Recent Discussion

2alphonse8618hHi, My name is Sean and I'm just a fan of Roots of Progress. Just wanted to introduce myself. I'm a developer, founder, and I'm am trying to get into writing about agriculture and economics. I don't see a lot of intro posts so I might get in trouble for posting this. But hi anyway!

Thanks Sean, and welcome!

Jason Crawford's article about "Navigating the high seas," provides compelling descriptions of new tools and techniques (such as sextants and chronometers) used by explorers from "seafaring nations in the 1700s and 1800s ... to complete the discovery of the world that had begun in the 1400s." 

In the early 1800's another profound lesson about causes of progress was learned. to the progress of seafaring that had a profound, if unseen, effect on the world: William Whewell (English scientist and theologian) led the first systematic application of scientific induction by organizing thousands of volunteers around the world to collect data enabling ocean tides to be predicted. It is considered one of the first "citizen science" projects in history, and earned him the Royal Metal in 1837. 

Whewell's work reduced the...

In the previous post, we outlined three phases that students would go through, where each student matriculated through them at their own speed.

Phase 1 was literacy and numeracy.

Phase 2 was core civilizational requirements and survey courses.

Phase 3 was core adulting requirements and self-study.

There are two specific curricula involved in these phases: core civilizational requirements and core adulting requirements.

In this post, we’ll go into more detail about the core civilizational requirements.

Core Civilizational Requirements

What does it mean to live in this day and age?

Where does the material abundance we take for granted come from?

What was life actually like for most of human history, and why is it so much better now?

These are questions that everyone ought to be able to answer, and the fact that most students - and...

The problem you run into when designing a curriculum is that you have to decide what you want students to learn.

The problem with deciding what you want students to learn is that your decisions will inevitably end up being a reflection of your values. It isn’t a task that can be done objectively.

Do you prioritize STEM topics, hoping to increase the high-tech work force?

Do you go for an education in the classics, because that’s how the aristocrats did it?

Do you focus on art and music, because something something creativity and expression?

Should school life be regimented and strictly scheduled, as public schools currently are, or ad hoc and personalized?

It’s difficult to claim that these questions even have “right” answers, whatever “right” means in this context.

Thus the curriculum that...

Relevance of Management Science to Progress Studies

Two questions for anyone here with an interest in them:

  1. How do people in the progress studies movement view the science of management?
  2. Who else in the group (or the movement) might also interested in this subject, and what kinds of issues or questions seem to be paramount?

By "management” I'm referring to the process of administering and controlling the affairs of the organization, irrespective of its nature, type, and size.  

Michael Webb

By Alex Telford for Asimov Press (

It was 1905, and the French biologist Lucien Cuénot had a puzzle on his hands. He had been breeding mice in an attempt to decipher the patterns of coat color inheritance, but one of his crosses wasn’t behaving as expected. When Cuénot bred heterozygous yellow-coated mice—with yellow coloring as the dominant trait and black as the recessive—he observed two yellow mice born for every black one, instead of the predicted 3:1 ratio. It took another five years for a pair of American researchers to come up with an explanation before going on to pioneer the mouse as biomedicine’s premier model organism.

Cuénot’s puzzle seemed, at first, to be a violation of Mendel’s laws of inheritance. But such exceptions are typical of biology,...

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

The application deadline for the the 2024 cohort of The Roots of Progress Blog-Building Intensive is Friday, June 7—just over a week away. If you want to apply, do it now.

The Blog-Building Intensive is an eight-week program for aspiring progress writers to start or grow a blog. It also makes you a Roots of Progress fellow, which means that even after the intensive, you are part of our network and we are committed to supporting your career success as a progress writer. See more details on the program homepage.

Not just for beginning writers

Are you an experienced writer, and wondering if you’ll get anything out of the program? It is not only for beginning writers!

Last cohort, many of our fellows were experienced professionals: Several worked full-time for relevant...

In the very first episode of “Friends,” Rachel flees her wedding to find her high school friend. Monica invites Rachel to move into her spare bedroom and helps her get a job. Her brother Ross and their friends help her cut up her credit cards and learn to live independently. 

I was in fourth grade when that television show debuted and in college by the time it ended. By then, these characters were ingrained in one another’s lives, and mine. Rachel stumbled into a community of friends, like Phoebe who teaches her how to run more freely, Ross and Joey who became “nap partners,” and Monica who puts a turkey on her head to cheer up Chandler. 

This tight-knit group lived in the same apartment building or very close...

I just wanted to share one of my latest :)

The age of superabundance

Risk & Progress| A hub for essays that explore risk, human progress, and your potential. My mission is to educate, inspire, and invest in concepts that promote a better future for all. Subscriptions and new essays are free and always will be. Paid subscribers gain access to the full archives.


The competitive forces of the agora have transformed the whole of humanity into one giant problem-solving machine, a global supercomputer of unlimited potential. Paradoxically, the growing population and wealth of this new world is on a path to consuming fewer and fewer of the Earth’s finite resources. Progress, it seems, is beginning to evaporate the material world itself.


Malthusian Fallacies

I have talked a bit about Malthusianism in the...

Thank you! That is the goal!