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A random story from the archives

The 'Chinese Century' comes to a grinding halt
Dateline: 1 April 2015
One hundred million people are now out of work in what has been the world’s fastest growing economy. Figures released by the Chinese government are thought to be vastly understated but this is the first admission of a crisis so huge that it could suck the rest of the world into an economic black hole....

Older stories

A new pandemic looms
And it’s not caused by a virus
Dateline: 14 January 2027
Over the past few decades, we’ve battled a number of global infectious diseases; and most of them are caused by parasites, bacteria, or viruses. And we’ve made major advances in the science of dealing with these diseases, thanks to our development of genetic tools like CRISPR and mRNA. Far more effective than chemical agents or...
Death of the financial centre
Cities that flourished as finance hubs need a new business model
Dateline: 7 January 2025
London, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore; the names of cities that are famous hubs for global finance are easy to recall. But the very reason for their success has evaporated like morning mist at high noon. And it’s got very little to do with Brexit and Covid. The coronavirus pandemic merely helped to illustrate...
Happy New Decade
The future will be… different
Dateline: 1 January 2030
As we say goodbye to the Roaring Twenties, what fantastic new developments, technological wonders, and global catastrophes await us? January 2020 was a sombre affair, with talk of a strange new virus out of China, and economic fragility. By March the pandemic was real, and the markets crashed, everywhere. But within a few years, thanks...
All I want for Christmas is my freedom back
Personal liberty is in short supply
Dateline: 24 December 2026
You would think, now that Covid has been defeated – more or less – that things would open up. That we would be able to move about, socialize, travel, trade, and speak freely about social issues. But that’s just not the case. Governments and rulers – all governments – love to have control over their...
Repair your genes at home
Silicon chips can fix those damaged cells
Dateline: 17 December 2026
For some years now, scientists and researchers have been able to ‘reprogram’ our skin cells into stem cells that morph into useful tissue, like blood vessels, cartilage, or nerves. In a laboratory, that’s not too difficult; but how do you put the patient in charge? The answer lies in using silicon chips, commonly used to...
Antarctica gives up the gas
And it’s super green hydrogen
Dateline: 10 December 2029
Natural gas has long been touted as the obvious successor to coal and oil in the global energy mix. It’s simply cleaner and easier to transform into the most convenient fuels. Even jet fuel is made primarily from gas these days. And the fracking revolution has made gas abundant, everywhere. On the other hand, environmentalists...
Say goodbye to Black Friday
It’s going to be a blue Christmas in cybertown
Dateline: 1 December 2027
The last five years have seen a steady decline in those annual super sales like Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Even extending them to a full week or the entire month of November hasn’t resuscitated consumers’ flagging interest in so-called mega deals of the year. Online and offline retailers alike are perplexed. After...
Nothing is lighter than air
Nothing solid that is, unless it’s mostly nothing
Dateline: 26 November 2026
First discovered by Chinese scientists in 2013, graphene aerogel was considered the lightest material in existence, less dense than air itself, or helium for that matter. Also called aerographene, it’s made of carbon nanotubes bonded together in a super-porous structure, like a sponge. Technically a solid, it acts more like a 3D gas; you can...
New hope for fusion energy
This time it’s different
Dateline: 19 November 2029
After almost a century of research and experimentation, we are on the cusp of finally harnessing the power of nuclear fusion to energize our cities. The old wisecrack, that “nuclear fusion is only a decade away, and always will be,” no longer holds true. Fusion occurs when two atoms fuse together to create a new,...
Making it in space
Space isn’t just for astronauts and tourists
Dateline: 12 November 2033
We’ve gotten used to astronauts from all sorts of countries heading into orbit and visiting one of the several space stations there. And we’re also hardly excited when yet another multi-millionaire and their friends launch on a sub-orbital flip, or ride SpaceX around the planet. But there’s another industry that’s booming in space. It’s Zero-G...