Quarterly Update Q4 2022
Welcome to the quarterly update on the topics we’ve touched in Uncharted Territories! Today you’ll hear updates on:
Republicans did die more from COVID
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Cultural effects of fertility
Market turmoil was predictable
Cities make you nicer
How to open people up, fast
Inspiring literary figures
How remote work is evolving
For premium customers only:
Twitter as a world brain
Plastic pollution: debunking some myths
How the news is playing you, and how to avoid it
The drivers of global growth, and the role of laziness
The role of the Mississippi is still enormous
Updates on Ethiopia’s civil war
The Spanish Reconquista shows up in DNA
England’s center of gravity during the Viking Age
Also, I’m a bit late on articles. I’ll catch up this week.
Germany ended up keeping the three nuclear reactors open. Huge victory!
In Why Germany Won’t Keep Its Nuclear Plants Open, I explained why the German excuses to justify the shutdown of the three remaining nuclear reactors were bollocks. I simply read the official position of the Ministry of Energy, Environment, and Economy, and could identify key failures: None of the arguments stood up to scrutiny, and the paper was biased because it only looked at the costs of nuclear and not its benefits.
Now, the German newspaper Die Welt has reviewed 166 documents and found the exact same thing:
Thankfully, data and reason have prevailed.
Republicans Did Die More
I wrote Coronavirus: Out of Many, One on Apr 2, 2020. The Republicans had not yet taken the full COVID denial position, but I saw it coming. I tried to influence their direction by alerting them that more Republicans would die of COVID than Democrats, simply because Republicans were on average older.
They didn’t pay attention. Now the bill came due and, indeed, more Republicans have died. But not just a few more. A LOT more: precisely 2.5 times as many. Obviously, the bigger impact was not age, but simple denial.
Here’s the paper with the data.
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
We’re not back to where we were before the war, but things are going in the right direction. Hopefully, we will get there soon.
I’ve long said that there was no turning back from remote work, even if some people will go back to the office, lured by older and previously successful managers.
Indeed, offices remain completely empty in San Francisco:
Also, we now know that remote workers work more hours, have more leisure, and sleep more:
64% of US workers say they would consider looking for a new job if they were asked to go back to the office.
45% of US workers work hybrid or fully remote.
35% of the commute time saved is spent working.
Also, sleeping more reduces diseases, so remote workers might be healthier and age more slowly, unless sedentarism takes an even bigger toll.
This is not just a US phenomenon. Between 20% and 40% of work time of highly-educated people across the world is spent working remotely.
The pieces of remote work were there before the pandemic struck, but we didn’t realize how good it could be. 56% of people were pleasantly surprised with remote work, and only about 12% were negatively surprised. Among those hugely surprised, there were 6x more people positively surprised than negatively.