The Structure of a Space Corps

There’s been a lot of breathless coverage of the surprise United States Space Corps being all of the sudden. Here’s a brief listing of links: Ars Technica Russia Today Space News The Independent Really, I could go on for a while, but you get the idea. But the most interesting of the pieces, was this one in the National Interest: Against An Air Force Space Corps: Space Belongs to the Navy! The Air Force is fighting legislation directing it to create a “Space Corps” to better specialize and prepare for conflicts in space. They are absolutely correct in doing so,

Population Dynamics for a Better Future

Understanding human population growth is important to policymakers for a variety of reasons. As a society, we need to be clear about both our long-term plans and our long-term needs. For instance, if a society is going to double in size every 50 years or so, then we need to make sure we have the capacity to produce the resources necessary to support that every 50. Hans Rosling was a Swedish demographer who just recently died, but he’d done quite a bit of work in the area. For instance, he gave a TED talk showing not just how the population

The Fish Bowl

Purveyors of various Malthusian models like to compare the Earth and its population of humans to a pond and a population of fish. As we all know, a pond of a given size will really only support at most a fixed number of fish. The fish pond is an important model. I often use a fishpond, fixed by logistic growth, as an example in precalculus. I even used a dynamic two species version to demonstrate differential equations in Computational Methods for Numerical Analysis with R. But the logical jump to humans isn’t that simple. Allow me to explain. First, the

Adam Gopnik Needs to Get Real

Adam Gopnik has a strange essay in The New Yorker, suggesting that the confluence of unusual events confirms the simulation hypothesis. Specifically, the results from the Oscars, the Super Bowl, and 2016 Election confirm a “glitch in the matrix” has occurred: Did the Oscars Just Prove That We Are Living in a Computer Simulation? Last night’s Oscar bizarreness was not just bizarre but bizarre in a way that is typical of this entirely bizarre time. The rhythm of the yes-they-won-oh-my-God-no-they-didn’t event, with “La La Land” replaced by “Moonlight” as Best Picture, was weirdly like that of . . . Election