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SEPTEMBER'S SPECIAL ISSUE, "Crossroads for Planet Earth," focused on the unique near-term challenges of the next 50 years--and how our choices may well determine our species' ability not only to thrive but to survive far into the future.

Articles prescribed solutions--ranging from global to local, gradualist to radical--to tackle socioeconomic, demographic and environmental problems. And they drew a bounty of letters, laden with readers' prognostications, criticisms and alternative answers. But problem solving is a tricky business: to outline long-term fixes to current crises and trends, many authors had to valiantly venture onto that perilous tightrope that is forecasting the future. Ultimately, the portent of this issue was not gloom and doom but was summed up nicely by something Apple Computer visionary Alan C. Kay once observed: the best way to predict the future is to invent it....

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