nick is exceptionally talented at this sort of thing; his technology merely amplifies his talents to superhuman levels.

Nick of Time suffers a massive cerebral hemmorhage during his last act of heroism, as his tech platform didn't incorporate sufficient safeguards against overload of his wetware. However, Nick becomes a celebrity and high profile Zee-roe role model for the decades following something like the actor James Dean did in the mid-20th century. Nick's legacy therefore tends to continue his good works for decades to come, by encouraging other Zee-roes to try being more beneficial than harmful to others.

After his death, Nick's true identity is soon discovered. It turned out the real Nick was a 26 year old USAmerican male with talents for computer hacking and programming in addition to his others, who'd never finished the 21st century version of high school, and had no close friends or family-- instead he'd adopted the world's most helpless citizens into his care. Nick had scraped by on odd programming and media jobs for years, putting any spare money he got into building his hardwired AI and custom interface. His high speed net access he'd actually stolen from a huge financial corporation, by incorporating a hidden module into other software work he'd done for one of their subcontractors, that allowed him to piggyback his access onto 24-7 high bandwidth global financial transaction communications. If Nick hadn't overloaded when he did, his caper looked to be spoiled soon anyway, as the institution was actively investigating the anomalous bandwidth use.

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2083 milestone: Mainstream VR (Virtual Reality) is becoming infested with angels, demons, and other once entirely mythical entities-- and the once fertile employment field for human actors and actresses has now all but disappeared

Some blame the religious factions of the world for this new virtual plague; others believe it to be an apocalyptic war between global intelligence and security agencies; still others believe it's (at least partially) a supernatural portent of the Second Coming anticipated for centuries by some factions of Christianty.

But most recognize it's little more than an evolution of the mischief wrought by more mundane entities in decades past.

These manifestations are closely related to the ongoing evolution of 20th century mercenaries/survivialists/extremist organizations into early 21st century vigilante organizations, then into later Zee-Roe individuals, and now, essentially individual Zee-Roes commanding entire troops of various virtual entities invading personal netspace and homespace to continue their harassment, stalking, and manipulation of others in whatever way they can.

-- Virtual Devils Curse Internet Church By Jason Hopps; Reuters; May 19, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Rise of the cyberbully demands new rules csmonitor.com By Mark Franek; May 10, 2004 edition

-- Technoshamanism: Digital Deities in Cyberspace by Douglas Groothuis; sophists.org; accessible online 7-24-04

The general purpose rogue AI hunter-killer teams are less effective against the new pestilance for several reasons; among them are:

(1), most manifestations occur only in personal VR experiences, rather than groups. This means often they are not reported to authorities, and when they are, single witness reports are less reliable and detailed than multiple witness sightings.

(2), often witnesses are given incentives not to report such experiences by the entities, such as significant amounts of anonymous e-cash, or certain prized tangible goods of the period (such as fad items). The entities of course are merely shuffling around items they obtain from others via coercion to whichever victim might be most affected by a particular asset; too, often after they have gained sufficient domination over a victim they demand the prizes be returned; so often they may give away the same things over and over again. Or, victims are discouraged by threats of horrific repercussions, with plenty of proof to back up the dire promises. It is little wonder then that such intimidation is often taken seriously by victims-- especially as occasional news reports appear also indicating the reality of the peril.

Though almost every beast or personality you can name from ancient mythology through last week's creations of the entertainment medium is often represented in at least several different incarnations in this phenomenon somewhere, by far the majority consist of variations on Judeo-Christian religious texts. Of these, the largest groups are "angels" and "demons/devils".

In practice it is usually difficult to discern one type from the other, since both tend to seem identical-- especially in the initial encounters with victims. Both classes of entities usually appear beautiful and seductive. Either may also seem gentle or exciting as well. And interaction may go on for weeks or months with very ambiguous results (apparently it's a point of pride among the creators to see how long victims can be kept guessing about the true nature of their visitors).

Once the jig is definitely up however, experiences often plunge into the extreme of both word and action with the entities, in something resembling the most hellish breakups between lovers-- only with supernatural powers and awful imaginations added to make things more unpredictable and dangerous. Keep in mind that after a lengthy relationship between an entity and a person, the criminal behind the entity knows practically everything there is to know about their victim, while the victim may not know a single true fact about the perpetrator behind the entity. So the entity at time of breakup will know precisely the worst ways in which to punish or terrorize the victim, while suffering few liabilities themselves.

Note too that even the 'best' of the 'angelic' entities are often overbearing, intolerant, and ride roughshod over their 'beneficiaries' in many ways. So in general most reasonably intelligent adults among the populations are very wary of interacting at all with such entities when they appear within their VRs.

The true source of this page is

How can such entities harm their victims? Simply terrifying them sufficiently to make them afraid to use VR again can cripple the careers and educations of many, since VR is becoming so important now in daily life. The loss of VR for recreational and entertainment purposes can leave some so distraught as to commit suicide later on, due to the often extreme pressures and stresses faced by many in daily life. But of course, entities may perpetrate tangible atrocities against their victims as well.

Entity Slayers (or E-slayers) arise to help victims better cope with this new fact of life. E-slayers are basically AI hunter-killer teams specializing in this new genre of personal threat, along with the aid of psychologists and other experts/expert systems on human nature and behavior (the better to analyze criminal intent, motivations, preferences, and likely responses to defender moves), as well as occasional help from professionals in other relevant fields (even general purpose private investigators are sometimes called upon to pressure the stalkers from the physical world too, where feasible).

