Joe took issue with Hilary Spurling's comment. There are two sides to this - every woman a Joan, every man a Napoleon, and the Long Tail of e-publishing to support them all, as the hive mind of the internet elevates all of us into a higher state.
The other finds voice in Isaiah Berlin's observation that while the general standard of university students seemed to be improving with the years, the really brilliant minds didn't seem to be around any more; and, more darkly, Kingsley Amis's maxim "More will mean worse!"
Both, of course, have a long pedigree, and unfortunately I can't tell which one I'm more tempted by. I do ponder, from time to time, on the fact that Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Kit Marlowe all wrote pre-internet, pre-just about everything, and that England's population was - what? Three million?
Irritated beyond measure that I failed to Listen Again to the Radio 4 programme Watching the Doomwatchers before the week was out, as I enjoyed it so much the first time. There is an article about it here. If you ever get the chance to hear or see Rear Admiral Chris Parry, take it. Quite the most cogent and balanced assessment of Al Qaida and global security threats I've heard in a long time - since Jason Burke on Adam Curtis's The Power of Nightmares. The soundbites, unfortunately, don't do him justice. And thirty-plus years after Rendezvous with Rama the government still isn't taking the posibility of asteroid collision seriously.