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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/12/13

Elysium 2154: Scratch-sheeting the Bookie's Numbers

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Dad's mom lost her life the night she learned her oldest son had joined the Marine Corps.   Dad's father was wheelchair bound, which accounts for why he never finished grade school.   To support his families he sold newspapers, drove newspaper trucks, and wrote numbers in a small, yellow, lined pad that he pulled from his back pocket when the kitchen wall phone rang for him. His scholarship went into numbers, analyzing odds, and studying scratch sheets.


His scratch sheet expertise and daily double race track winnings put wads of dollars into his rubber band wrapped cigar box. His scholarship helped put his kids through school.


Now, even when I go to the movies, I sometimes take dad's bookie pad and play out the odds.  Here's some scratch sheet information on Mother Earth to help with betting on the future of your great grandchildren and Racetrack Earth.   It needs your numerical handicapping.


Elysium in space
Elysium in space
(Image by Elysium the movie)
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In Elysium 2154 there are a lot of poor, beaten, bruised and ill-kept people who live in one of the many massively crowded cities chocking under earth's hot, dirty air.   Once-orphaned Matt Damon is one.   Like so many there, he doesn't have health care and a lot of other things that exits in abundance on the Elysium Racetrack floating above them.


After you've read this piece and compiled your own Elysium scratch sheets, give us your odds on it happening [1 (won't happen) -- 10   (assured to happen)] by answering the poll at the end of this.   We'll post the odds on a future big electronic race board.


1.        Will most of the world be Elysium crowded?

[1 (won't happen) -- 10   (assured to happen) on all questions]

Elysium depicts North America and uses hot, crowded, and poor sections of Mexico to reflect cinematically its depressing urbanized conditions.  



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Does Elysium's Director Neill Blomkam's depiction of a crowded, poverty-etched, urban world match up with your forecasts?   Are the politics and economics that allow such conditions likely to happen here and everywhere?


2.        Will earthlings stem the rising tides and climate craziness prior to 2154?

The Arctic is sending us perhaps the clearest message that climate change is occurring much more rapidly than scientists previously thought. In the summer of 2007, sea ice was roughly 39% below the summer average for 1979-2000, a loss of area equal to nearly five United Kingdoms.




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Who wins here?  

-          The Koch brothers oil assets (measured at a Forbes $72 billion) and the politicians they and corporate persons can buy, or  

-          The Al Gore types with their slide shows and supportive mothers pushed by their children's high-pitched concerns?



3.        Will tomorrow's elite live luxuriously in a different stratosphere from Earth's groveling workers?


For your scratch sheet analysis, here's how one (US) advanced nation is trending, without including capital gain returns.


As labor productivity climbs, mega-corporations' profits soar, and 25% of corporations pay no taxes, corporations are now confirmed as blessed people who can individually finance a billion dollar campaign from their corporate wallet.  


Will this chart continue its trend to Elysium, where workers have no perceivable bargaining power, and make the 1940-70's be seen as labor's heyday?




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Damon worked, when he was lucky enough to be picked from the labor line, for a heavily robotized mega-corporation that made lots of money.   He wasn't paid much, and his working conditions crippled him.


4.       Will there be no food problem on the North American continent?


There are many causes for the December 2010 "Arab Spring."   Might one of those causes be the ramp up in food prices beginning in 2009, which hit its highest ever level in 2011 ?

The Middle East and North Africa import more than 50 percent of their food .   Will that not matter to us Norte Americanos, since we will have the wonders of capitalism, the warmth and rains of climate change, and the GMOs of Monsanto position us among the lucky of Elysium?


5. By 2154 will your great, great grandkids live IN LUXURIOUS space colonies?


Futurist Magazine reminds us that Paul Allen, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos are planning commercial launches to access low-Earth orbit and to ferry passengers to transcontinental destinations within hours.   According to Melchor Antu├▒ano, Director of the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, by 2021 there will be 13,000 suborbital passengers annually, resulting in $650,000,000 in revenue.  


7. Will engineered humans be our soldiers OF 2154?


National Security advisor to four presidents, Richard Clarke wrote about engineered pieces being placed into souped-up human soldiers, as well as insect-sized spying drones in his 2007 "novel," Breakpoint.

When Matt Damon's character went rogue, he didn't have anything as technically advanced as Clarke's "made-up" implants strapped onto his body that allowed him to fight the drones and robots of Elysium's time.


8. Will nations other than just the US be droning people out of life by 2154?

The US has set the standard for Drone development and usage.    Most of the world, especially where troubles are bubbling up, hates our drone usage, while the majority of Americans say they are alright with it.


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Here's how today's nations are toying with drones:


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8. By 2154 will all Americans have insured access to the best health/ Pod Care?


In "A Thousand Years Young" from the Futurist Magazine, Aubrey de Grey identifies the medical and biochemical advances that could eventually eliminate all the wear and tear that our bodies and minds suffer as we grow old. Those who undergo continuous repair treatments could live for millennia, remain healthy throughout, and never fear dying of old age.

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Elysium's pods, like Star Trek's, seem to possess that ability.  

Does your neighborhood have an Emergency Trauma Center nearby?   Your neighborhood of the future likely to have "Long-life Health Pods," or is that likely to be in top ranked countries like France, Italy, Malta, Singapore where today's health care is affordable and plentiful?


Oh, yeah, by the way:

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the health systems of its 191 member states in its World Health Report 2000. It provided a framework and measurement approach to examine and compare aspects of health systems around the world. [1] It developed a series of performance indicators to assess the overall level and distribution of health in the populations, and the responsiveness and financing of health care services. It was the organization's first ever analysis of the world's health systems. [2]

US ranked 38 th but 1 st in health care expenditure per capita.


9.   Will earthbound NURSES , unaffiliated with the Koch brothers, just be scraping by in 2154?

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Damon's character has a friend -- an overworked, earthbound, single parent nurse living in a small house with a very sick earthbound kid for whom the life-saving medical technology is available only on Elysium.   Is today's nurses' workload trend line likely to make her portrayal accurate?



In the last few months one of the key political strategists for the California Nurses Association informed me that the Koch brothers (Forbes Magazine 2013 placed David and Charles Koch's wealth at $36 billion each , tying them for fourth on the Forbes 400) were about to unleash a multimillion dollar campaign depicting the nurses as overpaid and underworked.


So, how do you feel about the nurses who have tried to keep your aging human body clunking along?  


And about the Koch brothers, who are throwing spare change millions to knock down those evil nurses who lack the skills necessary to care for the newly created corporate person, obviously lovingly drawn and formed from one of Adam's ribs? 


... If you don't like having Elysium hanging in future air, you ought to be helping get the America's World Service Corps (AWSC) Congressional Proposal into play today. Contact your Congressperson today.





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Dwayne served in the Peace Corps in the slums of Mumbai, India, worked several Habitat Projects, and was on the start-up team of the California Conservation Corps. He has a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University, has been a builder, teacher, (more...)

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