What E-slayers do is attempt to track down the original source of a particular entity or group of same, and turn the tables on the source sufficiently to make them let go their obsession with the E-Slayer's client. It is not unusual at this time for celebrities to keep several prominent E-slayer groups on retainer to deal with extremist fan-sourced entities on a continuous basis, as well as to possibly preempt such attacks altogether in many cases.

Of course, escalation of this conflict results in things like 'floating' entities which are self-perpetuating and permanently detached from their source, and must be themselves destroyed to have any useful effect for their victims. Other undesirable consequences occur as well. This phenomena forces hundreds of high profile celebrities over a matter of decades to abandon their homes and careers and change identities and appearances (sometimes several times) in order to escape their entity pursuers.

Some experts expect many software entities to become sufficiently human-like by 2020 so that living human beings begin entering into relationships of various kinds with them-- percieving the software-driven responses by way of a multitude of different sensory means with one consequence being the software personalities seem to be friends, teachers, or even lovers to them.

-- ABCNEWS.com: Man and Machine Blur in Next Millennium By John Lang, Scripps Howard News Service, October 27 1999

-- Cyberspace Bullies Plague Kids By Matthew Jones; ABC News; March 10, 2003; abcnews.go.com

On the flip side, high profile despots/dictators of the late 21st/early 22nd centuries also suffer mightily from such entities-- or else are forced to keep many forms of enjoyment of their wealth and power firmly entrenched in 20th century types to minimize their vulnerability.

An increasingly popular way to defend oneself from these entities is to maintain extreme secrecy about one's true identity-- for a lifetime. Yes, here is yet another justification for the increasing physical isolation of the individual and usage of proxies over many decades.

Such anonymous living is made much easier by new technologies than it would have been in previous centuries. However, this makes for huge changes in the nature of celebrity. For instance, most book authors, major media producers and directors, and others of this ilk routinely use untraceable pseudonyms now under which to publish their works. True appearances likewise become much harder to come by. Physical home and work addresses become jealously guarded. Visitors to home or office are interviewed by computer and their stories, background, and contacts all reviewed before being allowed a physical meeting. Initial physical encounters of unfamiliar parties are not allowed at many primary homes or offices, but usually take place in rented spaces of some kind (which is a booming business of this time). In short, privacy becomes extraordinarily valued relative to past history, and individuals increasingly isolated from other actual human beings.

The last of the voluntary celebrities-- and the entities which pursue them


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By today only the poorest and most desperate actors/actresses/models usually have their likenesses captured for direct display to entertainment customers.

Indeed, the entire industry for actors/actresses/models is almost entirely defunct, as top notch acting/modeling may now be churned out by computer, and whatever likeness desired done so as well. Today the artists or artificial intelligence responsible for creating the synthetic persona most popular in entertainment media, become temporary celebrities.

The entertainment industry no longer needs physical "stars" to fuel its engines. Indeed, in many entertainments these days, the end user themselves are the focal point or 'stars' of various entertainment media, rather than some highly paid celebrity. Where more passivity is required, customers may elect to have the likeness of someone they personally know injected into a major character in a presentation, or choose from characters created by their computer or the makers of their game or film.

"Prediction: The new hot thing in our future will be anonymity."

-- You will wish to remain anonymous By KATHLEEN PARKER; Jan. 22, 2007; thestate.com

Predictions from the World Future Society and University of Cincinnati

-- "Web Sites Sneak a Peek at the Future Prognosticators foresee smarter buildings, high-tech lifestyles." by Reuters, Reuters Limited /PC World 1-7-99

-- Online Music Sharing Diminishes 'Superstar Phenomenon' in the Music Industry, Finds Study of Billboard Top 200; April 9, 2002; Contact: John Della Contrada, dellacon@buffalo.edu; Phone: 716-645-5000 ext 1409; Fax: 716-645-3765

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2091 milestone: The Albatross is launched from Sol system

P.J. Toshe has amassed one of the greatest fortunes on Earth in past decades, and spends virtually all of it in one of the maddest schemes of the century.

Toshe has managed to install a small HEPD prototype particle beam station in close solar orbit, and a sensitive radio antenna on the far side of Earth's Moon (shielding it somewhat from interference due to Earth traffic). He's also built something similar to a hybrid light sail spacecraft-- only in its first stage it's too heavy and inefficient to perform well as such-- for it's been purposely designed to ride a high powered particle beam instead, to launch.

The range of particle beams is limited; Toshe is utilizing an advanced coherent beam emitter expressing essentially one central beam with a ring of smaller ones surrounding it. The smaller particle beams are always focused with a bias slightly inward as the central beam progresses into space, confining the central particle stream somewhat, and reducing dispersion. It's a tricky process, as the confinement beams are subject to dispersal themselves too. However, the law of averages helps the process achieve some success in extending the useful range of the central beam.

After the particle stream has played out, the craft will change its configuration to receive power and propulsion from a laser feed. The quasi light sail used by the Albatross can also work directly with solar sources, but as a practical matter only deep inside a solar system, and relatively near a star. Outside of that the Albatross may only utilize solar energy for negligible forces of acceleration/braking.

