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A random story from the archives

HSBC lets you earn while you snooze
Dateline: 11 September 2095
With 60% of the population of the US and EU now over the age of 65, economists have expressed astonishment at the continued strength of the world economy. “In the USA, the working-age population is now down to under 70 million out of an overall population of 500 million, yet GDP growth in last year...

Older stories

The meal that changed everything
Who would have thought an exotic dish could cost so much?
Dateline: 29 July 2022
No one imagined that a meal of exotic animals from a wet market in Wuhan could come at such an incredible cost, both in terms of human lives and economic deprivation. The global tsunami that was coronavirus has weakened to a tropical storm that is blowing itself out in Venezuela, and people talk about the...
Pharma falls on flu season failure
Demand for cough and cold remedies nearly non-existent
Dateline: 19 April 2022
In a strange twist of fate for the big pharma companies, their profits were sharply down in the first quarter, as the regular flu season turned out to be a damp squib. It’s somewhat ironic that pharmaceutical giants that conquered Covid-19 with life-saving therapeutic drugs and vaccines, have now been ‘punished’ with a lack of...
Lithium survives battery breakthroughs
Can anything break lithium’s stranglehold on energy storage?
Dateline: 15 July 2024
Over the last decade, there has been a new battery ‘breakthrough’ announced every couple of months, but we’re still waiting for any of them to emerge from the labs and dethrone lithium as king of the battery technologies. Prototypes and conceptual chemical models have been demonstrated, some in dramatic fashion, but when it comes to...
Here’s to the mavericks!
When it pays to be unreasonable
Dateline: 10 July 2025
In recent years, there’s been a quest, on social media and the like, to appeal to reason, and search for a reasonable response to any contentious issue. Which is fair enough; we know that extremism is a hugely destructive force. There’s even a legal test of reasonableness; in any given case, what would the reasonable...
Tesla stock hits $5,000
Irrational exuberance overcomes investor fundamentals
Dateline: 30 June 2026
In the 16 years since its IPO, Tesla has seen incredible volatility and incredible resilience. Now it is at an all-time high, and investors keep piling in, hoping for further multiples on their stakes. “When Tesla hit $1,000, Baron told us he expected further multiples in the future, and he was right!” said one trader...
Shaking the magic money tree
What happens when the fruit stops dropping?
Dateline: 27 June 2024
It’s only natural to spend your way out of a crisis. When you’re feeling blue, there’s nothing like a little retail therapy to lift your mood. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Faced with a big problem? Throw some money at it! But when governments do it, the rest of us better...
All truth, no lies?
Checking up on the Ministry of Truth
Dateline: 3 July 2029
Covid-19 was a problem, for sure. But misinformation and fake news turned out to be an even bigger virus that needed to be managed. Between Trump and deep fakes, the last couple of years have shown us that a Ministry of Truth might actually do more good than harm. If we have agencies safeguarding and...
The Heavenly Palace opens for visitors
If you’re visiting space, you now have a choice of destinations
Dateline: 13 June 2029
For a long time, international astronauts and would-be space tourists had only one destination available in orbit, the International Space Station or ISS. Now there’s another one, China’s Heavenly Palace. Interest in space travel surged in the early ‘20s, when SpaceX successfully delivered astronauts to the ISS using its reusable rockets, and promises of private...
You can’t always rely on AI
Trust the data, unless it’s horribly wrong
Dateline: 2 June 2024
Over the past few years, we’ve been blown away by the exponential improvements in computing in general, and in artificial intelligence in particular. From beating all opponents in the game of Go to driving autonomous cars and diagnosing cancer, it seemed that AI could outperform human players, drivers, and doctors at every turn. Until it...
Natural is the new synthetic
Plastic, glass and drugs come from microbes, not minerals
Dateline: 29 May 2030
For close on a century now, we’ve been making materials out of petroleum products and minerals; things that drive the modern consumer society like plastics, fuels, and food additives. What’s more, our never-ending population boom needs larger crops every year. It’s not like we’re running short of commodities like oil and maize, but mining and...

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