Recent Discussion

This piece of short fiction was originally published for The Elysian. Follow my work there.

Back in the 2020s, everyone was in a tizzy about population collapse. The thinking back then was that if we didn’t have enough children, they wouldn’t grow up and generate enough money, and the economy wouldn’t be big enough to do expensive things like cure diseases and build space colonies and come up with teleportation.

They tried everything to get us to procreate, but we just didn’t want to. Anyway, it was never more people we needed, but more money to fuel the economy and the innovations that economy might achieve. So when our population finally started declining in the 2100s, the government came up with a much better solution: they passed the “Spend...

A recent discovery in Minnesota has unveiled a helium reservoir with astonishingly high concentrations of the gas, surpassing initial estimations and potentially opening doors for commercial extraction.

Pulsar Helium, an exploration company, revealed the discovery of helium reserves in late February 2024, following drilling activities near Babbitt, northern Minnesota, reaching depths of 2,200 feet (670 meters). Initial findings displayed helium concentrations of 12.4%, described by Thomas Abraham-James, the president and CEO of Pulsar Helium, as "a dream" in an interview with CBS News.[1] The discovery represents an unprecedented opportunity to gain access to helium at concentration levels dramatically exceeding the normal 0.3% or 0.5% helium concentration levels that would be considered noteworthy. The newly discovered reserve could hold the potential capacity to make a real difference to long-term global...

Great post. It's nice to hear good news, and more evidence that humanity doesn't actually run out of resources.

Perhaps the silliest response I got on How rich would 1 billion Americans be? were comments along the lines of:

“1 billion is far too many people for the U.S., where would they all fit?”

I’ve seen similar statements made elsewhere, and sometimes they get backed up by scaling up the U.S. population based on its population density. Since the population density is 37 people/km2, with 1 billion people that’s 2.7E7 km2, larger than the area of the United States.

But these kinds of arguments ignore how land actually gets used and how urban populations scale. Take a look at how land is used in the U.S:


My first takeaway from this is oh my god we use a lot of land for cows. My second takeaway is that urban land...

Agreed. The US is a massive country, and we barely use any of the space we have.

What if our constitution was a Wikipedia page that any of us could edit, and trusted editors could then incorporate those edits as it made sense?

That was the idea behind “WikiCity,” a project proposed as the future of Singaporean government. Its creators imagined a world “where there is no editor and thus no central power, but it is most-critically self-activating and self-correcting by its own user community—its Citizens.”

Interestingly, Singapore might be more like that than any other country. After all, WikiCity was a response to their own question: “How should Singapore be governed in 10 years?” and it is one of many the country has crowdsourced from their citizens in order to “engage Singaporeans in reflecting on the different dimensions of governance and to work toward a...

I like the idea, and the spirit of trying new ideas and forms of government.

That being said, Wikipedia isn't without its own issues. The editorial hierarchy, like every bureaucracy, becomes rigid, brittle, and ossified over time. The predominant viewpoint becomes entrenched. And so on.

I very much believe that our representative democracy has grave flaws, and that a wiki-based form of direct democracy answers some of them. But how would you keep the system from being games? At some point, someone has to have the power to approve the edits, and the politicking to be that person becomes fiercer the higher the stakes involved.

Nice article on the movement, which it describes as:

a new pro-progress movement that is coalescing in a collection of think tanks, websites, and other intellectual incubators. It celebrates humanity's achievements so far. It judges progress not in technocratic terms but with an eye on outcomes for individual human beings. And it imagines, again in Crawford's words, an "ambitious technological future that we want to live in and are excited to build."

I and IFP's Caleb Watney are extensively quoted. Works in Progress and the Progress Network are also discussed, and ROP fellows Alex Telford and Jenni Morales are mentioned. Of course, Patrick Collison, Tyler Cowen, and Steven Pinker are cited as well.

A groundbreaking trial[1] first published in the British Journal of Urology (BJU) International[2] has discovered that recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) can potentially be prevented for up to nine years using an oral spray vaccine. UTIs, which afflict half of all women and one in five men, pose significant risks, especially for older individuals. Symptoms typically include a burning and increased frequency of urination. 

In the trial conducted at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in the UK, participants were instructed to administer a pineapple-flavored vaccine spray under their tongue daily for three months. They were then monitored for nine years. Remarkably, over half (54%) of both male and female participants with recurrent UTIs remained UTI-free throughout the nine-year period, with no reported significant side effects.

On average, participants experienced a UTI-free period...

To get the best posts emailed to you, create an account!
Subscribe to Curated posts
Log In Reset Password
...or continue with

The internet caters to our baser interests, surfacing clickbait news, ragebait on Twitter, thirst-traps on Instagram, the dumbest thing you can watch on TikTok, the most attractive person on your dating app, and the cheapest things you can buy from Temu. They cater to our love of drama, our superficiality, our hedonism, to get us to scroll, click, buy, and spend our hours addicted to the screen. They make more money that way. 

The love of vice over virtue has always been a problem of humanity, but the internet has created an arena of vice in which we indulge most of our days. Even if what we actually want is to spend less time on our phones, read a book, find love, and connect meaningfully with our friends...

Reducing the duration of MRI scans for prostate cancer [1] by one-third could enhance affordability and accessibility without compromising accuracy, as revealed by a UK trial. This trial [2] suggests that cutting costs could lead to more widespread availability of scans.

With approximately 52,300 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed each year in the UK, the need for efficient diagnostic methods is crucial. Currently, patients suspected of having prostate cancer undergo a three-stage MRI scan, including the administration of a contrast dye during the final stage to improve image clarity.

In the trial involving 555 patients from 22 hospitals across 12 countries, researchers from the University College London (UCL) and University College London Hospitals, investigated the impact of eliminating the third stage. Results showed that using a shorter scan still allowed specialists to...

Birth rates in the developed world are below replacement levels and global fertility is not far behind. Sub-replacement fertility leads to exponentially decreasing population. Our best models of economic growth suggest that a shrinking population causes economic growth and technological progress to stop and humanity to stagnate into extinction.

One theory of fertility decline says it’s all about opportunity costs, especially for women. Rising labor productivity and expanded career opportunities for potential parents make each hour of their time and each forgone career path much more valuable. Higher income potential also makes it cheaper for parents to gain utility by using financial resources to improve their children’s quality of life compared to investing time in having more kids. Simultaneously, economic growth raises the returns to these financial investments...