Technology is always changing, causing us to play catch-up on a daily basis. A new trend on the horizon? Mind reading. Today, a variety of consumer products such as games and phone-apps use mind reading technology to captivate users. Last Christmas two new games used mind-reading technology to find the way into many homes. Mattel’s Midflex and Milton Industries Force Trainer both use brain-wave technology similar to the electroencephalograph, which is used to diagnose brain disorders. Many video games are also trying out this new technology. Next year a new Apple app is planned to be released using mind power. This app, Tug of Mind, will be the Apple’s first game controlled by the mind and can be partnered with a NeuroSky headset.
globalEDGE Blog - By Author: Amanda Stickler
As wheat prices rise due to insufficient global supply, the big question is how concerned should we be about the high prices? Wheat is the latest agricultural commodity to raise costs. Wheat prices have risen 50% since last June, and prices are the highest since 1973. This is due to droughts and fires destroying crops in Russia, who is the third-largest wheat exporter in the world.
Lately Africa has been attracting beer companies from around the world, as they look to start new ventures. Breweries interests have already begun in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Juba, Sudan. At the end of 2008, Africa produced 5% of the world’s beer supply, a number which has continued to grow since then. Although beer production has been popular in Africa since the 1990’s, companies have begun to increase their investments in the continent since African locals have struggled to be able to mass produce the product in the past.
Seasonal rains and high global temperatures have caused many problems for the agricultural industry this year. Many countries rely on agricultural investments for income to meet global food production demands, making this a hard year for many regions. Food insecurity is an increasing problem throughout the world. Food production has been greatly affected by climate change as both heavy rains and dry fields have taken their toll on agriculture.
After a rough year in 2009, global tourism has made a slight comeback this year. In 2010 there was small growth of .05%, and the future looks promising with expected growth of 4.5% in coming years. There was positive growth in all world regions in the first two months of 2010, with Asia and the Pacific in the lead with a growth rate of 10%. Both the United States and Europe had less development, as they were hit hardest by the recent recession.
Many companies around the world find that nature loss is a challenge to growing their business. Nature loss is described as the disappearance of diverse natural resources such as plants and animal species. According to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, more than half of CEO’s see biodiversity as a concerning issue for their company. In 2002 a target was set to control global biodiversity loss by 2010, which is far from accomplished today. This target would have decreased the rate of habitat loss and degradation, controlled the spread of invasive species, and protected animals from extinction due to foreign trade. Some global regions have made some progress, but overall there has been failure to meet the goals set back in 2002, making a number of species subject to extinction.
Japan has received good news. There are now more optimists among Japanese manufacturers for the first time since 2008. Japan has the world’s second largest economy, and things are starting to look up as the country has struggled in past years to overcome its financial slump. One of Japan’s key banks released a report which showed that business manufacturers are improving for the fifth straight quarter, as exports such as gadgets, cars, and other goods are on the rise. The number of businesses reporting that conditions are good is higher than those reporting unfavorable situations, allowing Japan to look forward to future growth.
A lot of activity has been taking place in Africa lately. The World Cup has been drawing constant attention to Africa, and recently five east African countries made history by forming a common market called The East African Community (EAC). Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki launched the EAC this week with Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda all agreeing to take part in the effort. This agreement will better allow people, products, and capital across borders, leading to improved trade and employment opportunities.
We all know that countries like India and China are becoming global giants. In order for India to keep up with countries like the United States and China, it must improve its railroad system. Railroad routes are often severely backed up due to overbooked trains and the fact that railroad travel is the only affordable option for many people in India. In order for India to compete with China for major global economic growth, Indian transportation needs to be improved significantly. The Prime Minister of India recently set a goal of an annual growth rate of 10%, but without a major renovation of India’s transportation system this goal will be unattainable. It looks like India has a lot of work to do to continue to compete globally.
With the excitement of the World Cup evident in South Africa, there is also great pride and unity among locals. The energy of the World Cup has spread all over the country, and has even hit the poorest areas. This energy has provided harmony among citizens and although many areas in South Africa are still suffering, right now everything is about football. Problems such as poverty stricken homes and jobless citizens still exist, but they are being put on hold for a very important event for South Africa. During the game between Mexico and South Africa, over 3,000 locals gathered in a park to enthusiastically watch the game. The World Cup has greatly improved the moral of South African citizens.
After panic spread last year as the price of Sugar rose due to poor weather conditions in Brazil and India, things look hopeful as prices become more stable. Sugar production is seasonal and is heavily affected by weather conditions. Last year India struggled to produce sugar due to a long drought after the Asian Monsoon. While India was waiting for water, Brazil struggled to keep the water away as it had heavy rains which created waterlogged crops.
Two developing countries are taking a turn to produce more oil and gain a bigger stake in the oil industry. Both Columbia and Venezuela hope to double oil production in upcoming years. Columbia hopes to reach 1.2 million barrels a day by the end of 2012 and Venezuela plans to increase oil production from the current 3 million barrels per day to 6 million barrels by 2016. If these numbers hold true it looks like both countries will become imperative to the oil industry.