Monday, September 6, 2010

World view September 2010.

Post 554 - Here are some more interesting facts, figures, observations and predictions:

In February of 2010, British scientists reported that a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries is necessary for the formation of the egg. According to the scientists, the egg can only exist if it has been created inside a chicken. This protein is fundamental in the development of the shell. Of course, you may now be wondering, if the chicken came first, then where it come from? Let’s leave that mind-bender for another day….

“In Texas, we don’t carry guns because we have to,” a friend of mine told me recently. “We carry them because we're allowed to.” There’s no telling how many Texans actually walk around armed, but by Department of Public Safety figures, 247,345 men and women, more than one percent of the population, may legally carry a handgun provided it's truly concealed and not out in mischievous view. A majority of states - 36, including Texas - require the authorities to issue a concealed-handgun license to anyone who meets certification and is not ineligible, like felons. Two others, Vermont and Alaska, don’t require a license to carry a concealed weapon. Ten states, including New York, are “may issue” states, where applicants must demonstrate a special need. Two - Wisconsin and Illinois - prohibit concealed weapons altogether. Local laws also vary. Nationwide, for better or worse, Americans own some 220 million guns, and half the households in the country are believed to be armed.

Los Angeles pensions are likely to consume a third of that city's general fund by 2015.

As a percentage of the population, Spain, Ireland, Australia, Canada and the U.K. all have a greater level of home ownership than the U.S.

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of 100 people, with the relative size of human groups remaining the same, there would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 people from the Americas (North and South), and eight Africans. Seventy would be non-white, 30 white. Seventy would be non-Christian, 30 Christian. Fifty percent of the world's wealth would be in the hands of six people. All six would be citizens of the United States. Seventy people would be unable to read. Fifty would suffer from malnutrition. Eighty would live in sub-standard housing. Only one would have a college education.

Here are some tantalizing predictions from Laurence C. Smith in The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future (Dutton Books), scheduled for publication Sept. 23.

* New shipping lanes will open during the summer in the Arctic, allowing Europe to realize its 500-year-old dream of direct trade between the Atlantic and the Far East, and resulting in new access to and economic development in the north.

* Oil resources in Canada will be second only to those in Saudi Arabia, and the country's population will swell by more than 30 percent, a growth rate rivaling India's and six times faster than China's.

* Northern rim countries - or NORCs as Smith calls them, such as Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and the northern United States - will be among the few place on Earth where crop production will likely increase due to climate change.

* NORCs collectively will constitute the fourth largest economy in the world, behind the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the European Union and the United States.

* NORCs will become the envy of the world for their reserves of fresh water, which may be sold and transported to other regions.

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