John McCain and respect

Everyone is always careful to precede any criticism of McCain by saying they respect him. This has always bothered me, and I just recently figured out why. Liberals and conservatives alike have generally given John McCain a special courtesy, no matter how much they might disagree with him or dislike him as a person. Any […]

everyone is always wrong

When managing social relationships, I’m a big advocate of the “both people are wrong” approach. Which works really well, except when it doesn’t. My favorite example of this comes up when handling the classic misunderstanding-and-offense scenario. One person says something (like, “Looks like you got us lost!”). The other person takes offense (like, “It’s not […]

Sin and punishment for atheists

Just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean that I live in a world without sin and punishment. In fact, I sinned today… and I was punished. I’m currently in the middle of a 20 day visit to Hawaii. As on most long trips, I made a special order from bodybuilding.com for the supplements that I […]

An open letter to a victim of bad SEO

Dear Albert Flotz, owner and operator of 24rx7.eu, I own and manage a number of blogs, and was surprised to wake up this morning to find more than 100 spam comments pending on each of these websites, all of which contained backlinks (either directly or indirectly) to your website at 24rx7.eu. I would never dream […]

Second Circle Bees

Do bees make hexagons?

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 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?

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

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)

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

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 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 […]

Ratings

from -5 to +5

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?

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

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

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

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 […]

lower-case "n"

Building your true self

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

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 […]

Embassy Riot.

Knowledge, evidence, and terrorism

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

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?

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

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?

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 […]

Usenet

6 tips for online debate

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 […]

Mitt Romney fails basic mathematics

‘‘Is $100,000 middle income?’’ Stephanopoulos asked. ‘‘No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less,’’ Romney responded.   The only rational conclusion one can come to, reading the above dialogue, is that Romney does not think that $100,000 is less than $200,000. If you don’t believe me, go back and simply read those two lines […]

Measuring radicalization using polling data

When the media talks about “radicalization” it’s always in the context of Muslims and terrorism and violence. I’d like to take a different approach: measuring the “radicalization” of a population using Presidential approval numbers. The word “radicalization” means becoming more extreme. It is the opposite of “moderation” which means becoming more moderate.  A population that […]

Nothing you learned in school is useless

Buzzfeed just posted an article called “49 Things You Learned In School That Are Now Completely Useless.” I know it’s supposed to be funny, but to me this article is ignorant and vile. The mindset it exhibits is a huge part of what is wrong with the way Americans think about education, and I have […]

September 11th: some photos

     

Only cells make cells

In his book, Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, Nick Lane takes a moment to clear up something about the relationship between DNA and cells: DNA doesn’t make cells. Only cells make cells. When we talk about DNA being the “blueprint” for making an organism, a lot of people get the wrong […]

Joe Biden is a freaking genius

I think people underestimate Joe Biden. In fact, I think that every time someone makes fun of him for being “gaffe prone”, he chortles with the glee of a sinister mastermind. What is his most famous gaffe during his Vice Presidential term? Arguably, it was when the Affordable Care act passed, and he said (ostensibly […]

Indentured Servants.

How slavery starts

I’m not saying Republicans want the U.S. to legalize slave labor. I’m only saying that their agenda just happens to involve policies that will pave the way. There is a way to introduce slavery into an economy gradually. It’s done through economic pressures and gradual changes of the law. In fact, it’s happened in America […]

Picky Peter

you’re not picky, you’re self-centered

If you ever find yourself on a date with someone who says that he really wants to be in a relationship, but he has been single for a long time because he is “picky”, then do yourself a favor: ask for the check, burn his phone number, and run for the hills. And if you […]

stories thicker than blood

I’ve been told that I have a great-grandfather who was named Данило Пиҗ. He lived in a small village near the towns of Борислав and Дрогобич, in the Kingdom of Галичина (Galicia), part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It wasn’t a great place to be, back then. That area had been split in two by the […]

Slavery

Where universal human rights come from

Universal, inalienable human rights do not come from God and they do not come from nature. They are decided and reaffirmed every day by society. Because we are human, and because the human world is crazy and chaotic and beautifully unstable, our universal human rights are fluid. They evolve, they stretch, they are re-defined and […]

Captain Caveman

The Paleo diet is a load of crap. You may as well try it.

