Looming disasters, and other tech predictions, for 2014
ITNews | Posted: 26 Dec 2013, 10:32
More than most years, 2013 might be remembered for some ominous predictions of doom for the earth and its inhabitants.
The threat of solar storms received much attention from prognosticators, as did abrupt climate change -- the earth's atmosphere passed the 400 parts per million in carbon dioxide mark in 2013.
Also, life extension became part of the tech discussion in 2013 and promises to become more of one in the years ahead.
High-speed machine-to-machine trading, long a topic, is gaining ever more attention as transactions near the speed of light.
Some of the biggest (and smallest) predictions for next year and beyond follow.
The end of the power grid
The National Intelligence Council, in its Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report, released this year, said geomagnetic storms "pose substantial threat" to electronics and the power grid.
This was a big year for warnings about solar storms. The last "solar super-storm," occurred in 1859, and the next one has a good chance of arriving within your lifetime.
In 1989, a solar storm knocked out the Quebec power grid, impacting 6 million customers.
Historical records suggest a return period of 50 years for Quebec-level storms and 150 years for very extreme storms, such as the 1859 so-called Carrington Event, according to a report by insurer Lloyd's earlier this year.
Scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory recently demonstrated in tests that "geomagnetic disturbances have the power to disrupt and possibly destroy electrical transformers, the backbone of our nation's utility grid."
Extreme solar events are memorable, even without electronics. In 1859 Mother Nature "lit up its own chandelier in order, as it might be, to reveal the wickedness going on at the dead hour of night," The Memphis Daily wrote after brilliant lights in the nighttime sky, flashes, and red glows startled the city.
It prompted the fire department to muster on the mistaken belief that there was a large fire.
Things that may go boom next year
"Bitcoin will explode. KABOOM!" predicts Rob Banagale, CEO and co-founder, Gilph, Inc., a messaging security provider, via the National Venture Capital Association.
"OpenStack will implode," said Jason Bloomberg, author Agile Architecture Revolution, in his 2014 predictions at ZapThink. "It will succumb to a kind of innovation paralysis," he said.
In 2013, scientists confirmed the existence of the largest volcano on the planet, and among the largest in the solar system. Tamu Massif is in Northwest Pacific Ocean and is as large as the state of New Mexico. It is, fortunately, inactive.
Google thinks about life extension, as did Edison
In 2013, Google created a new company, Calico, to focus on health and well-being. "OK ... so you're probably thinking wow," wrote Google, co-founder Larry Page, one of Google's co-founders, about the company. Time's cover story looked at the effort this way: Can Google Solve Death?
Thomas Edison figured out how to live a long life well before Google. In a 1914 interview with The Day Book, Edison outlined a disciplined lifestyle.
Edison, then 67, said he slept about five and half hours a night, though for years he had only slept four. Mrs. Edison, he explained, wouldn't permit him to work all night any more. His daily diet didn't exceed a pound and a half of food. He smoked cigars and chewed tobacco, but avoided cigarettes. He read 118 scientific and trade periodicals and five daily newspapers.
"I read four lines at once," said Edison. "They should teach that kind of reading in the public schools."
Edison lived until the age of 84. The life expectancy for a man in 1914 was 52.
Too fast and too big for humans?
There have been ongoing warnings that machine-to-machine trading could one day disrupt financial markets.
A recent paper published in Nature, "Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time," argued that humans are losing the ability to intervene in machine actions in real time. New systems, it said, are reducing "communication and computational operating times down to several orders of magnitude below human response times - toward the physical limits of the speed of light."
The paper also pointed out that a new dedicated transatlantic cable is being built "just to shave 5 milliseconds off transatlantic communications times between U.S. and U.K traders."
"Speed may exacerbate problems, but there is no definitive evidence that it is the problem," said Michael Piwowar, a U.S. Securities and Exchange commissioner this month in a speech in London. "Moreover, we should not reject the possibility that speed may actually help mitigate problems once they begin."
Abrupt climate change warnings
In May of 2013 "the average daily level of carbon dioxide in the air had reached a concentration above 400 parts per million--a level that hasn't been seen since around 3 to 5 million years ago, well before humans roamed the Earth," reported NASA.
Scientist say that the climate record shows evidence of abrupt climate change, measured in a period of years to decades. In a National Academies report this year, "Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises," scientists recommend creation of a global early warning system to alert mankind to changes.
