Since the development of the computer, technology has reached its ultimate pinnacle. Every year, highly advanced electrical equipment is produced for consumer use. The most high tech designs and experiments are being conducted behind government walls. Some international organizations have made valid predictions on what technological advancements humans will face in the future. World laws and governed regulations have set in place a timeline of influential dates. A population’s ability to forecast events and understand the future is vital for overall success and prosperity. This article will be examining ten important future dates and projects that may have an impact on humanity.
10. Mein Kampf Copyright Runs Out
Date: December 31, 2015
Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is a book written by Adolf Hitler. After the events of World War II, the book became one of the most influential pieces of political propaganda in history. Mein Kampf looks at the political ideology of Hitler. The book has two volumes and it was originally published in 1925 and 1926. In the novel, Hitler undergoes many racial rants, giving some indication of his later atrocities. He continually alleges a Jewish conspiracy to gain world leadership. Many of the major political ideals of Nazi Germany are in the text. One example is the idea of lebensraum or “living space. ” Hitler felt the German people needed extra space for growth and prosperity. He wrote that this land would be discovered in the east, towards Poland, Russia, and other Slavic populations. Hitler specifically stated that this expansion would be at the expense of Russia.
Look What’s Coming
After Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Mein Kampf gained enormous popularity. Over 10 million copies of the book had been sold in Germany alone by the end of the war. Due to the racist contents and the events of World War II, Mein Kampf is a highly controversial piece of literature. Winston Churchill felt that no other book deserved more intensive scrutiny than Mein Kampf. At the time of his death, Hitler’s official place of residence was in Munich, which led to his entire estate, including all rights to Mein Kampf, changing to the ownership of the state of Bavaria. As per German copyright law, the entire text of Mein Kampf is scheduled to enter the public domain on December 31, 2015- just over 70 years after the author’s death. The copyright of the book has already been relinquished for the English, Dutch and Swedish editions.
Since the end of the war, the government of Bavaria has refused to allow any copying or printing of Mein Kampf in Germany. The laws surrounding the text vary from nation to nation. In 2005, the book became a best seller in Turkey and in 2010 it reached high success in Indonesia. In Austria, China, Argentina, Romania, and the Netherlands it is illegal to own or sell any copies of Mein Kampf. However, after the copyright becomes public in 2015, the book is likely to become available via the Internet. In 2010, the German government announced that they will republish an annotated version of Mein Kampf when the copyright runs out. It is claimed that the book will be used for educational purposes in schools. However, the story has caused an international outcry and the revised 2015 edition may be banned as Nazi propaganda.
9. Strait of Messina Bridge
The Strait of Messina Bridge is an enormous suspension bridge that is scheduled to span the Strait of Messina, which is a narrow section of water between the eastern tip of Sicily and the southern tip of Calabria in the south of Italy. In 2006, the bridge project was cancelled under Prime Minister Romano Prodi. However, on March 6, 2009, as part of a massive new public works program, Silvio Berlusconi announced that the plans to construct the Messina Bridge had been fully revived. He even pledged €1.3 billion as a contribution to its estimated cost of €6. 1 billion. If completed, the bridge would easily become the largest suspension bridge in the world, surpassing Japan’s Akashi-Kaikyo. Since the time of the Romans, many separate governments have conducted surveys examining the possibility of building a bridge or underwater tunnel over the Strait of Messina.
Look What’s Coming
The Messina Bridge is going to be 2 miles (3. 3 km) long and 196 feet (60 m) wide. It will be supported by two 1253 foot (382 m) pillars, each taller than the Empire State Building in New York. The bridge will be massive, with two motorway lanes and one emergency lane in each direction catering to 6,000 vehicles per hour. The structure will also contain a two-track railway for up to 200 trains a day and two independent lanes for service traffic and pedestrians. Silvio Berlusconi has announced that the Strait of Messina Bridge will be completed by 2016. The decision has raised a strong political debate in Italy. Supporters claim that the new bridge will bring valuable jobs and boost tourism. However, others feel the bridge is unnecessary and that the government should concentrate on making Sicily’s roads more efficient before starting the bridge project. Some other concerns are the history of earthquakes in the area and the apparent control that the organized crime groups Cosa Nostra and Ndrangheta hold over construction contracts in Italy.
8. Combined Forces Command Dissolved
Date: April 17, 2012
A major military event is going to occur on April 17, 2012, when the United States and South Korea formerly dissolve the Combined Forces Command. In 1945, after the end of World War II, international leaders developed an organization named the United Nations. The UN was given many duties, with the ultimate goal of preventing war between countries. On June 25, 1950, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) invaded South Korea. This caused the UN Security Council to adopt resolutions against the state of North Korea, ultimately marking the beginning of the Korean War. The UN recommended that military organizations from all over the world combine in an effort to help the Republic of Korea (South Korea) under a unified command controlled by the US.
