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A random story from the archives

Saying goodbye to the concrete jungle
Concrete crisis forces a radical rethink on construction
Dateline: 29 November 2028
One of the most visible characteristics of the Boomer years was the exponential growth of cities, with their ubiquitous skyscrapers and concrete apartment blocks. It was the magic of concrete – artificial stone and rock – that made it possible and affordable for cities to grow so fast. Buildings, bridges, harbors, highways and tunnels –...

Older stories

Breaking the sound and travel barriers
United hopes supersonic jets will bring back the boom times
Dateline: 17 June 2028
It’s been 25 years since the last Concorde flight, when the supersonic airliner was retired in 2003. Since then, only military jets have been breaking the sound barrier on training and combat missions. That’s all about to change, as the Overture plane from Boom Supersonic rolls out in United Airlines livery. After a decade of...
China leads the green decade
Beijing boasts best air quality in Asia
Dateline: 12 June 2032
Once the biggest polluter in the world, China now has the enviable position of being ranked as the cleanest and greenest of all large, industrialized economies. The ‘airpocalypse’, Beijing’s notoriously thick grey smog, has been permanently eradicated, and the sky above Tiananmen Square is clear and blue. With many cities banning petrol and diesel cars,...
Product piracy: Nanotech sails to the rescue
Printable nanotags foil peddlers of fake goods
Dateline: 4 June 2024
There’s a global crisis bedevilling manufacturers and brands – the illicit trade in counterfeit goods. Everything from medicines to cigarettes to luxury goods and electronics; and the fakes are generally inferior in quality and performance, leading to genuine health and safety risks. Fake drugs, cloned car seats and cheap knockoffs can lead to personal injury,...
No customers required
Reverse engineering the business model
Dateline: 27 May 2027
A traditional business typically starts with a product or service and finds customers to buy it. In the information age, an enterprising business starts with the customer, and figures out how to add value by meeting their needs. Sales or revenue from delivering value is the lifeblood of the business in both cases, but working...
Life as an avatar
Say hi to VeRonika, the digital human
Dateline: 21 May 2026
We’re all familiar with Sophia, the social robot, but quite frankly, her conversation skills need an update, and her personality seems to have lost its appeal. As an ‘intelligent’ robot, Sophia seems to be lacking in basic intelligence, and the ability to learn from others. Now meet VeRonika, the digital human. VeRonika, or Roni for...
Air Force None
Combat drones take over from fighter pilots
Dateline: 12 May 2029
It’s the end of an era; the end of daredevil fighter jocks, who could outmanoeuver and outshoot enemy planes in heroic dogfights, and wreak havoc on their targets. The end of pilots with the ‘right stuff’. They’ve been made redundant by technology. Artificial intelligence, missiles, and drones are the new face of the Air Force....
Digital yuan decimates offshore deposits
Smart logistics breeds trusted trading
Dateline: 8 May 2029
For the past 10 years, China has been reinventing the financial side of global trade, using smart logistics to automate shipping contracts, and digital cash for settlement. As early as 2019, the People’s Bank of China had been testing a digital yuan, using Ant Financial’s mobile payments platform. By 2022 they were ready to roll...
Desperately seeking a new hobgoblin
The dark side of defeating Covid
Dateline: 1 May 2023
On the first official day of spring in the global north, we’re looking forward to a glorious summer – a summer without Covid deaths, for the first time in years. That dread disease has been defeated by biotech innovation and public health programs, and is now on the wane, worldwide. Infections are falling fast, and...
SpaceX reinvents airfreight
Starlifters will ship your cargo from Shanghai to New York in 60 minutes
Dateline: 23 April 2028
You can’t blame Elon Musk for having a big fat grin on his face. He’s taken on the aviation and shipping giants, like Boeing, FedEx and DHL, and he’s winning. But instead of using Jumbo Jets, he’s got a fleet of Starships. As the pioneer of reusable orbital rockets, SpaceX has been launching satellites and...
Globalization is dead
Welcome to the new Cold War
Dateline: 16 April 2026
The last five years have seen a roller coaster ride to a new growth spurt on world markets, following the 2020 coronavirus crash. The boom-bust-boom cycle has been characterized by supply chain disruptions and both shortages and surpluses of critical components and products – from vaccines to silicon chips to rubber tires. On the other...