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What Are You Optimistic About?

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the explain-yourself dept.

Editorial 146

vix86 writes "Last year's "World Question" from The Edge was "What is your Dangerous Idea?" So to kick off the off the new year: As an activity, as a state of mind, science is fundamentally optimistic. Science figures out how things work and thus can make them work better. Much of the news is either good news or news that can be made good, thanks to ever deepening knowledge and ever more efficient and powerful tools and techniques. Science, on its frontiers, poses more and ever better questions, ever better put. What are you optimistic about? Why? Surprise us! "

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That Vista will be a huge success (1, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421638)

Slashdot wishing it to fail just isn't enough.

Re:That Vista will be a huge success (1)

hyperquantization (804651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17426866)

Slashdot wishing it to fail just isn't enough.
Why is this a flaimbait? There's no denying the bias that a large mass of Slashdotters have against Microsoft.

But, personally, I'd have to say that I'm at least hoping Vista will go somewhere. In fact, I'm quite optimistic about many aspects of Microsoft; I have faith that at least some of the company has learned its lesson from past mistakes.

1st post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421654)

I'm optimistic about getting the first post

What Are You Optimistic About? (0)

freya_bacchus (764907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421658)

Human stupidity will reach new levels!

Last Year's (4, Informative)

quanminoan (812306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421668)

If you missed last year's discussion [slashdot.org] here on the most dangerous idea you should read through it. There were some pretty interesting ideas...

Re:Last Year's (4, Interesting)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421724)

To me, the most interesting question by far in EDGE has been the one on 'What do you believe to be true even though you can't prove it?' There were some really cool answers that year, e.g. this hilarious (but equally insightful) one from Leonard Susskind [edge.org] .

Re:Last Year's (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422804)

How is that insightful? Everyone knows that probability is just a Boreal measure on the set of outcomes and you go from that.

About penis problems (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421672)

Specifically this one:

http://home.comcast.net/~plutarch/Erection.html [comcast.net]

Unsurprisingly (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421678)

about finally getting laid! YAY!

Re:Unsurprisingly (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422202)

That's fantasy, not optimism. ;)

Energy (5, Interesting)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421698)

I am optimistic on several major points regarding energy over the long term:
  1. That mankind will wean itself of fossil fuels. This means massive increases in renewables, energy transport, and improved nuclear fission reactors/processes (breeder reactors and thorium fuel cycles, and ultimately, fusion).
  2. Part of this process will be radical improvements in efficiency. Examples include stored thermal heat exchanges (underground water tanks for summer cooling and winter heating), coal gasification instead of conventional coal-fired power plants, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and so forth.
  3. Industrial civilization with continue and even thrive as a result, even unto the "developing world" countries of India and China.
  4. As a result, anthropogenic climate forcing will cease to be an issue.
Yes, I know, I'm off my meds this week.

Re:Energy (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421868)

Very good. One and two are already underway. Three is only wished against by the Luddites who don't correctly remember the crap-fest that was life before technology. Four will actually come about as we learn more about climate and the factors influencing it, thereby realizing we weren't all that big an influence to begin with.

Anthropogenic Global Warming (2, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423050)

I'm optimistic that in 2007, the majority of AGW skeptics will finally be convinced that the problem is real. (Or at least convinced to a reasonable level of certainty.) In 2006, we saw Bill O'Reilly accept it as reality, as well as the Bush Administration (although they had tacitly accepted it as reality as early as 2001, their support of the science behind AGW was strengthened in '06). Even ExxonMobil has begun changing their tune.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards fixing the problem. Luckily, several scientists/engineers have already moved past that first step, but it's nice to see many of the skeptics finally coming around.

Additionally, I'm also seconding the GP post, although clearly all of that won't happen in '07 (nor did the GP post claim otherwise).

Re:Anthropogenic Global Warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17426498)

How far we've come.

The last time I tried to mention Global Warming & Peak Oil on Slashdot - ooh about a year ago or so - I was cornered by a handful of fuckwit rednecks and virtually kicked to death.

Re:Energy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421898)

In many ways the science is already done for renewable energy and we're basically
at the price point where renewable energy is competative. So, I'm optimistic that
we'll see rapid growth in this sector. There is a technological limit in that sporadic
renewable sources of energy can't provide more than about 20% of electicity use
without some kind of effectively huge capacitor. I'm hopeful that a cheap and efficient
battery technology that can hold tens of days of the nations electrical needs can
be found or demonstrated in 2007. This would remove the roadblock for solar and wind
becoming our primary power source for electricity. Additional battery technology that
is also light weight would be very helpful in the transportation sector.

On the new science side of things, I think that looking at the angular isotopy of dark
energy will be recognized as the clearest way forward in understanding the nature of dark energy.

Happy New Year!

