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Latest Issue of FutureFax (Issue 83, March 2011)


Trends Affecting Associations and Professional Societies, Issue 83 March 2011

Frugal Medical Technology in China and India reduces health care cost. Scanners cost $10 M vs. $100 M in the U.S.; electrocardiographs cost $500 vs. $5,000; etc. produce hospital nightly charges at 1/25th of the U.S. They are effective devices, not knock offs. GE, Phillips and Medtronic are investing heavily in Asian markets, but not to bring them back to the U.S. or Europe. Payment systems, FDA red tape, Medicare and Medicaid bureaucracies are major obstacles. (Life Should Be Cheap, Economist; 1/22/11)

Atmospheric Bands of Water Vapor (rivers) studied as key factors in flooding. Give information about the world water supply and even the planet’s water cycle. Three to five rivers constantly aloft in both hemispheres carry the equivalent of the Mississippi River. Microwave-sensing instruments on polar orbiting satellites have enabled study and possible prediction. (Rivers in the Sky; Science News; Feb. 26, 2011)

Night Working Solar Cells could soon produce renewable energy. Nanoscale light-sensitive antennas harvest infrared radiation from the Earth’s surface after sunset, capturing energy. Current barriers are the small size of antennas required and the silicon diodes to convert alternating frequencies to a steady direct current. (Is Night Falling on Classic Solar Panels?; New Scientist; Dec. 18, 2010)

Three Dimensional Printing emerging as a valid manufacturing technique with many applications. Computer directed printers build layer upon layer of plastics, composites, and metal powders to make products ranging from medical implants to clothes to aircraft parts. One computer student made a working grandfather clock. Prototype parts can be made inexpensively. Only essential material is used reducing waste. Designs are unlimited – shoes, jewelry, lampshades, etc. One firm produces 10,000 unique products monthly. Could Imply societal change comparable to the industrial revolution moving from mass production to local, customized, products. (The Printed World; The Economist; Feb. 12/ 2011)

Synthetic Telepathy – Mind Reading is receiving intense Army funded scientific research at several universities. Surgically implanted electrodes in monkey’s brains allow them to move robotic arms hundreds of miles away. Similar technology may enable paralyzed humans to control artificial limbs. Electrodes in the brain have enabled a volunteer to transmit vowel sounds, a step to speech. Army wants to extract thoughts to communicate information helmet to helmet in battle. (Silent Warrior; Discover; April 20100)

U.S. Defense Industry Selling $103 Billion of Weapons Overseas with the blessing of the DOD and Obama. Saudi Arabia is buying 84 planes to upgrade its fleet. The Patriot, a radar-guided system to shoot down ballistic missiles is going to the United Arab Emirates for $3.3 billion. The U.S. sells the best and most coveted weapons. Their use, however, is not guaranteed. Abrams battle tanks rolled through crowds of Egyptian protestors and police used American-made tear gas. Israel, promised a military edge recently ordered 20 top of the line F-85 fighter jets. (America’s Hottest Export; Weapons; Fortune; Feb. 28. 2011)

Shortage of General Medicine Doctors will increase with health care reform as newly insured seek treatment. Physician Assistants and nurse practitioners will fill the gap. Community health care clinics are leading the way with non-physicians handling routine visits, while improving the quality and availability of medical care. (A Little Help From Their Friends; Scientific American; March 2011)

Protesters and Dictators Both Use Social Media. Internet freedom is promoted by western governments, but authoritarian regimes use on-line information to crack down – as in the failed 2009 Iranian uprising. Activists in authoritarian states say U.S. companies’ should not sell web-control technology to dictators. (Dictatorship.Com; New Scientist; March 5, 2011)

Vaccine to Autism Link formally retracted by Lancet. 1998 study that kindled a storm of opposition to vaccines used biased participant selection and contained ethical breaches. No connection exists between MMR vaccine and autism. (Vaccine Link To Autism Dismissed; Science News Jan. 1, 2011)

New Psychopathology Treatment. A few 15-minute sessions with a computer whose program subtly alters harmful thought patterns, produces results. Proven effective for anxiety and addictions, and being tested for alcohol abuse, post-traumatic disorders and other mind disturbances. (Therapist-Free Therapy; Economist; March 5, 2011)

HIV-Resistant Blood may wipe out AIDS. An infected patient in Britain cured by blood transfusion. Donor’s T-cells lack protein receptors that HIV needs to kill cells, providing immunity. Scientists have replicated the positive genetic trait and tested it on six men with HIV. Results are encouraging. (A Possible Cure for Aids?; The Week; March 18, 2011)

Storage of Intermittent Power (wind or solar) in air cooled to -190ºC supplies electricity to the UK’s national grid. Liquid air (cryogen) is stored in tanks. When warmed it produces high-pressure gas that drives electricity-generating turbines. Harnessing waste heat from industrial or power plants yields efficiencies of around 70%. Batteries being developed in Japan have efficiencies of 80-90% but cost $4,000 per kilowatt of generating capacity vs. $1,000 for cryogenic storage. (The Power of Cool; New Scientist; Feb 26, 2011)


“Leading with Questions: How Leaders Find the Right Solution by Knowing What to Ask”” by Michael J. Marquardt

Practical but challenging text on a tool every executive uses, poorly or effectively, to get the job done. Provides new perspectives on how leaders communicate with, energize and inspire those they work with. Gives insight into building a culture that welcomes questions, challenges assumptions and solves problems.


“Early in the 20th Century, the product cycle was 40 years. By World War II, the cycle had shrunk to 30 years. Today, for most consumer products, it is about six months. In computers and cutting-edge electronics, it is more like six weeks. Bring out a really hot product and it is likely to be reverse-engineered, manufactured in China, and available on eBay in two weeks or less.”
Marvin J. Cetron

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Download this edition of FutureFax: March 2011 FutureFax-dd.doc