big ideas

NASA chose SpaceX to take humans back to the moon

I just finished reading a book about the early days of SpaceX. The number of times the company came close to death is remarkable. “SpaceX beats out Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics to be the sole provider […]

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The Wolfram Physics Project

One year in, Stephen Wolfram discusses the progress of his project to develop a new fundamental theory of physics. The level of abstraction here is beyond me so I couldn’t get all the way through this. “The way I see […]

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Aircraft carriers take to the air

“Like medieval castles in the age of the cannon, technological advance threatens to make [aircraft carriers] redundant. Satellites and over-the-horizon radars mean pinpointing their locations is easier. And a single well-aimed, well-armed missile may be enough to render a carrier […]

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What is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)?

“It’s produced from sustainable feedstocks and is very similar in its chemistry to traditional fossil jet fuel. Using SAF results in a reduction in carbon emissions compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces over the lifecycle of the fuel.” […]

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Not all early human societies were small-scale egalitarian bands

“A grand research project created our origin myth that early human societies were all egalitarian, mobile and small-scale…” In fact, “Sedentary and hierarchical hunter-gatherers are not unusual. If anything, it’s the profusion of mobile, egalitarian bands that might be the […]

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If aliens exist, here’s how we’ll find them

“Two esteemed astrophysicists peer into the future of space exploration.” This article gets wild somewhere in the middle. The more I encounter the frameworks that space theorists use, like the Kardashev scale, the more they start to seem normal. | learn more

big ideas

Peter Thiel: you are not a lottery ticket

Thiel lays out his 2×2 matrix: pessimist vs optimist, determinate vs indeterminate. It starts out a little obscure, but once he fills in examples it really drives his point home. I found his description of the circular investment flows in […]

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A theory of everything

I only made it about halfway through this interview of Eric Weinstein, but it was quite interesting up until he lost me. “Eric Weinstein is a mathematician with a bold and piercing intelligence, unafraid to explore the biggest questions in […]

big ideas

Pump-free geothermal loops

“[Requiring no power for pumping water down] makes this Eavor-Loop technology a bit of a unicorn. Essentially it’s a low-enthalpy geothermal station that sends fluid through a sealed loop in a way that self-perpetuates without adding any extra energy at […]