On August 31, 2015, The Rational Argumentator celebrates a successful end to its thirteenth year of existence. While TRA’s visitation is still recovering from the Yahoo-initiated closure of Yahoo! Voices in 2014, publication activity continues to be abundant. With the addition of Wendy Stolyarov as an Assistant Editor, more rapid and efficient publication of articles is now possible and has been ongoing for several months. As always, TRA continues to emphasize quality of content to set itself apart as a bastion of high intellectualism and thoughtful discourse that resists both information overload and the dumbing-down effects of the “bite-sized” media culture.
Total thirteenth-year visitation for all TRA features was 892,082 page views – compared to 1,430,226 page views during the twelfth year. The 37.6% decline in visitation is explained by the unfortunate closure of Yahoo! Voices (formerly Associated Content) in July 2014, which eliminated a popular channel through which TRA content was previously accessed and read. However, the milestone of 9 million cumulative views was still exceeded during TRA’s thirteenth year. TRA’s lifetime visitation stands at 9,068,668 page views. I am hopeful that, during TRA’s fourteenth year of operation, the 10-million-view threshold will be exceeded due to an increase to visits directly to The Rational Argumentator’s domain. TRA’s thirteenth year was marked by the publication of 228 regular features, compared to 314 regular features published during the twelfth year, 208 regular features published during the eleventh year, and 306 features published during the tenth year.
Growth in special features has also occurred during the thirteenth year, including special pages dedicated to new Minecraft skyscrapers, The Actuary’s Free, Open-Source Study Guide for SOA Exam GIADV: Advanced Topics in General Insurance (the only study guide for this exam known to me to exist at this time), and six of my new musical compositions. Furthermore, all of my past musical compositions have been remastered and are now available on YouTube in a playlist where they can be listed to in chronological order of their composition, accompanied by my works of fractal art or other inspiring imagery. Listeners can now conveniently hear all 82 of my compositions to date from one convenient location, with automatic transitions between individual works.
A significant innovation in TRA’s outreach activities occurred in 2015 in the form of new video panel discussions held via Google Hangouts on Air, where I recorded conversations with a variety of philosophers, technologists, and futurists – including Demian Zivkovic, Peter Rothman, Kyrel Zantonavitch, Franco Cortese (here and here), Adam Alonzi (here and here) and also facilitated discussions among multiple guests regarding how to accelerate technological progress and how to encourage more people to become techno-optimists. A major public-relations success, facilitated by the same means, was the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE) Demonstration of March 21, 2015, of which I and Wendy Stolyarov hosted the first three-hour segment.
The spread of my most famous work, Death is Wrong, has continued. This children’s book on indefinite life extension, illustrated by Wendy Stolyarov, is now available in four languages: English, Russian, Spanish, and French. The French Edition of Death is Wrong – La mort, c’est mal! – was published in May 2015 and was made possible due to the generous translation efforts of Philippe Castonguay. We continue to welcome and greatly appreciate any volunteer efforts to translate this vitally important book into as many languages as possible. Since Death is Wrong was made available as a free PDF download, a total of 3,440 copies have been downloaded from TRA directly – and likely, many more have been downloaded from external file-sharing sites to whose data I do not have access. As a result, the electronic versions of the book have now reached over three times more people than the 1,029 paperback copies that were shipped for distribution to children in 14 countries in 2014. I am pleased by this impact, but wish to see it continue and expand by orders of magnitude. The more awareness there is of the feasibility and desirability of reversing senescence and greatly reducing the probability of involuntary death, the more likely the majority of people will recognize the imperative of greatly accelerating technological progress in our lifetimes.
As TRA enters into its fourteenth year, it will continue to be characterized by the quest for permanence and the expansion of its voluminous content base through the publication of additional thoughtful and thought-provoking features. The promotion of individual liberty, rational philosophy, indefinite life extension, and uplifting esthetics will remain hallmarks of TRA’s mission and output. We will continue to exert a positive, enlightening influence on cultural and political discourse, while always adhering to the high standards and unyielding moral principles that have enabled TRA to endure while short-term-oriented publications have faltered. The Rational Argumentator is now among the oldest extant Internet-only publications, and it shall long outlive many of its more ephemeral counterparts.