Posted by Prof. Goose on December 26, 2006 - 8:20pm Topic: Miscellaneous Google Technorati del.icio.us digg reddit From Paul Kredovsky via Jamais Cascio:
Physicist Richard Feynman once said that if all knowledge about physics was about to expire the one sentence he would tell the future is that "Everything is made of atoms." What one sentence would you tell the future about your own area, whether it's entrepreneurship, hedge funds, venture capital, or something else?
Examples: An economist might say that "People respond to incentives." I had an engineering professor years ago who said all of that field could be reduced to "F=MA and you can't push on a rope." A couple of other good ones come immediately to mind: the GBN motto, "the future is uncertain, and yet we must act;" Bruce Sterling's "the future is a process, not a destination;" Yogi Berra's "prediction is very hard, especially about the future."
So, dear TOD readers, in the comments, give me one sentence--with a couple of clauses if you desire--to describe what you would tell the future. 57 comments on The One Sentence Challenge... You must log in to post a comment. If you don't have an account, create one. bart on December 26, 2006 - 8:44pm ^
"After 200 years of fossil fuels, it looks like the inevitable return to a solar civilization could be rocky." Log in or register to leave a comment Kalpa on December 26, 2006 - 8:49pm ^
Bacteria will win in the end. Log in or register to leave a comment
enviro attny on December 26, 2006 - 9:28pm ^
Along those lines
Filter your drinking water and you will live a lot longer Log in or register to leave a comment
wstephens on December 26, 2006 - 8:49pm ^
My area is finance, and here is the message: The history of betting on paradigm shifts is poor. Even if you are able to identify an actual paradigm shift, your chances of betting correctly on the outcome are slim. Log in or register to leave a comment TrueKaiser on December 26, 2006 - 9:05pm ^
in the end, nature's rules win. Log in or register to leave a comment Testudo on December 26, 2006 - 9:29pm ^
The only thing that you can be certain of is that everything is uncertain. Log in or register to leave a comment vocn on December 26, 2006 - 9:33pm ^
First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics rule; Humanity has been climbing the enthalphy ladder throughout history; since the Industrial Revolution on fossil fuels. Log in or register to leave a comment Leanan on December 26, 2006 - 9:40pm ^
LOL! When I was in engineering school, they used to say:
1. F=ma 2. pV=nRT 3. You can't push on a rope.
Learn any two of those three, and you graduate.
My degree is in mechanical engineering, and here's how I would sum up the field:
"If all else fails, try kicking it."
But my favorite is probably the Laws of Thermodynamics, a la Ginsberg:
1. You can't win. 2. You can't even break even, either. 3. You can't get out of the game.
And perhaps most apropos, Freeman's corollary:
Every major philosophy that attempts to make life seem meaningful is based on the negation of one part of Ginsberg's Theorem.
1. Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win. 2. Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break even. 3. Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game.
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Leanan on December 26, 2006 - 9:43pm ^ Another of my favorites is this description of physics: F=ma. The rest can be derived.
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Leanan on December 26, 2006 - 10:00pm ^
Oh, and I also like this summation of genetics, by British scientist Robert May:
"We share half our genes with the banana. This is a fact more evident in some of my acquaintances than others."
Log in or register to leave a comment panarchist on December 27, 2006 - 1:19am ^
Leanan, you forgot H.T. Odum's, A. J. Lotka's, etc. proposals for the 4th Law of Thermodynamics:
4. You can't play for long unless you steal your opponents game pieces.
Or since, my pea brain can't state it as soundly as the experts...
The maximum power principle can be stated: During self organization, system designs develop and prevail that maximize power intake, energy transformation, and those uses that reinforce production and efficiency.
— H.T.Odum 1995
It has been pointed out by Boltzmann that the fundamental object of contention in the life-struggle, in the evolution of the organic world, is available energy. In accord with this observation is the principle that, in the struggle for existence, the advantage must go to those organisms whose energy-capturing devices are most efficient in directing available energy into channels favorable to the preservation of the species.
— A.J.Lotka 1922
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panarchist on December 27, 2006 - 1:24am ^
I'm also partial to these wise words from my all-time favorite quote:
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. - T.S. Eliot 1942 (Little Gidding No. 4) Log in or register to leave a comment Arch Stanton on December 27, 2006 - 1:37am ^
Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who have ever lived. I see all this potential -- God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas and waiting tables; they're slaves with white collars. Advertisements have them chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit they don't need. We are the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no great war, or great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised by television to believe that one day we'll all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars -- but we won't. And we're learning slowly that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.
Log in or register to leave a comment panarchist on December 27, 2006 - 1:50am ^
Keeping with Leanan's great reference to Ginsberg and since they haven't been proposed yet, maybe we should include the 5th and 6th Laws of Thermodynamics (in my humble and yet to be fully rationalized opinion):
5. You shorten the cumulative length of the game the more you steal.
6. The object of the game is to make it last as long as possible.
Or my concise way of summarizing the 3 (or is it 6?) Laws of Thermodynamics:
Collective adversity mandates collaborative adaptation.
