The world’s population could stop growing by 2100, UN report finds

 

America’s birth rate has hit its lowest in 32 years. Veuer’s Natasha Abellard has the story. Buzz60

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The world’s population is slowing down and could stop growing — or even begin decreasing — by 2100, according to a United Nations report released Monday.

The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Population Division said that the world population could reach its peak at nearly 11 billion around the end of the century.  

However, division director John Wilmoth said this outcome “is not certain and in the end the peak could come earlier or later, at a lower or higher level of total population.”

The report is a comprehensive overview of global patterns and predictions in the world’s population.

The U.N. also found the world’s population is getting older, with people over the age of 65 being the fastest-growing age group.

One in four people living in Europe and Northern America could be 65 years or older by 2050, the report found. And the number of people age 80 or over is projected to triple globally, from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050.

 

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2018 marked the first time in history that those over 65 outnumbered children under 5. This is due in part to global life expectancy continuing to rise as fertility rates continue to fall.

The global fertility rate fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 in 2019 and is projected to decline even further to 2.2 in 2050.

 

Slow population growth and a shift to an older demographic could have serious global consequences: Countries may face fiscal pressures when it comes to health care, pensions and social protections for the elderly, Populations Affairs Officer Sara Hertog said.

But there’s still time to prepare.

“Population projections allow societies to anticipate population aging and consider these trends in policies and planning,” Hertog said in an email to USA TODAY.

Contributing: The Associated Press

 

India plans to have its own space station

Manish Singh

India plans to have its own space station in the future and conduct separate missions to study the Sun and Venus, it said on Thursday, as the nation moves to bolster its status as a leader in space technologies and inspire the young minds to take an interest in scientific fields.

India’s space agency said today that it will begin working on its space station following its first manned mission to space, called Gaganyaan (which means “space vehicle” in Sanskrit), in 2022 — just in time to commemorate 75 years of the country’s independence from Britain. The government has sanctioned Rs 10,000 crores ($1.5 billion) for the Gaganyaan mission, it was unveiled today.

“We have to sustain the Gaganyaan program after the launch of the human space mission. In this context, India is planning to have its own space station,” said Dr. Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). ISRO is India’s equivalent to NASA.

“While navigation, communication and Earth observation are going to be the bread and butter for us, it is missions such as Chandrayaan (Sanskrit for “moon vehicle”), Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for “Mars vehicle”) and Gaganyaan that excite the youth, unite the nation and also pave a technological seed for the future.”

“This is our ambition. We want to have a separate space station. We will launch a small module for conducting microgravity experiments,” he said in a press conference. Gaganyaan aims to send a crew of two to three people to space for a period of up to seven days. The spacecraft will be placed in low Earth orbit of 300-400 km (186-248 miles).

The agency will submit to the government after the Gaganyaan mission a detailed report on how it intends to set up the space station. It currently believes it would take five to seven years to conceptualize the space station.

On the sidelines of the announcement, ISRO also unveiled Aditya-L1, a mission to study the Sun’s corona that impacts the change in climate on Earth, for the first half of next year, and a similar mission aimed at Venus, which it plans to conduct over the next few years. “Not only Sun and moon, we hope to reach other planets, like Venus,” he said.

The ambitious announcements come a day after the space agency said it will launch a lunar mission on July 15 this year in an attempt to become only the fourth nation — after the United States, Russia and China — to land on the moon.

That mission, dubbed Chandrayaan-2, involves a lander, an orbiter and a rover that the agency has built itself. India concluded its first mission to the moon in 2008, when it completed more than 3,400 orbits and played an instrumental role in the discovery of water molecules on the moon.

India’s space agency has specialized in low-cost space launches since the early 1960s, when components of rockets were transported by bicycles and assembled by hand. In 2014, it sent a spacecraft to Mars for $74 million, significantly lower than the $671 million the U.S. spent for a Mars mission the same year. In early 2017, the nation launched a flock of 104 satellites into space over the course of 18 minutes, setting a new global record.

Image Credits: ARUN SANKAR/AFP / Getty Images

CERN Ditches Microsoft to ‘Take Back Control’ with Open Source Software

 

CERN is best known for pushing the boundaries of science and understanding, but the famed research outfit’s next major experiment will be with open-source software.

The cost of various commercial software licenses has increased 10x

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, and also known as home of the Large Hadron Collider, has announced plans to migrate away from Microsoft products and on to open-source solutions where possible.

Why? Increases in Microsoft license fees.

Microsoft recently revoked the organisations status as an academic institution, instead pricing access to its services on users. This bumps the cost of various software licenses 10x, which is just too much for CERN’s budget.

‘Microsoft Alternatives Project’

Commercial software fees are not the only reason why the organisation is now evaluating open-source software. The ‘Microsoft Alternatives project’, codename MAlt, also looks to help “take back control”.

“MAlt’s objective is to put us back in control using open software. It is now time to present more widely this project and to explain how it will shape our computing environment,” CERN’s Emmanuel Ormancey explains in a blog post.

“The objective is to put us back in control using open software”

Emmanuel Ormancey

CERN (like many scientific and research institutions) already make use of open-source software and Linux in various areas so they’re not exactly dabbling with the unknown.

The first “major changes” will be replacement mail service for the CERN IT department, and moving some ‘Skype for Business clients’ over to a ‘softphone telephony pilot’.

For an organisation as big and as important as CERN planned migrations will require time, patience and gradual testing.

But they seem buoyant on the potential, stating:

“While the Microsoft Alternatives project is ambitious, it’s also a unique opportunity for CERN to demonstrate that building core services can be done without vendor and data lock-in, that the next generation of services can be tailored to the community’s needs and finally that CERN can inspire its partners by collaborating around a new range of products.”

CERN-tifiably awesome news.

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