In Defense of Politics

Politics is often considered a dirty word. When something bad happens, we often blame ‘politics’. I don’t think “politics” should be a bad word; rather, I think politics is an important part of human activity, and is very poorly understood. I believe many of our problems stem from bad politics — not from politics itself. Skagit Bridge […]

Programming Isn’t that Complicated

I saw this image recently — it’s meant to explain a basic concept in programming. It comes from an excellent python tutorial site where you can learn to code. Programming is something that sounds mystifying to a lot of people, and I think that’s really unnecessary. Let’s use this image of coffee cups, but expand it a […]

Moral Dilemmas For Your Consideration

Are you bored of the trolley problem? Is it too simple to be of any use in determining what it means to be good? Why not explore some of my nightmares, instead? Each of these scenarios comes from dreams or other hallucinations I have experienced. Many of these nightmares would reoccur until I found a […]

There Is No Other Way

Everything is born in pain that sees the light of day. There is no method without tears; there is no other way. To grow and learn, to empathize, you need to suffer first. Through indignity we recognize the world at its worst. There is no origin without sadness, no birth without its pangs. The anti-matter […]

Try Practicing Error-Aware Thinking

Not accounting for error is a very common error. When I was in Boy Scouts, we had a rule about campgrounds: You had to leave it cleaner than you found it. The rule was not, “Take away all the trash you bring in” — the rule was, “before you leave a site, find any trash and remove it.” […]

An Easter Miracle You Haven’t Considered

Christians all over the world are celebrating Easter today. They believe Jesus died and came back to life three days later. This is the miracle Christians talk about. It’s believed to be central to Christianity — without the resurrection, he’s just Jesus, not Christ. For a long time I didn’t consider myself Christian, because I don’t think […]

Consider Money as a Formal Language

If you want to see what a person values, see where they spend their money. When you give someone money, you are speaking in a mathematical language about what you value. A million bucks is not an easy thing to come by. People don’t hand out a million bucks for nothing. If someone says “I am […]

A Philosophical Shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day

How a materialist agnostic with a firm commitment to science came to find God. St. Patrick is famous for using a Shamrock to explain the Catholic notion of “The Trinity” to the people of Ireland. “God is three persons,” he explained, “but still one God” — using the three-leafed symbol of Ireland as an example. My middle name […]

The Longest Story Tellable in 140 Characters

What’s the longest story you can tell with just 140 Characters? We’ll use “total elapsed seconds” as the measure of the story’s length. A first attempt might be to say, “The earth is 4.5 billion years old.” That’s a lot of seconds! The thing is, that’s not the oldest physical thing there is. Let’s go for […]