Edge in the News

Silicon Alley Reporter [1.31.99]

#32 Edge Foundation: Literary agent and author John Brockman is the ubernetworker: His meetings and e-mail list feature some of the biggest names in the industry. Bottom Line: Brockman is at the Center of Multiple Revolution. Predictions: More Super Salons, Online and Off, as well as Blocbuster Book Deals

New York Times Column [1.26.99]

Recently, the author and literary agent John Brockman posed the question, "What is the most important invention in the past 2000 years?" He received thoughtful and often surprising answers from more than 100 leading thinkers, a fascinating survey of intellectual and creative wonders of the world.....The entire list of nominated inventions is posted on the Internet at www.edge.org. Reading them reminds me of how wondrous our world is.

Newsweek [1.10.99]

Was the light bulb more important than the pill? An online gathering of scientists nominates the most important inventions of the past 2,000 years. Some of their choices might surprise you. Related Audio - By David Alpern 

Die Zeit [1.6.99]

Could one inspire German scientists for such a brainstorming? Hardly. In German it is already difficult to find a good translation for this neural activity, leading to fantasy an fun. Brainstorming: "procedure to find the best solution of a problem by collecting spontaneous incidents (of the coworkers)", torments itself the Duden, the leading German dictionary. You can imagine the result.

Admitted, the "Hirngestuerm" (literally for brainstorming) does not supply necessarily serious results. But it provides a lot of fun - for English and American scientists often reason enough to take part in it. This applies also to the debates, which are taking place in the Internet-salon of literary agent John Brockman. On his web page Edge, the representatives of the so called "third culture" meet: Mostly scientists (and few philosophers), who are not only concerned with providing pure facts, but also search for deeper insight and the meaning of it all. For John Brockman, who is selling the rights for their popular scientific books, these researchers reveal already the " deeper meaning of our life", by redefining ", who and which we are ".

Wired News [1.6.99]

One of the Net's most prestigious, invitation-only free-trade zones for the exchange of potent ideas is opening its doors. A little. .....Starting Thursday, two or three selected dialogs a month at Edge -- founded in 1996 by author and literary agent John Brockman -- will be open for public reading and discussion in a special area on Feed.

Die Zeit [1.6.99]

Could one inspire German scientists for such a brainstorming? Hardly. In German it is already difficult to find a good translation for this neural activity, leading to fantasy an fun. Brainstorming: "procedure to find the best solution of a problem by collecting spontaneous incidents (of the coworkers)", torments itself the Duden, the leading German dictionary. You can imagine the result.

Admitted, the "Hirngestuerm" (literally for brainstorming) does not supply necessarily serious results. But it provides a lot of fun - for English and American scientists often reason enough to take part in it. This applies also to the debates, which are taking place in the Internet-salon of literary agent John Brockman. On his web page Edge, the representatives of the so called "third culture" meet: Mostly scientists (and few philosophers), who are not only concerned with providing pure facts, but also search for deeper insight and the meaning of it all. For John Brockman, who is selling the rights for their popular scientific books, these researchers reveal already the " deeper meaning of our life", by redefining ", who and which we are ".

ABCNEWS.COM [1.6.99]

That question was presented on Thanksgiving Day to Nobel laureates and other heavy thinkers by New York author and literary agent John Brockman. Brockman, who presides over an eclectic gathering of scientists and science buffs, started publishing the answers this week on the group's Web site. More than 100 participants have taken the bait so far, and their answers are as varied, and in some cases as strange, as the participants themselves.....This is not a group that accepts limitations gladly. Some fudged on the dates. Some eschewed the notion of an invention as some sort of gadget, opting instead for such things as the development of the scientific method, mathematics or some religions.

Wired News [1.6.99]

One of the Net's most prestigious, invitation-only free-trade zones for the exchange of potent ideas is opening its doors. A little. .....Starting Thursday, two or three selected dialogs a month at Edge -- founded in 1996 by author and literary agent John Brockman -- will be open for public reading and discussion in a special area on Feed. 

ABCNEWS.COM [1.6.99]

That question was presented on Thanksgiving Day to Nobel laureates and other heavy thinkers by New York author and literary agent John Brockman. Brockman, who presides over an eclectic gathering of scientists and science buffs, started publishing the answers this week on the group's Web site. More than 100 participants have taken the bait so far, and their answers are as varied, and in some cases as strange, as the participants themselves.....This is not a group that accepts limitations gladly. Some fudged on the dates. Some eschewed the notion of an invention as some sort of gadget, opting instead for such things as the development of the scientific method, mathematics or some religions.

Salon [1.4.99]

Here's a millennial question: What was the most important invention of the past 2,000 years? John Brockman, über-agent for science and technology authors, posed the question to his online community of scientists and scholars and posted the provocative and cantankerous list of responses on his EDGEWeb site.

Some nominations were obvious: the printing press, the contraceptive pill, the atomic bomb and the computer all received multiple votes. Suggestions ranged from the concrete (the battery, the steam engine, hay) to the abstract (calculus, quantum theory, evolution, double-entry accounting); from the world-historical (religion, the city, democracy) to the quirkily mundane (the eraser, reading glasses, plumbing); and from the physiological (anesthesia, DNA sequencing, aspirin) to the philosophical (the scientific method, "the idea of an idea").

The list makes for an enjoyable read -- if you can get over the participants' utter inability to remain within the question's 2000-year bounds. Suggesting that the most important invention of this era is the spirit of rebellion against arbitrary rules.