The rationale behind the Paleo diet is one of the stupidest pieces of nonsense I’ve seen in a while. But you may as well give it a shot: it might work for you. Although it’s been around for a few years, I only recently heard about it because a bunch of my friends all discovered […]

Sentence Structure

Simulating H.P. Lovecraft: a random text generation project

After much blasphemous and daemonic experimentation with abominable and vile Dark Practices, I have been able to make contact with the undead mind of H.P. Lovecraft, summoning him from the insane and unspeakable dimensions beyond this realm, and extracting from him these fragments of text that he has written whilst in his wretched timeless, bodiless […]

Natural Philosophy

Teach Divine Mathematics if you want to… but do it right.

Some religious groups are pushing the teaching of “divine mathematics”: elementary-level mathematics education with a religious slant. This news has been making the rounds on liberal political websites, with the expected combination of horror and mockery. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with including God in mathematics education… as long as it’s done […]

King Scar.

Do you hate Obama? I blame the Lion King.

Today on The Stephanie Miller Show, a listener called in to express her dislike for Obama and explain why she was planning on voting for Mitt Romney. She explained that she was struggling financially. She used to consider herself “middle class,” but no longer. She spoke at length about the employment problems, medical problems, and […]

H.P. Lovecraft art project update

I’ve finished the second piece in a series of charcoal drawings that I’m working on. The theme of the series is: lesser-known scenes or images from the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Penguins of Madness Cylinder B-67 In case you are not familiar, H.P. Lovecraft was a writer who lived in the late 1800’s and early […]

Without government help?

I never said that you don’t work hard.

There is an auditory disease that is sweeping our nation. When somebody says, “The government has provided services that make it easier for you to grow your business,” thousands of people hear: “You don’t work hard.” When somebody says, “It would have been really hard for your business to get started if you couldn’t get […]

Caveman

Why I support cloning Neanderthals

I recently came across a Discover Magazine blog article entitled, “Is resurrecting Neanderthals unethical?” The question was pretty simple: if we developed the ability to use preserved DNA and cloning technology to raise living Neanderthals, would there be anything wrong with doing that? Most of the people replying made arguments that followed a similar pattern. […]

college bodybuilder tips: looking in the mirror

Dear K***, In your last letter you seemed very stressed out. Let me see if I can sum up what you were telling me: One day you look in the mirror and you think you look incredible. The next day, you look in the mirror and you think you look scrawny. Later in the week, […]

Perplexing Poultry Large Tiling

Quasi-crystals are not proof of intelligent design

Every once in a while, a new discovery is made in science that is only partially-understood. Inevitably, this gets reported to the masses in a watered-down way by news writers who do not understand science, and there is a great cry: “The foundations of science are crumbling! Science discovers thing that is impossible to explain! […]

Monflanquin

As free as Monflanquin

I’m proud of America. I really am. I think we have a lot of interesting social and cultural traditions, and a lot of good laws. But it makes me crazy when people who know nothing about history talk about America being the “first” to have freedom or being the ones who “invented” individual rights.  So, […]

Success

The formula for success! (…is a multi-variable function)

Recently I’ve had a few political conversations on the internet. Although they were with different people and on different topics, I noticed a striking similarity. The first conversation went something like this: Him: The deficit is evidence that we spend too much money! Me: Actually, the deficit is the difference between two variables: spending and […]

Networks

What economies and brains have in common

There is an interesting, almost eerie parallel between theories of consciousness and theories of economics, and the way these theories have evolved over time.  Let’s take a look. (Note: I’ve summed up two massive histories of two broad fields in three paragraphs each. Of course they are simplified and cartoonish, so you don’t have to […]

American Expansion

The broken free market: now, and 200 years ago.

The “standard model” of free market capitalism functions well under limited “idealized” circumstances, and is adequate in many situations. However, it breaks down completely under certain specific conditions.  Those conditions were true in the early 1800’s, and they are also true today. I’d like to look at exactly what “broke” the free market in the […]

Sci-Fi Fantasy Visualization No. 1

Magic, evil, and alternate universes.

