Archive for January, 2011

CASHLESS SOCIETY: ‘Facebook Nation’ unveils its new currency

January 31, 2011

By Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire
Jan 31, 2011

The 21st century has certainly witnessed a progression towards a ‘cashless society’, but social networking giant Facebook is taking things a step further, throwing their hat into the ring with the introduction of a new compulsory monetary policy that will initially govern its share of the multi-billion dollar online games industry.

Imagine a virtual world where all goods and services are to be offered, bought and paid for by a new virtual-local form of electronic currency. Facebook will be piloting such a scheme for their multimillion dollar online games market. As of July 2011, every social game developer on Facebook will have to offer the social network’s “virtual currency credits”.

According to a recent news release from Marketing Week, “Over the next five months developers will have to implement credits as a payment method within their games”. The games industry already accounts for 70% of the virtual goods transactions on the site.

According to Facebook, the social networking corporation is not insisting that their new online currency will be the only payment method available to users, and in exchange for their cooperation, game developers will offered incentives if they use ‘Facebook dollars’ exclusively. Compensation for compliance will apparently include early access to product features and premium promotion on their site, including promotion on the games dashboard and of course, premium ‘smart’ ad targeting.

Facebook enters into the cashless society game... in a big way- with its own form of money.

What appears on the surface to be a simple online marketing tool to help consolidate a niche market share on the world’s largest social network, has in fact much more far and reaching consequences for hundreds of millions of users.  What Facebook has effectively achieved here is nothing short of a huge “game changer” in terms of how a corporation can dictate its rules in a virtual world without cash.

Foreshadowing of things to come

In 2011, it is a social reality that most people you know are, in one way or another, citizens of the Facebook Nation. The corporation’s success in capturing a near global monopoly of membership to their online platform has now given it the ability to dictate an economic mandate to both producers and consumers, in effect, controlling both the upper and lower loops of their virtual economy. This is an incredible position of power, but one which should come as no surprise to any economic student of monopolies. A severe lack of choice in the world of online communities has unwittingly(or not) positioned Facebook to play the roles of banker, retailer and governor.  It is certainly a trend worth noting at this stage, and one which may one day have real consequences for its members and their various cyber passions.

By issuing its own form of “virtual currency credits”, it is essentially creating its own money supply that may one day be the defacto currency for all transactions for goods and services that fall within the borders of the social network. Here is where Facebook may exert its exceptional economic leverage. With any new form of ‘national’ currency- in this case, it’s the Facebook National Currency, also comes the possibility of fluctuation in currency exchange rates.

With this centralisation of power also comes the ability and means to control and even inflate the value of its currency in terms of supply and demand. This can also reflect itself in the value of all goods and services whereby the paying online community would have no choice but to comply to any new user monetary policy decrees or changes in value imposed on producers and users. One only has to look at their recent announcement to realise that this is indeed already the case.

The power of corporations to create their own currencies is a trend to watch out for (IMAGE:

A Brave New World: the cashless society

As the virtual community and virtual economy begin to replace the real ones, trends forecasters and futurists can begin to imagine a world where morning newspapers are replaced by online news, local markets are replaced by online supermarkets, community fundraising events are replaced by web fundraisers, fun fairs are replaced with online games and greasy spoon cafés are replaced by internet cafés. In case you haven’t been paying attention, in so many ways- that day has already arrived. Welcome to the virtual world. As we spend more and more of our time interfacing with this new world, we will invariably be performing many more monetary transaction there too.

Aside from the obvious differences in a cashless society- a world where  no notes and coins are ever physically held by the owner, there are also a number of other not so nice realities which citizens will be forced to accept. Chief among these are legitimate concerns that a cashless society would make “retailer resistance” aka choosing independent shops, buying direct or supporting local markets over mega supermarkets and national retail chain stores… nearly impossible. This can also be applied to the virtual community or marketplace. Already there are multitudes of businesses who must be on Facebook in order to reach their target market.

Consumers might also consider the possibility that should Facebook go public, they could, at any given time, transform the face of online retailing by buying up large tracks of existing virtual real state. Think Amazon, Love Film or Sound Cloud. Resistance? All you would here is Mark Zuckerberg’s laugh echoing down some long corridor in deepest, darkest Palo Alto- and Morpheus muttering, “… the Facebook has you..”.

