Most frightening stories:
- A misapplied equation might have crashed the world financial system in 2007.
- Shell was well aware of climate change science in 1991, and made a movie to educate the public about it. But nothing was done.
- The U.S. health care market is screwed up seemingly beyond repair. Why can’t we have nice things? Oh right, because our politicians represent big business, not voters. Also, we have forgotten the difference between a dialog and an argument.
Most hopeful stories:
- There are ideas for better traffic lights.
- Tesla’s market share eclipsed Ford’s. Mercedes is promising self-driving taxis within three years. I put these in the win column because creative destruction of the automobile industry status quo is long overdue. In other creative destruction news, e-commerce is starting to eat the bricks-and-mortar retail industry alive, possibly because people are realizing they can buy stuff and have time left over for things other than sitting in their cars on the way to and from stores.
- The value added tax is a boring but good idea. Why can’t the U.S. have nice things? Oh, right…
Most interesting stories, that were not particularly frightening or hopeful, or perhaps were a mixture of both:
- I first heard of David Fleming, who wrote a “dictionary” that provides “deft and original analysis of how our present market-based economy is destroying the very foundations―ecological, economic, and cultural― on which it depends, and his core focus: a compelling, grounded vision for a cohesive society that might weather the consequences.”
- Judges are relying on algorithms to inform probation, parole, and sentencing decisions.
- I finished reading Rainbow’s End, a fantastic Vernor Vinge novel about augmented reality in the near future, among other things.