This is a visualization of relationships between some of the biggest and most popular science fiction and fantasy universes: Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, The Golden Compass, Superman, and X-Men. The spatial position shows the “similarity” between the universes based on nine variables, the size […]

Brain Storage.

Duped by the information age: why you really do have to know stuff.

We’ve been duped by the information age. Duped, fooled, mislead, taken-in. We live in a world where we have almost-instant access to vast databases of information. We live in a world where we can contact peers and thousands of strangers at the click of a button. We live in a world where we can get […]

Little Oil Well

An interview with little oil

Q: So the entire company is you and two other guys? A: Yep. Q: What’s the age range? A: I’m the oldest… so we’re all under 30. Q: And how long have you guys been in the oil and gas industry? A: Well, this company started about a year ago. I just started with it […]

Indoctrination?

I’ve been indoctrinated, and so have you.

I am the son of an atheist scientist and a Unitarian painter. Both of my parents are Ivy-league educated, I was born in New England, and grew up in the northeast. My upbringing was so stereotypically deep-blue that when I was a child I actually thought most people liked President Carter. This is one of […]

Informed Obamacare Debate

Health insurance isn’t rocket science. Except when it is.

Imagine you were tuned in to your friendly morning AM Radio chat show, and they were having this banter going back and forth: A: So I think this new spacecraft that NASA has been working on is just going to be a disaster. I mean, it’s a government bureaucracy. Remember all of those times that […]

Grade Curve

The argument against raising taxes on people making more than $X

The general argument against raising taxes on people making more than $X (no matter what value anyone fills in for “X” in the argument) is this: “We can’t possibly raise taxes on people making more than $X, because that is unfair to the people who are making just a tiny bit more than $X. Some […]

Conversations

Is it a tax, a fee, or an open relationship?

CONVERSATION 1 CONVERSATION 2 A: “I’d like everyone who can afford to buy health insurance to buy health insurance, and if they don’t I want them to pay some money to the government.” A: “I really like you. I’d like to hang out with you a lot, and sometimes have sex with you. It wouldn’t […]

Why you should support Obamacare, in 4 sentences.

1)  Hospitals are required to treat people who show up in their emergency rooms whether they are insured or not, and whether they can afford it or not: if the people get treatment, and they cannot afford it, the hospital is paid using my tax dollars. 2)  With Obamacare, poor people will be “forced” to […]

Signal Detection Conditions

Minimum Wage Part 2: Signal Detection Theory

“There are unemployed people who would be much happier working for $5 an hour than being unemployed. If they want to work for that amount, why should the government prevent that? Isn’t having a low-paying job better than having no job at all?” Let’s call this Standard Argument #2 against Minimum Wages. (I have talked […]

Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage Part 1: Ethics

“Minimum wage puts a burden on job-creators. Running a business is costly. By artificially increasing the cost of running the business (by requiring a minimum wage), you could put some companies out of business. Then they are employing nobody; how does that help anyone?” Let’s call this Standard Argument #1 against Minimum Wages. (I talk […]

Sen. Cornyn

What Eric Holder should have said

Yesterday, Senator Cornyn asked Eric Holder to resign. If I were Eric Holder’s head speech writer, in charge of his public relations, the head of his communications department—which I obviously should be—then the statement that I would have told Mr. Holder read as his official response to Senator Cornyn would be this: Esteemed Senator Cornyn, […]

A team of programmers at work.

A computer programmer should never touch a computer

Believe it or not, that’s the way it was in 1950! The person whose job was “computer programmer” never actually touched a computer. Did you know that? Also: the computer’s memory was built out of cooled mercury and vacuum tubes, and data was keyed onto magnetic tape by typists. If you didn’t know these things, […]

Who is the muffin man?

