The Rational Argumentator marks its 12-year anniversary on August 31, 2014. This publication has now reached a venerable age by Internet standards, and its impact only continues to grow. I am pleased to announce that TRA’s trajectory has followed closely the aspirations expressed in the Eleventh Anniversary Manifesto, with many milestones reached and many vital projects completed. There is no doubt in my mind that TRA’s twelfth year was its best so far. Despite the turmoil in the world, The Rational Argumentator has stood firm in its efforts to champion a better way – a path of rationality, individual freedom, and technological progress – in a resolute rejection of the barbaric methods and short-sighted goals of certain “world leaders” today. To memorialize TRA’s unwavering commitment to the improvement of the human condition over the past dozen years, I have added to its header the words “Championing Reason, Rights, and Progress Since 2002”.
Total twelfth-year visitation for all TRA features was 1,430,226 page views – a record high and a significant 32.77% increase over the eleventh-year visitation of 1,077,192 page views. The previous record year for visitation was the ninth year, which brought 1,398,438 page views, and the twelfth year exceeded this amount by 2.27%. TRA’s lifetime visitation stands at 8,176,586 page views. 314 new regular TRA features were published in 2014, in addition to many special features, some of which amount to hundreds of pages of reading. This has been a major increase from the 208 features published during TRA’s eleventh year and even the 306 features published during TRA’s tenth year. In addition to increasing my own content production, I have restored to typical historical levels TRA’s practice of republishing thoughtful works by other authors.
Unprecedented public exposure and reach has been achieved by means of my children’s book Death is Wrong, illustrated by the wonderful Wendy Stolyarov. With tremendous support from the life-extensionist/transhumanist movement, The Rational Argumentator served as the hub for a massive fundraising and book-distribution effort to spread 1,029 free paperback copies of Death is Wrong to children in 14 countries. 92 generous donors and 50 activists throughout the world made this effort possible. Our Indiegogo fundraiser was successfully completed on April 23, 2014, and all 1,029 books were sent out as of August 7, 2014. Communities such as MILE – the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension, LongeCity, and the Life Extension Foundation were crucial in spreading the word about this effort and facilitating widespread awareness of our goal and its importance. For a great example of the outpouring of pro bono support motivated by Death is Wrong, watch this Book Trailer video, masterfully created by Peter Caramico of LongeCity. Death is Wrong has been featured by Fast Company, Mashable, Psychology Today, the BBC, TheBlaze, VICE Motherboard, Slashdot, and other prominent publications. This has enabled many more people to become aware of the feasibility and desirability of pursuing indefinite life extension in our lifetimes. As a side benefit, it has also brought more visitation to The Rational Argumentator.
In an effort to maximize the spread of Death is Wrong, after the conclusion of the distribution of paperback books, I took the next step of making the electronic editions of the book – available in English, Russian, and Spanish – freely downloadable in PDF format. Thus far, over 1,216 copies have been downloaded directly from The Rational Argumentator, and the files have spread to many external sites as well. This has essentially more than doubled the spread of the book’s message since the completion of the paperback-distribution campaign. In the meantime, another freely available work of mine, Eden against the Colossus – which I republished in January 2013, has already been downloaded over 3,300 times. My strategy of making my works as easy to obtain as possible has certainly gone a long way toward ensuring that their message continues to influence the world to the maximal realistic extent.
Overall, my efforts to make my past writings available for free download directly from The Rational Argumentator’s domain have been successfully completed. In addition to the most up-to-date and thorough Third Edition of A Rational Cosmology, released in September 2013, nearly all of my older musical compositions have been remastered, and free MP3 files of the remastered versions have been made available on this page. I hope to continue to gradually release music videos of each of my compositions, accompanied by my works of fractal art. 47 videos are available already, out of 76 total videos that could be made for each of my extant compositions.
An added impetus to the project to host all of my works on The Rational Argumentator was given in July 2014, with the announcement by Yahoo! of the abrupt forthcoming closure of Yahoo! Voices (formerly Associated Content), where I had published 1,321 features since 2007 and where my works had garnered 3,190,261 page views. Yahoo’s mismanagement of Associated Content since its 2010 acquisition had made the site distinctly less appealing for original, intellectual contributors. Most of my spare time in July 2014 was spent on rescuing my previously published articles – including many sections of educational study guides – to ensure their continued availability directly on The Rational Argumentator. While I will no longer receive revenue from the page views on these works, I am happy that they have not been lost to the world due to Yahoo’s disastrous decision. Many articles were republished as new features on The Rational Argumentator. Some articles were also placed in my archive page of selected writings from Associated Content/Yahoo! Voices. Every single study guide in my Free Tools for Rational Education section – including my widely utilized actuarial study guides – is now available either in a conveniently downloadable PDF format or (for smaller study guides) in the form of multiple interconnected HTML pages.
Through repeated content-rescue efforts since 2009, I have learned my lesson: always host my own material myself, if I wish to see it preserved indefinitely. Almost every single large, commercial content site on which I published in the past, or which I attempted to use to earn modest revenue streams from my content, is now defunct. Geocities, Helium.com, Today.com, Adbrite, Associated Content, and Yahoo! Voices are all gone; The Rational Argumentator has outlasted them all. The Rational Argumentator will continue to outlast any sites that are driven by a short-termist mentality of sacrificing quality of content to the quarterly bottom line. This is because The Rational Argumentator is motivated by my quest for permanence – in knowledge, in achievement, in existence itself. As long as I live (which I hope will be indefinitely), so shall The Rational Argumentator persist.