Blog

A place for intermittent reflections on philosophy, politics, and science.

Veganism and ideological compromise

A very interesting and provocative piece in this week’s NYT argues that some vegans place too much emphasis on ideological purity, at the cost of missing more prosaic opportunities to tangibly advance animal welfare. As usual for this topic, the comments section devolves into pretty lame arguments and invectives directed against veganism (including the perennial favorites, “but humans

Read More

Is human extinction a real risk of climate change?

Humans are everywhere. We live in tundras, deserts, rainforests, and even New York City. We’re not the only animals that like to get around: red foxes, Argentine ants, and springtails are all examples of other species that inhabit huge swathes of the planet. Others, like the wonderful Iriomote cat or the beautiful and adorable vaquita (both critically endangered),

Read More

Harassment, harm, and the social function of trolls

I still vividly remember the first time that I felt threatened online. Back when I was thirteen or so, I was an avid player of an online game called Ultima Online which took place in a persistent virtual world, (much like the modern equivalent, World of Warcraft). I made friends in the game, spent many

Read More

Ballparking with Enrico Fermi

We’re all familiar with ‘ballparking’ – making rough estimates or vague guesses. Today I want to talk about a particular kind of ballparking, namely how we solve a type of mental puzzle called “Fermi questions”. They were employed by physicist Enrico Fermi during the Manhattan project as fun puzzles to keep up morale (at least

Read More

The British Election: a few reflections

The British election confounded pollsters and disappointed many, including most of my friends in the UK. I too wasn’t thrilled by the result for many reasons. Here are just a few thoughts on the significance of the election, and how it’ll shape Britain for the years to come. Evisceration of the Lib Dems – very

Read More

Newer posts