Muffin Man update

For those of you who were interested in my earlier post, “Do you know the (banana nut) Muffin Man?“, there is an update! The owner of the website wrote me back, and has solved the mystery. I have made the update at the end of the original post, so if you want to find out […]

Venn Diagram

The word “all” is a problem in political surveys

I have come to realize that most people don’t understand what the word “all” means. Here is one example. The following are two results from the same survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute on February 1-5, 2012. The margin of error is ± 3.5%. “Please tell me if you completely agree, mostly agree, […]

Do you know the (Banana Nut) Muffin Man?

(NOTE: This post was updated 2012-06-15, scroll down toward the end of the article to see the update) In the past week, my website has been inundated with spam comments that follow an interesting pattern: the user name associated with the comments all have something to do with banana nut muffins. As you can see, […]

fruit trees do not need CEO’s.

Fruit trees are really, really inefficient. In order to reproduce, they wrap their seeds in delicious, juicy fruit.  This will hopefully entice birds and animals to eat the fruit, thereby picking up the seed and moving it.  This will transport the seed to a far off land, where it will be deposited in the ground […]

Douchey

douchey

douchey /duʃi/ adjective 1. Having the characteristics of a douchebag. douchebag /duʃbæg/ noun 1. An individual who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by rudeness, and a lack of social grace and self-awareness. 2. A person obsessed with his own accomplishments or appearance, and therefore treats others poorly or with disrespect. J: They […]

Misunderstanding Darwin

it doesn’t have to be natural to be right

As a culture, we have a love-hate relationship with the idea of things being “natural.” We like to use it as an excuse for things that we like: “We must accept it, because it’s natural!” But at the same time, we feel free to dismiss it in cases we don’t like: “We are humans, not […]

Neal Stephenson reads from Anathem

not a review of Anathem by Neal Stephenson

I like to believe that my personality is a bit like a Neal Stephenson novel. I’m not what people expect, even when they have no expectations at all. I can be difficult to follow at first, but the more you get used to me the more I make sense.  I’m funny in obscure and abstract […]

a reflection on art projects

It’s been a while since I’ve drawn. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since I’ve been fairly productive with my work, writing and other things. But I’m starting to get that “itch” to get back into art again. Drawing is a relatively recent hobby for me. My mother is an artist, so I grew up […]

A different type of person

a perfect world would have no gay people

The most perfect world—the most liberal world—would have no gay people. Let me describe that world for you. Bob, your next door neighbor, prefers brunettes. It’s not like he’s never been attracted to a blond, it just doesn’t happen that much.  This doesn’t make him a different type of person than people who are attracted […]

Defensive? I'm not being defensive!

defending the indefensible

How do you react when someone mocks or derides a group that you identify with, but for reasons that you agree with? I’ll give some examples. 1) Suppose you are a Catholic person who agrees with much of Catholic teaching, but you use contraception and you don’t believe that using contraception is a sin.  Someone […]

Think too much

you should think too much

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who accuse others of “thinking too much.” There are two ways that people most often use the phrase “you are thinking too much” or “he thinks too much.” One of the ways is simply mean. It’s a criticism of the person’s personality. Inevitably, what it really means […]

Poison Pill

poison pill politics or media mediocrity?

A few days ago, an article entitled “Poison pills prevent popular bills from becoming law” was published at the Huffington Post. I can forgive succumbing to the temptations of alliteration; indeed, the term “poison pill” makes it almost impossible to avoid. But I cannot forgive the typical tepid tone of “he said / he said” […]

the opportunity cost of a media bitchslap

The media asks a lot of really dumb questions. I mean: unbelievably dumb. In their effort to generate things to talk about, they press people to speculate about things they know nothing about, they ask questions that they know have no consequence, they ask hypothetical questions that nobody could possibly know the correct answer to, […]

Pete Maneos

college bodybuilder tips: the steroids question

Dear K***, So you want to know my thoughts about steroids. Well, there is a point in time when every new bodybuilder entertains the question (to one degree or another): “Should I try steroids?”  Some people dismiss it right away, some people do a little more research and consider it more seriously. But for most […]

purple

a metaful colorphor

Democrats and Republicans have taken up a very serious topic today: the color purple. While both parties agree that the color purple is ugly, they disagree about where the fault lies. “It’s obvious that the blame lies entirely with the red pigment,” said a representative of the Democratic party. “After all, if all of the […]

Penile Plethysmograph

Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal?

