Tag Archives: culture

Plans Being Made to Feed 9B People in 35 Years – What Will They Do for 10B? 11B?


This article from Wired magazine shows the weakness of American popular culture.  It is good that the authors see potential problems from the population explosion, and try to come up with a way to feed the 9 billion humans expected to live by 2050, but this is a very shallow consideration.  Certainly much thought and work should be applied to this issue, but do the authors think time and the population explosion will stop there?  What do they expect to do when the population – enabled to have even more children by the plentiful food supply – continues to explode and reaches 10 billion, 11 billion, and then 12 billion? Continue reading

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Autonomous Vehicles on the Roads in the Next Decade? Wait Just a Minute!


Automakers, legislators, and others are excited about putting autonomous vehicles (AV’s) on the road as quickly as possible, and they cite many benefits.  They’re pushing hard and investing a lot of money, but there are simple reasons why self-driving cars will not rule the road any time soon, no matter how beneficial they might be.  For starters, some people will prefer to drive themselves or ride with a human driver.  Inevitably some people will feel insecure riding in an AV and will refuse to ride in one, let alone buy one.  While the numbers of those rejecting AV’s for such reasons may be small, they will sustain a demand for self-controlled vehicles to remain on the roads longer, presenting serious problems for AV operators.  But that’s just the beginning – there are other major problems with AV’s that are not often mentioned in the media. Continue reading

Memes: Powerful Enough to Make Us Hurt Ourselves


What can make smart people do dumb things in total confidence they are acting correctly?  What can make people obey laws written when Roman armies marched and messengers were the closest communication system to the internet?  The answer is: memes.  Doesn’t that make memes perhaps the most powerful single element of human culture? Continue reading

What Ever Happened to the “Better Mouse Trap”?


Back in the early 20th century they had a saying: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” What happened? I just don’t hear much about individual inventors any more, though I am sure they are out there.  Part of the reason must be that today’s mass media don’t report on such things like they once did.  Another may be that people are both afraid of getting tangled in patent and copyright lawsuits and afraid to let anyone know about their inventions for fear their ideas would be stolen.  Still a third reason may be that our current cutting edge technologies are all seen as being too expensive or requiring too much knowledge for the average person to attempt, leaving invention to the academics and corporate researchers.  This is all unfortunate, for individual inventiveness was surely one of the great strengths of the American economy going back to the inception of the country. Continue reading