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Conflict and Security
The US government's National Intelligence Council sponsors "Project 2020", a discussion of what the world will be like fifteen years from now. They have recently [Jan 2005] published a report, "Mapping the Global Future" which is causing considerable comment and controversy. You can download a copy of this 123-page report (6.7M) by clicking here. An HTML version that can be read in sections can be found here.

Excerpt - "Several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication. EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences." The above is from a special report prepared for the US Congress on the dangers of an EMP attack. Click here to download the full 62-page report (app. 600K)

Below are the two final reports from the "9/11 Commission", the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, the US Congressional committee charged with investigating the September 11 disaster and its roots. The first is a 31-page executive summary (5.9 MB) and the second is the full 585-page report (7.4 MB). These are substantial downloads and cannot be recommended for those with dial-up connections to the Internet.

the Executive Summary

the Full Report

Prior to the reports above, these are two reports released by the staff of the "9/11 Commission". They are without photos or artwork, thus they are very easy downloads of less than 200K each. They represent thousands of hours of research and testimony, but are brief (12 and 20 pages long) straight-forward, well-written, and without political agenda.

Overview of the Enemy - the history and evolution of al Qaeda

Outline of the 9/11 Plot - the story behind the disaster

An interesting report entitled, "Winning the War on Terrorism", has been prepared by Congressman Jim Turner (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, and the Committee's Democratic staff. At 95 pages (1.7M), it is a sizable download, but for those who would like a copy of this alternative approach to the war on terrorism, click here.

In September of 1999, the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress prepared a special study for the CIA's National Intelligence Council entitled, "Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism". Well-written as a whole, the profiles of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri two years before 9/11 are especially riveting. Note: this is a 178 page report and a 1.5 megabyte PDF. Download it here.

The annual "strategic survey" of Britain's International Institute for Strategic Studies has been widely quoted for its estimate of 18,000 al Qaeda operatives. The full report can be purchased at their site at However, an unusually thorough five-page press summary can be downloaded here.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) News Releases provides articles about the ways in which cutting edge technology is being used in defense and security programs.

The statement given by the director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to the House Armed Services Committee’s sub-committee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats, and Capabilities provides insights into the ways in which “radical” technological innovations are utilized to fight terrorist threats. (PDF download)

For some interesting articles on the ways in which emerging technologies are utilized in the fields of security and defense go to the New Scientist’s index of security and defense articles.



Nanotechnology Now provides news and commentary by specialists in the field of nanotechnology.

The Foresight Institute offers interesting news and resources on nanotechnology and where the field is headed.

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology offers a wide range of news, information, and commentary on developments in the field of nanotechnology.

For the latest news and breakthroughs in the field of nanotechnology go to the New Scientist’s index of nanotechnology articles.

Rice University’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology provides an interesting portal that offers links to various nanotechnology sites which range from the most elementary to the highly advanced.

Read about the latest news about the field of nanotechnology at the National Nanotechnology Initiatives’ News Site.



The Central Intelligence Agency has declassified a brief two-page summary of a bioterrorism panel's observations entitled "The Darker Bioweapons Future". A PDF file, you can download a copy here.

A study of "average" volunteers of different backgrounds by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the Environmental Working Group found an average of 91 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in their blood and urine. Does it overstate or understate the potential dangers? Make your own judgment at

To read some of the latest information on biotechnology, check out the New Scientist’s index of biotechnology articles.

The President’s Council on Bioethics discusses the ways in which advancements in biotechnology intersect with ethical and legal issues.

The American Journal of Bioethics’ website provides resources on the most current issues in bioethics.


 Genetic Engineering

The Genome News Network provides an interesting online magazine that covers news and features on developments in medicine, agriculture, and other interesting topics. Genome News Network

The National Institute of Health’s Cell Information Page provides links and information regarding the latest news on the discoveries, benefits, and political legislation surrounding stem cell research.

For updated stories on recent trends and breakthroughs in the field of genetically modified agriculture look at the Special Report on GM food on

An interesting porthole for the latest news about GM food can be found in the Genetically Modified Food News.


 Computers, the Internet, and Information technology

The UK's Register is perhaps the best-known and most comprehensive website covering breaking news in Information Technology. Noted for its informal language, it's often amusing as well as highly informative.

CNET provides resources and news on viruses and computer and internet security in their Security News section.



A bipartisan group of top energy experts from industry, government, labor, academia, and environmental and consumer groups have released a consensus strategy, more than two years in the making, to address major long-term U.S. energy challenges. The report, "Ending the Energy Stalemate: A Bipartisan Strategy to Meet America’s Energy Challenges," contains detailed policy recommendations for addressing oil security, climate change, natural gas supply, the future of nuclear energy, and other long-term challenges, and is backed by more than 30 original research studies. It is available as a 2.3 MB, 148-page PDF file by clicking here or as a 600K, 24-page summary by clicking here.

In December of 2000, the CIA published a document entitled, "Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future with Non-Government Experts". It is one of the most comprehensive attempts to foresee the global future, covering a wide range of issues and providing considerable statistical information and text in a visually attractive format. In this age of specialization, this 98-page paper provides a broad overview, but with sufficient detail to inform, not simply provoke, thought. It is available as a 6 MB by clicking here.

The film, "The Day After Tomorrow", has caused considerable comment and controversy as it is based on a sudden, disastrous climate change. Proponents claim the movie is based in part on a special report prepared for the Department of Defense, "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security" published in October of 2003. Not as dramatic as the movie, the report is nonetheless dramatic. The authors clearly present it as educated speculation rather than an outright prediction. Despite a few annoying typographical errors, the 22-page report is clearly written and thought-provoking. The file size is a little less than 1 MB. Download a copy here.

The American Institute of Physics has composed a comprehensive resource page on the history, effects, and specific data about climate change. Learn more about global warming at the American Insitute of Physics' site.

A new site founded by technological specialist Eric Drexler "focuses on the science behind emerging technologies of broad importance, summarizing research results and offering technical perspectives on research directions." Learn more about new and emerging technologies at

Ian Pearson, a futurist working for BT, one of Europe's leading providers of telecommunications services, has written a very thought-provoking nine-page essay entitled "What's Next?", a survey of likely future technologies and their potentially disruptive impact on people and the planet as a whole. A PDF file, you can download a copy here.

Read some of the latest news in international trade and economics at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s index of publications, documents, and news releases.

The World Trade Organization’s news section provides information on current economic issues and international trade disputes.

The U.S. Department of State offers the latest information on political situations in a number of countries.

KurzweilAI provides links to recent articles on the latest uses of cutting edge technology, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence. Read more about “the big thoughts of today’s big thinkers” at KurzeilAI.

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