In addition to retailer resistance, cash ensures some level of anonymity on the part of its owner. Not so in cashless world, as electronic currency and transactions are and will always be recorded, track, analysed and in some cases- suspended. In the virtual cashless world, the lack of anonymity and the ability to switch one’s means off is amplified even more.

With the introduction of a cashless society, citizens are also likely to lose their identities associated with national currencies like American Dollars, or British Sterling. But as they lose one identity, they will most certainly gain another. In this way, Facebook has taken the lead in supplying a monetary identity to its client citizens in the form of its ‘virtual currency credits’.

Perhaps one day we may also see ‘Apple Credits’ or ‘Nokia Kroner’ as mobile device transactions creep further and further into our economic routine. Either way you slice it, it is an incredible amount of power and influence which an elite clique of corporations now have over large sections of the global population.

As we have seen with the online games developers and their customers, resisting the Facebook marketplace is no longer an option, as it has already defined policy within the boundaries of its massive virtual community- even mandating what form of money can be used within the Facebook Nation. The decree is simple and clear, “if you are not in, you are out.”

About the author: Patrick Henningsen is a writer, filmmaker, former pr/communications consultant and managing editor of 21st Century Wire.



News anchor claims BBC has become a propaganda machine for climate change

January 27, 2011

January 25, 2011

Institutionally biased to the Left, politically correct and with a rudderless leadership. This is Peter Sissons’ highly critical view of the BBC in his new memoirs, in which he describes his fascinating career over four decades as a television journalist. Here, in the latest part of our serialisation, he reveals how it was heresy at the BBC to question claims about climate change . . .

My time as a news and ­current affairs anchor at the BBC was characterised by weak leadership and poor ­direction from the top, but hand in hand with this went the steady growth of political correctness.

Indeed, it was almost certainly the ­Corporation’s unchallengeable PC culture that made strong leadership impossible.

Peter Sissons climate skeptic?

"It was heresy at the BBC to question claims about climate change."

Leadership — one person being in charge, trusting his or her own judgment, taking a decision and telling others what to do— was shied away from in favour of endless meetings of a dozen or more ­people trying to arrive at some sort of consensus.

At the newsroom level it became impossible to discipline someone for basic journalistic mistakes — wrong dates, times and numbers, inaccurate ­on-screen captions and basic political or geographical facts — for fear of giving offence. You’d never see anyone, to use a technical term, get a b*****king.

There’d be whispers about them. They might even get a black mark at the annual appraisal with their line manager. Sometimes, they might even be ­promoted to a position in which they could do less harm.

But what really concerned me was when the culture of political correctness began to influence what appeared on the screen. Soon after I started on News 24 in 2003, the aircraft carrier Ark Royal returned from the Gulf to a traditional welcome from families and friends at Portsmouth. TV reporters closed in to interview crew members, the vast majority of whom were men.

Of the five vox-pops that featured in the BBC News, four were with women sailors. During my stint of presenting that day I complained about this and asked if we could have some more ­balanced interviews, but in vain.

I have always been in two minds about the value of vox-pops. They can give texture and interest to a story, but unless they are selected with scrupulous impartiality by a conscientious producer, they are worse than a waste of time — the viewer is deceived, as they were that day.

For me, though, the most worrying aspect of political correctness was over the story that recurred with increasing frequency during my last ten years at the BBC — global warming (or ‘climate change’, as it became known when temperatures appeared to level off or fall slightly after 1998).

From the beginning I was unhappy at how one-sided the BBC’s coverage of the issue was, and how much more complicated the climate system was than the over-simplified two-minute reports that were the stock-in-trade of the BBC’s environment correspondents.

These, without exception, accepted the UN’s assurance that ‘the science is settled’ and that human emissions of carbon dioxide threatened the world with catastrophic climate change. Environmental pressure groups could be guaranteed that their press releases, usually beginning with the words ‘scientists say . . . ’ would get on air unchallenged.

On one occasion, an MP used BBC airtime to link climate change ­doubters with perverts and holocaust deniers, and his famous interviewer didn’t bat an eyelid.

Al Gore: Convenient Lies...

Convenient Lies: Gore's film was once heralded by the media as 'proof' of man-made global warming.

On one occasion, after the inauguration of Barack Obama as president in 2009, the science correspondent of Newsnight actually informed viewers ‘scientists calculate that he has just four years to save the world’. What she didn’t tell viewers was that only one alarmist scientist, NASA’s James Hansen, had said that.

