Dr. Albert A. Bartlett’s presentation on “Arithmetic, Population, and Energy.”

I intensely dislike when they say “the most important… whatever” yet this is a good enough, entertaining lecture that I’d like to post it for you, my reader. This is part 1 of an 8-part (80 minutes total) lecture on how exponential growth works, what rule 72 is, and some good rules of thumb about doubling that help you figure growth rates (think inflation, really) and the associated imminent dangers. Overall, a good read! Credit where it’s due, this was indirectly referenced by r/superstonk .

The main points are:

  • that at 7% growth rate (hey, what’s your student loan APR?), something doubles every 10 years.
  • At each iteration, you consume/generate more than the sum of what’s been generated/consumed historically until now.
  • With unconstrained exponential growth, you have “abundance” of resources, e.g. half of all available resources, one iteration before the whole resource is depleted. In other words, without arithmetic and preemptive thinking, you don’t realize there is a problem until it’s too late.


To read: Capital in the Twenty-First Century

A modern book describing why the rich get richer, and how that’s build into the fabric of our society.

I noticed this book because on Amazon, a while ago, it had the most polarized reviews. There were a lot of 5-stars, and a lot of 1-stars (possibly by bots). Someone might have had an interest in not having this information publicly & widely spread to the consumer. I’ve found the book very interesting and informative – I agree with everything it says. This was required reading for me.