Look for a pronounced slowdown in economic growth in 1998. That's the prediction presented by Reed Elsevier Business Economics (formerly Cahners Economics) in its "Economics Outlook for 1998." The report sees GDP rising by an inflation-adjusted 2.3% in 1998 from the heady 3.7% 1997 level. Moreover, interest rates should be somewhat higher this year, as the Federal Reserve Board "pursues a marginally tighter monetary policy." Three major trends bear watching during 1998, the report warns. All will have some moderating influence on the U.S. economy's growth potential: a pronounced slowdown in the growth rate of business investment spending; high levels of consumer debt, particularly installment debt; and an uptick in inflation brought about by increased average wage demands resulting from historically low levels of unemployment. On the industrial front, Reed Elsevier expects only moderate growth in 1998. Output gains will increase 3.4%, with capacity utilization declining modestly to 82.7% (from 1997's average of about 83%). U.S.-based international trade should continue to make an important contribution to the overall growth in GDP, say the Reed Elsevier economists, expanding by a solid 8.3% this year. To obtain a copy of the report, phone (800) 662-7776.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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