Situation Report #8: Snowmageddon, Fukushima and further Economic Stagnation

knightscope-robocopAutonomous Robots Will Take on Your Security Job
via MIT Technology Review

News roundup:

  • What’s behind snowmageddon that hit the US this week? via New Scientist
  • Uncrackable code developed for nuclear weapons via R&D Magazine.
  • Containing Ebola with Nanotechnology via Boston University.
  • Singapore moves to regulate taxi booking apps PhysOrg.
  • Mathematical time law governs crowd flow via Nature.
  • 12 LuxLeaks diagrams that will make your head spin via The Guardian.
  • U.S. Firms Accused of Enabling Surveillance in Despotic Central Asian Regimes via The Intercept.
  • Google break-up plan emerges from Brussels via Cryptome.
  • Fukushima radiation detected off California coast via Daily Mail Online.
  • Creaking euro zone, China sound warnings for global growth via Reuters.

Meanwhile on Tundra:

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Situation Report #7: Ebola, economic stagnation and Peak Oil


The global geopolitical situation is slowly detoriating as the Eurozone states and the US/Euro/Japan show diminishing returns on their zero interest rate policy. Sweden lowers interest rates to 0 % and enters an economic downwards spiral as the global industrial complex stagnates. Oil prices are plummeting due to decreased production and out of control military conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq while the Ebola virus destroy the economies of Western African countries.

Recent news:

  • Post Carbon Institute’s LTO Reality Check – Peak Oil Barrel
  • Mali rushes to contain Ebola after its first case via The Guardian.
  • Scientists make enzyme that could help explain origins of life via Physorg.
  • 2040’s America will be like 1840’s Britain, with robots? via IEET.

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Ebola – inside the outbreak


The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed 3.439 people and is decleared a global health threat by WHO.

UPDATE: Ebola crisis: First major vaccine trials in Liberia, BBC.

Over 7.000 cases has been identified in the region and the current death toll by country show 739 deaths in Guinea, 623 deaths in Sierra Leone, 2,069 deaths in Liberia and 8 deaths in Nigeria. These numbers could be several times higher due to unmonitored areas. A worst case scenario could result in over 1 million cases by the end of the year.

The outbreak, which is the 26. in recorded history, has an mortality rate between 50 and 90 percent depending on the treatement offered. The outbreak has an geographic reach that is uncommon and the potential for further spread is chilling. The first case was isolated in the US in the end of september. We are not facing a local humanitarian catastrophe, the entire planet is at risk.


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Situation Report #6: Artificial cells, Russian missile test and the tragedy of Rotherham

future-smart-cityThe future of cities: Smart grids and open source governance
Singapore to calibrate involvement in India’s Smart Cities project – Channel NewsAsia


Artificial cells take their first steps via TUM
Synthetic Biologists Are Engineering Microbes to Make Morphine via Discover
How NASA Plans to Open ‘Air Highways’ for Drones via Motherboard
NASA to send 3D printer into space via Nature
City As Superintelligence via IEET
Cars that drive themselves starting to chat with each other | Reuters
Self-Driving Cars Face Serious Roadblocks, Experts Say via IEEE Spectrum


Fukushima nuclear disaster: three years on 120,000 evacuees remain uprooted via The Guardian
Russia successfully tests nuclear missile, more planned: navy chief via Reuters
The argument for a hypersonic missile testing ban via Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
US Has Lost ‘Dominance In Electromagnetic Spectrum’ via Breaking Defense


Will Congress avoid another government shutdown? via CBS News
Japan GDP contraction revised to deeper than estimated 7.1% via The Japan Times
Date of Russia-Ukraine-EU gas talks still undetermined via ITAR-TASS
Norway Losing Out to Sweden in $6 Billion Wind-Power Boom via Bloomberg
Common genetic variants associated with cognitive performance via PNAS


Liberia’s Ebola problem far worse than imagined, says WHO via AAAS News
Ebola Cases Spiking in West Africa As Death Toll Nears 2,300 via TIME
Ebola Disease Surveillance via HealthMap

ISIS in Iraq and Syria:

Obama to lay out plan to ‘destroy’ Isis threat as Kerry arrives in Baghdad via The Guardian
Why Westerners are driven to join the jihadist fight via New Scientist
The Real Aim of ISIS Is to Replace the Saud Family as the New Emirs of Arabia via Huffington Post


Could Scottish separatism act as a catalyst for change in Spain? via Telegraph
Separatism Trial Set for Chinese Minority Scholar via ABC News
Why Did British Police Ignore Pakistani Gangs Abusing 1,400 Rotherham Children? via Forbes
UK’s ISIS Problem Attributable to ‘Four Decades of State-Sponsored Multiculturalism’ via BreitBart

unmanned-heli-cybaeroCybAero Demos For China’s AVIC
While Embargo Controversy Brews In Sweden via DefenseWorld

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Situation Report #5: Exit Strategies, Survivalism and the Prospect of Superintelligence

offplanet-colony-dyson-sphereIll. Cosmic Megastructure
Could We Build a Dyson Sphere? – Popular Mechanics

Is the western world running out of moves on the grand chess board? Diplomacy, free trade agreements , open borders, quantitative easing, peace keeping forces, military interventions and covert arms dealings have been for nothing? So it seems.

