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Physical Attraction

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Jan 1, 2019

Hello, and welcome to this episode of Physical Attraction. In this episode, I interview Karin Kuhlemann on the subject of population.
We touched on this briefly during the TEOTWAWKI specials, particularly in relation to the ancient ideas of Malthus - that famine might "correct" natural excesses of human population in due course. In that case, a technological fix in the form of agricultural and green revolutions allowed the Earth to support many times more people. But how sustainable is this? And, if you decide that the world is overpopulated, and there aren't enough natural resources to allow everyone to live fulfilling lives, what could we do to change this situation? Whenever I read any article about the environment, people in the comments section are often quick to blame "overpopulation" rather than "overconsumption", but seldom suggest any solutions that aren't utterly terrifying.

So all this means we have an interesting interview in store today. Karin Kuhlemann is a PhD candidate at the UCL Department of Political Theory and a practicing lawyer specialised in public, financial services and regulatory law. In the course of her PhD, she's published several articles in both the academic and popular press, and they're all well-worth reading: in this interview we particularly refer to "Any size population will do? The fallacy of aiming for stabilization of human numbers", but you can find several of them at

Thanks for listening to this episode of Physical Attraction. I think this topic is a truly important one to debate, even though it's incredibly complex and prone to all kinds of misunderstandings and moral hazards, emphasising one argument over another too much. Sometimes, dealing with humanity's problems isn't always easy: it requires difficult conversations. But if you'd like to be part of that conversation, there are plenty of ways you can get in touch to discuss this or any of our episodes - you can contact us via the form at, you can contact us on Twitter @physicspod or Facebook at the Physical Attraction page.

Soon, we'll be launching our series on nuclear fusion. I'm going through some very busy weeks at the start of this year, so it's possible that I might have to duck out for the odd week, but rest assured - there are enough scripts written for us to keep doing shows way into 2019, and I'm not done writing yet. So stick around, and we'll explore all kinds of things in the world of physics and beyond!

Until next time, be kind to each other.