What Questions Have Disappeared?

I was listening to NPR this morning and they had a gentleman from “The Edge”, a journal for intellectuals. Every year for the past four years, they have posed a new question to the intellectual world and posted the responses that they receive.

This years question is, “What Questions Have Disappeared?” What questions are no longer asked. If you want to see some of the early responses they have received, go to this link.


Two very good examples are these. How does a Slide Rule work? This used to be asked quite often but since no one uses these tools anymore, it has gone.

More generaly, a good example is “How many angels can dance on the point of a pin?”, a question that Karl Sabbagh belives we no longer ask because we don’t think about spiritual things in the same way anymore.

What can you think of? What other questions have disappeared over time and why?

It is difficult to think of good ones that are not covered in the list on the webpage, but I can think of one.

  1. What would happen, in these modern times, if a Presidential candidate won the Electoral Vote but lost the popular vote? Now we know.

I haven’t heard anyone ask “Where’s the beef?” in about 15 years.

  • I wonder why Pauly Shore doesn’t go into films?

  • What’s the best casino in Havana?

  • Cigar? Cigarettes?

  • Can I have your autograph, Mr. Simpson?

  • Who’s the private dick who’s a sex machine with all the chicks?

  • Who was the greatest, John Havilicheck or Jerry West?

  • Jesus, is Reagan senile or something?

  • Will the Y2K bug destroy the world’s computer systems?

  • What will the world be like in the year 2000?

One question that I think people should ask, even though they have stopped, is:

  • How can the Internet make the world a better place by improving communication and providing easy access to information?

Nowadays people only seem to care about the Internet in terms of how much money it can make them. (Well, except Dopers, of course. :D)