Microsoft Corp sued Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Friday, claiming the South Korean smartphone maker refused to make a royalty payment last fall on patent licenses after Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Nokia's handset business.
Finisar Corporation has put China into its priority in global development strategy, hoping to become an important promoter and preferred supplier of optical devices in optical communication industry of China market.
Up to now, China Mobile Shanghai Branch has launched about 5,000 base stations in 4G network, according to the sources.
"China Telecom will not drop out from Yixin, on the contrary, it will strengthen the support level," said relevant people inside China Telecom.
Xiaomi Inc, the three-year old company known as the Apple of China, has become the world's No.5 smartphone maker by market share while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's lead has continued to shrink, a report by Strategy Analytics shows.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. on Thursday reported its worst quarterly profit in two years and flagged uncertain earnings prospects for its key handset business, fuelling worries about its ability to return to growth.
Security researchers have revealed two separate threats this week they say could put up to 90 percent of the world's 2 billion plus smartphones at risk of password theft, stolen data and in some cases let hackers take full control of devices.
T-Mobile US Inc on Thursday posted its first net profit in a year, raised its forecasts for subscriber growth and reported the most postpaid phone subscriber additions in the industry.
By 2016, Shenyang will achieve the full coverage of broadband fiber to the home (FTTH) throughout the city, and the broadband access capacity will reach 100 Mbps.
Recently, China Telecom announced that the company will co-found the Smart Home Industry Alliance, together with another dozens of companies in the industries of TV, chip, terminal and application, thus the domestic control platform is expected to be established.
The worldwide smartphone market grew 23.1% year over year in the second quarter of 2014, establishing a new single quarter record of 295.3 million shipments, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
As revealed, the jointly established China Communications Facility Services Co., LTD by the three major operators in China would build about 120,000 new towers and responding IT rooms in the next three years, as well as the supporting facilities.
The top U.S. telecommunications regulator said on Wednesday he is "deeply troubled" by Verizon Communications Inc's plan to slow data downloads for some high-speed wireless customers remaining on the older unlimited data plans.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. on Thursday reported its worst quarterly profit in two years and was downbeat about its second-half prospects, fuelling concerns about its ability to protect its smartphone turf in the face of mounting competition.
Vodafone will be drawing from the low-band 850MHz spectrum holding that currents supports its 3G network to boost its 4G network coverage to aim at covering 95 percent of Australia's metropolitan population by the end of the year.
As the industry-leading manufacturer of optical transceivers, ATOP Corporation continues to have positive growth for six month in the first half of 2014, with an increase of 31.2% YoY, hitting a record high.
Summary: In the second quarter of this year, Huawei says it has seen rapid increases of handset shipments beyond its traditional Chinese stronghold.
The mobile services of both Telstra and Optus were virtually unusable for the 30,000 pundits attending this year's Splendour in the Grass festival, while the underdog Vodafone performed best.
Netflix pays AT&T for connections that will be turned on "in the coming days."
Researchers in the US, funded by the US Air Force, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the National Science Foundation, have managed to turn air into an "optical fiber.”
China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said smartphone shipments in the first half rose 62 percent year-on-year, as it targets the more expensive smartphone sector dominated by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc.
318 operators have commercially launched LTE networks and service in 111 countries, according to data released today by GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) in its latest Evolution to LTE report.
It seems that despite Apple’s recent huge win over Samsung, the Cupertino company has decided to give up on chasing an injunction against the 23 Samsung products that they alleged have infringed upon their patents.
Recently, Elite Advanced Laser Corporation (eLASER) released its financial reports in June, which showed that the company hit a new record high in the areas of optical communications and optical information.
Hotel chains like the Radisson, Hilton, and Doubletree usually end up near the top of the list of approved places to stay for business trips. But if you’re looking for high-speed Wi-Fi, you might be better off avoiding them.
Cisco has quietly released details of a new version of its UCS servers and associated kit dubbed the UCS Mini”.
Hengtong Optic-electric announced July 28 that the company is expected to achieve net profit attributable to shareholders of the listed company about RMB 75.66 million to RMB 88.28 million in the first half of 2014, increased by 20%-40% compared with the same period last year.
Competition between mobile carriers can get rather intensive at times, and T-Mobile has come up with their Simple Choice Family Plan that laughs in the face of AT&T’s 'Best Ever Pricing for Families'.
Verizon has decided to throttle some users of its 4G network.
People living in London will be able to download films to their mobile phones in less than a second by 2020, Boris Johnson claims.
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