- Hal Knowles
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aprice on December 26, 2006 - 9:49pm ^
General computing: Base 2 is best.
Building computers: Small impurities in silicon crystals can be used to make great switches.
Systems: Computers are really communication devices, not adding machines, so connect them together.
I also have a couple that explain almost all everyday events, though not quite within the rules of Feynman's challenge:
1/ Google knows everything. 2/ Society dramatically underestimates the value of shared, self-driving, electric cars. Log in or register to leave a comment
Rethin on December 26, 2006 - 9:53pm ^ General computing: Base 2 is best. There are 10 kinds of people. Those that understand binary and those that don't Log in or register to leave a comment
Darwinian on December 26, 2006 - 9:50pm ^
- Nature must, in the not far distant future, institute bankruptcy proceedings against industrial civilization, and perhaps against the standing crop of human flesh, just as nature had done many times to other detritus-consuming species following their exuberant expansion in response to the savings deposits their ecosystems had accumulated before they got the opportunity to begin the drawdown. William Catton, Overshoot Log in or register to leave a comment step back on December 26, 2006 - 9:56pm ^
Economics "should be" the study of how people (emotional creatures) trade with one another and plan for the future. Log in or register to leave a comment
Erynon on December 27, 2006 - 12:20am ^ A little more refined is Thomas Sowell's definition: "Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses." Trading and planning are emergent properties of the need to allocate limited resources. Log in or register to leave a comment
dinopello on December 26, 2006 - 9:57pm ^
These are the two most important things - think of the future have a sense of humor.
I always like that Navajo proverb
"We do not inherit the world from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."
There's also a billion saying about the importance of a sense of humor, like this simple one:
"Every survival kit should include a sense of humor" Log in or register to leave a comment EngineerAU on December 26, 2006 - 10:15pm ^
Do not allow corporations to become confused with humans. Log in or register to leave a comment hobbo on December 26, 2006 - 10:17pm ^
and for those in the military: if you can't take a joke you should not have joined. Log in or register to leave a comment totoneila on December 26, 2006 - 10:17pm ^
MY Thermo-Gene Collision sentence: In the USA, 150 million wheelbarrows will be more helpful for a longer period of postPeak time than 150 million rifles because eventually--each less barrel of crude means an additional 25,000 brute force hours of labor.
I also like that other quote [but I don't know the author]: "It will take all of us, and it will take forever, but isn't that the point?"
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast? Log in or register to leave a comment
Leanan on December 26, 2006 - 10:22pm ^ My boss used to say, "Give me enough men with wheelbarrows, and I can do anything." Log in or register to leave a comment
Don Sailorman on December 26, 2006 - 10:20pm ^
Economics can be summed up in the acronym TANSTAAFL! There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!
This DUET (Deep Universal Eternal Truth) can be translated as follows: All human actions that have benefits also have costs.
Another translation: All actions have opportunity costs.
Yet another translation: Scarcity rules. Log in or register to leave a comment realist on December 26, 2006 - 10:22pm ^
The end of fossil fuels will clean our air, destroy the middle class and bring back slavery. Log in or register to leave a comment john milton on December 26, 2006 - 10:24pm ^
"Treat all others as you wish others would treat you" Log in or register to leave a comment DingyWhite on December 26, 2006 - 10:29pm ^
If you can shift to tomorrow what you must do today, do it and you will get another free day. Log in or register to leave a comment 72myz on December 26, 2006 - 10:27pm ^
Future is current geo-biological energy flux strength effect on the balance of cerebrum:cerebellum x leadership. Log in or register to leave a comment xuewen on December 26, 2006 - 10:41pm ^
How about "Sorry." Log in or register to leave a comment ThatsItImout on December 26, 2006 - 10:43pm ^
"This time, it's different", but, be prepared if it's not.
RC known to you as ThatsItImout Log in or register to leave a comment the stranger on December 26, 2006 - 10:44pm ^
Smoke’em if you got’em at the crude contango, after the final feast But don’t cry wolf at a precipice moon, while dancing with the beast Log in or register to leave a comment
grillzilla on December 26, 2006 - 10:57pm ^ "All of Geology is based on Plate Tectonics and Deep Time, everything else is picking at the edges" Log in or register to leave a comment
GJ on December 26, 2006 - 10:54pm ^
At the core of every life form is a battery (from simple plants and bacteria to complex mammals) that has evolved from the elements comprising the Earth and the energy from the Sun, in order to compete in the planet's many environmental niches for scarce resources, and thereby store enough of the sun's energy to replicate at an opportune time, and ultimately realize the single meaning of life: to pass on the DNA and perpetuate the ability to conserve. Log in or register to leave a comment IndyDoug on December 26, 2006 - 10:57pm ^
"Karl Marx was right." Log in or register to leave a comment Oil Trader on December 26, 2006 - 10:58pm ^
Not sure which Geologist but the quote is,
If you dont deal with reality, reality will deal with you.
