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Here is my latest Mind and Matter column in the Wall
There are many mysteries about Ray, the 17-year-old
English-speaking "forest boy" who walked into the city hall in
Berlin on Sept. 5, claiming to have lived wild in the woods for
five years with his father-until his father recently died in a
fall. Judging by his rucksack and his speech, he was not a fully
feral child, reared by wild animals and unacquainted with
I have the following
opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal, adapted from my
forthcoming Hayek lecture.
The crowd-sourced, wikinomic cloud is the new, new thing
that all management consultants are now telling their clients to
embrace. Yet the cloud is not a new thing at all. It has been the
source of human invention all along. Human technological
advancement depends not on individual intelligence but on
collective idea sharing, and it has done so for tens of thousands
of years. Human progress waxes and wanes according to how much
people connect and exchange.
I published this article in the Ottawa Citizen today:
The world now has almost seven billion people and rising.
The population may surpass nine billion by 2050. We, together with
our 20 billion chickens and four billion cattle, sheep and pigs,
will utterly dominate the planet. Can the planet take it? Can we
My latest Mind and Matter column for the Wall Street
Journal is on drug development and network analysis:
Here's a paradox. Every week seems to bring news from a research
laboratory of an ingenious candidate cure about to enter clinical
trials for a serious disease. Yet the productivity of drugs coming
out of clinical trials has been plummeting, and the cost per drug
has been rocketing skyward. The more knowledge swells, the more
pharmaceutical innovation fails. What's going on?
My latest Wall Street Journal Mind and Matter column discusses conspiracy
Michael Shermer, the founder and editor of Skeptic magazine, has
never received so many angry letters as when he wrote a column for
Scientific American debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories. Mr. Shermer
found himself vilified, often in CAPITAL LETTERS, as a patsy of the
sinister Zionist cabal that deliberately destroyed the twin towers
and blew a hole in the Pentagon while secretly killing off the
passengers of the flights that disappeared, just to make the thing
look more plausible.
He tells this story in his fascinating new book, "The Believing
Brain." In Mr. Shermer's view, the brain is a belief engine,
predisposed to see patterns where none exist and to attribute them
to knowing agents rather than to chance-the better to make sense of
the world. Then, having formed a belief, each of us tends to seek
out evidence that confirms it, thus reinforcing the belief.
My TED talk onWhen Ideas Have Sexhas now passed
Latest Wall Street Journal
column is on how anti-virals outwit natural selection:
Draco, who wrote Athens's first constitution in about 620 B.C.,
decreed that just about every crime should be punishable by death,
because that was what petty criminals deserved and he could think
of no harsher penalty for serious criminals. "Draconian" means
indiscriminate as well as harsh.