A guest cross-post by Melanie Mitchell of the Santa Fe Institute.  In 1894, the physicist and Nobel laureate Albert Michelson declared that science was almost finished; the human race was within a hair’s breadth of understanding everything: It seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have now been firmly established and that further advances […]


On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the UN gave to me, Twelve jumbled re-writes,  Eleven confused targets,  Ten woolly commitments,  Nine ill-formed panels,  Eight NGOs grumbling, Seven vague consultations,  Six preening leaders,  Five tuuuu-uuurf wars! Four BRICs ignoring, Three rambling summits,  Two dozen speeches,  And confusion on in-equal-ityyyyyy….. (with thanks to Claire Melamed for the inspiration, and apologies in advance to […]


In this guest cross-post, Geoffrey West, former President of the Santa Fe Institute, argues that just as the industrial age produced the laws of thermodynamics, we need universal laws of complexity to solve intractable problems of the post-industrial era, and that ‘big data’ needs such ‘big theory’. For more on this topic, see David Hales’ guest […]


This piece is cross-posted from the Global Policy blog, where it has been published as part of Global Policy’s new e-book, ‘Emergence, Convergence and the Future of Aid’, edited by Andy Sumner. Contributions from academics and practitioners will be serialised on Global Policy until the e-book’s release in the first quarter of 2014. Find out […]