E=MC2. If we are going to have any hope post fosile fuels.. Log in or register to leave a comment NC on December 26, 2006 - 11:10pm ^
Life on earth has spent 2 billion years (via evolution and natural selection) optimizing energy efficiency; study nature for energy solutions. Log in or register to leave a comment RUbytheshore on December 26, 2006 - 11:21pm ^
Electrons occur at 1.235590E+20 Hz in the electromagnetic spectrum (ω=mc^2/ℏ); protons are at 2.268679E+23 Hz. Log in or register to leave a comment
fleam on December 27, 2006 - 1:53am ^ My brain Hz just thinking about it! OK..... Good, Cheap, Fast - you get to choose TWO. Log in or register to leave a comment
Dragonfly41 on December 26, 2006 - 11:55pm ^
"It's not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most adapted to change."
~ Darwin Log in or register to leave a comment
jmygann on December 27, 2006 - 12:01am ^ It's all about Photosynthesis" Log in or register to leave a comment
Sunspot on December 27, 2006 - 12:02am ^
Round things are finite. The earth is round.
Leanan, you beat me to the three laws of thermodynamics per Ginsberg. My favorites! Log in or register to leave a comment Squalish on December 27, 2006 - 12:05am ^
Toynbee Ideas in Movie 2001 Resurrect Dead on Planet Jupiter. Log in or register to leave a comment
Squalish on December 27, 2006 - 12:09am ^ One man's attempt to immortalize his particular brand of schizophrenia for future posterity in a single sentence. Log in or register to leave a comment
jjhman on December 27, 2006 - 12:07am ^
Next time care less about economics and more about people Log in or register to leave a comment mihoda on December 27, 2006 - 12:10am ^
Don't expend resources you can't replace. Log in or register to leave a comment DelusionaL on December 27, 2006 - 12:20am ^
actions speak louder than words Log in or register to leave a comment Erynon on December 27, 2006 - 12:29am ^
Stein's Law: "If something can't go on forever, it won't."
Sums up peak oil and industrial civilization as a whole pretty well I think. Log in or register to leave a comment
popo on December 27, 2006 - 12:48am ^ "It's" means "It is" -- "Its" means "Its." Log in or register to leave a comment Erynon on December 27, 2006 - 1:25am ^ I see. Log in or register to leave a comment
Nate Hagens on December 27, 2006 - 12:49am ^
Focus on increasing your HROI (Happiness return on energy invested)*
- For the neuroscientists in the crowd, the derivative DROI (Dopamine return on energy invested), could be more technically correct.
Log in or register to leave a comment Cherenkov on December 27, 2006 - 12:54am ^
Eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now: the present is the only thing that has no end.
-- Erwin Schrodinger
We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.
-- H.L. Mencken
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
-- Franz Kafka
Many of us think that happiness is not possible in the present moment. Most of us believe that there are a few more conditions that need to be met before we can be happy. This is why we are sucked into the future and are not capable of being present in the here and now. This why we step over the many wonders of life. If we keep running away into the future, we cannot be in touch with the many wonders of life.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
All of these people speak of the present moment as the ultimate reality, and it is, but more importantly, their words imply we must start living a life in tune with the planet now, that there is no future moment where we suddenly fire off a starter's pistol and live like we actually love the planet. The time is now.
-- Cherenkov Log in or register to leave a comment pfl on December 27, 2006 - 1:16am ^
"An idea is something you have; an ideology is something that has you." Log in or register to leave a comment Prof. Goose on December 27, 2006 - 1:34am ^
This is a probabilistic universe...well, except when it is deterministic.
(I'm sure I stole that from somewhere, but I couldn't tell you where...so I'll not claim authorship.) Log in or register to leave a comment oldhippie on December 27, 2006 - 2:23am ^
The only battle that matters is the battle for your imagination -di Prima Log in or register to leave a comment folsomman on December 27, 2006 - 2:43am ^
Start getting more efficient today, and keep doing it until you're dead. Log in or register to leave a comment Supaluminal on December 27, 2006 - 2:47am ^
A project actually already exists in the spirit of this challenge here. The KEO program was launched in order to provide a time capsule for the people of earth 50,000 years from now. Everyone on earth has been invited to submit a message, which will be encoded on DVD and launched into space, from where it will return in about 50,000 years. So for all those who are viewing this a purely hypothetical exercise, this is a chance to actually fulfill the challenge (that is assuming the project actually gets off the ground i guess). In addition to that, each person is allowed up to 6000 characters, so you can go into a bit more detail.
It was somewhat fortuitous that I stumbled across this today, as submissions are due to close at the end of this year (not far off now). Whether your message actually gets read may be entirely down to chance, but there's no doubt about it, the idea certainly has merit.
The website is at http://www.keo.org