Re:Energy (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422334)

Life is like a video game. When one kills off the most powerful opponent the game becomes boring since one is usually invincible. When mankind solves most of it problems will life than become boring to most of it people? This is why I do not believe that heaven would be such a great place. If everything is perfect what is the purpose of life? We must have a society where everyone can contribute to its success. I guess what I am saying is that solving problems will lead to a bigger problem. That is what will society do with its people to ensure that their lives are not totally boring. Otherwise they will find a way which will usually include some kind of violence toward other members.

Re:Energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422914)

When mankind solves most of it problems will life than become boring to most of it people? This is why I do not believe that heaven would be such a great place. If everything is perfect what is the purpose of life? We must have a society where everyone can contribute to its success. I guess what I am saying is that solving problems will lead to a bigger problem. That is what will society do with its people to ensure that their lives are not totally boring.


I've thought about this every once in awhile and I hope that there will be a period of enlightenment after some serious social upheaval. Mind you that "all of our problems being solved" will likely take another 100-200 years if we don't screwup and somehow engineer ourselves out of existence, but it's fun to think about. It would take a serious philosphical shift towards constantly striving toward the betterment of humanity once people's needs are met since you'd have to focus less on survival.

In the short term I see some people becoming addicted to virtual reality, newer drugs, and other types of stimulus.. but after we're all numb from overstimulation, then what? One would hope a hundred or so years after that we'd clue up. You'll know when that happens as a pig will fly past you at 1500ft altitude while you're cruising on your jetpack. After all, when real VR comes into play (tongue firmly in cheek) who wants to give up Jenna Jameson and three of her hottie friends who are .. ahem.. doting on you?

Re:Energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422622)

> I am optimistic on several major points regarding energy over the long term:

> 1. That mankind will wean itself of fossil fuels. This means massive increases in renewables, energy transport,
> and improved nuclear fission reactors/processes (breeder reactors and thorium fuel cycles, and ultimately, fusion).

Energy is interesting, considering it's the most abundant thing in the universe, and some would have it that it IS the
universe (vis e=mc^2) it's a bit of a paradox we seem to have a hard time getting at what is all around us.
Take geothermal, so much **HEAT** is just a mile beneath your feet!? It's going to be a fun
time for science in this century. I mean hydrocarbons are boring, you just burn them. Boring. I think fusion is going
to be in the next century. I'm sort of not so enthusiastic about what's going on at CERN and with the hadron collider
and all that because although fundamental research is essential it's not yeilding technology at the rate or scale
to help a planetery population this size. When it comes it will be revolutionary and paradign shifting, probably
portable terrawatt generators of some kind, but can't rely on that because it's an unpredictable point for science.
Better to stay with feet on the ground and look at all the amazing possibilities for sustainable clean energy.

> 2. Part of this process will be radical improvements in efficiency.

So yeah, augmenting and incrementally improving exting technologies like wind, solar etc is something I'm very
optimistic about. There's no theoretical reason why I cant have a 10Gz mobile computer on my wrist that runs
off "ambient energy" and does all the coms and location stuff a 21st century citizen needs it to. That's
the shit I'm optimistic about, so long as we can stop sinister forces of spooky fascists using it for bad ends
that sort of technology is enabling and people won't reject it so long as it helps them without harming their freedoms.
The tough stuff is the high energy scale, namely transport and heating.

> 3. Industrial civilization with continue and even thrive as a result, even unto the "developing world" countries of India and
> China.

I'm not that optimistic here, it bothers me. Growth is something we need to temper as the planet cannot sustain it.
Without being cynical and thinking the four horsemen will just sweep up surplus humans when we overpopulate I think
radical changes in politics may make the Earth manageable. Look at the amazing ability of China to contain itself,
even though its pragmatic birth control policies are the source of so much human suffering. Although the planet
is still very big and full of open space, and we can tollerate each other in extreme densities in the cities, urban
extention is looking like a bad thing. Certainly there will be more urban growth, but I think we are going to
learn to redistribute ourselves in a way that is not necessarily going backwards towards agricultural subsistance
or anything silly. That revolution will come from materials science and yield very cheap, strong and portable
housing.

> 4. As a result, anthropogenic climate forcing will cease to be an issue.

We are simply out of our depth in this arena. We need a king Canute to really show just how fragile and arrogant mankinds
position is. Maybe we had it already with the Tsunami and Katrina, maybe there's much worse to come - but staying optimistic
there are so many ways we know of building durable and strong dwellings that can literally weather the storms.
Space travel emboldens us, but it is a very precarious toddling steps, we haven't even learned to crawl yet.
So with no way off the planet to colonise any time soon survival here depends on learning our limitations, getting over
the omnipotent delusions and getting on with each other to survive on the resources we do have until there's a way off
this very beautiful but tiny rock.

> Yes, I know, I'm off my meds this week.

That's *STEALING* from the pharmos. Take your soma citzen 177470! :)

Re:Energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17423586)

Yes, I know, I'm off my meds this week.


Not only that, but your off mine too!

Re:Energy (1)

bagsc (254194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425632)

I am optimistic that the writing is on the wall, and politicians will finally start funding these initiatives like the country depends on it. I'm thinking something like the Peace Corps that gives out scholarships to tens of thousands of engineers and scientists in exchange for a few years working on the country's biggest energy and ecological problems. "Lose" a few billion dollars to educate, train and motivate a giant part of America - that's my kind of trade-off.

