Some people have all the luck. Checking in over at The Intersection, I see Chris Mooney is off in Lake Tahoe at the "Techonomy" conference, where ultra-smart and prescient people are talking about technology and the future. Meanwhile, I'm in the waiting room of an intensive care unit in Pittsburgh, where my mother (age 80) is recovering from a bicycle accident she had while doing a competitive triathlon. (You read that right.) She's banged up and not at all happy, but she's gonna be alright.
So why did I mention the Technomy conference? Because I happen to be thinking about the future too, in this less enjoyable setting. I'm trying to finish a review of two books--The Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley, and The Uses of Pessimism, by Roger Scruton. Ridley thinks the whole world is gonna be alright (climate change, pshaw!), while Scruton thinks pessimism is a very, very good thing. The worst thing anybody could do is mastermind some visionary, progressive scheme. He would hate, hate, hate the techonomy conference.
I've been in waiting rooms like this before, and this one is typical. It's astonishingly cheerful. But do I get to join in the good cheer? No. I have to slog through another 100 pages of pessimism from Mr. Scruton. Chris is "live blogging" the techonomy conference and I believe I may just have to check in now and again. I'm hoping to hear something bright, sunny, and very visionary.