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.

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, nytimes.com

Flame retar­dants illu­mi­nate every­thing that’s wrong with our money-driven pol­i­tics.

Posted at 4:38am and tagged with: unintended consequences, politics, risk,.

Infographic Of The Day: The Insane Choices You Face At The Drugstore

"The innovation process leads to an overall product experience that’s horrible."

Full Story: Fastcodesign

Posted at 6:07pm and tagged with: innovation, delight the customer, unintended consequences,.


Infographic Of The Day: The Insane Choices You Face At The Drugstore

"The innovation process leads to an overall product experience that’s horrible."

Full Story: Fastcodesign

The smart grid could go a long way in conserving energy and smoothing out load demand for the nation’s utilities. Researchers at MIT however, say there may be a law of unintended consequences at work with smart grid. If too many people set appliances to turn on, or devices to recharge, when the price of electricity crosses the same threshold, it could cause a huge spike in demand — and potentially overload the power grid, they surmise.

Posted at 8:20am and tagged with: energy, future, smart grid, tech, technology, risk, unintended consequences,.

The DIY Terminator: Private Robot Armies And The Algorithm-Run Future Of War

In the latest installment of the Butterfly Effect: Predator drones are just the start of unmanned, autonomous warfare technology. But as the tech becomes more democratized and more deadly, what happens when anyone can assemble an army of killing machines?

Full Story: Fast Company

Posted at 8:20am and tagged with: military, robots, unintended consequences, risk,.

The DIY Terminator: Private Robot Armies And The Algorithm-Run Future Of War


In the latest installment of the Butterfly Effect: Predator drones are just the start of unmanned, autonomous warfare technology. But as the tech becomes more democratized and more deadly, what happens when anyone can assemble an army of killing machines?
Full Story: Fast Company

Paul Higgins: In part I am not surprised by this and you should not need a major study to measure it. If the program is not designed to reward people for reducing car size or a significant improvement in efficiency then it is unlikely to happen. Just looks like poor design to me.

The International Transport Forum, an intergovernmental think tank, recently published a study on car fleet renewal scheme in three countries. The study was conducted to measure the impact of governmental incentives in the US, Germany and France (all car friendly nations with a production of cars) which aimed to trade old cars for newer ones hoping that this will stimulate both sustainability and the car industry.

Now, 2 years later, a first study is published that evaluates the cost-effectiveness of the car renewal from a sustainable and social point of view. Factors like CO2 and NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions as well as road safety are measured.

The study, however, didn`t give the results the politicians had hoped for. One could have expected that newer cars caused less pollution and reduced the risk of traffic accidents, in other words achieving a positive cost-effectiveness. That is true in the short term but in the long run the positive aspects diminish.

The study shows that a lot of consumers have traded their old small car in favor to a new medium-sized one. Bigger cars need more fuel and cause higher air pollution. As the new car is more comfortable consumers spend more time travelling and road safety per car decreases. Logically, both CO2 and NOx-emissions increase. Taking a look on the cost-effectiveness shows, of course, negative values, too.

Paul Higgins: I have commented in more detail at the original Blog Post : World Future Society

Posted at 8:52am and tagged with: design, unintended consequences, environment, politics,.

Paul Higgins: Great Post from Fred Wilson about how Kickstarter is being used in ways that were not originally envisaged - helping support all sorts of projects:

Our best investments have emergent use cases that the founders never considered when they launched them. Kickstarter is showing that in spades right now. When Perry initially imagined Kickstarter almost ten years ago now as a way to raise money for a music festival, he certainly never thought a golf pro would use Kickstarter to raise the sponsorship money he needs to play a season on the pro tour. And yet that is exactly what is happening right now.

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: crowdsourcing, unintended consequences,.

Texting bans may add risk to roads

The Highway Loss group theorizes that drivers try to evade police by lowering their phones when texting, increasing the risk by taking their eyes even further from the road and for a longer time.

Posted at 8:35am and tagged with: unintended consequences, driving, mobile, smartphones,.

Texting bans may add risk to roads

The Highway Loss group theorizes that drivers try to evade police by  lowering their phones when texting, increasing the risk by taking their  eyes even further from the road and for a longer time.

Internet Coupons Nearly Iced Popular Cupcake Shop

Mission Minis recently ran a promotion to entice customers to its shop on 3168 22nd St. that almost put the icing on the bakery. Three Mission Mini employees threatened to quit after a promotion with online coupon site Groupon received a little more attention than the bakery can handle, according to Mission Local.

Posted at 3:45am and tagged with: group buying, scaling, unintended consequences,.

Internet Coupons Nearly Iced Popular Cupcake  Shop

Mission Minis recently ran a promotion to entice customers to its shop  on 3168 22nd St. that almost put the icing on the bakery. Three Mission  Mini employees threatened to quit after a promotion with online coupon  site Groupon received a little more attention  than the bakery can handle, according to Mission Local.

Scientists believe the vaccine used to wipe out smallpox offered some protection against HIV, but its gradual withdrawal allowed the virus to flourish.

Smallpox is estimated to have killed up to 500 million people in the 20th century alone, but comprehensive vaccination programs succeeded in eradicating the disease.

In findings published in the journal BMC Immunology, scientists said HIV rates increased exponentially after the vaccine was withdrawn from use.

The US investigators say trials indicate the smallpox jab interferes with the way HIV spreads within the body.

Posted at 10:33am and tagged with: unintended consequences, disease, science,.

The climate changers: How wind turbines make their own clouds

They are billed as vast sentinels that will protect our world from climate change.

But, at the same time, these wind turbines are creating a new little climate of their own. The 196ft structures whipped up the sea mist which blankets them in this photograph.

The phenomenon is caused by the spinning 130ft blades which churn up the warm air at sea level and mix it with cooler air above at Scroby Sands, near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.

Posted at 3:47pm and tagged with: climate change, wind energy, unintended consequences,.

The climate changers: How wind turbines make their own clouds

They are billed as vast sentinels  that will protect our world from climate change.
But, at the same time,  these wind turbines are creating a new little climate of their own. The  196ft structures whipped up the sea mist which blankets them in this  photograph.
The  phenomenon is caused by the spinning 130ft blades which churn up the warm air at sea level and mix it with cooler air above at Scroby Sands, near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.