The defeat of the Neo-Cons (5, Insightful)

fishyfool (854019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421704)

Just thrills me to death. It makes me optimistic for the future of the United States and we the people.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (2, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421750)

I'm just hoping that the tax-and-spend liberals aren't our only alternative.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (5, Insightful)

yolto (178256) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422238)

As opposed to the spend-and-spend "conservatives" we've had lately?

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423040)

Exactly. What we need is "no-tax and no-spend" - or something moving in that direction - but then we wouldn't be able to fund all the pork, entitlements, and poorly-handled military engagements.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424300)

I'm optimistic that people will stop assuming that Democrats, Republicans or any other particular party can solve their problems.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (0)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421770)

The defeat of the Neo-Cons

Put in another way: the one-party monopoly is over, so a great measure of oversight will return to the United States government. As a bonus on the Cracker Jack box, the newly elected democrat-majority congress has announced that they will go into session about a week from now, instead of the traditional last week of January (after the presidential address to the nation), so it seems that these people are ready to roll up their sleeves and get some real work done.

However, the bullying will stop, but the hysteria and whining will not, all over the mass media. There's gonna be a LOT of noise, but hey, anything is better than how it was.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (5, Insightful)

Loco Moped (996883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421872)

Put in another way: the one-party monopoly is over,

I'm sorry, but how is it possible that someone smart enough to post on /. can't see that there IS ONLY ONE PARTY? It's been that way for years. It's a GAME, folks - you know, like football, where the teams pretend to hate each other, then go out for beers together after the game. Which playbook they follow depends upon what color jersey they're wearing today. THEY ALL HAVE THE SAME AGENDA, just different ways to reach the common goal.

And the loser is always the same (us peons, aka citizens, aka disposable interchangeable taxpayers).

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422236)

And I suppose if folks like you were in charge, they would hate each other for real. That's great, a congress made up entirely of spite filled, irrational DU and Daily KOS types and the KKK.

George Soros would be proud.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (0, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422940)

I'm sorry, but how is it possible that someone smart enough to post on /. can't see that there IS ONLY ONE PARTY? It's been that way for years.

No, they're not. That's just something people say when they don't really know what's going on but don't want to sound ignorant. Go watch C-SPAN, hell watch CNN--do you think we would be in Iraq if the Democrats had won the presidency in 2000? There are hundreds of thousands of deaths that probably wouldn't have happened, including thousands of US citizens--go tell their families that the parties are the same.

Look at all the money spent on lobbying--why do you think companies spend so much on it if the parties are the same?

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (2, Insightful)

SRA8 (859587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423298)

OK, they are different on small matters like their *approach* but no different to the big picture. Democrats may achieve their means through media manipulation and public humiliation rather than evesdropping & secret killings. Democrats prefer open death via sanctions rather than Republicans/Neocon secret death squads, etc. But at the end of the day, they all sell out America to greater powers. Speaking of Iraq, President Clinton presided over the genocide of our age. From 1992 to 2000, almost 1,200,000 Iraqis were killed due to the genocidal sanctions on everything from pencils to milk. Granted, they were largely a cause of Bush I's destruction of Iraqi civilian infrastructure (water purification plants, electricity plants, etc.) But Clinton did not have the political will to save these 1.2Million lives. Either he didnt care or he was powerless to do so. Regardless, the last 16 years has been a mockery of "Never Again." Finally, lobbying -- definitely on specific issues one party or another may favor an issue. A bridge to nowhere. Aid to peanut farmers here or there. But i'm talking about the big picture of old power and money. These things never change.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423926)

You need to get out more if you think the issues on which Democrats and Republicans differ are just "small matters." Tell it to victims of multiple sclerosis, or the kid in Baghdad who lost his entire family due to the war and Rumsfeld's misprosecution of it. I think you'll get punched in the face (if not by the former, hopefully the latter).

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (1)

SRA8 (859587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425456)

I think you misread the comment. The differences are small. None of their actions are small matters. Every single American and Iraqi who dies is a tragedy. But you must agree that Clinton presided over 1.2Million Iraqi deaths. He could have stopped it at any point, but didnt. That includes 500,000 children. The difference between killing 1.2Million Iraqi's via sanctions or killing iraqi via an invasion and inevitable civil war are not different in my book. One is a slow death. One is a quick death. They are both death. Neither Bush nor Clinton are different in this respect -- they both either wanted or had no choice in the matter of these mass atrocities. In terms of medical research yes, they differ in their funding. Same for education. I dont state that they dont. But for issues like long term strategy, they were and are the same. They both ignored the national interest.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#17426910)

No, they're not. That's just something people say when they don't really know what's going on but don't want to sound ignorant. Go watch C-SPAN, hell watch CNN--do you think we would be in Iraq if the Democrats had won the presidency in 2000? There are hundreds of thousands of deaths that probably wouldn't have happened, including thousands of US citizens--go tell their families that the parties are the same.

