Japan Has Aged Out of its Economic Miracle

Demography is destiny, and Japan’s population is getting too old for the country’s economic health

3 min read
Japan Has Aged Out of its Economic Miracle

graph of japan's aging populationDecline and Fall: Japan’s population is aging faster than that of any other major economic power, even as its numbers decline. Few young people will be left to care for the millions of older ones.Source: IPSS (National Institute of Population and Social Security Research)

On 2 September 1945, representatives of the Japanese government signed the instrument of surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay. So ended perhaps the most reckless of all modern wars, the outcome of which was decided by U.S. technical superiority even before it started. Japan lost in material terms even before it attacked Pearl Harbor: In 1940 the United States produced roughly 10 times as much steel as Japan did, and during the war the difference grew further.

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Practical Power Beaming Gets Real

A century later, Nikola Tesla’s dream comes true

8 min read
This nighttime outdoor image, with city lights in the background, shows a narrow beam of light shining on a circular receiver that is positioned on the top of a pole.

A power-beaming system developed by PowerLight Technologies conveyed hundreds of watts of power during a 2019 demonstration at the Port of Seattle.

PowerLight Technologies
Yellow

Wires have a lot going for them when it comes to moving electric power around, but they have their drawbacks too. Who, after all, hasn’t tired of having to plug in and unplug their phone and other rechargeable gizmos? It’s a nuisance.

Wires also challenge electric utilities: These companies must take pains to boost the voltage they apply to their transmission cables to very high values to avoid dissipating most of the power along the way. And when it comes to powering public transportation, including electric trains and trams, wires need to be used in tandem with rolling or sliding contacts, which are troublesome to maintain, can spark, and in some settings will generate problematic contaminants.

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