The solar-powered particle beam/laser station and Far Side Moon bases both utilize a small but well-paid staff of maintenance engineers on Earth who utilize robot remotes to attend to the two installations as needed. Both have been designed with an indefinite lifespan and top reliability in mind. They should work for as long as the Sun shines-- and be able to maintain a reasonably focused laser beam on a target as far as 6.5 lightyears away.

The unusual design of the mutated light sail craft also makes no allowance for a human passenger or any other conventional life form; Toshe's wild ambitions for the craft and the present limits of technology make that impractical. Instead, onboard there is an organic AI adapted/modified from a state-of-the-art military backup unit, a state-of-the-art inorganic AI, and a failsafe 'Conservator' unit-- a purely mechanical micromachine based computer supporting a brutish AI meant mainly to take over if all the other intelligences buy the farm-- with another military organic backup AI unit (this one specially customized by Toche) kept in reserve. The entire collection of intelligences is quite compact and lightweight for its capabilities-- although the custom reserve unit is likely the most experimental piece of equipment onboard (that's one reason it's kept in reserve). The Conservator unit, while state-of-the-art, is actually a design specialized for piloting aircraft/spacecraft in emergencies where human crews are incapacitated, or software/hardware glitches have compromised the conventional AIs, or the ship has simply been so badly damaged the Conservator is the only unit still functional. Conservators are highly redundant in both processing and I/O, which means they are still 80-90% functional even when their physical platform and interfaces to the ship have been up to 60% destroyed. Of course, all that redundancy also means there's little if any creativity in the machine, as well as no sense of humor or other elements commonly expected by humanity of its machines in this day and age. Conservators are usually the last resort controllers for present day craft: typically a commercial inorganic AI has first priority with the stick, then an organic backup unit, and last, a Conservator. Onboard the Albatross however, this is merely the pecking order for ultimate decision-making on the vessel (who's the 'captain' in cases of deadlock or insufficient time for deliberation)-- in all other matters all three active AIs are programmed to 'vote' on courses of action, with the majority ruling.

The Albatross also boasts a half dozen limited capability robotic remotes, most entirely dependent on field empowerment grids about the craft to operate, in order to keep their individual weight and bulk to a minimum.

The Albatross possesses standard lightspeed radio/video communications.

The Albatross also trails behind it an ultralight mass but supertough 30+ kilometer super conducting wire, to provide it with more manuevering and deceleration and electrical recharging options in the presence of planetary magnetic fields (not all planets or moons possess such fields). However, the practicality factor and probability of usage for the trailing wire both offer low scores at this time for planners, for various reasons. For example, using the wire to recharge the batteries is a drag on acceleration-- and maintaining a maximum acceleration will be ultra-important for the little craft for the majority of its designed lifespan.

The Albatross has one other trick up its sleeve-- although the design is a long shot. If the Albatross makes it far enough to be beyond the reach of the laser (or is forced off course and so out of the propelling beam), its great quasi-light sail can do more than operate crudely with sunlight alone (if available); it can also be reconfigured to act as a molecular hydrogen collector, to convert the Albatross into a Bussard Ramjet-- albeit it a sputtering Ramjet, as here too its efficiency will not be optimal, forcing the Albatross is make do with only a kick now and then as sufficient hydrogen accumulates from the sail to critical quantities for a micro nuclear burst helped along with onboard aids (such as a small supply of standard hydrogen fuel onboard, for which the interstellar hydrogen collection is only meant to stretch the range of). And the Albatross would require a fairly thick density of hydrogen to function even this well in the void as a Bussard craft-- since our region of the galaxy was swept virtually clean of hydrogen molecules by a past super nova explosion.

Despite its deficiencies, Toshe considers the Albatross one of the most advanced deep spacecraft of its time-- and in some ways, he's right.

The launch via particle beam gives the Albatross some 50 times the acceleration of a laser propelled sailcraft-- or 1000 Gs. This gets the Albatross up to about 0.3c (roughly one third lightspeed), a couple lightyears out from Sol system-- beyond four LY the particle beam scatters excessively and the laser can be used (about 20 Gs acceleration) for another 2.5 lightyears. Beyond that, momentum and onboard systems must do the rest.

The Albatross voyage is meant to be one way only. The goal is to get as far in towards the galactic core as possible, and then find a solar system or other mass around which to establish a stable long term orbit, when the craft can go no further in an effective manner.

Toshe made his fortune in a most boring fashion, and has no family to survive him. Though he has supported various charities during his life, Toshe would like his own unique place in history.

a - j r m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l

Toshe dreams of his little Albatross reaching deep enough into the galaxy to put his name into the history books as something more than merely one of the richest men who ever lived. And maybe-- just maybe-- someday there'll be an important colony or station or base on the way towards the core, with Toshe's name on it.

The Albatross will periodically radio back to Toshe's Far Side Moon base progress reports. However, if the mission succeeds eventually each report will require years to return to the Moon. Toshe himself is already past 55 at the launch of the Albatross.

A hefty power source would be required to drive the particle beam, like a fusion reactor or special solar powered generators in near orbit of the Sun itself. Alternatively, LOTS of mirrors could be grouped about the Sun, arranged so their beams converged on a Texas-sized fresnel lense elsewhere, which focused the power onto a super generator of some sort which transformed the immense beam into power suitable for the particle beam emitter.

