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Prosperity has brought complications. Our lives are busier, faster, more stressful. They're nostalgic for a simpler, slower time.
I felt cheated by the way grown-ups told me that the future of the world was bleak when I became a teenager in the 1970s. The pollution explosion was unstoppable. Global famine was inevitable. I genuinely want the next generation, my own kids, to know that actually it's possible that the future might be better than the past.
I'm perfectly happy to eat organic food, but if I choose to pay more for it, I don't pat myself on the back ethically. Quite the reverse. I think I'm actually being quite greedy, because what I'm doing is essentially saying, 'I want more land to be devoted to growing my food.'
It's terrifying the way molecular biology has become more and more jargon ridden. But I strongly believe that my book can be read by the intelligent layman. I want everyone who bought a copy of 'A Brief History of Time' to buy a copy of 'Genome'.
I think if you put people in front of some huge temptation where it's possible to grab as much as they can for themselves, almost everyone will. The beauty of commerce is that it mutes that. The chap behind the counter in the corner shop has no interest in short-changing you, because he wants you to come back.
I sense very little appetite for green efforts to persuade people to accept a frozen or declining standard of living for the sake of the environment. Recessions remind us that economic retreat or stagnation is painful, whatever the goal.
I thought journalism would enable me to be a mile wide and an inch deep.
I opted for a freelance writing career. I was lucky enough to have the means to do it.
Nowadays, ideas can meet and mate very much faster than before, and the Internet is only accelerating this process. So innovation is bound to accelerate.
I started out wanting to be a naturalist. My obsession in my youth was with bird-watching. I collected things, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I only vaguely realized that science was a little more than natural history, but by then I was hooked.
Government can encourage innovation, but mainly by doing less, not doing more.
I try and get it right the first time. I may rewrite a sentence four or five times, but I rarely go back and kill a whole page and rewrite it.
If people are all the same underneath, how has society changed so fast and so radically? Life now is completely different to how it was 32,000 years ago. It's changed like that of no other species has. What's made that difference?
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John B. S. Haldane
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