Edge Question 2016
January 1, 2016 8:01 AM   Subscribe

 
would this have been better if people had taken the question in a more general sense, rather than interpreting "interesting" as "would best sell your particular research area"?

(or is there really so little consensus over 194 people?)
posted by andrewcooke at 8:30 AM on January 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Always a good time!
posted by cleroy at 9:26 AM on January 1, 2016


this have been better if people had taken the question in a more general sense, rather than interpreting "interesting" as "would best sell your particular research area"?

That's the point. Edge.org's founder, John Brockman, is a literary agent. A lot of these folks are just participating here to shill their pop sci books.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:47 AM on January 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


(or is there really so little consensus over 194 people?)

There are a few recurring themes, such as gene editing and advances in artificial intelligence.
posted by jedicus at 10:10 AM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that the development of CRISPR in genetics has huge implications for health care. Being able to copy/paste the DNA of living organisms on the fly is amazing.

The discovery of superconductivity at 140c may take years to get commercialized, but when it does, we can build all sorts of interesting new tools.

Still no widely available capability based operating system, though... some things will have to wait.
posted by MikeWarot at 10:39 AM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Odd reading. Some of these are about genuinely interesting topics, but the write ups rarely do the subjects justice.
posted by ethansr at 1:12 PM on January 1, 2016


Obviously the scientific advance of 2015 was graph isomorphism in quasipolynomial time.
posted by humanfont at 1:27 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I didn't like that spiel about so-called Third Culture. Unnecessary preamble, and - in my opinion - a wrong account.
posted by polymodus at 1:40 PM on January 1, 2016


The discovery of superconductivity at 140c

All these respectable scientists and other complex and sophisticated minds may have somehow missed that one, but I see that at least cold fusion is on the list.
posted by sfenders at 2:53 PM on January 1, 2016


The discovery of superconductivity at 140c

Maybe it is not on the list because it is absurd fringe science (like cold fusion).
posted by bhnyc at 3:16 PM on January 1, 2016


Obviously the scientific advance of 2015 was graph isomorphism in quasipolynomial time.

Landmark Algorithm Breaks 30-Year Impasse - "Computer scientists are abuzz over a fast new algorithm for solving one of the central problems in the field."

re: MetaFilter's Engine ColdFusion...

-The cold fusion horizon[*]
-Einstein's Lost Hypothesis :P

also btw...
-A Fight for the Soul of Science
-Math Quartet Joins Forces on Unified Theory
-Hope Rekindled for Perplexing Proof
-Notes on the Oxford IUT workshop by Brian Conrad

oh and fwiw, if you've been wondering about simons' foundation:
Some of the biggest current tax battles are being waged by some of the most generous supporters of 2016 candidates. They include the families of the hedge fund investors Robert Mercer, who gives to Republicans, and James Simons, who gives to Democrats...

Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund Mr. Simons founded and which Mr. Mercer helps run, is currently under review by the I.R.S. over a loophole that saved their fund an estimated $6.8 billion in taxes over roughly a decade, according to a Senate investigation. Some of these same families have also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to conservative groups that have attacked virtually any effort to raises taxes on the wealthy...

The budget deal that Congress approved in October allows the I.R.S. to collect underpaid taxes from large partnerships at the firm level for the first time — which is far easier for the agency — thanks to a provision that lawmakers slipped into the deal at the last minute, before many lobbyists could mobilize. But the new rules are relatively weak — firms can still choose to have partners pay the taxes — and don’t take effect until 2018, giving the wealthy plenty of time to weaken them further.

Shortly after the provision passed, the Managed Funds Association, an industry group that represents prominent hedge funds like D. E. Shaw, Renaissance Technologies, Tiger Management and Third Point, began meeting with members of Congress to discuss a wish list of adjustments. The founders of these funds have all donated at least $500,000 to 2016 presidential candidates. During the Obama presidency, the association itself has risen to become one of the most powerful trade groups in Washington, spending over $4 million a year on lobbying.
posted by kliuless at 9:54 PM on January 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Rossi, however, has been going from strength to strength.

That Aeon article is unreadable. Rossi (a convicted fraudster) has gone from one lie to another lie. The free-energy scammers all have the same strategy- you have some test device that will be available real soon. Then you have a breakthrough with a new device that makes twice as much free energy. You stop developing old device (which didn't exist) and start work on this new breakthrough! This goes on for decades. Steorn, E-cat, Blacklight Power. They all use this strategy.
posted by bhnyc at 7:16 AM on January 2, 2016


That Aeon article is unreadable.

I found it interesting. It's not the existence of the E-Cat that casts doubt on the whole of LENR, it's that otherwise somewhat intelligent people believed in it, and at least in a few cases still do. It's not as if the evidence is unclear, even LENR-positive people are aware that it's a scam. To actually read that 2014 report and think it proves something, the level of self-deception required is incredible. Whether there's something genuinely interesting going on somewhere in the field is impossible to tell, when it's safe to assume that so many of the other people in it are also using the lure of (nearly) free energy to fool themselves and others. It reminds us to ask how much of the same kind of thing is going on in all the other, more prestigious grand theories on offer.
posted by sfenders at 7:59 AM on January 2, 2016


My favorite entry: Feces Standard Money
Every morning we can put our powder[ed feces] into reactors located in our village to supply food for the microorganisms that can produce various energies such as methane and biodiesel. We can receive a certain amount of FSM (Feces Standard Money) in exchange for the powdered feces, and use the FSM to obtain any equivalent value within a system. Feces, like gold, is limited and precious; nobody can make more than a certain limit, and it can be converted to energy.
posted by AceRock at 10:33 AM on January 2, 2016


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