Richard Worzel - Futurist - Speaker - Consultant
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Articles & Books
Articles by Richard Worzel

This area includes a collection of articles on various topics, as well as information on some of my other books and publications. You can subscribe to the Futurist-News Mailing List to recieve occassional updates and new feature articles of note by email.

If you have any questions or comments about any of the material available here - please contact me.



“I’m Mad as Hell…”
December 10th, 2014
Topics: Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

Society has reached three important tipping points on different, but possibly related, issues. We will never be the same.

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How Technology Will Affect Real Estate Brokers: A Day in the Life of Broker in 2024
October 20th, 2014
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

How will technology affect the way real estate brokers and agents conduct business ten years from now? Here's one look.

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Deadly Shock: The Coming Devastation of Power Utilities
August 31st, 2014
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Environment, Technology

Power utilities are about to get a nasty shock, and if they don't adapt, they will go bankrupt.

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I Dream of (a) Genie
August 14th, 2014
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Technology

Wearable computers with seemingly intelligent software will change our lives in ways we may not expect.

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Scary Superbugs: Your Money, or Your Life
22 July 2014
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

What will our world be like as antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread? And what can we do about it?

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The Greediest Generation
July 7th, 2014
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Environment, Society, General

The boomers want to have it all – no matter who it belongs to!

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Towards an Immortal Brain
April 28th, 2014
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Demographics, Economy, General, Society, Technology

We may be able to repair the body and keep it going indefinitely (see previous article), but what about the mind?

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Climate Change, Part III: What We Will Do About It
February 17th, 2014
Topics: Business, Economy, Environment, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

Humanity will – reluctantly – finally decide that it has no choice but to act on climate change. When that happens, what will we do? Here's an exploration of the issues.

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Climate Change, Part II: Risk Management
November 22nd, 2013
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Environment

This is the second of three parts in an overview of the future of climate change. The first part can be found here.

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What’s Truly Important In Today’s News
October 3rd, 2013
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Environment

The biggest headlines often don't indicate what's truly important, and the disconnect now is about as big as I can remember. Here are the three most important issues that I think should be dominating the news.

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The Boy Who Cried “Bear!”
September 26th, 2013
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Society, General

U.S. House Republicans seem determined to commit suicide – and take us all with them.

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GMOs vs True Believers: Greed versus Ignorance
September 17th, 2013
Topics: Business, Economics, Geopolitics, Society, General

There’s more noise than information in the "debate" over genetically-modified organisms. Here’s a discussion of the truths and myths surrounding the subject.

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The 5th Principle of Leadership
May 16th, 2013
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General

The one, remaining principle of leadership: foresight, and how to exercise it.

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The 5 Principles of Leadership, Part II
March 22nd, 2013
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General

This is a continuation of an earlier blog, in which the fundamental basis of leadership is examined. That earlier blog can be read here.

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The 5 Principles of Leadership, Part I
March 5th, 2013
Topics: Business, Society, General

Leadership is a critical part of preparing for the future. Here's an overall structure of how and why leadership is practiced.

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The Future of Food: Farming It, Processing It, Packaging It, Selling It, Eating It
23 January 2013
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, Environment, Society, Technology, General

Almost everything about food is going to change, and in ways we don't expect. Here's why.

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13 Trends for 2013
December 26th, 2012
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Economy, Environment, Society, Technology, Geopolitics, General

Here are some of the key trends that are going to shape the year ahead.

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Is American Still the Greatest Country in the World?
October 12th, 2012
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Education, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

Is America still the greatest? And, if so, can it remain the greatest?

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The Wonder and the Horror of Education’s Future
September 9th, 2012
Topics: Demographics, Education, Society, General

Our education system is failing today's students and our society. Despite this, it has the potential to be remarkable. Here's why.

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A Spectre Is Haunting Europe
June 15th, 2012
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

There's a spectre haunting Europe, threatening to rip the heart out of its financial markets and economy. And if Europe goes, the global markets and global economy won't be far behind.

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The Future of Work: How the 1% and the 99% Will Become Aristocrats & Peons
May 15th, 2012
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Education, Society, General

Building on our previous blog, the future of work can lead us to a better world – or one where today's wealthy become aristocrats, and the poor and middle class become peasants.

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‘The Boomers Have Colonized Our Future, and Aren't Leaving…’
April 25th, 2012
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Education, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

I don’t often give my blog over to guests, but this essay gave me pause. I commissioned Chris Ritchie to research certain aspects of social developments, and what you’re about to read was part of his report.

