Explaining Complex Things

We went to the last Cafe Scientifique of the season in Toronto tonight.  Topic was a fairly generic "the future of medecine".  A bit disappointing in that the focus was all on the ultra-high-tech possibilities that might or might not show up.  That is, it was all about reactive medicine, rather than proactive.  Nothing substantive about movements to improve people's diet, exercise programmes, mental-health or happiness; all things that are far more likely to keep you alive and healthy than any given miracle cure costing as much as a large scale educational program in the schools.

Was struck by an interesting thought as I sat there.  Wasn't the science fiction writer (on the panel) really just a person who was taking complex (often technological) concepts and helping people understand how they relate to their lives and society?  I know, I know, I tried my hand at Science Fiction before and came up rather short... still, an attractive thought to toy with as I'm finishing up my 12 billable hour day and contemplating getting up in 5.5 hours to charge into another long day of mucking about with (ick) C++.

Biggest problem is that 90% of the time you wouldn't actually get to talk to people... I want to talk to people, not sit in front of a computer.


  1. MJ

    MJ on 06/19/2008 9:39 a.m. #

    I would love to have a resource of articles on topics that are explained by masters of explaining complex things. Wikipedia is not it. I want a layered approach: layer one covers all the general ideas and most important points/differentiators. The second layer goes into detail on each general idea, uncovering *who* and *how* with links to the players and contributing ideas.

    Finding people who are great at explaining things and understand the topic holistically is really, really hard. At the least, I would like to see (and contribute to) a list of people and works that have done a good job at it.

    Sorry--I may have gotten carried away.

  2. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 06/20/2008 11:23 p.m. #

    I don't think I'm a master yet. More of a yearning apprentice. I want to spend my time working on the skill and becoming a master :) .

  3. Steve

    Steve on 06/27/2008 10:38 p.m. #

    """Biggest problem is that 90% of the time you wouldn't actually get to talk to people... I want to talk to people, not sit in front of a computer."""

    I'm right with you there, big boy. So with you, in fact, that I am toying with the idea of a presentation called "How to Be a Human".

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