Diary of a Financier

Bookshelf Update: Top Overlooked Stories of 2010

In Bookshelf on Tue 28 Dec 2010 at 19:07

I can’t stand “Top Ten” lists, particularly at year end when the media get nostalgic about the year-gone-by and anxious about the year-to-come. This Bookshelf Update, however, is a must read from the Christian Science Monitor:

“Top 5 Overlooked Stories of 2010”

Here we note five overlooked stories of 2010 – developments that might have received some press coverage but perhaps not as much as they should have, given the impact they could have on various aspects of American life in the years ahead.

  1. Stuxnet: the world’s first publicly known cybersuperweapon – a computer program that is able to cross the digital divide and destroy a real-world target. In the case of Stuxnet, that target seems to have been Iranian nuclear facilities. But future variants… could be made to detonate and damage a wide swath of critical infrastructure facilities – water, power, energy, and transportation facilities, for instance.
  2. TARP is cheaper than expected: In a report at the end of November, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the losses to the taxpayer will be $25 billion [out of $700bn invested], mostly from investments in the auto sector and AIG.
  3. Common school standards: [The US] created common, rigorous [schooling] standards that are on track to be adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia. These standards are intended to influence curricula, teacher training, and textbooks, and spur the creation of better, more sophisticated tests.
  4. Rise of natural gas: The dramatic rise in the amount of retrievable natural gas in the United States could recast the nation’s energy profile. Natural gas is threatening the dominance of coal and undercutting nascent efforts not only to resuscitate nuclear energy but also to establish renewable energy as a viable and economic alternative.
  5. Twilight of the desktop: Largely lost in the scramble for Android smart phones and Apple’s iPad tablet is mounting evidence that the desktop computer – long the staple of personal computing – is becoming obsolete.

–Romeo (hat tip Barry Ritholtz)

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  1. Gosh, I want one of those Stuxnet cybersuperweapons.
    A fun way to spend an evening at my laptop targeting
    people, places and countries I don’t like.
    We wonder why it has not been ‘used’ yet?

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