One of the Watergate Plumbers has died. This was Charles W. Colson. He was 80. Colson was one of the main architects of the “dirty tricks” carried out by the Republican White House under Nixon. Considering that his main accomplishment was to ruin Democracy in America and cause a unprecedented level of distrust in the government by Americans (a distrust which continues to this day) he didn’t spend much time in prison. Also, he is famous for his Jailhouse Conversion, becoming an Evangelical Christian in order to distract people from considering his appalling behavior.
He received the Templeton Prize, worth about a million bucks, in 1993. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it works around here, apparently.
Speaking before a packed lecture theater at MIT yesterday, Neal Stephenson worried that the gloomy outlook prevalent in modern science fiction may be undermining the genre’s ability to inspire engineers and scientists. Describing himself as a “pessimist trying to turn himself into an optimist,” and acknowledging that some of his own work has contributed to the dystopian trend, he added “if every depiction of the future is grim…then it doesn’t create much of an incentive to building the future.”
Consequently, Stephenson is trying to make a literary course correction…
Well, since he ruined it for everybody, I suppose it would be his job to fix it too.
Imagine being that influential. What a burden!
UPDATE: Just to be clear, this is a cynical blog post pointing out that NS’s lack of personal humility is annoying.
I have it on good authority that this is going to be great.
Jeff Masters has a writeup.
Penn State climate scientist Dr. Richard Alley hosts parts II and III of Earth: the Operator’s Manual on PBS beginning at 7pm Sunday, April 22–Earth Day. Part I of this excellent series aired in April 2011. The series gives an overview of climate change, but primarily focuses on what we can do to help slow down climate change though smart energy choices….
I’ve seen some bits and pieces and it looks good.