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Six Things to Know About the Robots in Your Future
March 29th, 2012
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

We grew up with robots, but the robots in our future are both much closer than we realize, and will be very different from what we expect. The implications of the robots in your future are profound.

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The Innovation Revolution
March 6th, 2012
Topics: Business, Biosciences, General, Economy, Technology, Society

Change is happening faster than we believe, and it is about to shake up the corporate world in ways that will catch us by surprise. The innovation revolution is entering an entirely new phase.

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12 Trends for 2012
December 27th, 2011
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Demographics, Economy, Environment, Geopolitics, General, Society, Technology

Although there are more than 12 things going on in the world, I believe these are the most significant trends for the year ahead.

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It Can’t Happen Here: What Happens After Occupy Wall Street
November 21st, 2011
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Education, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

The Occupy movement is most significant not for what the protestors say, but rather that the movement is happening at all. It demonstrates significant unrest, and the greatest dissatisfaction with the capitalist system that we've witnessed since the fall of the Soviet Union. But where is it headed? That's a much more worrisome question.

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The Second Era of Technology
October 10th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

We are entering the Second Era of Technology, and it is being ushered in by software available on the new iPhone 4S.

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What’s Wrong with Our Schools?
October 3rd, 2011
Topics: Education, Business, Society, Technology, General, Geopolitics

Our school systems are not good enough for the 21st century. Comparing schools with libraries reveals part of the reason why.

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Danger Is Rising Rapidly in Debt Ceiling Issue
July 19th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

Are we in the countdown to a US government default? It certainly looks that way.

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Why the World Really May End on August 2nd, 2011
July 5th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

Using the U.S. government's debt ceiling as a negotiating ploy is indefensible, and may lead to a financial and economic disaster comparable to the 1930s.

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An Old Nemesis Returns
April 4th, 2011
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General, Technology, Geopolitics

Inflation is back, and we won't be happy about it, especially as it's not going to go away any time soon.

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Tomorrow's Missing Technologies
March 15, 2011
Topics: Business, Biosciences, General, Economy, Technology, Society

Southwest Airlines' in-flight magazine recently contacted me with an interesting question: What things, of the everyday items we use today, are most likely to disappear? They wanted to ask me 'about a few technologies or tools that are popular today, and are on their way out.' It sounded like a different, but useful, way to think about the future, which I always appreciate, so I took a swing at a small number of things that I think are likely to disappear. Here's what I told them:

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Revolting Civil Servants
February 25, 2011
Topics: Economy, Geopolitics, Business, Education, Society, Demographics

What follows is an excerpt from a chapter of the book I'm currently writing. This section is quite topical right now because of what's happening in Wisconsin and elsewhere, so rather than wait for the book to appear, I'm publishing this excerpt. The book should be out in the late Spring or early Summer of 2011.

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Why There Will Be More Earthquakes
February 18, 2011
Topics: Business, Society, Economy, Environment, General

The Earth is a complex system. Indeed, it is a series of interlocking, overlapping, complex systems, and such systems often affect each other in surprising ways. Accordingly, although at first it may seem strange to say that climate change will increase both the number of earthquakes and volcanoes, that actually is the case. Here's how it works:

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The True Nature of Risk & the Value of Risk Management
Jan. 3, 2011
Topics: Business,Economy,General,Demographics,Society

An unusual report was just published by an insurance company: RSA, which essentially stands for 'Royal and Sun Alliance', based in London, England. RSA is celebrating their 300th anniversary, and decided to do a report on the past 300 years of dealing with risk (which is what an insurance company does), and look into the future of risk as well. There are some interesting insights on modern society and the world in this report, and it also inspired some further thoughts on the true nature of risk that seem worth pursuing. But first, let me draw some highlights from the report.

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What do tough people do when tough times DO last? The future of sales & selling
November 24th, 2010
Topics: Business, Economy, General, Society

What works in selling, and why, is changing, both because the environment has changed, and because prospects and their mindsets are changing. To succeed in tomorrow’s world, a successful approach to sales & selling must change as well.

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Inflation and Deflation at the same time? Economic straws in the wind
October 25, 2010
Topics: Business, Economy, geopolitics, Society, General

Indicators for both inflation and deflation indicate that the probability of both is rising. Since, in theory, this can't happen, it raises interesting questions. Here's what this might mean.

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Food Allergies & the Future of the Foodservice Industry
October 7th, 2010
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Demographics, Society, General, Economy

Organizations in the foodservice industry should be planning for the day when all of their clients require special meals. Here's why.

