What Critical Mass is all about
Reflections after three months. What would you like to see?
I started Critical Mass in March as an experimental opportunity to create a comprehensive publishing site for both our Origins Project podcasts, and also to experiment with new ways of ways of reaching people on issues of culture, current events, and science. I had published for a variety of other mainstream media outlets over the past year, including The Wall St. Journal, Quillette, Prospect Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, and I appreciate their cooperation, but I wanted to try to move beyond legacy media and take some more control of publishing, to see what was possible.
Substack has provided guidance and support, as well as constant encouragement to try new things. These include my new “Current Events with..” videos, for example, as well as video dialogues we are planning to have with various others of interest. I am free to write on subjects that are less likely to make it into legacy media, and this freedom has motivated me to branch out in my writing. Topics from the travesty that is DEI in Universities, to even weighing in on the abortion debate are both areas, for example, where I would have been unlikely to speak freely elsewhere, and I have appreciated the reader responses. Writing down my thoughts as my mother lay dying was cathartic for me, and I probably wouldn’t have published it were it not for the opportunity on Critical Mass, but I was touched to see how many people responded thoughtfully, and was convinced in the end that that piece, which I was torn about releasing, was likely to help others.
Substack encouraged me to promote interesting sources of information for the public, and this has led to my once-a-month pieces listing articles about interesting science from around the world. Once again the reaction has been very positive. I
In addition, the possibility of contributions from others who have things to say, but perhaps not an appropriate outlet, is exciting. I hope as time goes on to build a cadre of regular contributors who can further broaden the site.
Another area I hope to explore is periodic science tutorials, either written or by video. I have tried this periodically on my Youtube channel in the past, and hope to try some of this again.
I am hoping readers will write to me with suggestions of things they would like to read or watch. Especially things they cannot get easily elsewhere on the web.
Finally, some people have written in to me in questioning the need for a paywall on some pieces. First and foremost, the substack site provides support for our non-profit foundation, The Origins Project Foundation. Producing podcasts regularly costs more than we get back from our various sources of monetization. In addition, we are having our first public events in November, and if funding allows, will continue to produce these events. In addition, by choosing to publish directly, I decided to forego the publishing fees I might receive from legacy media sites.
Ultimately of course I am hoping people are willing to financially support Critical Mass not just because they believe in what the foundation is doing, but also because they find they are getting real value from this site. With your assistance, I can try and make sure this continues to be the case.
Thanks for your support. I have made a commitment to following through and building this new site over the coming year, and will almost exclusively publish here during that time. With your support and feedback I hope to make it an inspiring and useful go-to resource for as many people as possible.