But would the body count be lower in the end? The Republicans strike me as more responsive to terrorism and such things than the Democrats. My take is that the US would be beset with terrorism attacks until a Republican administration replaced them in 2004. And then pretty much what happened in 2001-2003, would happen a bit later. My take is that the two parties play different roles. The Democrats handle social issues and education as well as foreign policies that require cooperation with allied countries while the Republicans handle economic matters and military matters. A Democrat president would have been incapable in the 9/11 affair, but would have handled some other matters a little better like the Katrina Hurricane disaster.

Look at all the money spent on lobbying--why do you think companies spend so much on it if the parties are the same?

You already answered the question. If there was genuine political competition, then companies wouldn't need to spend so much. Nor would they get so much out of it.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (1)

abonstu (682723) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423976)

smart enough to post on /.? wtf?

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421882)

Ah, idealism. Puts the blinders on memory. Things won't be different until both the Dems and Reps are deposed by a centrist party. Roll up the sleeves? Only so they can reach further up your ass for money.

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422222)

The funny thing is, both the Dems and the Cons are to the *right* of the right wing parties of most other countries.

So a centralist party would be more left wing than the Dems.;-)

Re:The defeat of the Neo-Cons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17423016)

Ah, idealism. Puts the blinders on memory. Things won't be different until both the Dems and Reps are deposed by a centrist party. Roll up the sleeves? Only so they can reach further up your ass for money.


It's already happened. With the exception of Pelosi, do you think the Dems picked up seats riding on the looney left fringe? Nope. Hopefully from here on out the Blue Dog Democrats and Democratic Leadership Council on the left side of the line and the McCain types on the right side will dominate. Sure, they're not a cohesive party but it's as good as it's going to get for the next fifty years.

USA politics (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422190)

I am optimistic that we will end 2007 with method(s) of electronic voting that pass critical scrutiny. I am optimistic that many of the USA elections of 2008 will be perceived as being at least as honest as the elections of the 1960s.

I am less optimistic that Diebold executives will get through 2007 without facing Federal criminal investigations.

I am very optimistic that Condoleeza Rice will continue to displace 129,000 tons of salty brine as she moves Middle East oil to the refineries of the USA (under the flag of the Bahamas and the auspices of Chevron).

Oh wait! Chevron renamed that boat: it is now called the Altair Voyager...

Re:USA politics (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423084)

I am very optimistic that Condoleeza Rice will continue to displace 129,000 tons of salty brine

Does she have 6000 hulls?

Re:USA politics (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423196)

Does she have 6000 hulls?

No, as anyone can plainly see, she is double-hulled. She is also very wide, very stubborn and slow in responding to the helm, but very powerful.

Uh, we are talking about the boat, right?

Re:USA politics (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424786)

I am optimistic that many of the USA elections of 2008 will be perceived as being at least as honest as the elections of the 1960s.

We may even exceed the honesty of the 1960 elections if we can figure out a way around the absentee vote verification problem.

if i win the lottery (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421706)

i would make annual donations to important GNU/Linux projects like the Linux kernel, xorg, alsa, && etc...etc...

until that happens i will keep working my loser deadend job to keep from being homeless & starving :)

Re:if i win the lottery (1)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421746)

In case you do, I'd consider separating some amount as soon as you win (since it's a donation it'd be tax deductable), set some kind of fund where the money earns interests and you separate a set amount each year for Linux projects. If you initially set a target amount of time (say, 10 years) you can maximize the amount you'd be giving.

Is science that optimistic? (5, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421734)

The major drive of science in the last century was war. In this century it seems some of the most important science will be in trying to resolve the issues caused by our "optimistic" science of the past 100+ years. What I hope for the future is that we succeed in saving ourselves from ourselves. I'm not optimistic.

Re:Is science that optimistic? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421908)

Right. The eradication of smallpox, polio and other little beasties; the improvements in energy; diagnosis of genetically caused problems and mapping the human genome; astrophysical, geological, chemical, and other hard scientific advancements... Well, you get the picture. Only someone with long-term memory problems (or, maybe, a political agenda) would make a statement such as "The major drive of science in the last century was war".

That we need to correct problems our ancestors didn't foresee because of lack of data? Boo-friggin-hoo. Once you set the standard of perfection, get back with your criticisms.

