Alfred E. Neuman may not have had a care in the world but most of us worry about something. John Brockman of The Edge asks his bevy of followers this question for 2013: 2013: WHAT *SHOULD* WE BE WORRIED ABOUT?.
You'd think that most of the responses would be along the lines of global climate change, poverty, disease, crime, war, or the possibility that Earth might be destroyed by an asteroid impact. You'd think that the treatment of women in third (and second) world countries and the fanaticism of religious extremists might generate more than a few responses.
You would be wrong.
Here's what the best minds in the Western world came up with. I read most of them and I don't think I'll lose any sleep over any of these worries. I will, however, continue to lose sleep over women being raped in India and young children being shot to death in Connecticut.
What We Learn From Firefighters
That We Won't Make Use Of The Error Catastrophe Threshold
A Fearful Asymmetry: The Worrying World Of A Would-Be 'Science'
We Are In Denial About Catastrophic Risks
Unfriendly Physics, Monsters From The Id, And Self-Organizing Collective Delusions
Worry About Internet Drivel
We Don't Do Politics
The Black Hole Of Finance
The Opinions Of Search Engines
The Mating Wars
Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Words?
The Patience Deficit
The Underpopulation Bomb
Big Experiments Won't Happen
What—Me Worry? by Craig Venter (one of the few decent responses)
The Promise Of Catharsis
I've Given Up Asking Questions
The Anthropocebo Effect
The Relative Obscurity Of The Writings Of Édouard Glissant
The Danger Of Inadvertently Praising Zygomatic Arches
The Loss Of Death
The Rise Of Anti-Intellectualism And The End Of Progress
Applying Classic Science To Understand "Modern States" Shaped By Crime
What Is Conscious?
Science By (Social) Media
Technology May Endanger Democracy
"The Singularity": There's No There There
The Power Of Bad Incentives
Are We Homogenizing The Global View Of A Normal Mind?
Is The New Public Sphere... Public?
World As We Know It
Stress by Arianna Huffington, who is one of the important causes of stress
Science Has Not Brought Us Closer To Understanding Cancer
The Human-Nature Divide
Are We Becoming Too Connected?
Putting Our Anxieties To Work
Too Much Coupling
Power And The Internet
Close To The Edge
The End Of Fundamental Science?
The Paradox Of Material Progress
The Fragility Of Complex Systems by Randolph Nesse, worth a read
Rats In A Spherical Trap
Close Observation And Description
The Fourth Culture
The Coming Fight Between Engineers And Druids
The Complex, Consequential, Not-So-Easy Decisions About Our Water Resources
Children Of Newton And Modernity
The Teenage Brain
Where Did You Get That Fact?
Social Media: The More Together, The More Alone
Is Idiocracy Looming?
The Disconnect Between News And Understanding
Objects Of Desire
Say It Ain't So
Being Told That Our Destiny Is Among The Stars
Global Cooperation Is Failing And We Don't Know Why
Worrying About Children
A Synthetic World
The Death Of Mathematics
Losing Our Hands
The New Age Of Anxiety
Does The Human Species Have The Will To Survive?
All The T In China
Neural Data Privacy Rights
No Surprises From The LHC: No Worries For Theoretical Physics
Worries On The Mystery Of Worry
The Growing Gap Between The Scientific Elite And The Vast "Scientifically
Do We Understand The Dynamics Of Our Emerging Global Culture?
The Loss Of Lust
We Worry Too Much About Fictional Violence
The Consequences Of Our Increasing Knowledge Of What Causes Disease,
And Its Consequences For Human Freedom
C.P. Snow's 'Two Cultures': The Nature-Nurture Debate
The Demise Of The Scholar
The Unavoidable Intrusion Of Sociopolitical Forces Into Science
Who Gets to Play in the Science Ballpark
Communities Of Fate
Working with Others?
Working with Others?
Super-A.I.s Won't Rule The World (Unless They Get Culture First)
The Danger From Aliens by Seth Shostak, way, way down on my list
The Role Of Microorganisms In Cancer Is Being Ignored By The Current Sequencing
Human Intuitions Will Stifle Technological Progress
Illusions Of Understanding And The Loss Of Intellectual Humility
The End Of Hardship Inoculation
An Exploding Number Of New Illegal Drugs
Superstition by Matt Ridley, important but not in the top ten
History And Contingency
The Triumph Of The Virtual, And Its Consequences
There Is Nothing To Worry About, And There Never Was
The Cultural And Cognitive Consequences Of Electronics
Failure Of Genomics For Mental Disorders
Crisis At The Foundations Of Physics
The Behavior Of Normal People
Human Population, Prosperity Growth: One I Fear, One I Don't
The Rise In Genomic Instability by Eric J. Topol, gimme a break
Can They Read My Brain? by Stanislas Dehaene, who would want to?
A World Without Growth?
The Dangerous Fascination Of Imagination
The Gift Of Worry
Not Enough Robots
Safe Mode For The Internet?
Life As We Know I
The Is-Ought Fallacy Of Science And Morality
The Loss Of Our Collective Cognition And Awareness
The Decline Of The Scientific Hero by Roger Highfield, what's a
What Is A Good Life?
Digital Tat ...
Society's Parlous Inability To Reason About Uncertainty
The "Nightmare Scenario" For Fundamental Physics
Homogenization Of The Human Experience
We Won't Be Able To Understand Everything by Clifford Pickover,
really? that worries you?
Systematic Thinking About How We *Package* Our Worries
The Real Risk Factors For War by Steven Pinker, yes, we should be
worried about war
Worrying About Stupid
The Belief Or Lack Of Belief In Free Will Is Not A Scientific Matter
Science Is In Danger Of Becoming The Enemy Of Humankind
Living Without The Internet For A Couple Of Weeks by Daniel Dennett,
not in my top ten