The Los Angeles Times may be a better newspaper than its New York rival. Here is a profile published in the LA Times of Cal Tech’s Frances Arnold. I have never met her but I like her story. Here is a quote; “The chemical engineer and biochemist focuses on creating new proteins for use in renewable energy. Following her instincts, she has often bucked tradition, including conducting thousands of ‘cheap and fast’ research experiments.”
People wonder why I am such an optimist about our future. The answer is simple. My optimism is based on the cumulative knowledge gains generated by nerds such as her as they independently plug away on problems they are passionate about. Ideas are public goods. If .1% of the world’s population is hard at work on generating some good ideas then the best ideas generated by these 7 million will be quite good and they will diffuse widely. Capitalism guarantees this. While JFK and Ted Sorensen focused on the courage of Senators — I don’t believe that Washington DC is where the action is.