A standard circa 1998 particle beam would spread out pretty quickly in space, so its range would be limited. However, it'd give much more initial acceleration at launch than a light driven sail or laser driven sail craft could expect (50 times that of a standard solar sail craft); possibly around 1000 Gs....

Perhaps .33c velocity could be gained by the craft.

-- Particle Beam Acceleration and Microwave Propulsion is the web link I believe (found on the web on or about 5-28-98)

A matter wave amplifier has been developed which can not only increase density of a particle beam, but also deliver particles with the beam which possess the same quantum mechanical wave formation they did before incorporation in the beam.

Some near term applications include much more precise clocks and immensely more sensitive detectors/scanners/sensors of various sorts-- such as for detecting gravity waves.

One longer term application might be creation of lasers which may deposit atoms onto a target surface, essentially building items one atom at a time.

-- ScienceDaily Magazine -- MIT Researchers "Amplify" Atoms, http://www.sciencedaily.com, 12/13/99, Source: http://www.onr.navy.mil/onr/newsrel/nr991208.htm, Office Of Naval Research (http://www.onr.navy.mil/)

The feasibility of projecting a substantial, narrow beam of subatomic particles over thousands of lightyears has been proven by natural events. At least one black hole forming the core of another galaxy has been observed to accomplish the feat. Powerful magnetic fields related to the black hole are thought to constrict the beam to its relatively narrow form.

-- Jets From Black Holes Likely From Magnetic Fields, 28-Oct-1999, UniSci Daily, unisci.com

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2098 milestone: A mega comet is transformed into the first major multi-generational starship ("Diogenes of Sinope")

P.J. Toshe has competition. An estranged business partner who has amassed considerable power, wealth, and influence of his own: Colin Kerwien.

Kerwien is not as wealthy as Toshe, but still has ambitions of convincing Toshe that the Albatross will come in a poor second in history, compared to his "Diogenes".

"Diogenes of Sinope" (the full proper name of the vessel) is/was one of the largest (2100 kilometers in diameter) long period comets known to humanity at this time; being only somewhat smaller than Pluto. The comet only nears the Sun once every several thousand years, naturally. In a nasty shock to astronomers, Kerwien's organization commandeers the great comet for their own purposes: a self-consuming spacecraft meant to match and then surpass the Albatross in many ways, putting Toshe forever in Kerwien's shadow, so far as the history books are concerned.

Scientists have yet to determine a maximum size range for comets. Comets as large as several hundred km in diameter are presently known.

-- BBC News | Sci/Tech | Clues to Bronze Age comet strike, May 25, 1998, http://www.bbc.co.uk

As of late 2000 there appear to be 21 "Centaurs" in our solar system. Centaurs are somewhat like icy asteroids, and look to encompass hydrocarbons in their makeup. They may be members of the Kuiper Belt knocked out of their home region by collisions or gravity effects. At least one known Centaur is some 80 km or 48 miles in diameter.

-- Centaur Ice Spectra Continue To Puzzle Astronomers, 18-Sep-2000, UniSci Daily, unisci.com, and Comet-Like Body Beyond Pluto Orbit Intrigues Viewers, 14-Sep-2000, UniSci Daily, unisci.com

-- Supernova hunt turns up odd solar system bodies by Jeff Hecht; 04 June 2008; NewScientist.com news service

An 600 km in diameter asteroid (25% the size of Pluto) has been found in our solar system. It resides in-between Neptune and Pluto. There may be over a 100 more like it somewhere in the system.

-- Sleeping giant, by Hazel Muir, newscientist.com, 25 October 2000

-- SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN October 1995 Volume 273 Number 4 Page 24

A new object has been found inside the solar system, outside the orbit of Neptune. It is thought it may be up to 1,300 km or 800 miles in diameter-- half as big as Pluto.

-- New Solar System object detected By Dr David Whitehouse, BBC News Online, 4 December, 2000, and 'Minor Planet' Found in Obscure Corner of Northern Milky Way, Yahoo!/Reuters, December 4, 2000; also 'Minor planet' found in obscure corner of solar system, December 5, 2000, CNN

Pluto's classification as a planet in in question from some quarters. Why? There may be a wealth of objects in the solar system roughly the same size and composition as Pluto.

Plutinos are objects similar to comets in makeup, and to Pluto in orbits. Few are them are comparable to Pluto in size however. Some Plutinos also qualify as Kuiper Belt objects or Trans-Neptunal objects.

The number of Plutinos has been going up due to better discovery technology. As more is learned about this category of objects, Pluto's status as a planet becomes less clear-cut. Pluto's orbit also shares more similarities with comets than planets.

Some astronomers expect to discover many new system objects comparable to Pluto in size and composition in coming years.

-- Pluto: The Planet That Used to Be by Jeffrey Terraciano, Jan. 23, 2001, Wired Digital Inc.

-- Comet returns after 37,000 years; BBC; 19 February, 2003

-- Astronomers spy 'planetoid' half Pluto's size - Feb. 20, 2004 AP; CNN; February 20, 2004; edition.cnn.com

Sedna is larger than Quaoar, and three times the distance from our Sun as Pluto. Sedna is a most unusual body, inexplicably deep red in color and relatively bright in reflective terms, but lacking the surface ice which gives such high reflectivity to similar bodies in the region. Its orbit also seems anomalous. Perhaps Sedna will someday be classified as a component of the Oort cloud.