FEED [1.4.99]

This special feature marks the first collaboration between FEED and Edge, John Brockman's invitation-only Internet forum, where hundreds of the world's leading scientists and thinkers share their thoughts on issues ranging from the meaning of numbers to genetics to affirmative action. We'll be excerpting two or three articles a month from Edge, and creating special Loop discussions where our readers can add their own observations to Edge's challenging and adventuresome debate. Our first installment is a series of answers to the question, "What was the most important invention of the past two thousand years?" The contributors include Freeman Dyson, Richard Dawkins, and Joseph Traub. Readers can visit the Edge site for even more nominations, and can post their own suggestions in the Loop.

World News Tonight
ABC-TV News [1.3.99]

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Dave Winer, DaveNet [1.3.99]

Congratulations to John Brockman and the people at edge.org. This is an incredible source of new thoughts. I highly recommend it to DaveNet readers.....Sites like www.edge.org show what can be done when there's moderation and thoughtfulness and a little bit of editing. We can learn from each other. The world is not filled with bullshit. There are interesting new ideas, and new perspectives on old ideas

DaveNet [1.3.99]

Getting Started Permalink to Getting Started

This is going to be an incredible year. If there's anything we needed to get done before the new millennium, this is the last minute, there's no time to wait.

But I expect we'll also do a lot of looking backward. We've started discussing who the person of the millennium is, and this morning I came across a group of thinkers who are discussing the most important invention of the last two millennia.

http://www.edge.org/documents/Invention.html

A summary of nominations. Calculus, hay, anesthesia, computers, the Internet, antibiotics, contraceptives, the spectroscope, the telescope, the theory of evolution, the steam engine, Gˆdel's Incompleteness Theorem, the Hindu-Arabic number system, the scientific method, the printing press, the atom bomb, soap, reading glasses, the human ego.

But wait, there's more! Clocks, television, discovery of the unconscious, awareness of the universe, commercialization of electricity, secularism, the eraser, telecommunications, education, automobiles, the symphony orchestra, board games, double-entry accounting, the Gatling gun, the mirror, the number zero, sewers, probability theory, democracy, the airplane.

Congratulations to John Brockman and the people at edge.org. This is an incredible source of new thoughts. I highly recommend it to DaveNet readers.

This year's to-do list Permalink to This year's to-do list

Here are some of the things I hope to work on this year.

Mainly, I want to create a cross-platform writing environment that has the best features of the desktop and the Internet. I want to be able to jot a note on my website using a palmtop computer, and I want to write stories and specs from a laptop, and I want to install server software on machines running behind the more prevalent high-bandwidth fulltime net connected computers and popular desktop OSes such as Windows and Mac.

I see a bandwidth gap that needs software to fill it. The interface between web writing tools and web storage is still very low-level and cumbersome. We're going to challenge the assumption that web writing requires technical expertise. We want to deliver tools to the technical types and designers to create inverse portals for writers, places for ideas to appear and then develop, to flow in from all areas and flow out to all interested readers.

Further, we've noticed that the web has two primary interfaces: Time and Searching. I can't find another that works as well as either of these two. So we're integrating, assuming, verticalizing. When you can make assumptions, as a software designer, you can simplify. And that's what the web needs, simplification. And that's what we can deliver.

Adult play spaces Permalink to Adult play spaces

I also hope for a more adult Internet. Sites like www.edge.org show what can be done when there's moderation and thoughtfulness and a little bit of editing. We can learn from each other. The world is not filled with bullshit. There are interesting new ideas, and new perspectives on old ideas.

But it takes calm thoughtful expression to get ideas heard. That's the number one item on my to-do list for the web for 1999, to help more of that to happen, and to support it when it does.

Dave Winer Permalink to Dave Winer

The Daily Telegraph [1.3.99]

Edge (http://www.edge.org) is his "digital salon" in which Mr Brockman stimulates on-line discussions and debate among scientists, science writers and the "digerati", writers who discourse on digital technologies.

"Some of the most memorable conversations I've had over the years are concerned with invention, including technological innovations as well as conceptual realisations," said Brockman.

The Wall Street Journal [1.3.99]

John Brockman is the premier literary agent of the digerati, so when he asked 1,000 scientists and other techno-thinkers to suggest the most important invention of the past 2,000 years, the responses sounded a lot like proposals for yet another millennial book. 

The Wall Street Journal [1.3.99]

John Brockman is the premier literary agent of the digerati, so when he asked 1,000 scientists and other techno-thinkers to suggest the most important invention of the past 2,000 years, the responses sounded a lot like proposals for yet another millennial book.

Roger Highfield, The Daily Telegraph [1.3.99]

Nobel laureate Prof. Philip Anderson, philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, biologist Prof Richard Dawkins and Sir John Maddox are among the 100 or so contributors who have nominated inventions randing from tha atomic bomb and board games to the Internet, Hindu-Arabic number system and anaethesia.

Netscape Open Directory > Internet > Cyberspace > Culture [12.31.98]

They say "Edge Foundation, Inc., was established in 1988 as an outgrowth of a group known as The Reality Club. Its informal membership includes of some of the most interesting minds in the world.", and they're NOT kidding. Outstanding presentations of dialogues, articles, and a virtual certainty that the person behind the words can and does THINK. Highly Recommended.

Meeting of the Minds
En Route — AirCanada [9.30.98]

No, the Net is not a cesspool of mindless guttertalk. There are some intellectual gems such as EDGE, a Website that offers the vulgum pecus a peek into an invitation-only mailing list whose contributors include some of the brightest minds in science and technology: Microsoft visionary Nathan Myhrvold (yes, Bill is a participant too,) MIT psychology professor Steven Pinker and neurologist Oliver Sacks, ofAwakenings fame. Though philosophically high-powered, the discussions are surprisingly non-technical: Recent exchanges dealt with the nature of numbers, and the blend of genetics, archaeology and language. (S.E.)

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