Re:Is science that optimistic? (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422928)

Right. The eradication of smallpox, polio and other little beasties; the improvements in energy; diagnosis of genetically caused problems and mapping the human genome; astrophysical, geological, chemical, and other hard scientific advancements... Well, you get the picture. Only someone with long-term memory problems (or, maybe, a political agenda) would make a statement such as "The major drive of science in the last century was war".
Well ignoring the fact that the scientific methods behind vaccination that allowed diseases, smallpox in particular, to be eradicated were developed in the 18th century, not the 20th. And also overlooking that polio in fact has not been eradicated yet, allow me to make myself clear since clearly at least one person couldn't understand my point: I can't speak for others but the things that make me optimistic are the things that will have an effect on my life and the lives of my children. While medicine may fit that bill, it is only one area of science and certainly one that has ultimately benefitted a great deal from some of the least pleasant circumstances of the 20th century. Astrophysics hasn't done much for me lately - how about you? Meanwhile the means by which I work, play, travel, communicate, and generally live my life have all been fundamentally changed by technologies and fields of research founded on the back of conflict and global mistrust. I never said all scientific progress in the 20th century is directly a result of war, I said it was the major drive. And what political agenda do you think I'm pushing here? Pro-war? Anti-war - anti-science? Anti-American? Or are you just so egotistical and self-righteous to believe that in some way this was all a jab at you, whoever you are.

That we need to correct problems our ancestors didn't foresee because of lack of data? Boo-friggin-hoo. Once you set the standard of perfection, get back with your criticisms.
Criticisms? Way to fit my words to your misguided sense of outrage. Go back and read my post and tell me where I made any judgement of "our ancestors". I made a simple statement that what's been done needs fixing and somewhere in your little head you've turned it into condemnation. Spout your vitriol in your own posts if you want but don't try and bring me into it.

Re:Is science that optimistic? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422234)

I think you have a typo in there. The major drive of science was "money".

Re:Is science that optimistic? (1)

bagsc (254194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425422)

Motivation and political will are the driving forces. It just so happens that we don't have those unless we're being threatened.

My New Year's Eve (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421752)

NO drug can produce a paranoia quite like cocaine can. On pot, you wondered if your mommy & daddy might catch you toking; on acid, you wondered if you'd ever sleep again; but on coke you begin to be convinced that SOMEBODY'S WATCHING YOU, LISTENING TO YOUR EVERY WORD, EVEN PLUGGED INTO YOUR INNER THOUGHTS AND IDEATIONS, ALL THE TIME. Whomever you deem to be Big Brother: your folks, the local police, the Feds, the Narcs, the military/industrial complex, the Mafia, the FBI, the CIA, the Rand Corporation, Madison Avenue, Scotland Yard, the KGB, Interpol & Deutschebank-- surely they have tracked you down, the deviant miscreant that you are, using their latest supersonic, high-tech, laser/ultrasound, infrared/ultraviolet espionage/surveillance devices.

Suddenly, the coke user has no doubt that the TV's inocuous flicker is really filled with a persistent, subliminal meta-stream of thought-impregnating propaganda; one is sure that the TV screen itself secretly doubles as a Jetson-esque camera, with Men In Black analyzing your every eyeblink, monitoring your coked-up masturba-thons in front of porn videos. Everything is a vast conspiracy to EXPOSE YOU, CATCH YOU, NAIL YOU, BUST YOU, pin you down and scrutinize you like a cockroach.

Yeah. I had a lot of fun this New Year's Eve...

Re:My New Year's Eve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421826)

A word of advice, then: stay away from the crystal meth. But if you must dabble in it this year, never EVER mix it with Jimson Weed, okay?

Time to get clean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421910)

You're in bad shape and going down the wrong road. Quit now before it's too late.

What I'm always optimistic about! (3, Funny)

Pao|o (92817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421758)

This year's the year I'm getting laid! I shall be no virgin anymore at the age of 27!

Re:What I'm always optimistic about! (1)

Loco Moped (996883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421894)

This year's the year I'm getting laid! I shall be no virgin anymore at the age of 27!

I wish you luck and suggest you start by not hanging around here. /. is NOT the place to get dating advice (or a date, if you have any standards at all).

I'm Optimistic the Edge will spell check in '07! (2, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421772)

From the web page:

I am pleased to present the 2007 Edge Question:

What Are Yot Optimistic About? Why?


All kidding aside, it is interesting to see that the "world's greatest minds" are optimistic, when reportedly so many other people are already down on 2007. [yahoo.com]

Re:I'm Optimistic the Edge will spell check in '07 (2, Interesting)

Mad Tea Party (1045188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422210)

I forget who it was that once said: "The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true."

Re:I'm Optimistic the Edge will spell check in '07 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17425340)

The article you link states that one in four Americans "anticipate" the second coming of Jesus in 2007.

Not sure if we should take that as optimism or pessimism, but I think we can take it as a sign that we should all be buying a lot more Kool-Aid stock.

Stem cells to cure baldness. (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421786)

Its got to happen one of these days.

Re:Stem cells to cure baldness. (2, Funny)

Peripherus (727117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422618)

I predict that one year after baldness is cured, men will start shaving their heads.

well.... (2, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421802)

That if I wax lyrical on slashdot and other sites for long enough, naked ladies who lust after Unix coders will emerge spontaneously from the interweb.

Space (3, Interesting)

LordoftheLemmings (773163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421806)

I'm optimistic aboout the space program. With the new commercial intiatives, and some real goals for the moon and beyond, I'm hopefull that 2007 will be a good year for space.