-- Planetoid on the Fringe: Solar system record breaker Science News Online by Ron Cowen; March 20, 2004; Vol. 165, No. 12 , p. 179; sciencenews.org

Sedna is 1100 miles in diameter.

Sedna possesses an elliptical orbit which requires 10,500 years to complete one circuit about the Sun, and looks to take it through the Oort cloud.

There could be many more objects like Sedna in this region.

-- It's Oort there . . . mystery of Sedna grows [March 17, 2004] By Leigh Dayton; theaustralian.news.com.au

Sedna's location and orbital trajectory in our system is something of an anomaly. Some think the gravitic influence implications may even portend an unknown Earth-size body somewhere in the far reaches of our system. Maybe several. Or even one, very large planetoid (bigger than Earth). But the odds seem to be against such a scenario.

According to some though, there might be several, or even many, Earth-sized bodies within the Oort cloud, for various reasons. And Sedna might just be our first clue to their existence. The composition of the Oort cloud remains largely guesswork circa 2004. Practically anything could be there, for all we know. On the brighter side, as the Oort cloud may extend as far as halfway to the next nearest star system, its contents could well aid our travels over that course, for purposes of both life support and fuel resources.

-- Distant Sedna Raises Possibility of Another Earth-Sized Planet in Our Solar System By Robert Roy Britt; Space.com; Mar 17, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

-- On the horizon Icy 'planetoid' found in solar system; March 18, 2004; csmonitor.com

Sedna's membership to a particular cometary region-- the Kuiper Belt or the Oort cloud-- seems uncertain as of its initial discovery.

-- Yahoo! News - Scientists Find Another Huge Mini-World in Outer Solar System By Robert Roy Britt; Mar 16, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com; Space.com

-- Astronomers discover 'new planet'; 15 March, 2004; news.bbc.co.uk

Sedna appears to be a very large comet, possibly with its own orbiting moon.

-- Astronomers discover 'planetoid' By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY; 3/15/2004; usatoday.com

-- Slashdot The Sun's 10th Planet... Sedna? Posted by CmdrTaco; Mar 14, 2004; slashdot.org

Sedna is close to 2000 km wide, with an assumed composition of rock and ice.

-- It's another world ... but is it our 10th planet [March 15, 2004] By Louise Milligan and agencies; theaustralian.news.com.au

Diogenes utilizes a huge array of ion engines distributed about the great ball of ice, with a supplement of fission reactor based rockets (hydrogen fueled) for brief bursts when rapid or large course corrections are concerned (the fission engines are meant only for rare usage, due to various byproducts like radiation and other problems with the technology). This combination offers Diogenes a much greater kick for its propulsion technology than most other similar craft of the time enjoy.

The builders of Diogenes would have much prefered a fusion solution rather than fission-- but the technology simply wasn't suitable for the Diogenes project in time, not to mention too expensive for the Diogenes' construction budget.

The cometary content fuel supply for its ion engines is estimated to last at least for many centuries, assuming a launch establishing 0.03 lightspeed during breakaway from near Sun orbit (utilizing a fortuitous gravity pinching effect between Mercury and the Sun), and a steady acceleration for 60 years afterwards to achieve 0.13 lightspeed-- all assuming no substantial velocity dumping/course changes during that time. The crew hopes to push the great body to still higher velocities after that, over succeeding centuries, but must take care to gather all the information they can about the course ahead before commiting to such speeds-- since higher speeds will make it nearly impossible to significantly alter course to avoid surprises of the collision variety.

The Diogenes only offers around 3% the gravity of Earth, so considerable artificial measures have been necessary to make it suitable for long term human habitation.

Unlike the Albatross, Diogenes is manned. The plan is hybrid multi-generational. Various individuals of several different family lines will remain awake and on call at all times in command of the Diogenes, while the others remain in stasis. The watch will rotate in six year cycles, which should ultimately maximize the lifespan of everyone onboard. Those members awake are free to procreate according to certain rules-- which brings in the multi-generational aspect.

Unlike Toshe, Kerwien is unable to exercise full control over the Diogenes project. So a wealthy religious organization shares command with him on the project. This organization differs somewhat from Kerwien in its wishes, expectations, and goals for the project. In brief, the religious org elements see Mission Diogenes as a possible way to seed the galaxy with a substantial and highly religious human population (ahead of all the atheists and/or religious competitors), perhaps making up for the decline in strong religious followings on Earth itself today. A more distant hope is that the crew of the Diogenes might encounter or discover something (or someone) which might help prove the existence of God to Earth-based humanity as a whole-- or at the very least, prove that somewhat religious aliens have been instrumental in humanity's evolution and survival in the past.

One of the important religious clans onboard consists of the "Burstyns". Joyce Burstyn is an important matriarchal leader of that clan.

It is intended that the crew will continue to improve and refine their onboard technologies indefinitely, based on continuing communications with Sol System. A carefully chosen store of raw materials and basic manufacturing equipment is included onboard.

Note that there are many expeditions capturing and converting much smaller comets, of lower periodicity, in similar schemes, now and later. But Diogenes in many ways enjoys a critical mass of resources and planning the others don't, and therefore becomes the frontrunner of all the efforts in this category, for a long time to come.

