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  • The Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

    As I mentioned last Monday night in my Outside the Box, I did not make it to Turks and Caicos, but did end up in Baton Rouge for a special seminar on the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill. I have both good news (or maybe more like less-bad news) and bad news. Today's letter is a report on what I learned.

    The conference was sponsored by the Global Interdependence Center (GIC - http://www.interdependence.org/). David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors organized the event with help from people from Louisiana State University. The quality of the speakers was outstanding. They were extremely knowledgeable and well-connected. The meeting was conducted under the Chatham House Rule, which means all the speakers spoke off the record, unless they indicated otherwise. This allows for a more frank discussion. So, much of what you will read from me is my impressions of what I heard, which I cannot attribute to specific speakers. Indeed, some would be at some occupational risk if I did so.

    Some of what I write today will be controversial to some readers. That is a risk I will take, as the large majority will find this interesting, or at least I hope so.

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  • Welcome to the Future

    We are in an era of accelerating change, moving toward a future that will be profoundly different from the past we grew up in. But what will the nature of that change be? What will the future look like? For the last 7 days I have been in an executive program designed by Singularity University (www.singularityu.org) to give some insight into that complex question. We looked at a number of technological fields, lectured by experts assembled to give us some idea as to where current research is and to where it is going. We visited some of the cutting-edge companies here in Silicon Valley.

    Just as interesting, I got to visit with 44 of my fellow information seekers from 15 countries and extremely diverse backgrounds, along with a dozen college students, as well as the faculty. The group ranged from very successful entrepreneurs to academics to relatively high-level government workers to starry-eyed young people just starting out. There were a lot more applicants than could be accommodated, and the staff did a good job of choosing a group of people who all 'brought something to the table' besides their entry fee of $15,000. The days were typically 14-15 hours, and there was a lot of discussion amongst us on the topics of the day.

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