There are some studies that I wish I could agree with simply because I love the results so much. When a study seems to demonstrate something that I agree with, something that I support or have long suspected, there is a temptation to look past any criticism of the study itself and just hold it […]

Lunar Calendar

when to celebrate my birthday (or yours)

The standard day to celebrate your birthday (or, more accurately, "the anniversary of your birth") is on the day which has the same calendar date (i.e. month and day) as the day that you were born. However, this isn't the only way that one can determine the anniversaries of special events. There is another way that is much more fun.

Aristotle meets Einstein

Aristotle meets Einstein

For the last week or so I’ve been contemplating this question: What would it have taken for Aristotle to have come up with the iconic equation of the Theory of Relativity, E = mc2, two thousand years before Albert Einstein was born? It’s a fun question to ponder. Without considering the details, it’s exciting to […]

Datability

abortion and linear separability

People like decisions that are linearly separable. If you’ve got some continuous variable and you want to separate it into two categories–such as “yes/no” or “good/bad” or “moral/immoral” or anything of that sort–people are happiest when they can do it by drawing a single slash mark that divides the variable neatly into two parts.  If […]

Disney Firefly

it’s a good thing we’re not fireflies

Jon: It’s a good thing we’re not fireflies. Greg: You think? Jon: I mean, if we used that as a way to attract people. It would sure make things different at the bar. Greg: Sure… maybe. Although, it would just be one more thing that people notice, right? I mean, you’d look around the room. […]

Hunger and Diet

college bodybuilder tips: the hunger game

Dear K***, It’s been about a month since you started the leaning or “cutting phase” of our workouts, so I thought I’d write to you and see how things are going, give you some more advice, and give you a little pep talk. First of all, I know that the schedule for changes in your […]

The Therapist Project

militant atheist psychotherapists are not as rational as they think

I was first introduced to Darrel Ray through an interview with him that I heard on the David Pakman Show. He was talking about something called “The Therapist Project” which describes itself as “a nationwide effort to match secular clients with secular psychotherapists.” Phrased another way, it is a resource to help people who are […]

The Hyper-Nolan political chart

Using a Hyper-Nolan for political analysis

Many of you are familiar with the Nolan chart: a simplified two-by-two illustration of political groupings in American politics. One axis divides the square into regions of more or less social control, while the other axis divides the square into regions of more or less economic control. Together, they produce four quadrants: liberals (more economic […]

Neurological Disorder

ptochosagnosia : a neurological epidemic

The term “agnosia” refers to a family of neurological disorders that have to do with the inability of the brain to recognize, understand, or even think about certain things. Someone with prosopagnosia cannot recognize or identify faces. Someone with hemiagnosia is unable to see, act on, or even think about one side of the world […]

Ben Franklin

my anbaric distopticon

Language is such a beautiful thing. It is at once both completely arbitrary and completely foundational to the way that we construct our understanding of the world. It is both a random accident of history and culture, and the set of fundamental building blocks from which we build our most complex theories of logic and […]

overgeneralization

the over-generalization over-generalization

Last week a Christian tried to fire-bomb a Planned Parenthood clinic. The reporting on these stories always bothers me: it is terrorism, but it is not reported as such. More specifically it’s Christian terrorism, but it is never reported as such. When terrorism is performed by someone of middle-eastern descent, the media will spend days […]

Boy Scout Coin - Back

The death of a symbol

Yesterday Jon showed me a fantastic historical collector’s item that he owns. It is a bronze “Boy Scout” token created by the Excelsior Shoe Company in 1910. The Excelsior Shoe Company took advantage of the opportunity to associate their advertising with the new Boy Scout movement that began in 1910.  They created a “Boy Scout” […]

Google Search for Democrat Party

why “Democrat party” is hate speech

Some people will call it petty. Some will dismiss it as trivial. Some will agree “in principle” but say it’s not worth making a big deal out of. But I believe that people should be making a big deal out of it, because I honestly believe that it is a big deal. I’m talking about […]

Say NO to Same-Height Marriage

NO SAME-HEIGHT MARRIAGE

PREFACE: Since this page is still getting a continual stream of hits, I need to make sure everyone who ends up here understands this article was written in 2012 and was a parody of the objections conservatives had to marriage equality which was not legal at the time. Please be sure you read it in […]

What is a machine?