Note that although Kerwien (unlike Toshe) enjoys a choice of whether to accompany his spacecraft on its journey or not, Kerwien declines the opportunity. After all, he must remain on Earth to enjoy maximum opportunities to upstage Toshe with his venture in the media. Kerwien's sister Andrea however does go along for the ride, and will wield Kerwien's power in his stead (where Kerwien himself is not available for consultation via radio).

Diogenes' enormous size and need to pass briefly near the Sun for maximum launch velocity from the system, makes for a spectacular lightshow for Earth-bound citizens-- making the launch one of the happiest (and most anxious) moments of Colin Kerwien's life.

Though Diogenes' immense size, mass, and natural velocity make it ideal for some aspects of the mission, these same things also severely limit the choice of course for the mission. There's much to recommend a course towards the core of the galaxy; or else along a route which passes close by several of Sol system's nearest neighboring stars. But those courses are out of the question if Diogenes is to fully exploit its historical directional and velocity vectors during launch.

Fortunately, clever calculations will still allow Diogenes to follow an intriguing course within the galaxy. Diogenes will fly upstream Sol's native spiral galactic arm [Orion: page 94, The Sun, The Natural History of the Universe by Colin Ronan, 1991, Macmillan Publishing Company], for centuries to come. This will make Diogenes one of the very few major manned space missions to take such a route for a very long time.

Diogenes' considerable size allows a much smaller comet-based vessel to tag along as well, tightly orbiting the greater body and thus enjoying a 'free ride' propulsion-wise-- at least once the rocky launch phase is past.

This second, much smaller comet is manned by a single family on their own mostly independent expedition. The Diogenes organization agreed to allow their presence as a welcome redundancy (among other things)-- if in some extreme contingency an evacuation of Diogenes was required (such as imminent collision with another cosmic body), the smaller comet ship could house them (if very uncomfortably) for quite some time as they sought relief of some sort from their predicament. Other possibilities also exist.

The smaller comet craft is named the "Michio Kaku" after a popular late 20th/early 21st century author and physicist, and manned by the Chiu family. Though it has an adequate complement of ion engines for some self-propulsion, these are only planned for help reducing the mass drag on Diogenes at launch, with Kaku thereafter parasitically exploiting Diogenes' velocity, with its own engines in reserve-- unless and until an unexpected contingency forces their use, or the two comet craft decide to part ways for some reason.

The Kaku's gross natural gravity is almost non-existent on the human-scale of perception; so it's not quite as comfortable as Diogenes in that respect.

Kaku did not require artificial positioning to achieve its pairing with Diogenes-- the two had mated in space many thousands of years before humanity ever discovered the pair. The Chiu family had actually settled and began converting Kaku to an independent spacecraft long before the Diogenes project itself had begun. The Chiu even held legal claim to Diogenes itself early on, but eventually sold the rights to the Diogenes developers.

The considerable wealth the Chiu gained from the sale helped them outfit their own craft somewhat luxuriously compared to the monstrous Diogenes. For instance, the Chiu were able to purchase a state-of-the-art fusion main propulsion system for their small world craft, while such an option was out of reach and impractical for the massive Diogenes.

The Diogenes crew envies the outfitting of the Kaku a bit-- but not excessively so, since whatever capabilities the Kaku enjoys may someday serve to save the lives of the Diogenes crew themselves.

Sources include newswire, New Scientist, 22 May 1999

-- "Sci/Tech: Old spacecraft makes surprise discovery" By BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse, September 28, 1999, http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Diogenes-like schemes are much like crewed versions of the the "wakeway generators" I theorize about later in the timeline...wakeway generators consist of comets encased in a piping network that gradually melt the comet's bulk and squirt the resulting water vapor into the void to propel the comets through space. Weeks or months or years later other craft can fly through this wake of water vapor molecules, collecting them and processing them as fuel for their own engines 'on-the-fly'.

However, the dynamics and goals of a manned vessel differ from those of an automated wakeway generator. And so the plan for the Diogenes differs significantly from those later automatons.

In Diogene's case, large inner chambers are mined during construction of crew quarters, with the refuse stored in areas conducive to later use as fuel by the drives. The crew lives deep within the comet. Early on, the comet's drives consume the raw materials mined from the interior for propulsion. This frees up their valuable storage spaces and equipment for other matters. After that supply is exhausted, the wakeway generator-like external piping network begins allowing the drives to consume the outer layers of the comet instead. Additional material may also be sent to the drives from the interior, if and when the crew expands the living volume there.

Diogenes, unlike later wakeway generators, does not normally use mere mass expulsion action-equals-reaction propulsion techniques, since this would not be efficient for its purpose. Instead, Diogenes relies heavily on processing of the comet ice into fuel for the ion drives (a more high level process) or fission reactors.

Jonathan Vos Post seems to have done considerable research on a somewhat related idea: using specially created man-made comets of hydrogen ice as self-consuming spacecraft in themselves.

-- "Hydrogen Ice Spacecraft for Robotic Interstellar Flight" by Jonathan Vos Post, C.E.O., Computer Futures Inc., [Apparently this paper also] appears in: the Proceedings of...Practical Robotic Interstellar Flight: Are We Ready?, New York University, New York City, 29 Aug-1 Sep 1994, and in Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, April 1996 __1 C.E.O., Computer Futures Inc.; Active Member: British Interplanetary Society, National Space Society, World Space Foundation, Space Studies Institute, Planetary Society (found on the web on or about 5-28-98)

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2050-2100 milestone: A catastrophic volcanic eruption adds impetus to world government and space development-- as well as increases the flexibility and willingness of world government to use nuclear explosives.

