Do-good prize season—less glamorous than the Oscars, but contentious nonetheless.
The MacArthur Fellows (often called the "Genius" awards) were announced a few weeks ago and last Friday—well, you know. While everyone else is trying to figure out whether President Obama should have won the Nobel Peace Prize, I'm happy to ponder whether the Nobel Peace Prize should exist at all.
There are generally two kinds of prizes that try to improve the world. The first, like the Nobel, awards those who have made the world better in extraordinary ways. The second, like the X Prize, tries to incentivize innovation that could have enormous impact in the future.