This is a blog on why we believe and do what we do, why we pretend otherwise, how we might do better, and what our descendants might do, if they don't all die.
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Polymaths Are Late Bloomers

There is a big literature on the ages at which intellectuals peak in life. The rate of publishing papers peaks about tenure time. Physical sciences peak earlier than social sciences. And per paper, each one has an equal chance to be a person’s best paper, regardless of at what age it was written. Being a polymath, I’ve posted lots on the topic of polymaths...

Sun Feb 25, 2024 22:39
The Mystery of Order

In the ancient world, people tended to see rival nations as ruled by illicit tyrants, while their nation was ruled justly by a king. Two centuries ago when religion was first declining, many predicted that crime would greatly increase as a result. It was mainly fear of God, they said, that kept most from committing crime. But then crime came down.Centuries...

Sun Feb 18, 2024 01:03
Why Not For-Profit Govt?

An organization has: more than one person, some resources, and a process for making decisions about them. An org owned and controlled by a single person need not declare a purpose, as that owner will use it to achieve their usual complex personal ends. But other orgs tend to declare official purposes, to coordinate their leaders, members, employees,...

Fri Feb 16, 2024 19:25
The Good and Bad Of Academia

Hanging at non-academic conferences lately, I’ve noticed how their cultures differs from my familiar academic cultures. For example, in a “pitch culture”, speakers focus on showing energy, prestige, charisma, social support, and momentum, and try to induce enthusiasm. They try to accomplish concrete projects they see as important in the grand scheme...

Wed Feb 14, 2024 22:06
Our Tenured Civ

Compared to untenured but tenure-track academic faculty (most of who will later get tenure), tenured professors put in less effort, are less focused on doing big-win projects, and are less willing to change locations, research sub-fields, or classes taught. They publish less, and change their minds less. But they are also more pompous in their speech;...

Mon Feb 12, 2024 18:34
Why Crypto

Sometimes people start out poor, and end up rich. Sometimes this is because they create real net value for the world, and sometimes this is because they gambled, where their wins came from others’ losses. But to the people involved, this difference may not be noticeable. What they see is how they started poor, then initiated many particular risky and...

Thu Feb 8, 2024 14:25

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