Category Thought Exercise

Threats to Democracy

We tend to think of democracy as an inevitability. Indeed, Violet Brown, the current oldest person alive, was born in 1900, 124 years after the establishment of democracy in the US. Even my host country, South Korea, has been democratic longer than my sister has been alive. However, our current wave of democracy is only […]

The Saturn Five Rocket and Human Suffering

Look upon the Saturn V rocket. It is 110.6 meters tall, taller than the Statue of Liberty. It’s 10 meters in diameter, weighs nearly 3 million kilograms and cost 700 million dollars in today’s money. The first stage of this rocket created more than 3.4 million kilograms of thrust and consumed 2.3 million kilograms of […]

Politicians > Military Leaders > Businessmen, Really?

  Between Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Han Fei-tzu and my rapidly worsening podcast addiction, I’ve been learning an awful lot about ancient history recently. One of the themes I’ve kept running across is this pattern where good politicians seem to be much more important and much more powerful than generals or […]

Beyond Christianity, Part 2

A friend on Facebook recently posted a Fox News video about “liberal agitators” at a Trump rally. Being that this was from Fox News, the agitators they chose to show were not particularly articulate. I was milliseconds away from forgetting all about it until I saw this comment beneath the video: “They’re being paid to […]

Kurt Godel and the Limits of AI

About two months ago I had the distinct pleasure to read Self Aware Patterns’ fascinating article on artificial intelligence. Mike Smith, author of that excellent blog, argued that AI need not fail because of Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theorem. He approached this problem from an empirical and deterministic theoretical framework. This inspired Tina Forsee, the writer […]

Harems

  Dear Readers, I’m writing the next novel and it’s going to be heavy on issues of femininity and masculinity. I’m interested in how masculinity changes shape with each step up the social ladder, particularly the idea that one of the most woman-friendly things a king or powerful man can do is doink everything that moves […]

Devil’s Advocate Exercises

How good are you at playing Devil’s Advocate? I believe that the hardest part of being a good Devil’s Advocate is overcoming your own moral beliefs and prejudices. As such, I’ve created a list of positions you are very unlikely to accept, but which have all been accepted at one time or another. In other […]