The Coming of “Peak Car”

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  In what year will the number of cars in the world reach its peak and auto sales overall begin to decline?

For most, it may be surprising to realize we’re already there in the U.S. Growing data shows many wealthy economies have already hit “peak car,” a point of market saturation characterized by an unprecedented deceleration in the growth of car ownership, total miles driven, and annual sales.

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The Great Mannequin Vs. Fashion Model Showdown

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  If it weren’t for their glowing eyes, I would have sworn they were live fashion models dancing in the store window.

Moving smoothly to match the music playing in the background, each of the seven perfectly proportioned mannequins swayed to a carefully choreographed set of moves designed to draw attention to the clothes they were wearing.

The eerie feeling that they were watching me as much as I was watching them was not a mistake. They were indeed looking at me.   Continue reading… “The Great Mannequin Vs. Fashion Model Showdown”

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The Future of South Korea

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  When Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, took the stage at Edaily’s 6th World Strategy Forum on June 11th at the famed Shilla Seoul, his keynote about how he became an entrepreneur was very personal. With a comical flare for storytelling, he carefully laid out many of his failed attempts for launching businesses prior to Wikipedia.

Entrepreneurship comes in many forms, but startups like Wikipedia are niched in the rarest of all categories now referred to as unicorn companies. Unicorns fall into a one-in-a-million classification where companies like Uber, Dropbox, Airbnb, Pinterest, and Snapchat have revenues that grow exponentially into the billion-dollar range seemingly over night.   Continue reading… “The Future of South Korea”

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Creating Humanless Distribution Networks

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  A couple weeks ago I was asked to speak at the 8th annual Turkish Postal Symposium in Antalya, Turkey on the future of the postal industry. This was a fascinating gathering of thought leaders to discuss next generation postal service.

I focused my talk around a central question – “How long will it be before we can mail a package and have it travel to a city on the other side of the world without ever being touched by human hands?”   Continue reading… “Creating Humanless Distribution Networks”

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Six tips from your future self

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What good advice does your future self have to offer?

In an episode of the popular sitcom “30 Rock,” television CEO Jack has a hallucinatory encounter with his future self, from whom he receives life advice that helps him avoid major mistakes.

Most of us would also like to know which choices and decisions we make as young people will benefit us later on — or come back to haunt us. Although there’s no way to step into our own futures, we can get a very good sense of what mistakes younger folks should avoid. We can ask our “future selves”: our elders…

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The State of our Women: What the Future Holds

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For centuries the veils have been used to mask cultural abuse to women

Mallika Sarabhai
Nobel laureate Dr Amartya Sen estimates that 100 million women have disappeared from South Asia and Africa in the last three decades. While people might quibble about whether this figure is 100 million or 50 million, the point is that the news should be horrifying, and the trends daunting to the future of humanity. Whether or not climate change kills us, this certainly will. The fewer the women there are, the fewer the children there will be. Five or 10 men might gangrape a woman, but she can still only carry a single pregnancy at a time. Even for those patriarchal so-and-so’s who think of women as baby-making machines, the killing of women and girls is bad news, if not for you, then certainly for your grandsons.
But the future is already with us. The larger Patel samaj in Gujarat realised the calamity a couple of years ago and called a huge yagna to swear to protect female foetuses (As far as I know, no research has been conducted into whether live female births among the 12 lakh people who took this oath have risen). In some Patel villages in Gujarat, there is not a single female under the age of 20 years — a sure sign of genocide against women, on for more than 20 years. People from Haryana go shopping for family wives in Kerala and take back unfortunate women — bought for sex and housework — to families where they understand no one, can speak to no one. And I do mean ‘family wife’, for she is shared by all the males in the family.
Do we, from the so-called sabhya samaj, think of any of this when we plan huge wedding and huger dowries for our daughters? When we rush around buying kilos of gold, hundreds of saris, a new house for the groom’s family, and so on, do we see the direct, possibly the only relevant connect, between disappearing daughters and our own actions?
The government takes many steps to curb the killing off of girl children, most of them useless and leading to even more corruption and crime. Most of us know of doctors who, banned from running sex determination tests openly for fear of prosecution, do this very thing and inform the bride’s family by greeting them with Jai Matadi (It’s a girl) or Jai Ramjiki (It’s a boy). And innovative and greedy businessmen have set up rickshaw testing labs which go around slums and villages, giving the families information at their doorsteps.
But this is only one part of the story. Why are we not speaking of dowry deaths, those hundreds of thousands of young women married with dowries, who are tortured and forced to kill themselves or worse, tortured and killed? Did the dowries insure their wellbeing? Or do we just concern ourselves with getting the daughters off our hands and saying to ourselves that we have fulfilled our roles as families? Why has an issue that used to be spoken of with horror become so commonplace that we do not even speak of dowries being given in hushed voices any more? When does a crime become so common and so lauded that it becomes convention?
I can hear some of you say, “Ha barabar chhe pun shun kariye, ena vagar koi paranshe nahi. Dikrine kyar sudhi ghare rakhay?” (Yes, that’s all right. However, there is no alternative, how long would one keep their daughters at home?) Ask yourself this question bluntly — given that there is in India nearly a 50 per cent chance that your daughter or sister will be tortured and killed, do you really want that for her? And then I hear you say, “Pan samaj shun kaheshe?” (What will society say?) Again ask yourself, “Shun kahashe?” (What will it say?) That you are a lousy parent? That this is established practice in ‘our’ samaj? That “kutumb nu naak kapai jashe?” (Will the family’s reputation suffer a blemish?) That your neighbour gave a dowry of 50 lakh and you will be diminished by giving less? That this is the way you show your love and care?
Let them say all of that. Once again ask yourself what is more important to you, your daughter’s life or your “naak”?
Have you ever sustained a burn? And shrieked? Then imagine your daughter burning, from kerosene poured over her, or yet another imagined stove burst. Imagine the million-fold pain she is going through. And know that you are responsible.
I am being harsh, because the time has come to confront the worst in our society, to become an outcast, and to fight for her life. Be the first. Say no to dowry – yours, your child’s or your sister’s. Nothing that society can do to you will hold a candle to your child or you or your sister not being tortured or killed. The time is now. Tomorrow will definitely be too late.

