Toward a ‘Transactional’ Cosmology: Web Dynamics for the Information Age

“We’ve gone from a lunar world, where we measured everything in terms of days, weeks and months, to a transactional world, where every single transaction has to be part of your decision-making process.” — Colin Powell, December 14 2008

Each information transaction, sometimes as exemplary, sometimes as single element added to a sweeping aggregate of historical sway, is a precedent, which can motivate, influence or redirect the push of future happenstance. And, we must take note, every transaction involving matter or energy contains information, traces of a history of its coming into being, and generates a “footprint”, a trace of its appearance and its transition into something beyond the transactional moment.

The information age gives us a vast wealth of knowledge, or of a kind of knowledge, what we take to be knowledge, about the world, hints which are also indicators, though not predictors, indicators because they play a role in expressing current interest, embedded in human activity, and so in framing future expressions of human interest.

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Elections, Credit, Fuel Costs, Soil Quality, Water Policy & Access to Food Crucial in 2008

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2008 will be a year in which the integrity of election processes, the quality and resilience of cultivated soils, the availability of credit to consumers, the affordability of homes and rentals, and access to affordable vital staples like food and water, as well as the cost of transportation, will affect economies the world over. Some economic analysts have said the combination of these factors, resulting instability or environmental degradation, and migration of affected populations, could mean the world is facing an unprecedented level of economic precariousness.

2007 saw prices of commodities, ranging from grains, to metals to petroleum, skyrocket, with mining giants like Río Tinto tripling their stock value, and the price of bread in Mediterranean countries like Spain, jumping 40%. The Earth Policy Institute reports that world grain stocks are at an all-time record low, with only about 54 days of consumption available in case of crop failure or demand-driven scarcity. Drinkable water is also frighteningly scarce, with overpumping of fossil aquifers already beyond sustainable and on the rise.

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Water Resource Stress: Global Economic-Ecological Factor for the 21st Century

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more than 1 billion people already face fresh water scarcity;
figure expected to double in 20 years’ time

Water is one of the “fundamental building-blocks of life”, as is often said in science, in biology classrooms, in medicine, theology, environmental policy debates, and in cosmology and space exploration. It is also a commodity whose economic reality is increasingly defined by chronic scarcity and often intensely uneven distribution.

One of the most vital problems regarding the global water supply is the fact that we are already over-exploiting it, draining vital fluvial systems and ancient underground aquifers that cannot be replenished. This, coupled with the population boom and increasing industrialization, urbanization and consumerization of emerging economies, means global scarcity is fast becoming the rule.

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