In the second half of the twenty-first century we'd desperately needed a substantial space support/defensive system and hadn't had one.

Were we struck by an asteroid or comet? No-- at least not one or more of the size required to affect half the planet as we're speaking of now. No, the event was a devastating volcanic eruption with little warning in the eastern Atlantic ocean.
The eruption's initial quakes devastated many coastal cities and towns in Africa.

But the largest tidal waves in history followed the initial earthquakes, causing a scale of disaster along the Atlantic coastlines of USAmerica and Europe the likes of which modern man had never seen before-- striking at the very heart of contemporary western culture and capitalism. The effective dismantlement of the eastern American seaboard and European coastal cities and docks would have had an enormous negative impact on the world economy, all by themselves. But the damage did not stop there.

The disaster changed world-wide weather patterns for decades afterwards, creating droughts in normally drenched parts of the world, and unaccustomed floods in deserts-- which also had substantial impact on agricultural output. Blizzards and hurricanes were especially intense and numerous in the first few years following the impact.

a - j r m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l

The eruption's effects combined with changes wrought by global warming to actually reduce reliable weather forecasting by several days time over a period of many years-- the first major defeat in modern weather forecasting accuracy recorded over decades, and a major contributor to yet still more deaths and agricultural failures due to frequently unanticipated weather extremes in the aftermath of the disaster.

Although great grief came from the reduction in accurate weather prediction, scientists informed the world that one of the contributing factors to the inaccuracy (global warming) was also a great benefit to us-- as the last time humanity had to endure such a world shaking eruption was during a terrible Ice Age, which made the eruption's effects far worse than the present calamity, and almost drove humanity itself into extinction.

Many scientists express the opinion now that humanity is fortunate indeed to enjoy a level of technology sufficient to mitigate the present circumstances; had this same eruption occured only a few decades earlier the long term death toll would have been far larger. As it is we are hard pressed to contain the damage, even with knowledge and tools contemporary to the mid 21st century. Those of a religious bent either proclaim this circumstance to be a harbinger of Judgement Day, or at least proof that God truly exists-- since he benevolently postponed the eruption until a time we could better handle it.

Freak snowstorms actually blanket certain tropical rain forests at times now; luckily the cold doesn't last long enough to destroy the jungles.

World food and energy markets have to be put under government control several times during the crisis, as real and imagined shortages fuel astonishing and damaging speculation on the part of traders.

Twenty-five million people died in the first week as a direct result of the eruption. Thirty-five million more die as an indirect consequence, over the next eighteen months. Another twenty million are estimated to have died of causes related to the impact in the seven years following (from malnutrition and unusual periods of extreme heat and cold, among other things).

World Wars I and II combined had not caused so much death and suffering.

The global effect of the eruption, following so closely on the heels of the trigger happy tendencies with nuclear and biochemical weapons humanity suffered from in the first half of the century, seems to chasten us and help largely end the genocidal games with weapons of mass destruction that we'd played for over a century by this time.

Another effect of the catastrophe was a tremendous boost to space development.

For the effects of the eruption were obviously similar to what we'd experience from substantial cosmic impacts, and the only way to protect ourselves from such space-based threats was to have a substantial presence in the vacuum ourselves. Too, better space-based survey systems might have given us better warning of the eruption before it happened-- and perhaps even have allowed us sufficient knowledge to reduce the eruption's severity via carefully timed and placed nuclear detonations to relieve stresses in a manner similar to pressure relief valves on man-made devices.

Geologists rated the eruption as a once-in-an-80,000 year event (the most recent comparable eruption had occured some 71,000 years before: Mount Toba in Sumatra, in the Pacific)

One of the worst aspects of the Atlantic eruption/earthquake for many had been the scant warning.

The first tentative public speculations surfaced only a few weeks before the event, and clear, outright warnings to the populations at risk to evacuate weren't made until just three days prior to the disaster. The panic and hysteria alone was responsible for the deaths of many.

Preceding decades had added tremendously to our technological capabilities to expand into space commercially and militarily, but the political will had been lacking. One major fear had been a military space presence allowing our infighting to easily get out of hand, similar to expectations during the Cold War of the twentieth century. Two and a half billion megatons of natural geologic weaponry proved to us we all had a plentitude of common enemies, and more potentially tangible return on investment in space development than we'd ever realized, at the same time.

Around 69,000 BC humanity was nearly driven to extinction by a massive volcanic eruption which made the ongoing Ice Age of the time even worse via a 'nuclear winter' type effect

Ever heard of nuclear winter? The scenario where a global nuclear war leads to such dense cloud cover worldwide that the world descends into a horrific winter lasting years or even decades, killing off innumerable species, and perhaps leading to the extinction of humanity itself?

Well, something similar can also be brought about by a sufficiently large asteroid or comet strike-- or even a sudden eruption of many small volcanos all at once (or merely one very big one).

