Posts Tagged ‘future’

One realization I had after studying a bit of history is how little say most people have in it. Traditionally, a limited number of people have been in charge of most things, usually to the detriment of the rest. (We remember the pyramids, for example, but what about those conscripted to build them?)

There’s a reason democracies attract people. 

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” 

― Winston S. Churchill (often quoted, still true)

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Today is voting day in the United States. Not sure where you need to go or what to bring with you? These sites can help.

Get to the Polls

How to Vote

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Yes, there are a lot of forces trying to pull us apart, and there are many aspects of our economic and social lives that could be improved. 

There are also many elements we agree on. Consider health, safety, education, holding doors for the elderly, giving up a seat for the pregnant, and of course, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The devil’s in the details, of course, and as anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the news or social media can tell you, we are flooded with examples of what’s broken on a daily basis. But that’s not all that’s happening, or all that is possible.*

There are a lot of ways to live and I happen to think that democracy is one of the best. (Just ask those pyramid builders.) That doesn’t mean the system can’t improve.

How can we make our voices heard? Vote.

How do we build a world that works? Together.

* For a break from doom and gloom, I recommend a visit to David Byrne’s Reasons to be Cheerful.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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What can science fiction do for you? Help you think. Here’s an interview on Marketplace, better known for its discussions with economists, professors and policy wonks, with writer Neal Stephenson.

How sci-fi can make us smart – Marketplace

We’ll talk with Stephenson about how he thinks about big, complex issues like climate change and what this genre can teach us about the future and solving problems in the real world.

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Photo by Daniel K Cheung on Unsplash

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This interesting article discusses space exploration as an extension of the frontier mentality, how humanity’s complications underly a lot of science fiction, and asks, “Are the stars better off without us?”

Expanding Horizons | Atmos

A few years ago, in an attempt to lose myself in something other than winter lethargy, I became enthralled with The Expanse, a space drama that asks: what if humanity became a multiplanetary species? What would happen next?

“So much of the show is about resources and scarcity and the connection between economics and history”

It’s easy to write off The Expanse as “just” science fiction, but the ideas that the show wrestles with are important. Science fiction both holds a mirror to culture and acts as a source of inspiration. 

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Photo by David Gavi on Unsplash

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I am feeling particular affection for my past self today.

Earlier this year I needed to design and print multiple versions of a complicated spreadsheet. It was the sort of project that should have been easy but was a verifiable pain. After more time on it than I want to remember, I had my printouts finalized. Yay. I have a vague memory of thinking, “Self, this is great, you have this covered allllll the way to the end of the year. Go you!” And then I forgot about it.

Yesterday I went to flip December over to the next sheet. You can guess what happened next.

There is no next printout. The stack only went to December and now here I am at the end of the line.

Usually this would mean having to start over from scratch, trying to remember exactly which hoops I had to jump through to get the end result.

Not this time.

This time, Past Me realized that there was no way I’d remember all the annoying details required in each of the multiple applications used. This time, Past Me not only took notes but also clipped them to the last printout in the stack.

I left myself a map.

And so today I am feeling grateful for my past decisions. I’m also asking a question with the potential to make the future a better destination: 

What can I do today to help myself tomorrow?

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We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

— Richard P. Feynman

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