My interest in climate change grew out of my concern for the failings of BBC journalism in reporting it. In my early and formative days at ITN, I learned that we have an obligation to report both sides of a story. It is not journalism if you don’t. It is close to propaganda.

The BBC’s editorial policy on ­climate change, however, was spelled out in a report by the BBC Trust — whose job is to oversee the workings of the BBC in the interests of the public — in 2007. This disclosed that the BBC had held ‘a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’.

The error here, of course, was that the BBC never at any stage gave equal space to the opponents of the consensus.

But the Trust continued its ­pretence that climate change ­dissenters had been, and still would be, heard on its airwaves. ‘Impartiality,’ it said, ‘always requires a breadth of view, for as long as minority ­opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space.’

In reality, the ‘appropriate space’ given to minority views on climate change was practically zero.
Moreover, we were allowed to know practically nothing about that top-level seminar mentioned by the BBC Trust at which such momentous conclusions were reached. Despite a Freedom of Information request, they wouldn’t even make the guest list public.

There is one brief account of the ­proceedings, written by a conservative commentator who was there. He wrote subsequently that he was far from impressed with the 30 key BBC staff who attended. None of them, he said, showed ‘even a modicum of professional journalistic ­curiosity on the subject’. None appeared to read anything on the subject other than the Guardian.

This attitude was underlined a year later in another statement: ‘BBC News currently takes the view that their reporting needs to be calibrated to take into account the scientific consensus that global warming is man-made.’ Those scientists outside the ‘consensus’ waited in vain for the phone to ring.

It’s the lack of simple curiosity about one of the great issues of our time that I find so puzzling about the BBC. When the topic first came to ­prominence, the first thing I did was trawl the internet to find out as much as possible about it.

Anyone who does this with a mind not closed by religious fervour will find a mass of material by respectable scientists who question the orthodoxy. Admittedly, they are in the minority, but scepticism should be the natural instinct of scientists — and the default setting of journalists.

Yet the cream of the BBC’s inquisitors during my time there never laid a glove on those who repeated the ­mantra that ‘the science is settled’. On one occasion, an MP used BBC airtime to link climate change ­doubters with perverts and holocaust deniers, and his famous interviewer didn’t bat an eyelid.

Meanwhile, Al Gore, the former U.S. Vice-President and climate change campaigner, entertained the BBC’s editorial elite in his suite at the Dorchester and was given a free run to make his case to an admiring internal audience at Television Centre.

His views were never subjected to journalistic scrutiny, even when a British High Court judge ruled that his film, An Inconvenient Truth, ­contained at least nine scientific errors, and that ministers must send new guidance to teachers before it was screened in schools. From the BBC’s standpoint, the judgment was the real inconvenience, and its ­environment correspondents downplayed its significance.

At the end of November 2007 I was on duty on News 24 when the UN panel on climate change produced a report which later turned out to contain ­significant inaccuracies, many stemming from its reliance on non-peer reviewed sources and best-guesses by environmental activists.

But the way the BBC’s reporter treated the story was as if it was beyond a vestige of doubt, the last word on the catastrophe awaiting mankind. The most challenging questions addressed to a succession of UN employees and climate ­activists were ‘How urgent is it?’ and ‘How much danger are we in?’

Back in the studio I suggested that we line up one or two sceptics to react to the report, but received a totally negative response, as if I was some kind of lunatic. I went home and wrote a note to myself: ‘What happened to the journalism? The BBC has ­completely lost it.’

A damaging episode illustrating the BBC’s supine attitude came in 2008, when the BBC’s ‘environment ­analyst’, Roger Harrabin, wrote a piece on the BBC website reporting some work by the World ­Meteorological Organization that questioned whether global ­warming was going to continue at the rate ­projected by the UN panel.

A green activist, Jo Abbess, emailed him to complain. Harrabin at first resisted. Then she berated him: ‘It would be better if you did not quote the sceptics’ — something Harrabin had not actually done — ‘Please reserve the main BBC online channel for emerging truth. Otherwise I would have to conclude that you are insufficiently educated to be able to know when you have been psychologically manipulated.’

Did Harrabin tell her to get lost? He tweaked the story — albeit not as radically as she demanded — and emailed back: ‘Have a look and tell me you are happier.’

