Thursday, March 15, 2012


Something that Mark and I have been talking about is how much less audacious we have been (as a country) since the 1950's.  Back then there was a real sense of inevitable progress and an idea that there were great accomplishments lurking around the corner.  Noah Smith weighs in with an example of this:
If we had found better ways to unlock the vast stores of energy that we know are lurking inside the nuclei of atoms, we'd have those flying cars and Mars colonies and everything people thought we'd have back in the 50s (OK, the Economist doesn't say that, but it's true).
When did we lose this ambition and can we get it back?  


  1. I think there are still amazing technological innovations happening - one only needs to look at what's going happening with the internet. However, I think the 1950's/60's were characterised by physical engineering achievements whereas nowaday they are more software engineering achievements.

    But maybe that's because we just don't see the physical engineering achievements where they are happening. The technology of war has improved amazingly.

  2. It is true, we could be missing a lot of ambitious things in the military arena. I am mostly disappointed by how Paris seems to be able to build light rail faster than Seattle can.