Does "Positive Thinking" Really Make Our Lives Better?

You've heard the self-help gurus who say positive thoughts can bring us happiness, wealth, and success. But there's another side to the story. Here's why positive thinking often backfires — and why many of us are starting to resent it. » 11/21/14 11:37am 11/21/14 11:37am

New Poll Shows The U.S. Is Extremely Confused About The Future

A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that the majority of Americans are optimistic about the future. But when asked about specifics, they demonstrated a pronounced nervousness about some of the most plausible and beneficial advancements. » 4/17/14 4:00pm 4/17/14 4:00pm

Why optimistic science fiction is dead

Greetings from the post-apocalypse, folks! I apologize if my responses are short this week, but I'm writing them on the run. A bunch of mohawked Australian assholes on motorcycles have suddenly shown up, and they want to play Road Warrior while I'm on a goddamned horse. I want to know how the hell they got here. Did… » 1/29/14 8:30am 1/29/14 8:30am

What Makes You Optimistic About the Future?

Some days, the future can seem like a dark place, likely full of despair, excessive pollution, and killer robots. But, not today. Today, we want to know what it is that makes you optimistic about the future. » 11/26/13 7:00am 11/26/13 7:00am

James Gunn says we can still "save the world through science fiction"

Author and science fiction scholar James Gunn has a new book out, Transcendental. And he gave a fantastic interview to SFSignal, in which he talks about the history of the genre. Including the never-ending battle between optimism and pessimism in science fiction. » 9/12/13 12:05pm 9/12/13 12:05pm

Drought-stricken Kenya is sitting on 250-trillion liters of groundwater

With the world as thoroughly mapped and monitored as it is, it's easy to forget the Earth still harbors its fair share of secrets. Case in point: yesterday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization announced that Kenya's drought-striken Turkana County sits, rather ironically, atop a… » 9/11/13 1:42pm 9/11/13 1:42pm

Modern life moves way too fast, and we all take our pleasures sadly

Today's XKCD centers on the human tendency to reflect on the past through an idyllic lens (or look toward the future through a foreboding, misanthropic one). It's fantastic. » 6/19/13 7:20am 6/19/13 7:20am

Watch 1,000 Years of Warfare in Five Minutes

An entertaining, interesting and unsettling visualization of major battles between 1000 and 2008, AD, especially around the video's climax (1930s Europe, naturally). » 9/20/12 11:40am 9/20/12 11:40am

How Neal Stephenson's 20-Kilometer Space Tower Could Change Everything

Novelist Neal Stephenson wants to create a 20-kilometer space tower, which could inspire people to believe in innovation again — but also transform the way we travel in the air and into space. » 9/11/12 4:30pm 9/11/12 4:30pm

If this video doesn't make your heart swell, there's a decent chance…

Here comes your daily dose of optimism. Filmmaker Michael Marantz has just released The Future is Ours, a rousing two-minute tribute to the people and companies pushing humanity forward. Full screen, HD, headphones if you've got 'em. Fair warning: this will, at a minimum, give you chills — but don't be surprised if… » 6/26/12 11:20am 6/26/12 11:20am

The Wrong Way to Plan for the Future

We all know that thinking ahead is the only way to succeed in life. But a ton of new research shows that the more you think about future goals and events, the more mistakes you're likely to make. So how can you make forward-looking plans in a way that maximizes your chances of winning out? » 5/23/12 1:00pm 5/23/12 1:00pm

David Brin on the Need to Restore Optimism to Science Fiction

David Brin fans can rejoice: It's been nearly a decade since his last novel, Kiln People, but the critically acclaimed science fiction writer is now set to release his much anticipated book, Existence, on June 21st. » 5/01/12 4:39pm 5/01/12 4:39pm

Are humans too optimistic for their own good?

We humans are a hopeful bunch — so hopeful, in fact, that our views of the future are often irrationally positive. But at what point does unflagging optimism become detrimental to our progress and success? Is there any chance that our starry-eyed tendencies could actually work in our favor, or do they simply leave us… » 4/12/12 8:21am 4/12/12 8:21am

An Optimistic History of the Next 40 Years

It's 2012, which means you'll be hearing more than your fair share of apocalyptic and gloomy scenarios soon. To help counteract the tide of misery, Tau Zero Foundation founder Marc Millis writes an optimistic future history of the next four decades. » 1/05/12 4:00pm 1/05/12 4:00pm

How would you convince the 20th generation of space colonists to leave…

It is the year 2251. All is well on Earth – food is plentiful, climate ills are cured, and war is nonexistent. Humanity left its home decades ago, with the United Nations of Earth currently on the 20th round of colonization. How would you go about convincing a new round of colonists to brave the hazards of space? » 12/29/11 12:00pm 12/29/11 12:00pm

The Scientist Who Controlled People with Brain Implants

Brain implantation and manipulation is a mainstay of science fiction. Often, characters can gain extra memory or get smarter, by having chips placed within the brain. (Or you can wind up mind-controlled by a psychopath. It's a mixed bag.) » 12/28/11 1:45pm 12/28/11 1:45pm

10 Current Medical Procedures our 22nd Century Descendants Will Find…

Glad they don't do lobotomies anymore? Weirded out by the idea of giving kids cough syrup made with heroin? These medical practices, which were common in the twentieth century, scare the hell out of us now. » 12/21/11 10:46am 12/21/11 10:46am

Sustainability Science: How to Create a New Research Field

If the world needs a new field of science, can you simply create one from scratch? That's the question of a group of researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The scientists recently chronicled the twenty-five year journey of sustainability science, a newly coined field with the goal of advancing society… » 12/01/11 11:01am 12/01/11 11:01am

Invasive rats could be the savior of pollinating plants

About 90% of flowering plants require animals to pollinate them, and that includes about two-thirds of the world's crops. The extinction of pollinating organisms could spell disaster... but the very species that are killing them off could prove excellent substitutes. » 11/16/11 10:40am 11/16/11 10:40am

Technology has proved it can transform the world overnight — so why not…

Is optimism just a crazy notion, or does technological innovation totally justify our faith? In the comments on our article about optimistic stories that could still come true, commenter Corpore-metal points out some of the ways that technology has transformed the world — even if we're never going to have a utopia. » 10/27/11 11:40am 10/27/11 11:40am