Peak Food, A Robot Workforce, And Plague


The world has entered an era of “peak food” production with an array of staples from corn and rice to wheat and chicken slowing in growth – with potentially disastrous consequences for feeding the planet.

New research finds that the supply of 21 staples, such as eggs, meat, vegetables and soybeans is already beginning to run out of momentum, while the global population continues to soar.

Peak chicken was in 2006, while milk and wheat both peaked in 2004 and rice peaked way back in 1988, according to new research from Yale University, Michigan State University and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany.

What makes the report particularly alarming is that so many crucial sources of food have peaked in a relatively short period of history, the researchers said: http://praag.org/?p=17582

Meanwhile...

Recent reports suggest that robots, not immigrants, may pose the greatest threat to German workers — though the European Union has placed a $4 billion bet that robots will create rather than eliminate jobs.

The new wave of automation will hit white-collar workers hardest, according to Jeremy Bowles, a researcher at the Brussels-based Bruegel Institute.

"What's fundamentally different is that (these advances) have the ability to affect a broader set of workers," Bowles said, comparing the next generation of computerization to the first wave of robots that hit assembly line jobs in the 1980s.

The impact of these innovations will vary across Europe, Bowles argues. But in Germany, as in the U.S., robots may soon take as many as half the existing jobs, according to the Bruegel Institute's analysis of the labor market: http://ow.ly/IhYBa

And...

According to a report released by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general on October 6, the presence of communicable diseases at detention facilities housing illegal immigrants — both unaccompanied children and families — remains a problem.

The findings, detailed in a memo written by DHS Inspector General John Roth to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, were released by Roth’s office on October 6. They summarized the findings of the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) investigators during five unannounced visits to three detention facilities in Texas and New Mexico between August 21 and September 26: http://ow.ly/Ii4Dw
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