Author posts

Can the "Lesbian Rule" Fight Weaponized Math?

Reviving the “Lesbian Rule” (which Aristotle wrote about, and was proverbial in Shakespeare's day) can help us handle a new kind of weaponized-math threat (that Cathy O’Neil calls “Weapons of Math Destruction”).

How Stories Configure Human Nature

Any story we tell of our species, any science of human nature, that ignores how important stories are in shaping what and how we think and feel is false. We evolved to be ultra-social (and self-deficient), so we care deeply about character and plot.  

Good Rich vs Bad Rich

Much talk about “the rich” and inequality ignores two key points. 1) Not all inequality is equally bad. 2) The rich are mostly as replaceable as you.

We Should All Be Allergic To This Logic

Are life-saving drugs no different than milk or widgets? Should we treat everything on earth as a profit source? That way mechanized madness lies, whereby "your money or your life" is somehow seen as an acceptable business plan.

Each Of You Is A Multitude, Here's Why

Our picture of life is going through a major shift. Ed Yong's book I Contain Multitudes reveals that a genome generally doesn’t contain all the genes an organism needs. Symbiosis isn’t rare, it's the rule. And we're just the icing on life's vast microbial cake. 

The Four Loves We All Need To Know More About

How we talk about love has become blurry "low resolution language" (it's life-organizing force is often dissipated on trifles). But looking at richer love language can help us improve our aim. And remind us that universal human rights came from a special kind of love that we all need.

 

How Our Minds Were Once Shaped By Poetry

We often now picture our minds in unsound ways. They’re built to resonate to poetry. We’ve all but lost the memory of poetry’s historic role in molding minds (that’s the unsung pretext of Plato’s poetry ban). Poetry is a key cognitive technology , so powerful it was the Internet of its time. 

How the Idea of Happiness Got So Confusing

Happiness has gotten confusing (even puzzling our smartest scientists). “Bentham’s bucket error” is to blame, but "Plato’s Pastry" and a rare case of reality in Freud can help. It's time happiness got less kid-and-id-centirc.

Our Recipe for Science & How Facts Became Facts

The conceptual tools of science had to be painstakingly built. Turns out seemingly self-evident ideas like discovery and facts once weren't so obvious. In The Invention of Science, David Wootton excavates their history. 

Biology's Black Hole Explained?

Nick Lane believes he can explain the "black hole" at the heart of biology. And in the process predict traits that even alien life will have. Here are some amazing facts from biology.

Gaps in the Grammar of the Universe?

All text involves translation. Either from reality or imagination into language, or between languages. Can the language that perfectly fit physics translate every pattern under the sun? Well, nothing in physics chooses...

How Free Can We Be?

Are too many taking liberties with the logic of our freedoms? A smart reassessment of Henry David Thoreau's work spotlights key related issues. 

Video Games = Powerful Emotech

Their hyper-repetitive patterns mean video games vastly outgun older emotech... like movies, or novels. Some emotech helps you be more human. Some reduces your "humanity." We shape our emotech, and then it shape us.

Technomorphic Mental Tools

Technomorphic ideas can alter the rules of our thinking about our thinking — and also show that simple rules can escape physics-like predictability. 

Is Market Love Blind?

Many market lovers hate what their love needs to work. An incomplete logic has them in its spell, blinding them to the fact that “invisible hand” cuts both ways.

Economics Needs 'Inclusive Fitness'

Our unique capacities were created by a major transition in evolution, which built a need for teamwork and inclusive economics deep into our nature. But many economists — quite unnaturally — exclude its logic from their ideas. 

Lessons of Cancer = Evolutionary Civil War

Each day, each of us faces 500 billion opportunities for genetic civil war to break out. Thankfully we've also evolved good ways to police and suppress these rogue parts, their mutinous mutations, and their declarations of independence.