The current critical situation across the planet should be a great time for anyone concerned about survivalism to practice their skills. Get your bug-out bag ready and fill up that panic room with canned food, clean water and tons of ammo! Seriously, are we really out of options?

Building the appropriate security apparatus in a turbulent world

There is plenty of time to build resilient societies, space colonies, underground bunkers, nanobiotech shields against contagious diseases, supervolcanoes and malevolent super-intelligence.

Man-made quakes shake the ground less than natural ones : Nature
Is Iceland’s Next Volcanic Eruption About to Happen? – Scientific American
Inside California’s $7.5 billion drought-survival plan – New Scientist
Using Nanoparticles to Fight Ebola Virus – IEEE Spectrum
Mutant poliovirus caused Republic of Congo outbreak in 2010 – MedicalXpress.
Startup Is Building a Wearable Air-Quality Monitor – MIT Technology Review
Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom and A Rough Ride to the Future by James Lovelock – Guardian
Essential gadgets while reporting on civil unrest – Boing Boing
Occupying the Throne: Justine Tunney, Neoreactionaries, and the New 1% – The Daily Beast

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Situation Report #4: Ukraine, Iraq and Ebola – heading for the perfect storm?

ferguson-policeMeanwhile in the U.S.: Ferguson riots have left a ‘deep wound’
across America, Missouri governor says via The Telegraph.

The expression a “perfect storm” describes a series of events that seldom occur simultaenously. This rare combination of circumstances that aggravate a situation drastically originated with early climatologists. The expression is also of interest when analyzing global current affairs. The global community can handle these conflicts and “disturbances” only when diplomacy, military power and effective use of resources are coordinated. 

Ukraine – rising tension or balanced endgame?

The military tension between Ukraine state military, seperatists and Russia increases as another Ukraine fighter plane is shot down over Eastern Ukraine, an area that are know for their heavy industry and related infrastructure. The city of Donetsk came under renewed shelling on Friday after 11 residents were killed and 8 wounded in heavy fighting between government forces and rebels on Thursday.

  • Ukraine claims conflict with pro-Russia rebels entering endgame via The Guardian
  • Pro-Russian separatists shoot down Ukrainian fighter jet – Telegraph
  • How did we get from trade disputes in Ukraine to nuclear threats in Severodvinsk? via Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
  • Russia launches China UnionPay credit card via Russia Today

Syria and Iraq – the rise of the “Islamic State” (aka ISIL, IS)

The current fighting and killing in Syria and Iraq under the banner of the Islamic State is the result of a serious underestimation of the backlash of military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq and the involvement in Syria. Currently the Kurdish troops are the most qualified opponents with the support of U.S. and NATO air support.

  • Jihadis accused of new massacres in Iraq and Syria via BBC
  • U.S. Airstrikes Aim at Islamic State Hold on Iraq Dam via Wall Street Journal
  • Disrupt ISIS’s Cash Flow in Iraq via New York Times

Ebola Outbreak

The Ebola outbreak in West-Africa has claimed over 1000 lives and is the largest outbreak in history. Health workers are struggling to quarantine suspected cases and the World Health Organization is critized for not putting enough effort into stopping the outbreak.  The Geneva-based agency has reported 1,145 deaths among the 2,127 people infected by the virus as of Aug. 13. There is also 1 million people in need of food aid in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and the areas hardest hit by the epidemic so far. Follow the outbreak with the contagious disease tracker Health Map on the current Ebola outbreak.

  • Ebola clinic looted by Liberian slum residents via CBC
  • Curbing Ebola Spread in West Africa Could Take Six Months via Bloomberg

..on a brighter note:

  • Snowden on NSA’s MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar via The Register
  • You Can Get Hacked Just By Watching This Cat Video on YouTube via The Intercept
  • US drone research hits regulatory turbulence via Nature News & Comment
  • Snowden Doc Tally updates – new docs released, Cryptome
  • Humans need not apply: The future of jobs is robot-shaped via The Independent


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Situation Report #3: Chinese water pollution, Ukraine Civil War, the Middle East disintegrates and Ebola looms

china-water-pollutionWater pollution in China

As the current outlook for the global security situation worsens the Plausible Futures Newsletter keeps covering the news and scenarios. Enjoy this current free SitRep for the dominant driving forces and scenarios:

Ukrainian forces advance in east as Russia, West squabble via Reuters.
Germany denies ‘land for gas’ deal with Putin via The Local.