This exchange went round the world in no time, spread by a ­jubilant Abbess. Later, Harrabin defended himself, saying they were only minor changes — but the sense of the changes, as specifically sought by Ms Abbess, was plainly to harden the piece against the sceptics.

Many people wouldn’t call that minor, but Harrabin’s BBC bosses accepted his explanation.

The sense of entitlement with which green groups regard the BBC was brought home to me when what was billed as a major climate change rally was held in London on a ­miserable, wintry, wet day.

I was on duty on News 24 and it had been arranged for me to ­interview the leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas. She clearly expected, as do most environmental activists, what I call a ‘free hit’ — to be allowed to say her piece without challenge.

I began, good naturedly, by observing that the climate didn’t seem to be playing ball at the moment, and that we were having a particularly cold winter while carbon emissions were powering ahead.

Miss Lucas reacted as if I’d ­physically molested her. She was outraged. It was no job of the BBC — the BBC! — to ask questions like that. Didn’t I realise that there could be no argument over the science?

I persisted with a few simple observations of fact, such as there appeared to have been no warming for ten years, in contradiction of all the alarmist computer models.

A listener from one of the sceptical climate-change websites noted that ‘Lucas was virtually apoplectic and demanding to know how the BBC could be making such ­comments. Sissons came back that his role as a journalist was always to review all sides. Lucas finished with a veiled warning, to which Sissons replied with an “Ooh!”’

A week after this interview, I went into work and picked up my mail from my pigeon hole. Among the envelopes was a small Jiffy Bag, which I opened. It contained a substantial amount of faeces wrapped in several sheets of toilet paper.

At the time no other interviewers on the BBC — or indeed on ITV News or Channel Four News — had asked questions about climate change which didn’t start from the assumption that the science was settled…

Read more:



Get Ready for the Fourth ‘Matrix’ Film

January 25, 2011

Atlantic Wire
January 24, 2011

There will be a fourth Matrix movie. Will it star Keanu Reeves? Yes. But didn’t Neo die in the third one? Yes. And weren’t the second and third films not so great compared to the groundbreaking first film? Yes. But the only truly important questions here are these: Are you excited to see it? And what chemical enhancements do you plan on sneaking into the theater?

Fourth Matrix film

Keanu Reeves has signed a two movie deal to complete the Matrix series

Reeves told a London audience that the Wachowski brothers had finished working on a two-movie deal, in which he’ll star. Though the two sequels were “overwrought albatrosses that only serve to diminish the original’s impact,” the New York Post’s Jarett Wieselman writes, “Keanu said he still feels obliged to deliver the fans a movie worthy of The Matrix brand and promised that this new installment will ‘truly revolutionize’ the action genre like the original did.” The upcoming films will be shot in 3-D–exciting, Wieselman says, given the Wachowskis’ history of advancing sweet sci-fi effects like Bullet Time.

Final question: Do four Matrix films equal one Inception? Inception had four dream levels, after all.


21st Century Matrix: Concept clips reveal the new Matrix

The Meaning of Davos in 2011

January 24, 2011

Editor’s Note: As an elite NGO junket event, Davos was never very useful to society, nor has it ever been able to predict and plan for real trends and crisises. And now, just like its patron saint Bono, it’s in danger of becoming irrelevant. There some advantages though… when visitors return from Davos each year they can expect to accumulate lots of new friends on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Atlantic Wire
Jan 24, 2011


Bono pals up with war criminal Blair, along with eugenicist and software tycoon Bill Gate

This week, some of the world’s most prominent business and political leaders will join top academics, artists, NGO chiefs, and religious leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting–a whirlwind of Big Idea conferences, glitzy dinners, backroom deals, and informal networking. Last year, commentators wondered whether the elite extravaganza had lost some of its cachet in light of the economic crisis. This year, commentators are probing the very purpose of the event, now in its 41st year:

  • What Impact Does Davos Have? wonders Jack Ewing at The New York Times. Last year, he explains, “for all the talk of crisis prevention, participants at the forum missed what proved to be the big economic story of 2010–Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.” Ewing notes that organizers are addressing the criticism that Davos “is more talk and partying than action” by steering this year’s agenda more toward identifying concrete solutions to “global threats like scarce credit or chronic disease or, better still, preventing them in the first place.”
  • It’s a CEO ‘Self-Help’ Group, suggests Gillian Tett at The Financial Times. Tett quotes an investment banker and Davos attendee who believes the summit is “where CEOs trade information and feel solidarity in a hostile world.” The world’s CEOs, Tett says, are insecure about mounting hostility toward elites, shifts in world power, and global systems that are at once interconnected and fragmented, making the world feel “like an increasingly murky, complex and unpredictable place, where shocks keep emerging in areas ranging from credit markets to oil technology to Tunisia.”
  • Economic Crisis Magnified Its Value, asserts CNN’s David Buik: “It has taken world problems such as food, the failure of World Trade Organization members to reach a global trade agreement, climate change and a financial crisis in 2008, to take this event out of the jamboree category and transform it into a preeminent event for all politicians, CEOs, finance directors and economists to be supportive of.”
  • Davos Is the Future of Diplomacy, declares Parag Khanna at The Wall Street Journal. Davos, in stressing authority over sovereignty and mobilizing the world’s diffuse power centers, “reflects the true parameters of global diplomacy today better than the United Nations,” Khanna charges:

We have entered a new Middle Ages: an era that most resembles the pre-Westphalian era of nearly 1,000 years ago. That was the period of history when the East was as powerful (if not more so) than the West, cities mattered more than nations, powerful dynasties and trading companies were engines of growth and innovation, private mercenaries fought in all wars, religious crusades shaped inter-cultural relations, and new trade routes over land and sea forged the world’s first (nearly) global economy.

Special Report: Is a solar trade war about to flare?

January 19, 2011

By Matt Daily, Christoph Steitz and Leonora Walet
Jan 18, 2011

(Reuters) – Germany’s fifth-biggest solar power park emerges as a smudge on the horizon long before you reach it on the outskirts of the small, sleepy village of Eberswalde, an hour’s drive north of Berlin. “In the far distance, you can see it,” Peter Kobbe says, pointing through heavy December snowfall as he steers his Citroen van along an icy road.

A Chinese-Western solar trade war could be on the cards (PHOTO: Reuters)

Kobbe, 64, works at Finow airport, where a local investment firm built the 58 million euro ($77 million) solar park in 2009. Finow itself was built by the Nazis before World War Two and later became one of the Soviet Union’s main Cold War hubs. Now the small aircraft that still use the airport share it with about 90,000 solar modules — which together generate enough to power 6,400 households a year.

“This is where they (the Soviets) used to store their nuclear weapons,” says Kobbe, who runs a small museum documenting the airport’s history, guiding his van over the snow-covered landing strip.

Now there’s a different foreign presence in Finow. When the first solar modules arrived for installation they came not from a local manufacturer — German solar company Conergy runs a factory just 45 minutes away in Frankfurt an der Oder, for instance — but from China’s Suntech Power Holdings, now the world’s largest maker of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. “We were quite surprised when the trucks brought Chinese modules, and not German ones,” Kobbe says. “But they were probably cheaper.” Solarhybrid, which spearheaded construction of the park, says reductions in Germany’s renewable subsidies meant it had to use Suntech modules to stay competitive.

Germany has long been the global solar industry’s engine. Europe’s biggest economy consumed more than half the solar panels produced around the world in 2010. Solar accounts for just two percent of Germany’s power production, but the country added a record 8,000 megawatts (MW) of solar modules last year — equal to the capacity of eight nuclear reactors — far outpacing Italy, Japan and the United States.

So why are China’s solar companies benefiting at the expense of renewable energy manufacturers in Europe and the United States? Virtually non-existent a decade ago, Chinese solar companies now control two thirds of solar cell production in the $39 billion global PV market…


STUXNET virus attack: Russia warns of ‘Iranian Chernobyl’

January 18, 2011

Con Coughlin
The Telegraph
January 17, 2011

Russian nuclear scientists are providing technical assistance to Iran’s attempts activate the country’s first nuclear power plant at the Gulf port.

But they have raised serious concerns about the extensive damage caused to the plant’s computer systems by the mysterious Stuxnet virus, which was discovered last year and is widely believed to have been the result of a sophisticated joint US-Israeli cyber attack.

Russia raises concerns over safety of Iranian Bushehr nuclear plant (PHOTO: REX)

According to Western intelligence reports, Russian scientists warned the Kremlin that they could be facing “another Chernobyl” if they were forced to comply with Iran’s tight deadline to activate the complex this summer…



January 18, 2011

Kurt Nimmo
January 16, 2011

On Saturday, the Gray Lady of establishment propaganda, the New York Times, passively admitted that the Stuxnet virus responsible for crippling Iran’s nuclear energy program was engineered by Israeli and U.S. intelligence.