-- "Ancient 'volcanic winter' tied to rapid genetic divergence in humans", News From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, September 1998, News Bureau University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 807 S. Wright St., Suite 520 East Champaign, IL 61820-6219, found on or about 9-10-98

-- "Did the Dark Ages begin with a bang?" by Robert Matthews Connected, Electronic Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk, 29 July 1999, Telegraph Group Limited

Professor Bill McGuire, of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at University College, London (author of Apocalypse! A natural history of global disasters) has speculated that an explosion of the Yellowstone supervolcano/caldera could occur around 2074, devastating USAmerica and adversely affecting temperatures (via cooling) and so crop yields possibly worldwide for as much as four to five years afterwards (with luck only the northern hemisphere would be so affected). This is close to a Doomsday scenario for humanity, which would at the very least lead to big changes in the political and economic landscape of Earth.

Such an eruption could have regional or global effects similar to that of a large asteroid or comet impact, or global nuclear war.

The volcano at Yellowstone in USAmerica is overdue for eruption, by perhaps 40,000 years (it seems to go off about every 600,000 years on average, with the last eruption being around 640,000 years ago).

Since around two million BC there has apparently been two such supervolcanic eruptions worldwide about every 100,000 years. The most recent one is believed to have been that of Toba in Sumatra around 72,000 BC.

-- Supervolcanoes could trigger global freeze By Alex Kirby, BBC News Sci /Tech, 3 February, 2000

It may be that USAmericans would have no warning at all of a major eruption at Yellowstone-- at best they might have only weeks to months of warning during which to prepare. The 72,000 BC eruption of a similar system cooled world temperatures by between 3 and 5 degrees overall.

-- Do 'Supervolcanoes' Threaten World? By Aries Keck, Discovery News Brief, Feb. 3, 2000

-- Supervolcanoes; 3rd February 2000; bbc.co.uk

Land-based volcanoes tend to be more dangerous regarding the risk of sudden explosive eruptions than sea-based volcanoes, due to differences in the silicon composition of the liquid rock involved.

About 10% of people worldwide live within the danger zone of an active volcano.

-- BBC News | SCI/TECH | Why volcanoes explode By Dr Damian Carrington , 1 April, 2000

The chance of huge volcanic eruptions affecting humanity in the near future may be significantly greater than that for comet or asteroid impacts. There's possibly around 600 volcanoes around the world which are active or could become so anytime.

Technological advances may make mankind better able to predict (and prepare for) volcanic eruptions by 2010 or so.

-- Scientists Study Threat of Huge Volcanic Eruptions, Yahoo!/Reuters, December 15, 2000

On average there are likely 25 different volcanoes erupting worldwide every day.

-- Volcanoes May Pose Bigger Risk Than Asteroids, ScienceDaily Magazine, 12/19/2000, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001218155133.htm, Source: Inside Science News Service, American Institute of Physics (http://www.aip.org), Rory Mcgee, rmcgee@aip.org

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


2050-2100 sub trends and detours: Plots and conspiracies involving genetic engineering of human beings

Some of the old geo-physical nation-states are now secretly modifying the DNA of many or most of their new born citizens (prior to birth or soon after) to make them "more easily governed". A few of the states began doing this even before 2050. This particular "enhancement" is easily hidden among the raft of true genetic improvements being provided to infants nowadays, where governments and corporations provide substantial assistance to procreation and raising of children as an employment or citizenship perk. USAmerica is one of the more high profile states guilty of covertly injecting this tendency towards governmental obedience into its unborn children, as part of its parental licensing program (in USAmerica and several other nations of this time, one must attend classes/pass certain tests/sign detailed contracts to obtain a license for procreation; successful licensees also enjoy beneficial genetic modifications and/or customization of children and other perks as a result). The secret genetic manipulations (among other things) provide the fodder for many political scandals for years afterwards, as well as contributes to the eventual dissolution of states like USAmerica. Fortunately, little more than a single generation of freeborn human children suffer this indignity, and many of those are subject to 'repair' of the damage by later technologies. Unfortunately, similar 'loyalty' theme genetic modification continues to be performed for centuries to come in various intelligent organics, although in future years at least the fact is not hidden in roughly half the cases, but instead known to all participants as part of a contractual agreement, usually as part of an exchange for some sort of benefit to the person or persons to be modified. I.e., a human being receiving substantial cyborg supplements might agree to certain genetic alterations in order to help pay for the work. In the least objectionable instances, the genetic alterations might entail little more than a strong impulse NOT to use one's newly enhanced capabilities in ways that might unduly bring harm to others. In the worst cases, the gene manipulation creates perfect killing machines for war or terrorism.

'Specialty' populations of human beings are being actively bred now. By this I mean human beings genetically engineered in more or other ways than merely cosmetic, athletic, intellectual, or for clone farming. Various groups and states are also modifying newborns for various experimental extremes such as lifespans much longer than is generally attempted in mainstream efforts so far. There's even programs attempting to increase extrasensory perception and 'hard-wired' versions of mind-over-body techniques only accessible through years of discipline and learning in previous centuries (i.e., by Tibetian monks, etc.).

Most of these specialty efforts produce few concrete results, primarily because the work is interrupted by the authorities, or financing runs out, or the host organization simply loses interest. However, there are a small number of extraordinary individuals and small groups ultimately produced by these methods, some of which go on to influence future history. Perhaps the most well known of these will be led by a man named "Mathias Nee".

Signposts Perspectives 2051 AD-2100 AD Contents


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