During the Korean War the casualties mounted for the Republic of Korea and the United States, with an estimated 137,899 South Korean soldiers and 36,516 American servicemen losing their lives from 1950 to 1953. In the early part of the Korean War, the South Korean government placed the command of their military under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur, who was the United Nations commander. This gave the UN operational control over a majority of the units in the South Korean military and basic responsibility for the security of the state of South Korea. Between 1955 and 1975 major military operations were conducted in this area of the world. The events would become known as the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War ended in 1975 when North Korea captured Saigon and the unified communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam was established.
Look What’s Coming
In 1978, the South Korea-United States Combined Forces Command (CFC) was created, with the commander and chief of the CFC being a US military officer. This chain of command has remained in place until 2007 when the US and South Korean governments announced that on April 17, 2012, South Korea will reclaim wartime operational control over their military forces. The CFC will be disbanded and bilateral issues of control will be placed back in the hands of the South Korean government. However, the United Nations command will remain in place and US forces will not leave the area. South Korea wants to assume larger responsibilities in their national defense, while the US takes on a supporting role.
7. Gliese 581 Message Received
Gliese 581 is a red dwarf star located 20.3 light years away from Earth in the constellation Libra. The star is approximately one-third the size of the Sun. Space observation laboratories suggest that the star has at least four planets, Gliese 581 b, c, d and e. In 2007, Gliese 581 d was discovered by a team of astronomers led by Stéphane Udry of the Geneva Observatory. The group used the European Southern Observatory 3.6 meter telescope in La Silla, Chile to find the star. In April of 2009, scientists announced that Gliese 581 d was within the habitable zone of its star, where liquid water may exist. The planet is classified as a super-Earth and its mass is between 7 and 14 times greater than Earth.
On average, it seems that the light Gliese 581 d receives from its star has about 30% of the intensity of sunlight on Earth. This may indicate that the planet would be too cold for life. However, in reality the atmospheric greenhouse effect can significantly raise planetary temperatures. If Gliese 581 d has a large greenhouse effect, then the surface temperature might well permit life. In comparison, Earth’s surface temperature would be about ?18°C without any greenhouse gases. Gliese 581 d has been labeled the first serious ocean planet candidate- it could be covered by a “large and deep ocean. ”
Look What’s Coming
In October of 2008, a high-powered digital radio signal was sent towards Gliese 581 c. The event was named A Message from Earth and the signal is a digital time capsule containing 501 messages that were selected through a competition on the social networking site Bebo. The message was ultimately sent using the RT-70 radar telescope of Ukraine’s National Space Agency. It was beamed towards Gliese 581 c and the message is expected to reach the planet in early 2029. After the discovery was made that the planet Gliese 581 d is the most likely to contain water and life, a Hello From Earth campaign was launched over the Internet. In total, 25,880 separate messages were collected from 195 countries around the world. They were transmitted towards Gliese 581 d on August 28, 2009. It takes approximately 21 years for a message to travel from Earth to Gliese 581.
6. Retirement of the Space Shuttle
Date: February 26, 2011
Beginning in the late 1950s, the United States and Soviet Union began a competition for supremacy in the exploration of outer space. The history of NASA and US space exploration is well documented. Since 1959, a series of space flight programs have been carried out in the US, most notably the Apollo program from 1961-1972 and the Space Shuttle missions from 1981-2011. The Space Shuttle is part of the American Space Transportation System (STS) and it is currently used for human space flight. On February 26, 2011, the Space Shuttle is scheduled for its last mission, ending a legendary career of 134 previous launches. The Space Shuttle is said to be the most complex machine ever built, with over 2.5 million individual parts. In 2011, Atlantis will be the first of NASA’s three remaining operational Space Shuttles to be retired and the program will shut down.
Look What’s Coming
Today, NASA has moved into the stages of Project Constellation, which is a space program with the goal of traveling beyond Earth’s orbit to the Moon and Mars. Project Constellation will use the new Orion spacecraft, scheduled for completion in 2015. Orion will act as a Crew Exploration Vehicle and has a significantly different shape from the Space Shuttle. Project Constellation has plans to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020. In 2004, President Bush announced the beginning of the Orion spacecraft program and allocated billions of dollars towards finishing the machine. As of 2010, it is estimated that the Crew Exploration Vehicle has amassed a budget of $15 billion.
All of this US government spending has put pressure on the Obama administration. President Obama initially announced the cancelation of Project Constellation in 2010, but has since amended only small changes to the original plan. The Orion spacecraft is still scheduled for completion in 2015. In the meantime, US crews will travel to and from the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. President Obama’s plan regarding Project Constellation still needs to be approved by the US Congress and counter-proposals are being considered, including one that would extend the Space Shuttle program for an additional five years.
