Five By Five - 10 Feb 2012
1. US Postal Service loses $3.3 bln in first quarter - via Reuters — The U.S. Postal Service reported a net loss of $3.3 billion in its first quarter (ending Dec 31st) with total mail volume falling 6.1%. USPS lost $5.1B last fiscal year, and is being blocked from its plan to close thousands of facilities and restructure its worker benefits by the US Congress. Expect USPS to hit its debt ceiling this fall, or sooner. I predict it will be renationalized, and radically restructured: imagine Fedex operating as the USPS, or ‘post offices’ in supermarkets.
2. Today Yesterday: 5 Vintage Visions for the Future of Technology - Maria Popova via Brain Pickings — Retro futuristic visions of the then-future: the office (1969), electronic journalism (1981), clothing (1930s), the hospital (1950s), and banking (1965). Wow.
3. Google Reincarnates Dead Paper Mill as Data Center of Future - Cade Metz via Wired — More importantly, the paper mill, built in 1953, has access to the frigid Baltic Sea which is employed to cool the server farm with massive heat exchangers:
Google is a good citizen though: it returns the water to the Baltic almost as cold as when it was borrowed, using Baltic water, again.
4. The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be - Jamais Cascio via Open The Future — Cascio says that futurists have become adept at prophesying technological advances (“boys with toys”), but remain relatively bad at nearly everything else:
Technology foresight has been stuck for the last 10-20 years; we need to be paying more attention to social-cultural futurism.
My push is to ‘postfuturism’ — to get out of the stranglehold of conventional futurist thinking.
5. Envisioning the Future of Technology - Alex Mensing via The Long Now Blog — In a way confirming what Jamais Cascio was talking about in The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be (see above), London-based designer Michell Zappa created an amazing graphic for envisioning emerging technology in the near future.