Israel, HAMAS and Iran
Iranian officials say they have armed Hamas for fight with Israel via LA Times.
US President Obama signs bill to finance Israeli Iron Dome via Associated Press.
Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack via The Intercept.

Syria and ISIS in Iraq
ISIS Terrorists ‘Have Seized Iraq’s Largest Dam’ via Newsweek.
German flooding of the Pontine Marshes in World War II via BioOne.

Ebola pandemic?
Patient at Mount Sinai Has Ebola-Like Symptoms, Hospital Says via NY Times.
Experimental Ebola Treatment Came From California Company via NBC News.

Craters in Siberian and instant lakes in Tunisia.
Mysterious Siberian crater attributed to methane via Nature.
Mystery as ‘lake’ appears in middle of Tunisian desert and becomes overnight tourist attraction via The Independent.

Water pollution in China and radiation in Japan
Shocking Photos Show How Polluted China’s Water Has Become via Business Insider.
Monkeys show effects of fallout from Fukushima nuclear meltdown via South China Morning Post.

Subscribe to the Plausible Futures Newsletter for comprehensive scenarios.

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Special Report: Ebola Outbreak of 2014

ebola control campFeeling The Heat, Burning The Suits
(image from NPR)

The World Health Organisation reported that as of July 17 there had been 1,048 cases in the outbreak and 632 of those people have died.

Cases have occurred in the region of West Africa; Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, with suspected cases in Congo and Uganda. This is the most widespread outbreak since the disease was identified in 1976 in Sudan and Congo.

WHO and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treat patients and try to contain the Ebola outbreak that is currently gripping the vast region. Their challenge is to contain the highly deadly disease, with a chilling 60-90% death rate, by stopping human to human transmission.

Health workers also struggle to convince the population to abandon their local food tradition which includes bats, monkeys and other wildlife found in the forests and are known to carry the Ebola virus. This is food tradition is also a multi-million industry. In addition, certain religious groups are blaming the health care workers for spreading the virus.

The situation should concern the entire health and emerging disease community on the planet. If this virus remains uncontained the probability for mutations increase. The virus might find others hosts like pigs or other household animals. The Ebola virus could become the mother of all pandemics.

Scenarios for the current Ebola outbreak

Driving forces:

  • local food traditions, religion and burial rituals
  • insufficient health information and health care
  • climate change, deforestation, desertification

Uncertainty and Wild Cards:

  • Mutations of the Ebola virus
  • Ebola jumps to household animals
  • Genetic immunity among certain people
  • Ebola vaccines and treatment
  • International respons: containment, controlled burn-out or military intervention

Scenario 1 (baseline):

The Ebola virus is contained during the coming months, with few recurring cases, due to health care efforts of the international community, disease information, treatment-centers and local and national health support. Better systems for detection are implemented (see Molecular Computer Detects Ebola and Marburg Viruses)

Scenario 2:

The Ebola virus is a recurring and deadly threat for the continent of Africa for years to come until a vaccine is developed. Certain cases are quickly contained in Europe, the US and Asia. Local resistance to health care workers makes matters worse (see Suspected Ebola patient escapes hospital in Sierra Leone)

Scenario 3:

The Ebola virus becomes a constant international threat, airtraffic across the globe halts to a standstill and military control posts are common on borders from known infected countries.

Scenario 4 (worst case):

Zombie style apocalypse where the Ebola virus mutates resulting in a pandemic that cause widespread death, chaos and destruction.

World Health Organization
Médecins Sans Frontières
Ebola time line on Wikipedia.

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Situation Report #2: Robotics, Quantum Computing and Transhumanism



Enjoy this weeks roundup of the current situation ranging from robotics via quantum computing to the philosophy of transhumanism.

The Robots Running This Way. 
The history of Boston Dynamics, the robotics company recently aquired by Google., and their relation to DARPA.
Source: MIT Technology Review.

Partnership plus: the future of the NATO-Ukraine relationship
Russian threatens Ukriane in addition to Finland over possible NATO membership application.
Source: The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

5 predictions revisited: Iraq’s troubles are years in the making, experts say
Syria-based ISIS control several major cities in Iraq and threatens regional stability.
Source: CNN.

Study finds weird magic ingredient for quantum computing
Are we getting closer to a working method for mass production of quantum computers?
Source: PhysOrg.

Transhumanism and Marxism: Philosophical Connections
Transhumanism indicates a transitional state on the road to a posthuman state. This transition is to be accomplished primarily by technological means in a transfer of control over the process of evolution from natural selection to conscious human direction.
Source: Journal of Evolution and Technology.

Maritime route of colonization of Europe
Scientists use DNA polymorphisms of extant populations to investigate the patterns of gene flow from the Near East to Europe.
Source: PNAS.

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