• Congratulations! The world population is about to reach eight billion, according to a United Nations report released this week. The report reads:

Today, the world’s population is more than three times larger than it was in the mid-twentieth century. The global human population will reach 8.0 billion in mid-November 2022 from an estimated 2.5 billion people in 1950, adding 1 billion people since 2010 and 2 billion since 1998. It took around 37 years since 1950 for human numbers to double, surpassing 5 billion inhabitants in 1987. Thereafter, it is estimated that more than 70 years will be required for the global population to double again, rising to over 10 billion by 2059.

What about concerns that the world population is shrinking because more people are dying than others are born? The report says that the global population is still growing, but at a reduced rate:

In 2020, and for the first time since 1950, the rate of population growth fell below 1 percent per year and it is projected to continue to slow in the next few decades and through the end of this century … The global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, and add 1.18 billion in the following two decades, reaching 9.7 billion in 2050.

Also, the world has slightly more men (50.3%) than women (49.7%) in 2022 (that explains a lot). But worry not, the report projects that the number of women will equal the number of men by 2050.

  • Elon Musk, supposedly the wealthiest of all eight billion of us, has been warning that declining birth rates are the “biggest danger civilization faces by far” and urging people on Twitter to have “big families” like him. Arwa Mahdawi of the Guardian asks Musk: Who’s going to pay for all these children?

When you’re worth approximately $237bn (£200bn), the cost of supporting your family probably doesn’t keep you up at night. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice anything when it comes to your day job; multiple kids are a lot easier to manage when you don’t have to give birth yourself and you can pay other people to look after them. Of course, most of us are not worth $237bn, and the astronomical costs of childcare – not to mention the ridiculous costs of just giving birth in the US – mean that kids have become something of a luxury. Nearly three in five millennials without children say they don’t have them because it is too expensive to raise them, according to a 2020 study.

If Musk really wanted to do something about declining birth rates he might want to think about using his considerable influence to lobby for more family-friendly government policies and a solution to the shocking maternal mortality rate in the US. He might want to think about setting an example and pushing to pay more tax to help support state-subsidised childcare (similar could be said for [Boris] Johnson, whose only proposed solution to the UK’s childcare crisis was, “more Tumble Tots”). 

  • Speaking of birth and mortality, if you think that exercise can make up for your poor diet or that a healthy diet can substitute for your lack of exercise, then you’re wrong, according to a new study. “Contrary to popular belief, you can’t outrun the toll of a poor diet — and healthy eating, on its own, won’t ward off disease,” writes Dani Blum for the New York Times, adding:

These findings underscore what many doctors have seen in practice, said Dr. Tamanna Singh, co-director of the Sports Cardiology Center at Cleveland Clinic who was not involved with the study. For instance, she said, there are many components of heart health, and “optimizing one thing is not going to necessarily improve your cardiovascular risk.”

She sees patients who classify themselves as amateur or professional athletes and are shocked when they suffer cardiovascular events, she said, without considering their diet. “Often they’ll come to me after an event and say, ‘I work out so much. Why did I have a heart attack?’”

On the flip side, even those with the most nutritious diets in the study saw considerably worse outcomes without some form of regular fitness regimen.

  • A key factor for your health and longevity is actually spirituality, according to researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This is from a summary of the study in Neuroscience News:

[The experts] noted that for healthy people, spiritual community participation–as exemplified by religious service attendance – is associated with healthier lives, including greater longevity, less depression and suicide, and less substance use. For many patients, spirituality is important and influences key outcomes in illness, such as quality of life and medical care decisions.

Consensus implications included incorporating considerations of spirituality as part of patient-centered health care and increasing awareness among clinicians and health professionals about the protective benefits of spiritual community participation.  

  • Millennials have had it with corporate jobs. They’re quitting their jobs and never coming back. This TikTok user, who uses the moniker “Corporate Quitter,” is emerging as the voice of a generation (check out the many supportive comments on her video):
  • As if the images that NASA revealed this week from the James Webb Space Telescope weren’t mind-blowing enough, scientists are also saying they picked up radio signals from a galaxy billions of light-years from Earth. Ayana Archie reports for NPR:

Scientists have not been able to pinpoint the exact location of the radio waves yet, but suspect the source could be neutron stars, which are made from collapsed cores of giant stars.

The signals have been occurring steadily and last up to three seconds, researchers say. Most fast radio bursts, or FRBs, only last a few milliseconds.

“Within this window, the team detected bursts of radio waves that repeat every 0.2 seconds in a clear periodic pattern, similar to a beating heart,” MIT said in a statement.

  • Apropos the James Webb Telescope, here’s this week’s meme:
  • This is extremely disturbing:
  • Also disturbing: Hermès is planning to open two stores in Williamsburg, New York. I know it makes sense, but as a resident of the neighborhood for seven years, I’m well aware of how things can always get worse. Kellie Ell broke the news for Women’s Wear Daily (WWD):

Executives at L3 Capital wouldn’t comment on details, such as annual rent prices, surrounding Hermès’ move to the borough. But a source close to the matter said there will be a temporary pop-up in Williamsburg in 2023’s first quarter, followed by a permanent flagship in the same neighborhood in 2026.

The long-term pop-up — at 91 North Sixth Street in Brooklyn — marks the first time Hermès has taken up residence in Brooklyn for an extended period of time. (Hermès currently has three stores in Manhattan.) The 5,400-square-foot, two-story Brooklyn space, which is owned by L3, will be located in the heart of Williamsburg’s shopping area, near the likes of Nike, Madewell and Urban Outfitters. 

Sources said Hermès will remain in the temporary space for roughly two years. Around the same time, construction on the 8,500-square-foot permanent store — also in Williamsburg, a few doors down at 111 North Sixth Street — is likely to be complete. (Birkenstock currently occupies that single-story space.) According to L3’s website, the real estate firm acquired both locations in 2015, as part of its broader North Sixth and North Seventh Streets portfolio, and later recapitalized in 2019.

  • And finally, that’s how you do it. Look and learn, New York:

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

Editor’s Note, 7/14/2022, 10:40pm EDT: In a previous version of this roundup, I characterized the TikToker Corporate Quitter” (her first name is Gabby) and her audience as Gen Zers. After the article was published, Gabby clarified to me in an email she and a large segment of her audience are actually millennials. My apologies for that.    

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Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...

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