If a meteor killed all humans and destroyed most of civilization, what would a curious alien find? Most likely they would discover a cell phone screen here, a half-sneaker there, and some bits of a gun over there — all traces of modern civilization. The odds that aliens would ever…

What’s a Roman centurion doing all the way up north in England?

Why are countries in colder climates more successful than warmer ones? The French philosopher Montesquieu answered this question back in 1725:

cold air constricts the extremities of the external fibres of the body; this increases their elasticity, and favours the return of the blood from the extreme parts to the…

How Underemployment Will Define the 21st Century

Scene from Office Space (1999)

Wouldn’t it make sense to celebrate unemployment instead of wringing our hands about job loss numbers? It’s a counterintuitive and possibly offensive thought, but only because of our collective misunderstanding about the true nature of work in America.

Who is actually working in America?

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez likes to bring up the single mom working two…

Michael Angelo’s “The Creation of Adam”

The easiest wins in spirituality are origin stories. There is something incredibly satisfying about the idea that we were created in “His image.” For an atheist, though, there isn’t an obvious parallel, except in evolution. …

Edison holding a lightbulb
Edison holding a lightbulb

We forget that for most of human history, innovation didn’t come from free markets, but from whatever was the closest largesse, whether it was for the glory of the Crown or Church, or sponsored by a local warlord or rich patron. …

Stack of books with a hole arranged in it
Photo by Fallon Michael on Unsplash

Self-help books represent the next step in the evolution of our collective consciousness. It might sound like a stretch, but if we consider that religion was once how society told its story to itself, then the recent erosion of religion is creating a new kind of story.


Believers often defend…

A painting of a Titanomachy (i.e. clash of titans)

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme” — unknown

Both conspiracy theorists and Marxists share a flawed viewed of history, of “us versus them.” Conspiracy theorists see a world run by a “secret cabal” and Marxists see one run by resource and labor exploiters. But they’re both saying the…

Upside-down photograph of San Francisco’s skyline

How startup and tech splurging has changed America

If the 1980s saw the advent of trickle-down economics, the 2020s are witnessing the dawn of flush-down economics. As the coronavirus crisis is making clear, Americans are becoming more dependent on freebies subsidized by venture capitalists and investors. If you’re using Zoom for free, if you have a free subscription…

Democratizing the stock market sounds good in theory

Bold, animation that says NOW, YOU, CAN, INVEST
Landing page for Square’s Cash App, a Robinhood copycat

Since the coronavirus crisis sent markets into a tumble, I’ve received frantic phone calls from friends looking for stock tips. And I don’t blame them. As Baron Rothschild once said, “The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.” But the real opportunity isn’t for people like me…

Photo of helicopter against white sky by Daniel Klein on Unsplash

We make fun of helicopter parenting without realizing that it’s largely what makes us human. One of the hallmark features of the human species is the length of time we spend taking care of our young. If we are outliers in this regard, that means we are descended from a…

Philip Dhingra

Author of Dear Hannah, a cautionary tale about self-improvement. Learn more: philipkd.com

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