Hugo on machines and meaning

Hugo is a brilliant movie on a number of different levels. There was one moment, however, when the movie reached for deep philosophy in a way that was poetic and inspiring, but struck me as more complex than the movie gave voice to.  Without giving away anything plot-related to those of you who haven’t yet […]

Eight Honors and Eight Shames

Greg’s Rules for a Better Society

Because I’m a liberal, I know what’s best for people. I know better than they do.  I also secretly want to implement a fascist state where I use my intellectually-elite knowledge and morality to tell everyone else how they should run their lives. So, just for kicks, I’ve been thinking about some of the laws […]

Daniel Radcliffe on the Graham Norton Show (Picture: PA)

the charm game

Sometimes there are things that you have to say, whether you mean it or not, just because it is necessary. It’s most obvious in celebrities and people in the public spotlight. When the news reporter asks you what you think about winning MVP, what do you say? Apart from the fact that it feels great […]

Sean Hannity's Broken Analogy

anatomy of a failed analogy

On yesterday’s radio show, Sean Hannity made the following comparison: Liberals have been clamoring for advertisers to stop supporting Rush Limbaugh because he said some offensive and insulting things about Sandra Fluke. Bill Maher has said offensive things about Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, and liberals have not demanded that president Obama return the one […]

Moral Relativism

the morality aesthetic

There is a class of things in this world that people have difficulty with because they seem to be neither objective nor subjective, but somewhere in between: art, beauty, and music are three of the most-discussed examples. On the one hand, everyone has their own personal quirks and tastes, and it is completely valid and […]

Greg Stevens is a Social Democrat

I am a Social Democrat… that hates animals.

I recently took the online political quiz at politicaltest.net.  It told me that I am a Social Democrat who is more extremist than 88% of the population. That’s no surprise.  But the really interesting part of the results, for me, is the way that it correctly identified the few small ways in which I am […]

academia, liberal bias and statistics abuse

Liberal Bias: it’s all fun and games until you start abusing data and statistics. Then the gloves come off. I have a great time making fun of the hoots and hollers on the conservative side about supposed “liberal bias” in the media and other places. I even have started a little satire website at liberalbias.com […]

Ramin and Nick

would you rather be Nick Jonas or the other guy?

For Valetine’s day, I bought Jon a DVD of the 25th Anniversary live production of Les Miserables, a musical that he absolutely adores. This specific production of the musical happens to feature Nick Jonas in a fairly large role, although not the lead role. The DVD comes wrapped in plastic with a sticker on it […]

The Long-Term Bodybuilding Plan

college bodybuilder tips: bulking and cutting

Dear K***, I know we’ve talked a little bit about the “long term-goals” of your bodybuilding. I think it’s time to reinforce some of those ideas, and talk more specifically about “bulking” and “cutting” phases of your workout. It’s important that you think about what you are doing in terms of years, not weeks or […]

inductive logic, humor and conservative ideology

DirecTV has a set of advertisements on television that are very funny, and all follow a similar pattern.  This is one example: This is a transcript of the narrator’s voice in the ad: When your cable’s on the fritz, you get frustrated. When you get frustrated, your daughter imitates. When your daughter imitates, she gets […]

picking a fight with Catholics

Well-meaning left-leaning commentators are on the television, wringing their hands and saying that this whole issue surrounding contraception and the Catholic church has been “screwed up” and should have been handled differently. “If the President knew that there would be resistance to this, why didn’t he set the stage a little better, and get the […]

Sean Hannity's economic claims

Sean Hannity analyzes the economy

For better or for worse, I have been listening to Sean Hannity’s radio program on a regular basis for a number of years. One thing that I have found interesting, when considered over a long period of time, is the way that Sean talks about the economy. In the last few months of 2008, Democrats […]