“Officially, neither American nor Israeli officials will even utter the name of the malicious computer program, much less describe any role in designing it,” writes the Times. “But Israeli officials grin widely when asked about its effects.”

 Al Jazera detailed report on STUXNET virus and potential cyber warfare

A number of computer scientists, nuclear enrichment experts and former officials, say the covert race to create Stuxnet was a joint project between the Americans and the Israelis, with help from the Germans and the British.

The effort to sabotage Iran began during the Bush administration. In early 2009, Bush signed off on an effort to undermine the electrical and computer systems around Natanz, Iran’s major enrichment center. Obama was briefed on the plan before he took office.

In addition to gumming up Iran’s enrichment hardware, the U.S. and Israel have engaged in an assassination campaign aimed at the country’s scientists.

STUXNET Computer virus

The STUXNET virus will be used through a media scare by Gov'ts to shutdown the free internet.

In November of last year, Iranian president Ahmadinejad accused Israel and the United States of killing a nuclear scientist and wounding another with a pair of bomb attacks. In January of 2009, a senior physics professor was assassinated. In 2007, Iranian state TV reported that nuclear scientist, Ardeshir Hosseinpour, died from gas poisoning. Israel’s Mossad was suspected. During the news conference, Ahmadinejad also admitted to the Stuxnet attack.

In November, it was reported that the Stuxnet virus had infected 44,000 computers worldwide.

Stuxnet is a double-edged sword. In addition to setting back Iran’s nuclear program, the sophisticated malware engineered by the U.S. and Israel at the Dimona complex in the Negev desert has been exploited to push for restrictive cybersecurity measures in the United States.

  Alex Jones breaks down STUXNET and what it means in terms of coming US Govt policy.

“The very fact that Stuxnet exists shows that we can no longer pretend that a cyber attack on our critical infrastructure is hypothetical and hyperbolic,” declared Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman Joe Lieberman in November. “You’re talking about a very well-resourced and structured adversary.”

Lieberman and Susan Collins, the panel’s ranking Republican, used Stuxnet to push for their cyber-security bill, entitled The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010.

The bill would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and extend the already-broad definition of “critical infrastructure” to the internet and would allow Obama to shut down not only entire areas of the internet, but also businesses and industries that fail to comply with government orders following the declaration of a national emergency, thus increasing fears that the legislation will be used as a political tool.

“Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too,” Lieberman said in June.

“The Senator’s reference to China is a telling revelation of what the cybersecurity agenda is really all about. China’s vice-like grip over its Internet systems has very little to do with ‘war’ and everything to do with silencing all dissent against the state,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote at the time…



January 18, 2011

21st Century Wire
Jan 18, 2011

   Some interesting questions, and answers, raised by philosopher Eckhart Tolle.

Author Eckhart Tolle is the author of the popular series The Power of Now. He certainly has some great insights into the mental state of Western man and the politics of the mind. 

Magnetic Pole Shift May Close Airports

January 13, 2011

Before It’s News
Jan 13, 2011

The recent changes at Tampa Bay International Airport regarding magnetic pole re-calibration and runway closure, chart alignment and runway number paint, could become a normal procedure for airports across the land. As an example nearby Peter O’Knight Airport is also scheduling similar changes at their facility.

It’s no surprise to many people that the Earth’s magnetic north pole has always wobbled over geological time, but what may be surprising is the speed at which the magnetic north pole has been recently moving and accelerating.

The current shift in the Earth's crust is causing magnetic headings to move coordinates- prompting closure of some runways.

Although the magnetic north pole was first scientifically located in 1831, during 1904 it was discovered that the pole had begun moving to the northeast at about 9 miles a year (15 kilometers). Scientists in 1989 discovered that the pole shift speed was accelerating and had increased to 35 miles a year (56 kilometers), and was heading directly towards Siberia.

At the current rate, about every 5 years a compass needle will be off by 1 degree. More, as the rate increases.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen recently said, “Airport runway charting relies on accurate geomagnetic information. Aviation is charted using latitude and longitude and the magnetic poles. The Earth’s poles are changing constantly, and when they change more than three degrees, that can affect runway numbering.

While satellite GPS navigation has become a predominantly used method, navigation by way of compass heading is still essential in locations where line-of-sight to orbiting satellites is not possible.

