From the year 2011

teens, Facebook, and statistics abuse
in Culture, Science

Because of my fondness of mathematics, it pains me to my very soul when I see it misrepresented and abused by people in the media. A recent “Teens On Facebook” study has got me hopping mad, and I honestly think it is making people stupider to have articles like this out there. The article, entitled […]

lessons from the Holocaust Museum
in Politics

I recently visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It reminded me of two very important things. First: the situation with Hitler in Germany in the 1930’s was unique, and there is no person and no situation that is comparable. Second: Hitler was just a human being, like any other, and what happened in Germany […]

paying for stuff you don’t want
in Politics

“I shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s [insert thing here]!” says the conservative. From health care to education to contraception, the conservative argument is the same. But at its core this is an un-patriotic and anti-capitalist argument. It’s time for liberals to start pointing this out. “I shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s […]

if Obama were a liberal
in Politics

President Barack Obama stepped up to the podium, looked into the camera, and spoke: “As many of you have known, I have, up to this point, resisted the urge to turn budget talks and economic issues into an ideological fight. The Republicans in the House, and to an extent those in the Senate, have been […]

the "bad guy" dilemma
in Politics

“I have captured The Fair Maiden,” says the Evil Movie Villain, “She will die if you do not give me what I demand. It is your decision! If she dies, then her blood is on YOUR hands!” Do you buy his argument? Would the death of the Fair Maiden be “your fault” if you refuse […]

physical fitness and the economy
in Politics

In my life, I have been an athlete, a fitness model, and a personal trainer. Now, I am just an over-the-hill ex-all-of-those-things, but an awareness of fitness still colors the way I look at everything that I think about. And lately, I have been thinking about the economy. So let me tell you some insights […]

closing the gap to our dreams
in Politics

Politicians are talking about our financial crisis in terms of the gap between what we spend and what we can afford. This is the wrong frame. They should be talking about the gap between what our dreams are and what we ask from our people. The framing of an argument is critical. Consider, for example, […]

does gayness make you hungry?
in Politics

From time to time, major mainstream companies will put ads on T.V. that are specifically pro-gay. Usually, these air in Europe, because American audiences are still a bit pee-shy when it comes to The Gay. But at least it happens. Last year, McDonalds aired a pro-gay ad in France as part of their “come as […]

assessing political commentary
in Politics

One of the facets of the response to President Obama’s announcement of a draw-down of troops in Afghanistan is the observation that the troop withdrawal will be completed two months before voters decide whether to reelect President Obama to a second term. “Is the timing of this draw-down political? Is it simply to have something […]

the pension swindle
in Politics

“I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” J. Wellington Wimpy famously said. I’d like you to keep that phrase in mind while I talk to you about pensions. Recently Rush Limbaugh was talking about the “shocking” statistic that some retired government employee annual pensions in San Francisco are larger than the average annual […]

all gay men
in Culture, Personal Stuff

There is nothing that all gay men are. There is nothing that all gay men think, or do. Yet I constantly hear gay men saying things like, “Gay guys do this…” or “Why do gay guys always..?” If you are a gay guy who complains about what gay guys do, I want to warn you: […]

the golden age of mathematical philosophy
in History, Philosophy

The four decades from 1940 to 1980 were the Golden Age of Mathematical Philosophy. During this time, the greatest minds of the century brought together cutting edge theory from engineering, mathematics, and physics to speculate on the nature and meaning of mind, morality, society and metaphysics. Today I want to give tribute to some of […]

regulation case study: the post office
in Politics

Why is the government involved in the post office at all? Aren’t the plethora of private delivery services out there evidence that our postal system could be run as a private enterprise? The answer is “no” and the reason is simple. Let’s take a look at the critical Title 39, Section 101.1 of the United […]

Donald Trump is a genius
in Politics

Donald Trump is a genius. And he has totally and completely screwed all of the other Republicans that might be running for President in 2012. Congratulations, Donald. As I type this, I am watching a “breaking news” live broadcast on MSNBC in which Donald Trump is telling reporters that he has finally succeeded in “getting […]

the sinking boat: a parable
in Politics

A donkey and an elephant were on a boat with a leak in it. Slowly, the water was coming in and the boat was sinking. This is the conversation they had: Elephant: “We need to fix the leak, or the boat will sink.” Donkey: “The water is already too high, we need to bail out […]

science and the media
in Culture, Science

Gossip columns need to not dabble in science. Recently published an article about older men lusting after younger women. The article is completely wrong, and it is important to understand why. The article asks the question, “Is it natural for older guys to lust after younger women?” and comes back with an answer of […]

the fundamental flaw in the free market
in Politics

Not everything that is worthwhile is profitable, and not everything that is profitable is worthwhile. That is the basic argument for government intervention in the economy. Everything demonized by “free-market conservatives”—from regulation to public works projects—exists as a way to rectify this fundamental flaw in the free market system. A true free-market advocate will argue […]

10% of your brain
in Science

If I have to hear this “we only use 10% of our brains, imagine what we could do if we used all of it!” myth one more time, I’m going to have to kill something. It is wrong, and it is stupid, and it has to die, until it is so dead that there will […]

long-term vs. short-term
in Politics

Many policies have bad short-term effects but good long-term effects. This is helpful if you have an ideology to push, because you can just pick whichever one serves your purpose when making an argument, and ignore the other. Let’s look at two examples that I hear all the time on conservative talk radio. “If you […]

the nature of information
in Politics, Science

Today’s lesson: What does “information” mean? How do you know when something has “information”? And how can you prove that radio shows like Sean Hannity’s and Rush Limbaugh’s have none? Textbooks will tell you that information is “pattern” or “redundancy,” but it is a particular kind of redundancy. Information is always about something. Information happens […]