In the first half, economist and entrepreneur Andre Eggelletion, co-editor of the Straight Money Analysis newsletter, discussed the economic climate and where it may be heading, as well as investment strategies. He views the stock market as currently overvalued, and in a position for a long overdue correction. "People need to mitigate their risk," he said, "and with the new tax laws coming in, nobody knows...what to expect, what can be deducted, what can't be deducted." Regarding cryptocurrencies, he remarked that "the mania of these markets will be driven by whatever bitcoin does because it is considered the gold standard of all the digital currencies." The crypto markets are largely unregulated, and highly speculative, and investors should only allocate a small portion of their portfolio to them, he advised.
For people in their 20s, just starting to invest, he suggested buying into blue chip stocks, and letting them grow in value over time rather than getting into a pattern of frequent trading. Those in their 30s and 40s, he continued, should take on more risk in order to accrue enough wealth to be able to retire comfortably by the time they get into their 60s. Eggelletion foresees a movement upward for silver soon, as he believes we've reaching a long-term bottom for the commodity.
In the latter half, publisher of Skeptic magazine, and columnist for Scientific American, Michael Shermer, addressed humanity's obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality. He outlined what drives the belief in life-after-death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality by radical life extensionists, and transhumanists. The belief in life-after-death, he explained, is a natural by-product of our brains, which have a large enough cortex to conceive of non-material things like mathematics, love, and the awareness of our own mortality. Because of this, we can contemplate the ideas of a soul, spirit, and afterlife, but it's much harder for humans to comprehend the total nothingness that might accompany death, he noted.
While Shermer contends that an afterlife doesn't exist, he concedes if one does, it would most likely resemble Deepak Chopra's concept of a continuation of consciousness. Those involved in the radical life extension movement treat death as an engineering problem that can be solved, such as through re-programming the genome to not age or degrade. While he's skeptical they can achieve this goal in his lifetime, Shermer said he's "secretly hoping they can do it." Yet, if people start living to be 200 or 300, "what other medical conditions are we going to encounter that we can't even conceive of?" he pondered.