Open Questions

Food Allergies

Why have food allergies increased by a factor of 80 since 1940? This seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. Despite different governments, cultures, diets, and hobbies, we all seem to be getting more allergic.

Neutron Lifetime Puzzle

What is the half life of free neutrons? One experiment yields a mean lifetime of 14 minutes and 39 seconds. Another experiment yields 14 minutes and 48 seconds. The error margins for these experiments do not overlap.

Software Rot

Why does software rot? That is: the more mature a piece of software becomes, the harder it is to re-adapt to new circumstances. Eventually, the piece of software requires costly rewrites and refactors. Often this is more difficult than starting from scratch.

This phenomenon has been known for half a century, yet there seems to be no consensus on how to solve it. Eliminating software rot would create trillions of dollars of wealth. Most of my colleagues either don’t recognize this problem, don’t think it solveable, or use it to justify their own dogmas about correct programming languages and development methods. You’d think that if one software company in the world got this right, they’d dominate the industry (or their practices would be copied by everyone else).