Bizarro Post: An Argument For Fewer Scientists

In a Bizzaro Post, I take up a position that is the complete opposite of my regular one, and argue for it in good faith.  Normal Jordan believes that we need more scientists; Bizarro Jordan will argue in this post that we need fewer.

To begin, it’s critical to acknowledge that we’re aiming at the same target — we all want to positively influence the rate and direction of scientific activity.  We want more inventions, better inventions, and we want them faster.

Normal Jordan’s solution would be to throw as many PhDs at the problem as possible.  On the surface, this sounds right: more scientists should lead to more inventions, even the really important tail ones.

However, there is one glaring problem with this argument: it is not costless.Read More »

Will We Ever Witness the Death of Distance?

“The death of distance” is the phenomenon by which more and more activities can be performed remotely, by grace of technology (e.g., phone, internet).  We care about whether this happens, and how fast, because it has serious consequences for social welfare.  There are mundane advantages, like saving the commute by working at home, and more extraordinary ones, like enabling shared experiences across continents.

At the advent of the internet, writers commonly predicted the death of distance – that the internet would almost completely obviate the need to meet in person for a large variety of purposes (mostly work).  Despite the consistent climb in its speed and functionality, though, the internet has not yet delivered on that promise.  This begs the title question: will we ever witness the true death of distance?

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