Why are Gulf States buying land in Africa?

Wealthy Gulf countries and private companies alike have been buying up land in Africa for their own strategic purposes. The driving force behind this move is the need for “food security” in a world where competition for food is increasing as populations grow. The Gulf imports 85 percent of its basic food requirements and accordingly,…

Will super-sonic travel ever return?

It seems strange that technology has progressed in almost every field, but in supersonic travel things have seemingly regressed. Concorde was flying people faster than the speed of sound back in 1976, but since its retirement in 2003 there has been no commercial supersonic flight. Why not, and please can we have it back? The…

Are we really facing a drinking water shortage?

Are we facing a drinking water shortage? Yes, although few want to talk about it. While you barely go five minutes without someone mentioning global warming or the planet running out of oil, the lack of drinking water is arguably a more pressing concern. It seems strange that this should be a problem given 70 percent…

How much money do you need to be in the one percent?

We’ve heard a lot about the one percent recently, largely because of people protesting against them. The protesters — the self-titled ninety-nine percent — are angry about the increasing inequality of wealth distribution and it’s a just cause. But there’s a good chance that many of those taking to the streets are in the one…

Are we losing languages?

It sounds implausible but, according to UNESCO, around ten languages really do die out each year. And it is estimated that half of the living languages in the world are under threat of extinction. While the WWF and other similar organisations strive to save breeds of animals from extinction, it’s worth noting that languages are…

Can the world sustain the current population growth?

Last month the global population of humans hit seven billion; an extra billion people since 1999. Given that it took until 1804 to reach one billion, the recent upsurge would suggest serious problems in future. The immediate concern, however, isn’t actually space. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, the entire world’s population could fit within the 1,300 square kilometres…