Of Myopic Postmodernism and Memetic Syncretism A fundamental problem exacerbating the acerbic tone of the culture wars across the West is that in online debates on social media platforms there are no mechanisms to incentivize the voicing of support and agreement. In order to make friends and preserve relationships in our personal lives, it is … Continue reading Diplomacy on the Moral Battlefield
If you’re eating locally for ecological reasons, you’re doing it wrong. If we’re talking about the economic and cultural benefit to local producers and sellers, that is another story. But ecologically, since transport makes up a negligible part of the ecological impact of food (see the chart below), it is better to make use of … Continue reading If you’re eating locally for environmental reasons, you’re doing it wrong
It seems that this may be the year when average people start looking to the skies to see whether we are alone in the universe.. For those who have never been interested in science fiction and whose only conception of aliens has been jokes about little green men, crop circles, and that story your crazy … Continue reading A Quick Intro to Aliens
States of Exception are Exceptions, and Karens are a Necessary Evil As local governments and federal agencies around the US struggle with the contentious question of mask-wearing and the closures of non-essential businesses and venues, it is worthwhile to consider the question of the extent to which these measures violate our rights of freedom of … Continue reading Mask Mandates Violate Our Rights. I Support Them Anyway.
I have now spent nearly 1.5 years in China. I thought it fitting that I take some time to try to remember the things that were shocking to me when I first arrived, before everything becomes normalized to me. You Can Turn Around Wherever the F*** You Want Without question one of the most shocking … Continue reading Peculiarities of China
Marginal Revolution has an interesting discussion on the question here. A highlight: if the average nondemocracy in their sample had transitioned to a democracy its GDP per capita would have increased from $2074 to $2489 in 25 years [...] If we want countries to adopt democracy, twenty percent higher GDP in 25 years is not … Continue reading Alex Tabarrok on “Is Democracy Doomed?”
The way in which the issue of GMOs is framed drastically influences opinions on the subject. If we take GMOs broadly to mean their common implementation in the context of corporatized, chemical-heavy, monocultured agribusiness, few people are strongly in favor of these systems. However, if we take GMOs narrowly to mean the simple fact of … Continue reading The Irrationality of GMO Opposition
“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” - Daniel Patrick Moynihan I was speaking today [caveat: I wrote this last year] with my French father-in-law about the recent … Continue reading Changing Culture
I recently engaged in the following conversation about the nature of stories and truth. Others' comments in quotes, mine unquoted. All have been edited for readability and style. "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story" I strongly dislike this idea. Reality is enchanting and amazing. Things happen in history and … Continue reading Stories and Truth – a Rivalry?
What are Deepfakes? Fake videos that are too good for most people to tell apart from the real thing. These have long been used for entertainment, but it is clear the dangers that these can pose to the political and informational system. Unfortunately, we have to start treating videos with as much skepticism as we … Continue reading The Challenge of Deepfakes and the Need for Institutions