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Latest Posts

A Piece Of Wilderness For All? About Our Planet’s Population

Last summer, my wife Greta and I spent a glorious week with old friends in a lovely home on the coast of Maine, immersed in wilderness and beautiful isolation. Isn’t it just wonderful?

Yet a home like this is completely out of reach for the vast majority of the world’s population, isn’t it? Even if everyone could afford such a place, there simply isn’t enough land on the planet to house everyone in such luxury, right? Maybe not. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Daily Monthly*

Population Growth Is Dependent Upon Nutrition

Population increases when the birthrate exceeds the death rate, and decreases when the reverse occurs. So what does the world look like when there are too many people?

One way to approach this question is to consider what the limiting factors in population are. When, exactly, does the death rate exceed the birthrate? A key consideration is mortality. If people live shorter lives, the death rate goes up, and population goes down (or at least grows more slowly). What causes mortality to increase? Obviously things like wars, pandemics, and famines have an impact, but economist Robert Fogel argues that these are actually a relatively small part of the global mortality picture. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Daily Monthly*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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