A thoughtful conjecture on how the geopolitical situation might look in 2050.

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PLANET EARTH 2050

A work of speculative history attempts to describe the mid-21st-century world.

If aliens were to observe planet Earth in 2050, what would they see? Would it make them want to contact humans, or would they decide to stay away, leaving the inhabitants to their own inevitable self-destruction? With this book, Unarce (Silicon Valley Secrets, 2017, etc.) plays out a few possible scenarios of what the world might look like in a little over 30 years, encouraging readers to take an alien’s-eye view of each situation and evaluate whether it represents the Earth they wish to project to the stars. Will they like what they see? What if they don’t? “Isn’t it time that we came up with a new paradigm of evolution and growth on this planet?” asks the author in his preface. “Before it’s too late?” Unarce imagines a world of unchecked climate change, in which food and water shortages coupled with rising sea levels lead to a hundred million deaths in the developing world. He also outlines possible climate change survival strategies as proposed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, including the Techno Garden (a world of technologically linked, highly engineered ecosystems) and the Adapting Mosaic (a realm of diverse, regionally managed ecosystems). He imagines a planet with mega-regions (groups of city-centered metro areas that coordinate the movement of resources and the distribution of population), where both military might and economic power determine global hegemony. The author also makes predictions as to which nations and trading alliances will take center stage in the near future, from BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) to Chindia (China and India) to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa). Unarce writes in a clear though technical prose that assumes readers are familiar with the relevant concepts of international economics, demography, and climate change: “More than ever, the world in 2050 is driven by materialism: all around the globe, the paradigm of quantitative growth continues to reign supreme, enabling a new level of consumption to cater to the desire for material possessions.” He cites a number of sources for the statistics that he provides, and this data, coupled with arguments from various organizations that study these issues, directs the majority of the book’s ideas. The alien framing device is mostly irrelevant to the two topics Unarce is most interested in addressing: climate change and the West’s declining hegemony in global politics. The volume is not written from an America-centric perspective, however. The author takes on each region of the globe in turn, evaluating its probable fortunes in the coming decades. He takes care to reiterate that the inhabitants of developing countries will be the greatest victims of climate change while those of the First World have the utmost power to curb its effects. For a speculative work, this is not as far-fetched a volume as one might suspect from the premise. Unarce shows that the effects of global warming are frightfully predictable. The unknown factor is how leaders decide to deal (or not deal) with the problem.

A thoughtful conjecture on how the geopolitical situation might look in 2050.

Pub Date: May 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5212-9526-7

Page Count: 301

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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