Bigelow (2, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422994)

Of the commercial enterprises, Bigelow [bigelowaerospace.com] has me the most optimistic. They launched Genesis I [bigelowaerospace.com] in 2006, and are scheduled to launch Genesis II in "early 2007".

Metting Scarlet Johanson on Slashdot... (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421862)

talking about her experiences with Linux.

On violent criminals (1)

azav (469988) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421880)

That it is possible to unearn your citizenship through repeat violent crime.

Re:On violent criminals (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17425494)

Yeah, let's just dump psychology in the ocean and forget about it while we're at it, eh? I mean, it's not like if we actually applied some of that wisdom to things like crime we could, you know, rehabilitate offenders and get the benefit of positive contributions to society out of them.

Oh, wait. Damn you science, you provide answers to our questions, but we have to actually implement the solutions? And we have to restrain our primitive urges for revenge and hate to do so? Rationality hurts.

Uh, yeah... (2, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421886)

As an activity, as a state of mind, science is fundamentally optimistic.

Somehow, I'm thinking the person who wrote this doesn't actually work as a scientist...

And for those of you who do -- get back in the lab! Wasn't taking a day off for Christmas enough for you? You can watch football while your gel runs.

I'm optimistic about... (1)

Elkboy (770849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422018)

The coming of robot wives and that I'll finally get to have sex!

all kidding aside, this is a good point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17423080)

I'm married, reasonably happily so, get it when I need it, yada yada ... but the parent has a valid idea. Consider how much silly, wasteful behavior young men engage in, largely in the quest to get laid. Consider too how much women invest in the effort to raise their "value" as sex objects. Don't be offended, just ponder it and I think you'll agree.

Now, if sexbots (quite good ones) were part of the scene, it would take the edge off of the male sex drive. Heck, it might even bring fewer wars and so on. Clearly that would be good for guys. For women, it would also (ultimately) be a plus, because guys could consider them primarily as fellow human beings, not objects to ejaculate into. Initially sexbots would impact women the way offshore outsourcing has impacted programmers in the U.S., but I'm pretty confident most (nearly all) guys would settle down to genuinely appreciate normal/intelligent interaction with women, etc.

So, mod parent up. Seriously.

Re:all kidding aside, this is a good point (1)

Elkboy (770849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423312)

Good point. I realized I forgot the ladies after I posted. So let's not forget the robot husbands.

Glowing penguins. (1)

Elentari (1037226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422070)

That my boyfriend will become enthusiastic about using GNU/Linux again. Unlikely, but a girl can dream. Failing that, a situation where Linux developers create fluorescent green penguins, and Microsoft supports the Chinese in a battle to protect their IP, ultimately resulting in America requiring the entire corporation to be deported for supporting the communists. They relocate to that new island that appeared, only to discover that the Earth sucks it back down again hours later. Conspiracists declare that it was all intentional, designed to prevent the company from having to witness Vista's failure.

long term... (1)

hazygin (970097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422092)

emergent AI in our life time, if they can be bothered to create a interface.

Two things (1)

ms1234 (211056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422318)

1) Human intelligence
2) Slashdot editors

(sorry, had to)

bullshit (2, Interesting)

Bobtree (105901) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422368)

Science is a tool of impartial curiosity, not optimism.

Vacuum cleaning robots (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422420)

I think late 2007 or early 2008, these things will actually get good.

Hoover or some other real vacuum cleaner company will come out with one which actually cleans well, and a damp mop clean technique version will emerge. Roomba will add native spacial intelligence on the bots it makes, meaning actual mapping of spaces.

Ok, mid 2008.

Re:Vacuum cleaning robots (1)

smenor (905244) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425760)

Really? I think they already are pretty good.

I was pretty skeptical when I got one but Roomba does an amazing job of covering space without resorting to mapping. Also, it only costs about as much as a normal upright (though you might want to get a few if you've got very much square footage).

My only real complaint is having to manually empty it and clean the filter every time it runs (if iRobot could just automate that, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone).

Sure, it's not great for heavy duty cleaning, but if run through your place once with a normal vac then send Roomba out once or twice a week, it's remarkable. It also has the added benefit of forcing a bit of discipline as far as just keeping the floor tidy.

Re:Vacuum cleaning robots (1)

CyclistOne (896544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425882)

I almost just bought a Roomba, but decided against it because it only cleans the _floor_! Better than nothing, I know, but if I still have to go around cleaning all the other surfaces in my house and office, I may as well wait for the robot that will clean those as well.

Equal rights for women (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422438)

The twenty-first century will see women being regarded as equal to men.

(and shell scripts should have equal rights too :-)

Actually, nothing (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422442)

With more and more technology abused to cut into our civil liberties and taking away more and more of our freedom, I feel compelled to ask with every new technology that comes around "And how are they gonna abuse it this time?"

I certainly won't go as far as saying that technology itself is evil. Far from it. But today, it seems new technology serves only one purpose, to keep those in power where they are. New entertainment media more often than not offer more DRM than actual value. The same holds true for new operation systems.