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Follow the Red Brick Road
September 14th, 2010
Topics: Education, Society, General

Good things are happening in education – but not systematically, and not enough of them. Here's what the various groups involved in education need to do.

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Why Education Must Change
September 1, 2010
Topics: Business, Education, Demographics, General, Society, Technology

The world has been transformed, and is remarkably different than it was 20, 50, or 100 years ago. But our education system is fundamentally unchanged in the last century – we still teach facts, which are now a cheap commodity. If education is to be useful to today's and tomorrow's students, it, too, must change radically. Here's why.

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10 Things You Need to Know About the Next 10 Years
August 4th, 2010
Topics: Biosciences, Business, Demographics, Economy, Environment, Society, Technology, General

This is a summary of a presentation I delivered to the World Education Congress of Meeting Planners International in Vancouver, Canada at the end of July, 2010. It was part of a series of “Flash” presentations, each limited to 15 minutes, which didn’t leave a lot of time to elaborate. I’ve fleshed some of the points out here, but the most important reason for approaching the future in this way is that it is never shaped by just one thing, but rather by a confluence of forces, many of which are conflicting.

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The Destruction of America
March 29th, 2010
Topics: Business, Demographics, Economy, Geopolitics, Society, General

Unless America and Americans force a drastic change in the country’s direction, the American dream is dead, and America’s place as the leader of the world is over.

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Health Care to the Year 2035
February 5th, 2010
Topics: Biosciences, Demographics, Society, Technology, General

What will health care look like in 25 years' time? Here's one possibility

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The End of Pizza? The Spreading Celiac Epidemic
16 February 2010
Topics: Business, Society, Demographics, Economy, Society

There's an epidemic of an unknown disease that can not only force you to change the way you eat for the rest of your life, but may have dramatic consequences for grain farmers and food retailers.

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Outlook 2020: The Environment
December 14th, 2009
Topics: Business, Economy, Environment, Geopolitics, Society, Technology, General

The next 10 years will effectively settle the climate change debate, but not much else. What's more, we may be making policy in precisely the wrong way. Here's why.

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Techniques for Foresight & Risk Management
December 4th, 2009
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

In the last article I examined the field of risk management, and did a partial environmental scan to assess some of the current risks that are out there. In this conclusion to the set on risk management and foresight, I look at some tools that can help you ask the right questions, and assess the importance of the answers, then come up with plans to prepare for them.

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The End of the Local Monopoly, Part II
October 15th, 2009
Topics: Education, General, Society, Technology

Technology allows us to support learners with the people and techniques that work best for them. This second part of the discussion explores how we might do that.

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The End of the Local Education Monopoly
September 6, 2009
Topics: Education, Society, General, Technology

With the opening of the school year, I'm re-publishing an article I wrote for the January issue of Teach magazine about the way education could develop from here. I'll reproduce the second part of the article in my next blog. Meanwhile, please feel free to forward it to anyone you think might find it of interest. They are also welcome to sign up for future Futuresearch articles on my website at Best regards, Richard

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The Future of Food: Not Just for Body Fuel and Fun Anymore
March 12, 2009
Topics: Business, Demographics, Environment, Economy, Society, General

What follows is a summary of a presentation I gave to a symposium on the future of food. In attendance were farm producers, food processors, food retailers, and research scientists.

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The Third Horseman of the Apocalypse
September 18th, 2008
Topics: Economy, Business, Society, General

The risks of a possible collapse of the financial markets, and a resulting panic, continue to rise. Now is the time to devise a Plan B.

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A Matter of Survival: The Future of Education
September 2nd, 2008
Topics: Education, Technology, Society, General

The future of education is a matter of survival, both for those directly involved in it, and for the rest of us as well. Here's why.

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Hi, robot! - revisited
April 17th, 2008
Topics: Business, Economy, Education, Society, Technology, General

In June of 2000 I wrote an article called “Hi, robot!” in which I said, among other things, that a robot vacuum cleaner for households would be among the first robots available, that a general-purpose robot housekeeper might be available within 7-10 years, and that human-like commercial robots would be generally available within 20 years, and probably sooner. Roomba and Scooba have proven the first prognostication, and Toyota’s work on a household robot, to be brought to market sometime in 2010, looks likely to make the second come true. Accordingly, I thought it was time I revisited the subject, and wrote the following article on a recent plane ride.

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Thank God, America IS a Democracy Still
November 2006
Topics: Geopolitics, Society, General

My fears about systematic vote fraud in the 2006 mid-term elections appear to have been groundless.

