Miscellaneous Musings of Luke Shors

“Where the telescope ends the microscope begins, and who can say which has the wider vision?” - Victor Hugo


Report to SHIELD: Addressing the Thanos Threat through Girls Education

Updated: May 17, 2019

Insight Consulting Group (ICG) is pleased to present the following task order response as part of our Omnibus Contract with SHIELD. Attached is our response to the task order query - The Thanos Threat: Which Avenger to Send When All Else Fails? We at ICG recognize the severity of the Thanos situation and the unstoppable force he could become if he obtains all of the infinity stones. Clearly prevention of him obtaining these stones is paramount however we also must be prepared for the worst.

As our proposal makes clear, we believe that the SHIELD red button carried by Agent Fury should call none other than Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel’s powers make her a formidable opponent. However as our attached report makes clear, it is not just her flying power coupled with her ability to shoot energy from her hands that make her the right choice - indeed Iron Man has these abilities in spades. No, it is also her potential to be a goodwill ambassador to Thanos and get him see what he really needs to do: Support girls education and invest in primary health care.

Let’s step back and think about Thanos’ stated purpose: to reduce the universe’s population explosion which he sees as resulting in total calamity in the absence of preventative action. His approach for dealing with the population problem? Randomly culling one-half of all sentient life using the Infinity Stones based on literally (and not just proverbially) snapping his fingers.

Despite his martial power, ICG believes Thanos is very ignorant on the history of Malthusian Theory and why in fact, we do not see true exponential increases in galactic population. This lack of basic knowledge on Charles Malthus and his many critics has lead Thanos to the erroneous conclusion that the only way to address population growth is with the Infinity Stones. He seems, for instance, not to recognize that his solution of halving the universe’s population will only be a band aid solution for a few generations as the basic drivers of growth will remain unchanged - high fertility rates. In fact, in a systems feedback, culling half of the universe's population may actually trigger a system feedback that results in increased population growth.

As work by UNICEF, Save the Children and others have demonstrated, the real long term solution is Girls Education. Educated girls delay pregnancy, have more power in negotiating birth control with partners, and practice birth spacing. Additionally, with investments in primary health care - particularly focusing on under 5 child mortality, women choose to have fewer children. Thanos may be surprised to learn that reducing under 5 child mortality leads to slower population growth. Indeed that seems to fly in the face of logic. Yet as families become more confident that their children will survive, they choose to have fewer offspring - thus reducing population growth to sustainable levels.

In countries such as Japan and Italy now we see negative population growth - and that didn’t require culling populations through infinity stones - just sensible policy and programs. At ICG, we believe Captain Marvel can deliver this message to Thanos (unlike Iron Man who tends to be arrogant and cantankerous). It is an evidence-based approach he will surely see the merits of. Maybe he would even be willing to be a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. And if he doesn’t at least she has her laser energy to try to blast him. Gamora would also be a good choice and that option is detailed on pg. 27.

The following report makes the case for Captain Marvel as Earth’s Ambassador to Thanos in more detail through the use of graphs, figures and jargon-free prose.

Thank you.

Jonathan Remose

Lead Intergalactic Consultant, ICG


About Me

"Not all those who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkinn

I think of myself (as well as aspire to be) a curious person. Curious in a book store, but also curious exploring a new city or meeting a new person. Curious in planned and unplanned moments. In an era where knowledge about the world is both vast and deep, curiosity occasionally strikes me as anathema to expertise. Or, more accurately, if you are curious, best to be curious about some very specific topic. But so far at least, that does not seem to be my path. My professional work is orientated towards start ups as well as international development.

In 2019 I decided to make a more concerted effort to write - hence this site. My blog focuses on science and technology, health research and education. My fiction is of the speculative variety - Science fiction that uses scientific ideas to explore human experiences. Thanks for reading!

People Walking


University of Iowa, BA Philosophy (2000)

Johns Hopkins, MPH (2005)

Johns Hopkins, MBA (2005)

Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed.D. (2017)


©2018 by Dr. Luke Shors