As the Earth’s magnetic field continues to move, at some point the changes will effect all sorts of established systems such as charts, directions, documentation, software, and yes – more airports…

The Earth’s magnetic poles are generated by the effects of a huge spinning ‘outer core’ layer of liquid iron, 8,000 degrees F (4,400 C), and 4,300 miles in diameter (2,600 kilometers) deep within the Earth. This ‘outer core’ rotates around a solid white-hot 11,000 degree F (6,000 C) ‘inner core’, 1,500 miles in diameter (930 kilometers). Even though the ‘inner core’ is much hotter, it remains solid due to the enormous pressure that it is under. It is amazing to realize that the layer of earth and rock beneath our feet, the ‘crust’, is only just 25 miles thick, and is just a tiny slice of the enormous hot layers beneath. The Earth’s continents float and jostle around on top of a layer of hot molten rock, the subsistence of road tar.

After putting the scale of the Earth’s layers in perspective, and realizing that most of the mass under our feet is extremely hot, molten, liquefied, and on the move, it is then easier to understand the changes we sometimes witness and our vulnerability to what is underneath us.

One wonders that if the reason for the increased speed and acceleration of the magnetic north pole could be due to a change in the speed of the liquid ‘outer core’, then could this be leading towards more geophysical events on the surface? After all, we’re just floating and bumping around on top of a red hot molten mix. If the mixer speeds up…I put together the following ‘to scale’ animated image of the Earth and it’s core layers. Again, look at the blue crust sitting on top, so small in comparison:

Reference to Yahoo News story:

21st Century Wire: Most Popular Stories of 2010

January 5, 2011

21st Century Wire
Jan 4, 2010

The new year has passed and with it another annual news cycle for 21st Century Wire. During this time we have posted over 100 stories, covering a range of challenging subjects including new & emerging technology, the global economy, climate change, 911, the War on Terror, internet freedom, the Wikileaks phenomenon and the music industry.

By far, the subject which dominated our hit counter was global warming and climate change which accounted for over 50% of our traffic on the site, as well as hundreds of thousands of more views through syndication on other larger more popular sites like Infowars and Climate Depot. We thank the editors of those and many other sites who carried our stories online this past year.

Al Gore frozen in block of ice

CO2's Chilling Effect: Despite Al's efforts, our climate change story tallied major web hits in 2010

One story generated more hits than any other in 2010 and no wonder- 21st Century Wire was credited by some for predicting the (eventual) collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange(CCX) in our August 28th feature, and certainly we had our share of doubters back then. Not that it was difficult to predict, what with carbon emission prices dropping faster than your Chinese pirate DVDs.

Journalistic instinct and some street smarts also paid off in December with our small  punt on the FIFA World Cup-Russian Spy series of articles, a story that the mainstream media has refused to touch since, but whose details will no doubt be revealed in due course. That said…

Here is a list of the most visited stories during the past year 2010:

1. The Great Collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange

2. New Obama Law Places ‘Soviet-Style’ Capital Controls on Americans

3. WIKILEAKS: Corrupted Oracle or Cointelpro Asset of the Establishment?

4. The 21st Century Matrix: Technocracy and the Rise of the Machines

5. 2010: Another record breaking winter. So what happened to global warming?

6. Another Domino Falls: UK’s Leading Scientific Body Retreats on Climate Change

7. Textbook Doublethink: SPLC’s Latest Effort Attacks Constitutionalists


As 2010 was our first year on the web, we would like to thank all our readers and RSS subscribers for helping to make it a very successful launch year. We look forward to an even better year in 2011, with new site features, new staff writers coming on board and a broader scope with which to analyse a wider variety pressing issues facing the world today. Expect more challenging subjects and even better research links in the months to come…

Introducing Gonzo Town

For those who crave a occasional break from the usual blanket of seriousness, perhaps with a bit of satire and dry grit, we will be launching which will house a new slate, with new writers who will be able to do certain mental gymnastics and hardcore political hacking (not like the Onion, we’re doing gonzo)- stuff that 21st Century Wire cannot always perform in good faith. With talented writers like Basil Valentine and Stoney Pinkerton, this new site will definitely make some waves in cyberspace, so look out.

Happy New Year from everyone at 21st Century.

Patrick James Henningsen

Managing Editor
21st Century Wire