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Is America Still a Democracy?
October 2006
Topics: Geopolitics, Society, General

The up-coming U.S. mid-term elections may be a crucial test of whether America is a democracy, or whether elections are rigged.

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The Future Ain't What It Used to Be
September 2006
Topics: Education, General, Society

My, how education has changed! The problem is, it hasn't changed enough – and we're not ready to deal with the much bigger changes ahead.

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The View from 2030: The Future of the Life Sciences
June 2006
Topics: Biosciences, Economy, Society, Technology

This is a summary of a presentation I recently made for the “2006 Life Sciences Industry Summit,” co-hosted by the Long Island Life Sciences Initiative, and the Center for Biotechnology.

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Education Is the Answer – and the Problem
March 2006
Topics: Education, Society, Business, General

Whenever you think about any aspect of the future, if you think about it long enough, you'll wind up thinking about education. That's why education is the answer, but that's also why it's one of the major problems we face in preparing for tomorrow.

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Why the iPod is more than an icon
March 2006
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, Technology, General

The implications of technology often go far beyond the immediate or the obvious. Although much has been made of the Apple iPod, the implications are even more far reaching than most commentators realize.

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How to Avoid Giving Service that Sucks
December 2005
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General

In an earlier article ('Why Service Sucks'), I described the effect of Darwin’s theory of natural selection on service industries as being the extinction of the worst rather than the survival of the fittest. This article describes how to give great service and lower costs simultaneously. But be warned: it's not easy.

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Katrina's Aftershocks
September 2005
Topics: Society, Geopolitics, Environment, General

The immediate effects of hurricane Katrina - death and destruction - are obvious. The long-term consequences and downstream effects may be more important.

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A student in the year 2015
September 2005
Topics: Education, Society, General, Economy, Technology

The way students think, and the tools that they use are changing much faster than our education system can adapt. This will result in a clash of cultures between parents and teachers on the one hand, and students and Netizens on the other.

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Preparing for the Biobased Economy: Part II
May 2005
Topics: Biosciences, Economy, Technology, Society, General

What are some of the potential problems and obstacles biotechnology must overcome if it is to fulfill its promise?

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Preparing for the Biobased Economy: Part I
May 2005
Topics: Biosciences, Technology, Economy, Society, General

A look at how biotechnology will change business and society over the next 20 years.

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Our Toxic Society
February 2005
Topics: General, Society, Education

Today's children are becoming flabby monsters, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, because of our neglect. The consequences for the future will be nasty.

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Killer Memes: How toxic ideas infect lives and disrupt organizations
April 2004
Topics: Business, Economy, Society, General

Toxic ideas seem to emerge from nowhere, capture the attention and imagination of the general public, and leave destruction in their wake. Here's why - and what you can do if one infects your operation.

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Ontario about to hit a brick wall in health care
February 2004
Topics: Biosciences, General, Geopolitics, Society

The coming battle between health care practitioners and the government of Ontario is an important indicator of the problems that all developed country governments are going to have with their health care systems.

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The Elusive Echoes: Marketing to the Next Generation
January 2004
Topics: Business, Economy, Demographics, Society

The Echo Boomers, children of the Baby Boomers, are the Next Big Thing demographically for marketers. Unfortunately, they think and behave differently than earlier generations, so the old ways of marketing don't work. Here's what to do instead.

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Destroying Our Children and Our Society
March 2003
Topics: Society

The evolution of society is creating a toxic environment, with the result that we are betraying our children, and our own future.

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Spoiled rotten
September 2000
Topics: Society

'The two greatest threats to the Jewish people are persecution and prosperity' - Jewish aphorism

The aphorism of my Jewish friends seems to apply to everyone, at least insofar as prosperity goes, and it will, I believe, have significant and negative effects on all our lives in the future.

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The Final Morality
May 2000
Topics: Society

'Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.' - 'The Second Coming' by William Butler Yeats

Shortly before Christmas, 1999, I was contacted by a reporter for a Dallas newspaper. His 'beat' was religion and spirituality, and he was doing an article on the future of morality. He’d seen some of the articles on my website, and an article written about me in a magazine, and called me to ask if I had any thoughts about the future of morality.

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The Meaningful Fact
November 1999
Topics: Society

There is no problem communicating a message today. There is a massive problem with having it heard. Likewise, there is no problem collecting information today, but there is a massive problem in separating valuable information from garbage. In that statement lies the future of our intellectual pursuits, and especially of research and library science.

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