Category Archives: psychology

An Individualist Humanist in a Tribal World

Stand on a beach some time, somewhere well up on dry land. Above the high water mark. Notice you don’t drown. Then walk down toward the water. If the wind is blowing and the water is rough, there will be … Continue reading

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Opinions, Judgements and the Bayesian Revolution

This article on what it means to “have an opinion” is not bad, but it muddles two fundamentally different types of “opinion” and as such fails to get at the root of the problem, and misses important ideas about diversity … Continue reading

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The Mutant Flowers of Fukushima

This picture of deformed flowers near Fukushima is making the rounds today, and I figured it was worth commenting on it. I am physicist who has worked fairly heavily in radiation transport and health physics, as well as genomics. It’s … Continue reading

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Narrative Predictions

The human brain is a machine for leaping to conclusions in a single bound. Activists and political agitators of every stripe use this to promote their nonsense by putting together narratives that appeal to our conclusion-jumping reflex. “Chemicals” are frequently … Continue reading

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Fear and Vulnerability in Improv

The title is a half-nod to Hunter S. Thompson, I guess, because there was no loathing involved. I’ve just completed a two day gym at the Improv Comedy Institute on Granville Island with Janet Davidson of the Second City Training … Continue reading

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Partisan Politics and Confirmation Bias

As wildfires burn in the Canadian province of British Columbia, partisans made a fuss about why the provincial premier isn’t front-and-centre responding to the disaster: Issues once #FindChristyClark locates her: Transit vote, Fires – MARS, Drought – salmon, Health firings, … Continue reading

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What\’s Wrong with Marx

Today the new finance minister of Greece wrote about his fascination with Marx. His analysis points to the fundamental flaw in Marxism while not just ignoring but praising it: it rests on the notion that “binary oppositions” completely dominate world … Continue reading

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Fear in a Time of Ebola

I’ve seen a number of people in the past few days attempting to spread fear about the possibility of Ebola “becoming airborne” and thought it worth saying a few words about that. Although I’m a physicist by education, I’ve spent … Continue reading

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How News Stories Ought to be Written

The government of Iraq is requesting American troops to defend Baghdad from ISIS attacks. Here is information the story omits. President George W. Bush signed a “Status-of-Forces Agreement” with the Iraqi government in 2008 that specified a December 31st 2011 … Continue reading

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The Institute of Evil Studies

The Institute of Evil Studies doesn’t actually exist, but it should. Philosophers and theologians have wittered on about evil for thousands of years without making any progress beyond irrelevant arguments about angels and demons and “deep” questions about whether humans … Continue reading

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