Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nerds will rescue the earth...

I'm a huge fan of Clive Thompson's articles in Wired. As you can tell from these 3 most recent postings to this blog, I was enjoying the previous issue of Wired magazine a lot.

Clive Thompson Explains Why We Can Count on Geeks to Rescue the Earth

The article is for the most part, centered around the fact that nerds can handle imagining and dealing with large numbers. Something most non-nerds don't quite fathom or at least don't on a regular basis.

My comment on this topic (not Mr. Thompson's) is that I've known less than a handful of people with Aspergers in my life. I can assure you in addition to being good at a bunch of things like having a memory of facts that doesn't deteriorate with age, they are good with numbers. Depending on the individual and the severity of aspergers, don't expect them to be particularly social or emotional. And I think if one is going to deal with human catastrophe, and needs to focus on large numbers to do it well, then not being overly emotional can only be a boon.

Hence, my favorite (for many reasons) quote from the piece is thus: "What we need are more Bill Gateses — people with Aspergian focus, with a direct sensual ability to understand what a million means. They've got to be able to envision every angel on the head of a pin. Because when it comes to stopping the mass tragedies of today's world, we're going to need every one of them." (Wired, issue 15.09)

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