Big Questions
December 30, 2006 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Big Questions for 2007. The Guardian asks scientists, businesspeople, artists, activists, politicians, philosophers and others what they perceive to be the biggest issues in their respective fields. What do you think some of the big questions we'll be asking in the course of the next year?
posted by John of Michigan (37 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Will the IMG tag be reintroduced?
posted by b1tr0t at 4:10 PM on December 30, 2006 [2 favorites]

"This _____, it vibrates?"
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:17 PM on December 30, 2006

"Where the fuck is my canteloupe?"
posted by liquorice at 4:20 PM on December 30, 2006

the ethical justifications for arms trading
posted by phaedon at 4:22 PM on December 30, 2006

Will the print journalism field be able to withstand the transition from paper to electronic delivery and if so will ad dollars come back?
posted by photoslob at 4:26 PM on December 30, 2006

What should I name my puppy?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:29 PM on December 30, 2006

Articles like these would be much more interesting if the authors added a caveat: you must propose a question relating to matters outside your field of expertise. As it is, too many of the questions are essentially "how will my work make things totally awesome in 2007?" or "what shortsighted powers will prevent my work from making things totally awesome in 2007?"
posted by chrominance at 4:31 PM on December 30, 2006

Whatever the problem is boffins, let's get this sorted!
posted by slimepuppy at 4:38 PM on December 30, 2006 [2 favorites]

"Why the hell am I still in this job?"
posted by five fresh fish at 4:50 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Funny, slimepuppy.
Richard Evans, Professor of Modern History, Cambridge University

Is it worth studying the history of the nation-state any longer?

Historians are turning increasingly to the study of movements, developments and historical phenomena that cross conventional national boundaries and cultures. Globalisation, European integration and other factors have pushed cross-cultural history to the cutting edge of research. Our fates are all interconnected today, so might this also have been the case in the past?
This jumped at me as worth thinking about. It's a question about processes and dynamics, instead of definitions and categories, right? Something about changing the way historians—and people more generally—think about historical events. Instead of labeling an "Enlightenment" and ascribing "the Enlightenment" with a set of motives and agenda, we sort out Englightenment qualities among people alive during Englightenment times, and maybe see whether those qualities inhere in people at other times, too. Theodore Zeldin wrote a book called An Intimate History of Humanity with something like this premise, but I didn't have a way to appreciate how weirdly different it was from other sorts of history when I read it, because it was one of the earliest histories in my reading. After reading other stuff, I wondered why it wasn't more like Zeldin's, and I guess I still wonder about that.
posted by cgc373 at 4:50 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

how much will the landlord ding me for the rootbeer stain on my carpet?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:50 PM on December 30, 2006

five fresh fish : "Why the hell am I still in this job?"

A-fucking-men. But I ask myself this question every day, not just at the beginning of the new year.
posted by quin at 5:03 PM on December 30, 2006

Can quantum computing allow for rapid discovery of the ever elusive step 2 for any given business plan?

1) Somehing
2) ???
3) Profit!
posted by humanfont at 5:05 PM on December 30, 2006

What purpose did the horse serve and, pondering its abscence or very existence in first place, would one still be in college?
posted by hal9k at 5:28 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Since people with narcissistic personality disorder are driven by their ambition to be the center of attention at any cost and thus the ones most often in the positions of greatest power, when will the general population elect ethical, empathic people over ones with strategic charisma?
posted by nickyskye at 5:38 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Where's the beef?

Oh, sorry, I thought this was biggest questions of 1987.
posted by papakwanz at 5:44 PM on December 30, 2006

Do I poop on the SO or hold it in?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:49 PM on December 30, 2006

Come on, papakwanz. That beef business was so 1984, yo.
posted by cgc373 at 5:50 PM on December 30, 2006

Why are these women not famous yet?

Oh wait. I was asking that question back in 1997. Still haven't heard a decent answer. Right, so let's get back to Bush bashing and whining about the war. I see this next year as pretty much more of the same. I'm already dreading next year. And the year after that.

How about the question, "Is Rocky Six going to be any good?" Answer: shove it up your ass, Stallone.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:58 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Do you take it?

Expert in my field.
posted by LordSludge at 6:24 PM on December 30, 2006

Right on.
posted by fire&wings at 6:30 PM on December 30, 2006

I have a radial-arm staingrinder (Model 6422), and my secondary glam value is worn out. Can I use part #29383ZA instead of part #29387, they seem about the same, I checked the manual, and it says that the parts are interchangable under certain conditions, but doesn't list the conditions! Please hope me!

Also, I think my girlfriend may be a man, or some sort of ferret. Should I break up with her, or stay with her and sell my story to the newspaper?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:09 PM on December 30, 2006

WAIT A FRIGGIN MINUTE! You said there would be artists! Well?????
posted by R. Mutt at 7:25 PM on December 30, 2006

Can every even integer greater than 2 be written as the sum of two primes?
posted by eriko at 7:35 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


posted by blue_beetle at 7:41 PM on December 30, 2006

Why is there a watermelon there?
Where are we going?
When will we get there?
What is the greatest joy?

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

What? WHAT will come out no more?

What's a tortoise?

Have you ever seen a grown man naked?
Do you like gladiator movies?

Can I have a pony?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:47 PM on December 30, 2006

where are we going and why are we all in this handbasket?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:21 PM on December 30, 2006 [2 favorites]

Based on the attention she's gotten so far, I'll say "Will that poor girl ever be able to buy any underwear?" will prolly be a contender.
posted by yhbc at 8:25 PM on December 30, 2006

What can I buy for 5 dollars that entertains me as much as MeFi?
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 8:42 PM on December 30, 2006

How can I see more football(soccer).
posted by philad at 8:59 PM on December 30, 2006

Where are you going with that pineapple?

Do you have a permission slip with a reasonably forgery of your guardian? Right. Ready to go?

Are we finally going to rename the CFL more accurately to the NFL Farm Team League?

Who thought of the idea to put non-scientists in charge of scientific policy? Can we fire them?

Is the use of the 'word' "irregardless" going to increase, or decrease in the year 2007?

The Bible Code predicted world wide cataclysm in 2006. Who can I sue now that that hasn't happened?
posted by eurasian at 9:10 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

How could we have thought it was the right thing to do?
posted by atchafalaya at 9:18 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Why wans't this posted to AskMe?

Why hasn't this been deleted yet?
posted by b1tr0t at 10:14 PM on December 30, 2006

can global warming be stopped before earth becomes like lifeless venus?
posted by bruce at 12:46 AM on December 31, 2006

eurasian inquires "is the use of the word 'irregardless' going to increase or decrease in the year 2007?"

i got yer answer
posted by bruce at 1:20 AM on December 31, 2006

dammit, i tried to link to an esolutionsdata statistic but it didn't work....gonna have to figgur out how to do that.
posted by bruce at 1:21 AM on December 31, 2006

a. what artists? none rep'ed.
b. these experts are as lost as anyone else...housing 8% gain--ha!
c. gloria steinham--roughly, "never worse than now." Yes, we live in a fallen world wherein cave-people had it better than us.
d. multiple cliches of the left rep'ed.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:59 AM on January 1, 2007

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