The Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio
Brian Gongol

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We took another look at the Future Scale this week, and there's lots of reason to be happy about what's on the way, even if your retirement account has taken a hit with the stock market going nutty over the last few weeks.

First, we're being told that an ultrasonic tool for stopping major bleeding is on the way within two years. It's intended as a sort of non-invasive tourniquet, and though it's being developed for use on the battlefield (where it could potentially save an enormous number of lives), it could also find its way to other situations (like car accidents) where people's lives are threatened by major bleeding.

Medical advancements are going to be a major feature of how we live our lives in the years to come. As a country, we currently spend about 15% to 17% of our national income on health care, but that number is expected to hit 25% by the time a newborn today graduates from high school, and could make it to 50% around the time that newborn retires. We shouldn't necessarily fear that spending -- after all, in 1900, the average American lived to age 47. Now, we live (on average) to age 78. Those 31 bonus years come at the price of additional health-care spending. But as we spend more, privately and through government spending, it's important to be aware of where it's going and what we get from it.

However, as people live longer, some unexpected things can occur. For instance, Japan expects road traffic to decline as older drivers stay off the roads. On a related note, by the time Japan expects to really notice the decline in auto traffic (around two decades from now), California may have a high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Transportation is one of the biggest uses of energy in Western countries, and the future of energy will undoubtedly be filled with changes. While the US government wants to get 20% of our electricity from wind by 2030, the UK is undertaking a project to put up almost 200,000 residential windmills by 2020. Japan, on the other hand, is expecting to get half of its electricity from nuclear plants by the turn of the next century.

Amid all this talk of technological change, it's hard to understand why we run government in the 21st Century as though it's 100 years ago. But if you need a little boost to your mood, consider this: The stock market is now less risky than it was three months ago, even if it's going up and down like a yo-yo.

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