I'm actually not looking forward to anything, I have seen that "new" is currently the opposite of "better".

Free Software Crossing Boundaries (1)

jeremiahbell (522050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422468)

I am optimistic about free(libre) software crossing every state line and bringing people from the whole world together. There are many large factors merging cultures, but trade, as they argue, may unite us more than anything. Whether or not this is true, the exchange of ideas and knowledge is definitely good for all cultures and uniting us into one. And Libre [wikipedia.org] Software does exactly this.

The human race starts to decline (3, Insightful)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422524)

Yes, that's right. And no, I am being serious. Forget all this garbage about colonising other planets. Stephen Hawking's views on the subject don't matter - he is a physicist, not a biologist or an ecologist or an engineer, and has no idea of the impracticalities.

Our species is turning into a major problem for itself. It is subject to all kinds of ecological problems caused by population pressure exacerbated by the growing food and energy footprints of part of the world. What we actually need is to start to decline in numbers as a species, and fast.

We, as a species, will lose nothing by it. As Stephen Gould has pointed out, human beings of 30 000 years ago (when the population was tiny) were just as intelligent as those of today, they just lacked the means of recording and developing information that allow cultural development. If our population could somehow be knocked back to, say, a hundred million tomorrow, the survivors would be all the better for it.

Global warming would not be an issue; the population could relocate to environmentally benign areas without displacing others. No Middle East problem; there would be enough land for all in Palestine (you can view the entire Middle East conflict as ultimately being a war for land and hydrology.)

Of course, if I was one of the human beings who died for this to happen, I would not be very happy about it, at least at the time.

So this is my strange, twisted ground for optimism; we look ever closer to a plague or other factors which will reduce our population, and paradoxically this will best ensure the long term survival of human beings as a species - assuming this to be a good thing.

Note for Creationists - I know you don't believe that there were human beings 30 000 years ago, and personally I don't give a shit what you think.

Re:The human race starts to decline (1)

bagsc (254194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425584)

Human beings have always found incentives to clean up their act at some point. Our history has already seen most of the world discard once common norms: murder, human sacrifice, slavery and serfdom, factories from "The Jungle," genocide, child prostitution, etc.

We've already killed off most of the large animals, deforested most of the planet, and yet somehow, we're thriving. If the world is warming, we'll find solutions. Cheap electronic Hebrew-Arabic translators and desalination might stop the Palestinian conflict.

We invent our way out of problems, we don't give up and ask for mass euthanasia. That would be regressing to one of those discarded norms.

Re:The human race starts to decline (1)

Mishtara2001 (678818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425802)

Right, YOu have some wierd ideas about the meaning of the word: "Optimism".

Re:The human race starts to decline (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#17426508)

And what keeps the population down? Periodic pointless diebacks each time the population gets too big. Under such circumstances, the fast breeders will triumph since their progeny will be more numerous and hence, more will survive.

We need a plan B here.

My take is that global population will decline for a period of time, perhaps 50-100 years starting sometime after 2050. A decent window of opportunity for a sane population management policy.

Environment Recovering (1)

codefungus (463647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422658)

I'm optimistic about the environment. I think humans will drive it to a point of mass devastation that will take out a huge portion of life on Earth. I think it's kind of one of those things that keeps things in balance. If something is damaging the environment too much, it will take drastic actions as a self-defence mechanism. Almost like a fever. Once that happens, I think some life will persevere and it wont be humans (or most mammels and fish). I'm guessing some bacteria will make it. And then the stage will be set for future evolution. Aren't we almost at 26 Million years?

Cheers.

A Choice (3, Insightful)

Gamefreak99 (722148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422830)

I would like either:

1) DRM to be ruled illegal
2) The RIAA and MPAA to explode

I'll take either, both would be icing :)

OK... (1)

sracer9 (126645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422888)

Since nobody's said it yet.... Locking.

The Computer Industry (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423036)

A couple years ago I was getting pretty fed up by the entropy of the computer industry. Then I discovered GNU/Linux and the other people who just want to get things done and right.

Truly a breath of fresh air, instead of so much corprate marketing BS. The PR/marketing bull is still there, but now there is a bar of quality and responsibility to measure against - instead who can can blow the most hot air or try to "lock-in" the most marketshare.

Regardless of whether GNU/Linux, FOSS reaches the common person, all of you have already done a lot to put more optimism in the technology sector by offering compelling competition to those who thought they could put out just any crap and get away with it. As well as opening up the field to those who may have the desire but not the cash or situation for licensing quality development tools or accessing the knowledge to persue thier own dreams.

You all deserve a standing round of applause! I love you guys! (um... in a strictly heterosexual way, that is.)

Resistance is non-existent (1)

Carson Napier (1045596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423190)

Hello Superconductivity!!
It's the easiest way to a more efficient use of energy. So many things in our lives depend on electricity (understatement indended) that it only makes sense to bring this tech to it's fruition.

I really hope to see superconductivity come into our daily lives soon.

