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Eli Dourado:

Exciting geothermal news today!

I’m pleased to advise and help unveil Project Innerspace, a new nonprofit focused on removing the technical obstacles to Geothermal Anywhere by 2030. Check out the site, and follow @innerspace2030.



Kwasi Kwarteng, UK Business & Energy Secretary and MP for Spelthorne:

We need more nuclear! Today I'm launching our £120m Future Nuclear Fund to entice more developers to invest £billions in new power stations. More nuclear developers = greater competition = lower costs. After 30 years of delay, we're cracking on!



Steve Hsu:

Veil of Ignorance (Rawls) construction of social justice ignores technological change. Perhaps individual incentives, and consequent inequality, are necessary for economic growth and tech innovation.. an empirical question!


Chad Jones, “Time Series Tests of Endogenous Growth Models” (1995):

Consider the following simple exercise. An economist living in the year 1929 (who has miraculous access to historical per capita GDP data) fits a simple linear trend to the natural log of per capita GDP for the United States from 1880 to 1929 in an attempt to forecast per capita GDP today, say in 1987. How far off would the prediction be? We can use the prediction error from this constant growth rate path as a rough indicator of the importance of the positive permanent movements in growth rates.

Figure I displays the somewhat surprising result of this exercise in light of the discussion of endogenous growth theory in the Introduction: the prediction is off by only about 5 percent of GDP!

If you’re trying to promote progress and abundance, you need to figure out how. What’s the roadmap from here to utopia?

Sarah Constantin on her aims with her new blog: “In Search of Opportunity

Nuclear going mainstream? https://twitter.com/CBSMornings/status/1516036558876553222

Experts and environmentalists say the U.S. will need to turn to nuclear power, which creates no planet-warming emissions, to replace fossil fuels.

“Nuclear power will be a reliable, stable fuel source for many, many years to come,” says one power company official. 

Hypothesis Fund launches today:

The Hypothesis Fund advances scientific knowledge by supporting early stage, innovative research that increases our adaptability against systemic risks to the health of people and the planet.

We make seed grants to fund research projects at their earliest stages, typically before there is any preliminary data. Our funding is intended to be catalytic — a fast path to enable a scientist to ‘turn over the card’ and see what’s there. And we focus on bold new ideas in basic research, not continuations of existing research.

The Hypothesis Fund approach is different. We empower a world-class and diverse network of scientist Scouts to identify the high-risk, high-reward ideas at the edge of the network that would otherwise be un-pursued or underfunded.

Also: https://twitter.com/Hypothesisfund/status/1524434163465547776 

Virginia Postrel:

The dynamist coalition that I imagined 25 years ago finally seems to be coalescing, thanks in part to our broken politics.


Elon Musk:

I have to say the this this notion of induced demand is one of the single dumbest notions I've ever heard in my entire life.… If adding roads just increases traffic, why don't we delete them and decrease traffic? I think you'd have an uproar if you did that.


New blog prize for “positive visions of the world 50 years from now”: https://twitter.com/effective_ideas/status/1521191531406761984 

Eren Bali:

I grew up in a small village in Turkey. Before commercial fertilizers became affordable enough, you would collect cow shit all year, let it dry out and use it as fertilizer. It was hard labor, didn’t work as well and smelled as you’d think it smells.


New podcast from Stripe Press:

Introducing Beneath the Surface—a seven-part podcast series about infrastructure. 

Join us on May 3rd for the first episode.

Spotify, iTunes


From Dima Shamoun:

I just wanted to bring to your attention this recent release by the Health Physics Society on the entire history of the Linear Non-Threshold model, in the form of 22 episodes interview with Ed Calabrese. 

For context, see “Why has nuclear power been a flop?” and my interview with Dima on her podcast Flies in the Ointment.

Voltaire on commerce and religious tolerance:

Go into the Royal Exchange in London, a building more respectable than most courts; there you will find deputies from every nation assembled simply to serve mankind. There, the Jew, the Mohammedan, and the Christian negotiate with one another as if they were all of the same religion, and the only heretics are those who declare bankruptcy; there the Presbyterian trusts the Anabaptist, the Anglican accepts the word of the Quaker. Leaving this peaceful and liberal assembly, some go to the synagogue, others go to drink; this one is baptized in a great font in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; that one has his son circumcised while some Hebrew words that he does not understand are mumbled over him; still others go to their church with their hats on their heads to await the inspiration of God, and all are content.

Were there only one religion in England, despotism would be a threat; were there two, they would be at each other's throats; but there are thirty, and they live happily and at peace with one another.

From Philosophical Letters: Or, Letters Regarding the English Nation


A 1965 Harris poll showed 57 percent of Americans believed money would be better spent on a less literal moonshot: new water desalination systems. A few years later, in 1967, only 43 percent of the public supported landing a man on the moon, according to another Harris poll. It was popularly referred to as a “moondoggle.”

From “Bernie Sanders Would Have Voted Against the Moon Landing

Tomas Puyeo on “Why Germany Won’t Keep Its Nuclear Plants Open”:

The document explaining Germany’s nuclear position reads as a long list of excuses of why it would be inconvenient to keep nuclear reactors open, forget about reopening old ones.

What is even more interesting is not what’s there, but what’s not there. This is not a cost-benefit analysis. It doesn’t explain the benefits of reopening the reactors, how much money would be saved, how much safer Germany would be, how much more it could defend its neighbors.

When you only pay attention to something’s costs, it means you simply don’t want to do it.

This looks interesting: “Funding for long-term-oriented people and projects”