From the year 2012

Do bees make hexagons?
in Philosophy, Science
Second Circle Bees

It is time for you to consider the deeply profound question: Do bees make hexagons? You look at a honeycomb, the thing that the bees build, and it has hexagons. So the answer seems obvious: sure, bees make hexagons. There are a lot of websites out there that will tell you that bees make hexagons […]

Complete list of political trick-or-treat jokes
in Politics

In honor of Halloween, and this pair of competing “Oh crap a Democrat” and “Oh crap a Republican” cartoons that I’ve seen going around, I’ve decided to create a complete list of all possible politically-oriented trick-or-treat jokes. This will allow everyone else to get on with other things. Democrat: Look how much candy you have! […]

What would your Medieval signature be?
in History, Personal Stuff

I’m not going to post about politics for the next two weeks. Instead, I’ll focus on other things that matter to me: science, philosophy, history, and of course… handwriting. The reason that I’m not going to post about politics is that I would feel compelled to say something about the upcoming election, and I really […]

How to make Twitter search less #inteligent
in Culture

Recently I was frustrated by Twitter’s search function, and the fact that it’s too smart for its own good. But luckily, I was able to find the trick to make it less #inteligent. I will share that trick with you. It all started one day when someone composed a scathing reply to one of my […]

Supergeek Halloween Costume: Tron (illuminated costumes)
in Personal Stuff

When making your Halloween costume involves solder and wires, you know it’s serious. This year we wanted to do Tron, and we wanted to do it right! Luckily we found an amazing group, UD Replicas, that makes motorcycle outfits that are actual screen-accurate replicas of various costumes. So, these outfits were not cheap: full leather […]

maximum wage in the year 1351
in History

It’s easy to feel like today’s economic problems are chronic and universal. So for a change of pace, let’s look back to a time when elites complained about too many jobs and called upon government for a maximum wage. The story starts in the 1340’s in England. The King, Edward III, had been dealing with […]

Why you cannot calculate the “richest person who ever lived”
in History

In the article “The 25 Richest People Who Ever Lived – Inflation Adjusted“, Brian Warner concludes that Mansa Musa I was the richest person of all time. But, his calculations are incorrect. The fact is, there is no way to directly compare numerical wealth in the Middle Ages to numerical wealth today. At the top […]

from -5 to +5
in Personal Stuff

Any time you are evaluating your preference (like or dislike) for something, you should rank it on a scale from -5 to +5. This applies to everything from parties to movies to sex partners. It will make your life easier, and in this post I will prove it to you. Drinking Games At The Bar […]

college bodybuilder tips: why isn’t my chest getting bigger?
in Fitness

Dear K***, You’ve been pushing yourself on your chest workouts, you’ve been resting and eating and sleeping and doing everything else right. Still, you feel like you’ve hit a “ceiling” you can’t get past. It’s time for me to let you in on a secret: even though you are focusing on your chest, it could […]

philosophy with aliens
in Philosophy

Sometimes I wonder how different our philosophical arguments would be if our language were different. How many arguments might never have happened, or how many puzzles might not even be puzzles, if only for the use of different words? I imagine an alien language where every perceptual word has a suffix to identify who the […]

Vampire Diaries is a threat to freedom itself
in Culture

Elena Gilbert is like a villain in an Ayn Rand novel. Her emotional fascism is despicable and vile, and Season 3 of Vampire Diaries is almost enough to make me convert to Objectivism…..almost. Jon and I began watching Vampire Diaries on Netflix about a year ago. It’s what I like to call “junk food for […]

School desks and nuclear bombs
in Culture

If you are my age or older and American, then you were probably in elementary school during the Cold War. If you went to a public school, there is a good chance you remember this rule: If there is a nuclear attack, you should stay calm and get underneath your desk! Your probably remember this […]

Building your true self
in Personal Stuff, Philosophy
lower-case "n"

When I was little, I learned how to write my lower-case “n” the same way that everyone else does. I drew it the way that (in all likelihood) it appears on the screen to you now: a vertical line on the left side with a kind of hump on the right side. Later on, I […]

A lesson from a police-car ride-along
in Politics

This isn’t my story, but something a good friend told me over brunch. It’s one of the most touching and important things I’ve heard lately, so I want to share it with all of you. The rest of this post will be written in first person to avoid a lot of redundant “And then he […]

Knowledge, evidence, and terrorism
in Politics
Embassy Riot.

Science isn’t just good for teaching scientific facts, it’s good for teaching people how to think. This principle was illustrated vividly today on the Rush Limbaugh radio show. Rush Limbaugh spent an hour on his radio show today weaving a tale that can basically be summarized like this: 1) There were riots and deaths in […]

My rubbishy G-rated sex dreams
in Personal Stuff

I’m almost 40 years old, and I’ve almost never had a sex dream that actually had any real sex in it. I don’t know whether this is unusual, but it sure is annoying. I realized this after a dream that I had a couple of nights ago. I was back in my senior year in […]

What shouldn’t be submerged in piss?
in Religion

The 1987 photograph “Piss Christ” will be on display at the Edward Tyler Nahem gallery in New York City  for a full month starting tomorrow. The same Christians who have been screaming that a poorly-made film insulting Mohammed was an expression of free speech are now wringing their hands and whining that Mayor Bloomberg isn’t […]

Determinism without reductionism
in Philosophy

I am a determinist, but not a reductionist. In other words, I think the universe in general, and human behavior in particular, follows analyzable rules of cause and effect, but the universe cannot be “reduced” to the simple interaction between physical particles. Since most people who are determinists are also reductionists, I’d like to take […]

Who is in control?
in Politics

A local conservative talk show host talks about a confrontation between an old woman and a police officer. “She disrespected the officer. She got what she deserved,” says the host. A caller calls in: “People get disrespected at work every day. That didn’t give the officer the right to…” “Let me ask you this,” interrupts […]

6 tips for online debate
in Personal Stuff

This month marks the 20-year anniversary of me annoying the crap out of people by getting into philosophical debates on the internet. I therefore thought it might be fun to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years about how to cyber-debate… and how not to. It was the beginning of my Sophomore […]