Future Perfect: What Next? and Other Impossible Questions (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Allen & Unwin, 2007 - Science - 179 pages
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Thinking about the future is not a normal human activity.

Since we first came down out of the trees, most of our waking hours have been preoccupied with staying alive - life expectancy was so short, it was hard to seriously plan ahead. The religions we concocted taught us that the future was in the hands of our gods and we should concentrate mainly on the afterlife.

Future Perfect is a book for those who believe we can shape the future of our earth, and that there is a moral responsibility for us to do just that. It's difficult to disembark once you're here, after all. Written in Robyn Williams' characteristically whimsical and provocative style, it conjures up the possibilities before us in our cities, our employment, our transport and even our sex lives. It confronts the challenges before us and does not shrink from the hard answers.

Witty and immensely entertaining, informative and didactic, Future Perfect will fuel many an argument.
  

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Contents

1 The Future of CommunicationBeyond Bable?
9
2 The Future of ScienceThe White Trash of the Pacific?
33
3 The Future of GodGods Only Excuse
53
Full Speed Ahead
77
5 The Future of CitiesMore than Half the Worlds Population?
95
6 The Future of SexAnd Why We Do It
111
7 The Future of InnovationInventing the Future?
131
8 The Future of WorkFailing Upwards
139
9 The Future of UsOur Last Century?
151
Postscript
167
Further reading
169
Back cover
172
Copyright

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Page 73 - i do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.
Page 73 - I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible, but I refuse to be blown off my feet by any of them.
Page 165 - This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.
Page 151 - We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason. "A million a year will beggar us," said the patriots of 1640. "Two millions a year will grind the country to powder,
Page 95 - History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives" — Abba Eban "What difference does it make how much you have?
Page 148 - As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best the people honour and praise. The next the people fear, and the next the people hate. But when the best leader's work is done the people say,

About the author (2007)

Robyn Williams has presented science programs on ABC radio and television since 1972. Early in his career he made guest appearances in The Goodies, Monty Python's Flying Circus and Dr Who. He is the first journalist to be elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, was a visiting fellow at Balliol College, Oxford, and is a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales. In March 2006, a star in the constellation Carina was named after him. He is planning a visit.

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