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"An Optimist's Tour of the Future"

By Rich Fisher

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kwgs/local-kwgs-958872.mp3

Tulsa, Oklahoma – Anyone who follows current events these days already knows that there's no shortage of bad news out there. These are difficult times, obviously, both domestically and worldwide. And the immediate future, for that matter, also looks rough. So, is it even possible, when you get down to it, to seriously and meaningfully (as the old saying goes) "look on the bright side"? On our show today, we speak by phone with a man who --- in an informed, intelligent, well-considered manner --- is trying to do just that. Our guest on ST is the British writer, science expert, and sometime stand-up comic Mark Stevenson, whose latest book is called "An Optimist's Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out to Answer 'What's Next?'" As the promotional copy for this book tells us: "Stevenson set out simply, asking, 'What's next?' and then traveled the globe in pursuit of the answers. Along the way, he visited the Australian outback to visit the farmers who can save us from climate change, met a robot with mood swings, and talked to the Spaniard who's putting a hotel in space. While some might be overwhelmed, or even dismayed, by the looming realities of genome sequencing, synthetic biology, a nuclear renaissance, and carbon scrubbing, Stevenson remains, well, optimistic. Drawing on his singular humor and storytelling to break down these sometimes complicated discoveries, [Stevenson's book] paints a wonderfully readable and completely enthralling portrait of where we'll be when we grow up --- and why it's not so scary."