The following is an article written by Mallika Sarabhai and published by India’s Diligent Media Corporation in their publication, DNA (Daily News & Analysis). This story is more than shocking. It is a call to action….

Nobel laureate Dr Amartya Sen estimates that 100 million women have disappeared from South Asia and Africa in the last three decades. While people might quibble about whether this figure is 100 million or 50 million, the point is that the news should be horrifying, and the trends daunting to the future of humanity. Whether or not climate change kills us, this certainly will. The fewer the women there are, the fewer the children there will be. Five or 10 men might gangrape a woman, but she can still only carry a single pregnancy at a time. Even for those patriarchal so-and-so’s who think of women as baby-making machines, the killing of women and girls is bad news, if not for you, then certainly for your grandsons.

Continue reading… “The State of our Women: What the Future Holds”

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Alarming Trends in Childhood Obesity

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Two recent University of Rochester Medical Center studies don’t look good

Two recent studies point out alarming trends in childhood obesity – not only is the group of severely obese children getting larger, but parents don’t even see it. Between 1976 and 2004, the rate of severely obese children – those with BMIs at or above the 99th percentile – has tripled to a total of 2.7 million. A separate, smaller study shows that almost a third of parents underestimate their child’s weight.
The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) researchers, along with colleagues at Wake Forest University and Baylor College of Medicine, used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new definition of severe obesity and found that about 4 percent of children in the U.S. are morbidly obese. The most recent estimate of the rate of obesity among children is 17 percent of the population.
“We knew the rate of severely obese children was increasing, but we were surprised at how quickly the number is rising,” said Stephen Cook, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of Pediatrics at URMC’s Golisano Children’s Hospital and one of the authors of the study to be published this month in Academic Pediatrics. “These children have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, even before they reach adulthood. We’re very concerned about the future as well as immediate health of these children.”
The study examined nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1976 to 2004 and found that the rate increased from 0.8 percent in the 1976-1980 survey to 3.8 percent in the 1999-2004 survey. Researchers also found that the greatest increases were seen among blacks, Mexican Americans and those living in poverty.
One third of the teens with severe obesity were classified as meeting the adult criteria for the metabolic syndrome, a clustering of risk factors that put them on the path toward heart disease and diabetes in adulthood, and ultimately, could lead to an early death. Nearly 4 percent, or 2.7 million children, have a BMI at or above the 99th percentile, the point at which bariatric surgery is first considered.
“Until a child reaches the point where bariatric surgery is an option, there are few treatment options for families. Insurance doesn’t typically cover the cost, and without that, most families cannot afford to pay,” Cook said. “Without coverage for non-surgical options, the treatment services lose money and have to close.”
Researchers said that their findings point to the environment (where they live, socio-economic level, etc.) as an important factor in whether a child develops obesity and something over which children have no control.
Another URMC study shows that parents often underestimate their children’s weight status and the health effects of the extra pounds. The study, to be published in Clinical Pediatrics, shows 31 percent of interviewed parents underestimated their children’s weight, including both children who are overweight and normal weight. And parents who believed their children to be underweight were more concerned about their health than parents who did not realize that their children were overweight. Considering parents, especially of young children, make most decisions about what children eat, how they spend their time and where they live, researchers are concerned parents aren’t taking the problem of childhood obesity seriously enough.
“Parents play an important role in lowering their child’s risk of obesity – they have the ability to encourage physical exercise and teach their children about a healthy diet beginning in early childhood,” said Jillian M. Tschamler, an author of the paper who was a student at the University of Rochester at the time it was written and is currently a graduate student in nursing at the University of Virginia. “Healthy habits that children learn at a young age will decrease their risk of becoming overweight in the future, and prevention is a crucial step in lowering the overall rate of obesity in children.”
Researchers interviewed parents of 193 children between 18 months and 9 years old at the outpatient clinic at URMC’s Golisano Children’s Hospital. More than 30 percent of the children were overweight (BMI greater than 85th percentile). Almost half of the parents of children who were overweight said they thought their children’s weight was “about right,” and 24 percent of parents of normal-weight children said they thought their children were a little or very underweight. Parents were less likely to underestimate the weight of their girls.
Provided by University of Rochester

Two recent studies point out alarming trends in childhood obesity – not only is the group of severely obese children getting larger, but parents don’t even see it. Between 1976 and 2004, the rate of severely obese children – those with BMIs at or above the 99th percentile – has tripled to a total of 2.7 million. A separate, smaller study shows that almost a third of parents underestimate their child’s weight. (w/video)

Continue reading… “Alarming Trends in Childhood Obesity”

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