August 2002 Archives

Ideas from the edge

Yes, I'm on holiday, but I just read this New York Times review of The Deviant's Advantage: How Fringe Ideas Create Mass Markets (Amazon US and UK) which is about how ideas from those outside the mainstream can, with some refining, revolutionise it. While the knee-jerk unbounded-capitalism-hating part of me dislikes the commoditization and marketing of such often grassroots ideas, it's also extremely fascinating from a Diffusion of Innovations/Tipping Point kind of angle. There's also a good mini interview with Watts Wacker, one of the book's authors.

Quiet for a while...

Apologies for lack of updates recently. I've spent my free time decorating and coding. No more updates for a couple more weeks either as I'm off to Burning Man. If you happen to be going I'll probably be camped at Illumination Village and I'll look something like this. Only dustier.

Betting on the news

NewsFutures is a virtual stock-trading site, where the stocks are predictions. For example, if you think "John-Paul II remains Pope until 2003" sounds likely then you can invest your virtual dollars in it. If it sounds familiar you may already have seen the long-running and less pretty Foresight Exchange which does exactly the same thing.

Futurists' futures

A while ago I reported on a session at the World Future Society conference which asked the audience for ideas about how they saw the future of the profession. In turn this would help the fledgling Association of Professional Futurists think about how they could best serve the profession. Andy Hines has collated the comments from the session and kindly allowed me to publish them here.

Two things I meant to post earlier... The good news is that University of Houston - Clear Lake's Masters in Future Studies has two courses available online for the coming academic year. Having done them in person I can recommend both Intro to Future Studies and Systems Thinking. I'm not sure how well studying online will work, but the benefits are that international students don't need a visa and no one has to live in Houston. I guess you'll need some of the application details.

Long-term climate change report

Described in the April edition of Future Survey as "the authoritative global document for the moment", the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Third Assessment Report has parts available online. The Synthesis Report (8Mb PDF) and its Summary for Policymakers (300Kb PDF) include lots of graphs that both look back over centuries of climate change and provide several scenarios of change for the century ahead.

AI couriers

This morning I saw a motorcycle courier with the letters "CYC" printed across his flourescent orange bib. I can only assume he works for a courier firm who shave minutes off their delivery times by harnessing articficial intelligence in the battle against congested streets.