5. Conceptual Design of DEMO
It is no secret that people have been trying to develop an alternative energy source, one that is produced without the undesirable consequences of burning fossil fuels, such as high carbon dioxide emissions. Nuclear energy has been determined as the most efficient solution, specifically nuclear fusion energy development. In the solar system, fusion reactions power the stars and produce virtually all elements. However, if a nuclear fusion reaction is produced under a sustained uncontrolled chain then it can result in a thermonuclear explosion, such as that generated by a hydrogen bomb. For decades, scientists have conducted experiments with controlled nuclear fusion, in the hopes of producing fusion power for the production of electricity. This is a complex process and a substantial energy barrier must be overcome for fusion power to work.
Look What’s Coming
ITER is an engineering project designed to develop nuclear fusion as an energy source. The goal is to produce a commercially successful nuclear fusion reactor. Site preparation for the ITER reactor is underway in Cadarache, France and was originally scheduled to be completed in 2016, but this date has since been moved back. ITER’s mission is to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power and the reactor will not be used to generate any electricity. Original experiments have proven that fusion energy is possible and these results have spawned the creation of DEMO.
DEMO is a proposed fully-operational nuclear fusion power plant. It is on a much larger scale then ITER and is going to be the first fusion reactor to generate electricity. If all goes to plan, fusion energy could be available in 25 years. It is exciting because fusion energy does not have the atmospheric pollution problems associated with fossil fuels or fission energy. It doesn’t produce transuranic wastes. However, it does have some displaced radioactive waste. The conceptual design for the DEMO fusion power plant is scheduled to be completed by 2017. The engineering design will be done by 2024, with the first phase of operation lasting from 2033 to 2038.
4. IBM Sequoia Supercomputer
In 1984, a science fiction film called The Terminator was released. The movie portrays a group of intelligent machines that declare war on the human race. In the last 10 years, computer technology has reached an unthinkable level of advancement. Federal governments all over the world are constantly experimenting with highly advanced software and technical hypothesis. People have begun to consider the feasibility of artificial intelligence. A supercomputer is a high tech system that is at the frontline of modern computer capacity. Today, supercomputers contain one-of-a-kind custom designs. They are produced by some of the largest companies in the world, including Cray, IBM and Hewlett-Packard. The Cray Jaguar is currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, with a peak performance of just over 1.75 petaflops. However, many systems are scheduled for release that will dwarf the Cray Jaguar. One example is the massive Sequoia supercomputer.
Look What’s Coming
The Sequoia is a Blue Gene/Q supercomputer being constructed by IBM. The system is scheduled to go online in 2011 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The targeted performance for the supercomputer is 20 petaflops, which is more than the combined performance of all the top 500 supercomputers in the world. You might ask what this massive system is going to be used for. It is being built for the US National Nuclear Security Administration as part of the Advanced Simulation and Computing Program (ASC). Sequoia will be used primarily for nuclear simulations, but the supercomputer will also be made available for top researchers in the area of astronomy, energy, the studying of the human genome, and climate change. Sequoia will cover an area of approximately 3000 square feet (914 m).
3. Mayan Long Count Calendar Ends
Date: December 21, 2012
Most people are familiar with the theoretical events of December 21, 2012. On this date, the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, notably used by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, completes a “great cycle” of thirteen b’ak’tuns. This has caused a variety of different people to predict that a cataclysmic event will occur in December of 2012. However, scholars from various disciplines- astronomers and other scientists- have rejected the apocalyptic forecasts as pseudoscience. Let’s look at some of the theories surrounding this date. December 21 is the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. The winter solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, with the summer solstice being the exact opposite. A common theory surrounding December 21, 2012 describes a universal galactic alignment.
Look What’s Coming
In the Solar System, the planets and the sun share roughly the same plane of orbit, known as the plane of the ecliptic. It has been suggested that on rare occasions our galactic center aligns with the sunrise of a solstice or equinox. It has been claimed that the last time this happened was 6,450 years ago and that the Maya people predicted it would occur in 2012. Astronomers argue that the galactic equator is an entirely arbitrary line and that no alignment is scheduled for December 21, 2012. The film 2012 is based around the theory of American academician Charles Hapgood. In the 1950s, Hapgood developed the cataclysmic pole shift hypothesis, which suggests that planets experience rapid shifts in the geographic locations of their poles and the axis of rotation. If a geological event caused the Earth’s physical poles to suddenly shift then the planet would experience calamities, such as floods and tectonic events.
