Emergent Futures Tumblelog

This is the Tumblelog of Paul Higgins and Sandy Teagle - Futurists from Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia. Go to Emergent Futures to see more or follow on Twitter at FuturistPaul . If you right click on the pictures, titles or links in these posts you will be able to go to the original story on the web. If you click on comments for each post you can either read what others have said or add your own comment via Disqus. If you click on the date of a post it will take you to a single post view where you can copy the web link if you want to send it to someone else. If you click on the tags it will take you to other stories from Emergent Futures with the same tag.

Posted at 7:51pm.

Posted at 6:17pm.

1.     The number of books being published every year has exploded. 

According to the latest Bowker Report (October 9, 2013), over 391,000 books were self-published in the U.S. in 2012, which is an amazing increase of 422 percent since 2007.  The number of non-self-published books issued annually has also climbed over the same period to approximately 300,000 in 2012.  The net effect is that the number of new books published each year in the U.S. has exploded by more than 400,000 since 2007, to approximately 700,000 annually.  And since 2007, nearly 10 million previously published books have been reissued by companies that reprint public domain works. Unfortunately, the marketplace is not able to absorb all these books and is hugely oversaturated. 

2.     Book industry sales are declining, despite the explosion of books published.

Adult nonfiction print unit book sales peaked in 2007 and have declined each year since then, according to BookScan (Publishers Weekly, January 6, 2014, and previous reports).  Similarly, bookstore sales peaked in 2007 and have fallen each year since then, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (Publishers Weekly, February 12, 2014, and previous reports).

3.  Despite the growth of e-book sales, overall book sales are still shrinking.

After skyrocketing from 2008 to 2012, e-book sales leveled off in 2013.  Unfortunately, the decline of print sales outpaced the growth of e-book sales, even from 2008 to 2012.  According to BookStats data reported by the Association of American Publishers (May 15, 2013), revenues in the entire U.S. book publishing marketplace fell again in 2012, to $27.1 billion.  The total book publishing pie is not growing—the peak was hit in 2007—yet it is being divided among ever more hundreds of thousands of digital and print books.

Posted at 4:43pm.

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Posted at 10:25am.

s-c-i-guy:

Artificial blood ‘will be manufactured in factories’

It is the stuff of gothic science fiction: men in white coats in factories of blood and bones.

But the production of blood on an industrial scale could become a reality once a trial is conducted in which artificial blood made from human stem cells is tested in patients for the first time.

It is the latest breakthrough in scientists’ efforts to re-engineer the body, which have already resulted in the likes of 3d-printed bones and bionic limbs.

Marc Turner, the principal researcher in the £5 million programme funded by the Wellcome Trust, told The Telegraph that his team had made red blood cells fit for clinical transfusion.

Prof Turner has devised a technique to culture red blood cells from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells – cells that have been taken from humans and ‘rewound’ into stem cells. Biochemical conditions similar to those in the human body are then recreated to induce the iPS cells to mature into red blood cells – of the rare universal blood type O.

“Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being,” said Prof Turner.

There are plans in place for the trial to be concluded by late 2016 or early 2017, he said. It will most likely involve the treatment of three patients with Thalassaemia, a blood disorder requiring regular transfusions. The behaviour of the manufactured blood cells will then be monitored.

“The cells will be safe,” he said, adding that there are processes whereby cells can be removed.

The technique highlights the prospect of a limitless supply of manufactured type-O blood, free of disease and compatible with all patients.

“Although blood banks are well-stocked in the UK and transfusion has been largely safe since the Hepatitis B and HIV infections of the 1970s and 1980s, many parts of the world still have problems with transfusing blood,” said Prof Turner.

However, scaling up the process to meet demand will be a challenge, as Prof Turner’s laboratory conditions are not replicable on an industrial scale. “A single unit of blood contains a trillion red blood cells. There are 2 million units of blood transfused in the UK each year,” he said.

Currently, it costs approximately £120 to transfuse a single unit of blood. If Prof Turner’s technique is scaled up efficiently, it could substantially reduce costs.

Dr Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust, said: “One should not underestimate the challenge of translating the science into routine procedures for the clinic. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the challenge Professor Turner and colleagues have set out to address, which is to replace the human blood donor as the source of supply for life-saving transfusions.”

For the moment, factories of blood remain the stuff of fiction.

source

Posted at 7:17am.

s-c-i-guy:

Artificial blood ‘will be manufactured in factories’
It is the stuff of gothic science fiction: men in white coats in factories of blood and bones.

But the production of blood on an industrial scale could become a reality once a trial is conducted in which artificial blood made from human stem cells is tested in patients for the first time.


It is the latest breakthrough in scientists’ efforts to re-engineer the body, which have already resulted in the likes of 3d-printed bones and bionic limbs.


Marc Turner, the principal researcher in the £5 million programme funded by the Wellcome Trust, told The Telegraph that his team had made red blood cells fit for clinical transfusion.


Prof Turner has devised a technique to culture red blood cells from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells – cells that have been taken from humans and ‘rewound’ into stem cells. Biochemical conditions similar to those in the human body are then recreated to induce the iPS cells to mature into red blood cells – of the rare universal blood type O.
“Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being,” said Prof Turner.
There are plans in place for the trial to be concluded by late 2016 or early 2017, he said. It will most likely involve the treatment of three patients with Thalassaemia, a blood disorder requiring regular transfusions. The behaviour of the manufactured blood cells will then be monitored.
“The cells will be safe,” he said, adding that there are processes whereby cells can be removed.
The technique highlights the prospect of a limitless supply of manufactured type-O blood, free of disease and compatible with all patients.
“Although blood banks are well-stocked in the UK and transfusion has been largely safe since the Hepatitis B and HIV infections of the 1970s and 1980s, many parts of the world still have problems with transfusing blood,” said Prof Turner.
However, scaling up the process to meet demand will be a challenge, as Prof Turner’s laboratory conditions are not replicable on an industrial scale. “A single unit of blood contains a trillion red blood cells. There are 2 million units of blood transfused in the UK each year,” he said.
Currently, it costs approximately £120 to transfuse a single unit of blood. If Prof Turner’s technique is scaled up efficiently, it could substantially reduce costs.
Dr Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust, said: “One should not underestimate the challenge of translating the science into routine procedures for the clinic. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the challenge Professor Turner and colleagues have set out to address, which is to replace the human blood donor as the source of supply for life-saving transfusions.”
For the moment, factories of blood remain the stuff of fiction.
source

newyorker:

image

Michael Lemonick on the story about a cherry tree that has at least some scientists flummoxed: http://nyr.kr/RpSBua

“Back in 2008, at the behest of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, astronauts carried two hundred and sixty-five cherry pits from a nationally beloved,…

Posted at 5:43am.