Matt Ridley doesn't say much new about genes and the environment in his interview with Moira Gunn and David Ewing Duncan, but I enjoyed the conversation anyway. One intriguing bit at the end hints at his next project: why for thousands of years have people been pessimistic about the future, when things long-term have clearly been getting better? fifty years ago, nuclear war was going to do us all in; then it was over-population; now it's global warming. Each generation somehow manages to pass itself on to the next, though always with a forelorn shake of the head at how the future has never been so gloomy. The end of the world will come eventually, so in that sense the doomsayers' predictions will come true eventually, but why do we insist it's just around the corner?