Tonight I reread Bill Joy’s famous, April 2000 article in Wired,”Why the future doesn’t need us” and I was reminded of these great quotes:

“In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the machines.”
– George Dyson

“It is not possible to be a scientist unless you believe that the knowledge of the world, and the power which this gives, is a thing which is of intrinsic value to humanity, and that you are using it to help in the spread of knowledge and are willing to take the consequences.”
– J. Robert Oppenheimer

“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us.”
– Henry David Thoreau

I was asked this question last week while discussing the FS masters program at the University of Houston that I recently started. Luckily, I had written my answer to this question a few days before.

“Futures studies is a rigorous, systematic field of inquiry which seeks to articulate the range of possible and probable alternative futures so that individuals, organizations and societies can move closer to their preferred future(s). It is part science, part art, and part ethical practice.

Futures studies is a holistic, multi-disciplinary field which has its modern origins in the early to mid-20th century. While closely related to the disciplines of policy analysis, operations research, anthropology, history, sociology, and others, it is distinct from other fields in the degree of holism, use of specific methods, and in the scope and time scale of inquiry.”


John Smart has posted a good, short history of the field.

Gaining traction…”The Fight to End Aging Gains Legitimacy, Funding”

“Aubrey extrapolates from current hard science into, ‘If we can do something about this process and that and seven or eight other ands, then there’s this great opportunity for great human life extension,'” Lithgow said. “And it’s at that point that a lot of scientists are dropping off.”

It really depends on how much electricity/other fuel is used to compress all that air, but yeah, I think it’s cool.  Popular Mechanics reported last year that the TATA Motors version (for the Indian market) is held together with glue.  I’m guessing that won’t fly in the U.S. and Europe.  Maybe they should use duct tape instead of glue.

Here’s the Zero Pollution Motors explaination of how the thing works:

Zero Pollution Motors (

Clear as mud?  Well, if that’s not enough for you… check out their video (sans commentary naturally).

Reprint from Steward Brand’s June 27, 2008 email… “The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment,” Paul Ehrlich, Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, San Francisco, 7pm, FRIDAY, June 27.

Jul. 23 (Wednesday) – Edward Burtynsky, “The 10,000-year Gallery”

Aug. 8 (Friday) – Daniel Suarez (“Leinad Zeraus”), “Daemon: Bot-mediated Reality”

Sep. 12 (Friday) – Peter Diamandis, “Long-term X-Prizes”

Oct. 3 (Friday) – Huey Johnson, “Green Planning at Nation Scale”

Nov. 17 (Monday) – Drew Endy vs. Jim Thomas, “Synthetic Biology Debate”
Dec. 19 (Friday) – Rick Prelinger, “Lost Landscapes of San Francisco”

Jan. 16 (Friday) – Saul Griffith, “Climate Change Recalculated”

Just passing this along… verbatim from Aubrey De Grey’s Facebook post:

“World-Renowned Scientists and Policy-Makers Discuss Curing Age-Related Diseases

The Methuselah Foundation presents Aging 2008: The Disease, The Cure, The Implications, a panel discussion featuring world-renowned scientists and advocates of stem cell and regenerative medicine research, including Dr. Aubrey de Grey, the Foundation’s Chairman and Chief Science Officer. Panelists will discuss the scientific progress and implications of curing age-related disease, disability, suffering and death, and public policy on scientific research legislation including the passing of Prop 71.

Admission to Aging 2008 is free, with advance registration required at

Friday, June 27, 2008
4:00pm (includes complimentary cocktail reception)

Royce Hall, UCLA
340 Royce Dr., Los Angeles”

Visions of the Future (BBC). This is a multi-part series, which I may post more of later… You can find this and the other parts on GoogleVideo/YouTube. The narrator is Michio Kaku, a really important guy.