February 16th, 2010
06:39 PM ET

Ten fascinating people you've never heard of

John D. Sutter and Richard Galant

Jane McGonigal is one of the most interesting inventors you've never heard of.

The bubbly game designer - whose optimism seems to flow out of her wild blond hair - is trying to get the world to play a lot more online video games, and not just for the sake of fun.

The cooperative skills and hopefulness that people learn while pecking away at online games like World of Warcraft will help our society address real-world problems like climate change and nuclear arms proliferation, she says. To get people to use less oil and mentor entrepreneurs in Africa, she also is developing games that merge the digital and real worlds.

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Filed under: Environmental issues • Internet
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