American voters will become as mad as hell (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423342)

American voters will become as mad as hell and stop taking it from the elected but unrepresentative lawmakers and executives in Washington by changing the constitution.

The poor and declining middle class will redistribute the excessive wealth of the wealthy.

Our country will stop the import of foreign oil by switching to alcohol for all internal combustion engines.

Our foreign police will become "Leave us alone and we will leave you alone." All US troops will come home, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, and Korea.

The Earth (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423354)

I'm optimistic the Earth will recover from the damage mankind has done to it. Though I'm not as optimistic about whether mankind can recover.

Don't anthropomorphize Science. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423428)

Science is not optimistic. Maybe some scientists are, but Science itself is not. It is simply a methodology. You can be optimistic that the methodology works, but that does NOT make Science optimistic.

Science doesn't know anything. It doesn't feel anything. It doesn't predict anything. It is only a method. I dislike it when people attribute human emotions to it.

TLF

Scientism continues its decline (0)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423690)

I believe that scientism or positivism, the belief that "the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge" [wiki [wikipedia.org] ], will continue to decline and at a sharper rate. More and more holistic thinkers are gaining respect, or at the very least publicity, and it is only a matter of time before hardcore scientists are in the same position that hardcore creationists occupy today*. Scientific progress will of course continue as it has much value, but more people will realize that science is not the be-all end-all silver bullet of truth that far too many believe it is today.

The trend can be seen even here on Slashdot - in the midst of religious flame wars inspired by inflammatory articles, where before any traces of religion, spirituality, or humanity were treated with scorn, now sensible and rational posts that stand by the claim "science is not everything" are increasingly modded up. Our hearts are finally beating their way into their rightful place currently occupied by our swollen minds. I doubt this will do anything so drastic as to unite humanity (my optimism is tempered by experience), but it will certainly lead to fuller individual lives.
-f


* I'm not a creationist, this is simply a comparison. Hardcore young-earth creationism is on its last legs, with a tiny vocal minority lashing out at all opposition; hardcore scientism will soon follow in its footsteps. Since the topic is optimism, I will state here that my hope is that the latter will be treated more humanely than the former.

Vista and Office 2007, baby! (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423966)

I wont even go into the relative merits/weaknesses of these products. The fact is that enough of my clients are going to want them installed and require training on them, means its going to be a very good year for me.

The Ojay's said it best: "Money, money, money, money,..............MONAY!"

the future is bright unless you are a polar bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17424896)

it's getting hot in here so take off all your clothes!

the future not the present (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17425006)

1) the supreme court decision equating campaign contributions to free speech will be overturned. This will remove a major incentive for political corruption.
2) fusion energy, as a result of ITAR or NIF, will become a reality. This will radically increase the standard of living for masses of people.
3) genetic and stem cell research will provide a variety of cures for many devastating ailments and injuries that plague humanity.
4) the fuse controlling aging will be unlocked. This will allow people to remain physically 25-27 y/o yet gain wisdom over the ages. Breeding will be uneccessary. Practice, however, will remain popular.
5) artificial intelligence will cross over a threshold and become hyper-intelligent. This will lead to...everything. Human exsistence will become idyllic.
6) ETIs will be discovered. Hopefully they won't think we taste just like chicken.

optimistic about oil prices (1)

wallet55 (1045366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425080)

I am optimistic about oil prices: that is to say,I believe they will stay high (above 50$ a barrel). Because of this, serious attention will be paid to conservation and the development of alternative energy sources, and most importantly, alternatives to the internal combustion automobile. I believe this to be the case because past oil shocks were largely driven by political issues (boycotts) or intentional manipulation by oil producers. The current high prices are driven by booming economies in China, India and other countries that are creating demand increases faster than supply increases can handle. In other words, it is the first distant echo of that assumed to be horizon event, the end of the oil supply.

Intelligent Design: '07 Buckle your safety belts (1)

Robowally (649265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17425226)

2007 -- Buckle your safety belts!
by William Dembski on January 1st, 2007

Happy New Year to all UD regulars. I expect 2007 to be a bang-up year for ID. Here are three things in particular I'm looking forward to in the coming year:

      1. A new ID friendly research center at a major university. (This is not merely an idle wish -- stay tuned.)
      2. The publication of Michael Behe's book with Free Press: THE EDGE OF EVOLUTION.
      3. The publication of the sequel to OF PANDAS AND PEOPLE, authored by Jonathan Wells and me and titled THE DESIGN OF LIFE: DISCOVERING SIGNS OF INTELLIGENCE IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS.

P.S. I would also say that I'm looking forward to debating Barbara Forrest, but I'm giving 5 to 1 odds that she won't even start negotiations for such an event, much less show. Since she has charged me of cowardice (see here), it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I've appointed DaveScot to negotiate details of the debate (take it away Dave!).

http://www.uncommondescent.com/ [uncommondescent.com]

More Breasteses.... (1)

zombiedog (895508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17426582)

I'm optimistic that breasts will more often be an option in /. polls.
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