This theory interested the mind of Albert Einstein, who wrote the foreword for one of Hapgood’s books on the subject. In 2012, the solar maximum in the 11-year sunspot cycle is forecast to occur. A solar maximum is the period when the sun’s magnetic field is distorted due to the solar equator rotating at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles. The exact date for the solar maximum can’t be predicted, but sunspots will appear during the event. The scientific world agrees that the sun’s solar maximum can have a grave impact on Earth. It can cause the formation of large solar flares. A solar flare occurs when charged particles on the sun form large explosion in the atmosphere. A large sun blast can cause major electrical problems on Earth, with the potential of destroying large power grids.
2. Apophis Close Encounter
Date: 2029 & 2036
99942 Apophis is a well-known near-Earth asteroid. On June 19, 2004 the asteroid was discovered by a group of American astronomers. The asteroid was originally given the name 2004 MN4, but after the orbit was calculated it received the permanent number 99942. It was then given the name Apophis. Apophis is the Greek name of the Ancient Egyptian enemy Apep, the Uncreator, who is a serpent that dwells in the eternal darkness of earth’s middle. The asteroid was at the center of great concern in 2004 when initial observations produced a mind-blowing 2.7% probability that Apophis would collide with Earth in 2029. In 2004, NASA estimated that there was a 1 in 37 chance that an impact with Earth would occur. This resulted in the asteroid receiving a rating of 4 on the Torino scale. The Torino scale is a method for categorizing the impact hazard associated with near-Earth objects. The event was the first time that any asteroid received a rating above 1. However, the day after Apophis reached its highest predicted threat, it was announced that new observations allowed scientists to see farther in the future and Apophis was downgraded to a 0 (no threat) on the Torino scale.
Look What’s Coming
Based upon the observed brightness, Apophis’ length is estimated at 450 meters (1,480 ft). On April 13, 2029 Apophis is going to make a close pass by Earth. It will become as bright as magnitude 3.3, which is visible to the naked eye. The asteroid will be so close to Earth that it will pass within the orbits of our communication satellites. It will be an unprecedented moment and such a close approach by an asteroid of this size is expected to occur only every 1,300 years. After the intense study of Apophis, it was determined that the asteroid will make another close pass by Earth in 2036. In fact, astronomers were concerned that the asteroid would travel through a gravitational keyhole in 2029, propelling it towards a future impact on April 13, 2036.
As of October 7, 2009, the impact probability for the 2036 event is calculated at 1 in 250,000. Many scientists have been adamant in letting the public know that the asteroid deserves more scrutiny. Apophis’ close approach in 2029 will substantially alter the objects orbit, making predictions uncertain without further data. The asteroid will make a relatively close pass by Earth in 2013, which will allow astronomers to refine predictions. However, everyone is certain that we do not want the asteroid to fall into orbital resonance with Earth. World governments have started space programs, looking to develop viable deflection strategies for Apophis. One example is Don Quijote, which is a proposed space probe under development by the European Space Agency. It will study the effects of crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid.
1. Year 2038 Problem
Date: January 19, 2038
The Year 2038 Problem is a programming error that may cause important computer software to fail before the year 2038. The event affects all software that store system time as a signed 32-bit integer. These systems interpret time as the number of seconds since Thursday January 1, 1970 and the furthest time that can be represented this way is 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, January 19, 2038. All times beyond this moment will wrap around and be stored internally as a negative number, which will cause these 32-bit integer systems to interpret the date as 1901, rather than 2038. This will create erroneous calculations and system failure. Most all 32-bit Unix-like systems store and manipulate time in this format, called Unix time. For this reason, the year 2038 problem is often referred to as the Unix Millennium Bug.
Look What’s Coming
The AOL server software experienced a Unix time problem in 2006 when it was discovered that their server default configuration was set to time out after one billion seconds or approximately 32 years. This caused the system to overflow and return a date that was in the past, ultimately crashing the AOL server. The company was able to fix the problem by editing the configuration file to set the time out to a lower value. However, this was only a temporary fix for AOL. There is currently no straightforward and general solution for the 2038 Unix time problem for existing CPU and operating system combinations. This makes the problem much more serious than the Y2K year 2000 event, in which computer programmers were able to update their systems to avoid failure.
In dealing with the 2038 problem, you can’t simply change the definition of the time data type to a 64-bit setting without breaking binary compatibility for the software. You also can’t change time to an unsigned 32-bit integer without crashing the system. Hundreds of millions of 32-bit systems are deployed around the world. Many of these programs are in important government owned embedded software, which simply can’t be replaced by 2038. Additionally, 32-bit applications running on 64-bit systems are likely to be affected by the issue. Some alternative proposals have been suggested, including storing time in either milliseconds or microseconds. However, to date, no clear solution has been agreed upon and the event remains a strong concern all over the world.