Edge.org: Optimism

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With the new year comes new resolutions, and new questions, including the new Edge.org question. The science super-hero club house that brought you dangerous ideas in 2006 wants to bring you optimism in 2007.

As an activity, as a state of mind, science is fundamentally optimistic. Science figures out how things work and thus can make them work better. Much of the news is either good news or news that can be made good, thanks to ever deepening knowledge and ever more efficient and powerful tools and techniques. Science, on its frontiers, poses more and ever better questions, ever better put.

What are you optimistic about? Why? Surprise Us!

Edge.org, 1/1/07

Edge has gathered 160 responses to their annual query, and in our second annual dive into Edgeland we’ll hear some of the most provocative.

With so much going wrong in the world (you know, the usual stuff: war, famine, disease, global warming) this year’s question seems willfully contrarian. Do you agree with any of the Edge authors that Google Earth can stop wars or that Malthus was wrong? What are you optimistic about this January? Give us your own concise responses to this year’s question.

Juan Enriquez

CEO, Biotechonomy

Founding Director, Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project

Author, The Untied States of America

Steven Pinker

Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Author of The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate, among many others

Clay Shirky

Social & Technology Network Topology Researcher

Adjunct Professor, NYU Graduate School of Interactive Telecommunications Program

Chris DiBona

Open Source Programs Manager, Google Inc.

Editor, Open Sources: Voices From the Open Source Software Revolution

Paul Steinhardt

Albert Einstein Professor of Science, Princeton University

Co-author, Endless Universe: A New History of the Cosmos

James O’Donnell

Classicist and Cultural Historian

Provost, Georgetown University

Author, Augustine: A New Biography

Extra-Credit Reading

Juan Enriquez, A Knowledge Driven Economy Allows Individuals to Lead Millions Out of Poverty In a Single Generation, The Edge Annual Question 2007, Edge

Steven Pinker, The Decline of Violence, The Edge Annual Question 2007, Edge

Clay Shirky, Evidence, The Edge Annual Question 2007, Edge

Chris DiBona, Widely Available, Constantly Renewing, High Resolution Images of the Earth Will End Conflict and Ecological Devastation As We Know It, The Edge Annual Question 2007, Edge

Paul Steinhardt, Bullish on Cosmology, The Edge Annual Question 2007, Edge

James O’Donnell, Scientific Discoveries Are Surprisingly Durable, The Edge Annual Question 2007, Edge

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