We live in a world that's more and more complex. But I'm starting to feel like that's a lesser issue, when compared to the structure of how experts communicate with the public.

So, a basic model would be something like this: Most people learn things about the world accidentally – from someone they know, from something mostly entertaining, from the news. If it isn't something they developed for their occupation, it's unlikely they learned it on purpose. Scholarship simply isn't a particularly popular pastime.

Those cultural artifacts are produced by people who have generally done only one or two steps down the path of learning. Perhaps they found an expert in their address book, called them for short comments to fill in a narrative they had been thinking about. Perhaps they read the Wikipedia page, and even followed a few links. This is pretty lazy scholarship, but is so common it seems important not to avoid saying explicitly: most people "becoming informed" actually consume a product of extremely lazy scholarship. All mainstream news programs fit this description, for instance, although the category is pretty broad.

And at some point, information is generated by actual experts who work in a field. Hopefully it's just one step away from the above, but in practice it can be two or three. When Stephen Colbert wants to talk physics, he's going to interview someone who does not sincerely care about whether the audience has a better understanding after watching. There is a way to discuss physics and give people a better understanding, even without using mathematics (a critical tool in the field) – but if you think that's coming up on a late night show, you're maybe too optimistic for 2018. Hopefully 2019 treats you better.

I recently heard a fiction author I like say he regularly indulges in moderately in-depth reading about specific subjects he thinks are boring-but-important, like elevators. Give it a bit of thought and the need for elevators and the space they take up might be pretty important to how cities got their shape. It can give fiction a sense of realism to deeply understand the world, and not just the people in it. But I think his strategy makes a lot of sense more generally. How else would we contextualize the people?

I've read books on water availability and pricing, nuclear deterrence (written by the person responsible for developing the strategies, not some faux-spy novel – the abundance of fake non-fiction is really weird to me), textbooks on accounting and forensic accounting specifically, a particularly well crafted book on shipping containers (frequently these things can be amazingly dull), and others. I think I may start an unofficial Never Tired book club. Hopefully I can find good books on important subjects.