I recently finished The Importance of Being Trivial by Mark Mason (thanks @mrsdmi, finally got around to it). Cloaked in a premise of ‘trivia’ it’s really a light-hearted survey of many different topics including humour, male / female patterns of thinking, neuroscience, etc. There is a whole chapter dedicated to an interview but the author still leaves disappointed not knowing what some things are ‘interesting’ to some people and not others.

Today I listened to the latest podcast from the Long Now Foundation – an absolutely fascinating and wide ranging treatise called "Deep Optimism" by Matt Ridley of the Economist. In essence this covered why all the major scares of the past few hundred years (economic busts, cancer plagues, eugenics, the so-called Malthusian Catastrophe, acid rain, the Y2K bug, etc, etc) have either come to naught of have had very little impact on the unbelievable rate of improvement our species has on average made and continues to make measured by almost every standard.

I don’t know how many of my readers spend time reading, watching or listening to non-fiction but I do know that apart from books it’s all-but unknown for people to try and spread these kind of things around. The sorts of things I used to post here now get recorded on my Twitter feed (@cholten99) but apart from @dmi I don’t believe anyone reading this follows it…

Anyway – if you go to the podcast it will say it’s over 2 hours long but the talk itself is barely an house – the rest being a very interesting Q&A. If anyone does listen to it I’d love to see your opinion in the comments.
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