Saturday, September 11, 2010


  1. In The Guardian: Titans of Science: David Attenborough meets Richard Dawkins: "We paired up Britain's most celebrated scientists to chat about the big issues: the unity of life, ethics, energy, Handel – and the joy of riding a snowmobile."

  2. In Financial Times: Martin Wolf hosts an online forum on What is the Role of the State?

  3. At Stumbling and Mumbling: The Pretense of Knowledge [Hat tip: Henry Farrell via Google Buzz]:

    The problem here is that it is impossible to predict what research will be commercially useful. History is full of examples of businessmen and scientists - let alone politicians - utterly failing to anticipate commercial uses, for example:

    “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable”

    "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value.”

    "Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax."

    "While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility."

    “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."

    “This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."