Psychology

I think perhaps I need to undertake a befriending exercise with drivers. My universal doctrine is not to hate anybody, but I do hate people who drive cars, pickup trucks, military vehicles rebranded as family transport, motorcycles, and taxis (I would prefer an all-taxi world to one where people have private cars, but taxi drivers […]

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When making decisions about technology, both false positive and false negative errors are possible. By that, I mean it’s possible for us to miss or ignore how a technology has unacceptable consequences for people and the rest of nature. DDT or the drug thalidomide were such false negatives: wrongly considered to be acceptable for use […]

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So much confusion, so much paranoia, so many good intentions, so much hard work, technical genius, cynicism, manipulation, buckpassing, buckpocketing, argument, grandstanding, risk-taking, calculation, theorizing, goodwill and bad, rhetoric and hypocrisy, so much desperation, all point to something intractable behind the problem of how to deploy sufficient and appropriate nuclear arms to protect one’s nation […]

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As an undergraduate, as a mechanism for managing emotional instability, I developed a doctrine in which I would try to maintain five independent streams of activity in life: each important to me, and capable of going well or badly. A typical undergraduate set might include academic coursework; the debate society; photography; perhaps a romantic relationship; […]

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I think it has been plausibly demonstrated that people who witness the violent and traumatic death of other people may experience adverse psychological consequences as a result. It’s hard to interpret the significance of that in the present era, or more so in the case of my own life. Ignoring early childhood, I don’t think […]

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It’s strange that a stage show running in one city is affecting the whole continent, but New York isn’t a normal place and Lin-Manuel Miranda clearly isn’t a normal man. The killing in Orlando originally prompted my personal doctrine in response to political violence: refuse to be terrorized. One or a few people armed and […]

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The question of climate change and flying has arisen for me again, based on some questions asked by other people. While it has been extensively discussed on this site, the relevant posts are scattered and not easy for someone new to find. To remedy that – and to create a central thread for any future […]

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My friend Stu sent me a long article about the functioning of social justice movements of the Occupy / Arab Spring variety, discussing how their efforts at being internally democratic work. Much of it is of interest, but this passage made me think of the climate movement especially: When the anarchist participation prevented the Trotskyists, […]

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I have written before about banned books. In this video, a contemporary author discusses the experience of having his novel banned for containing apparently mature content: His closer — about deferring to librarians to make such judgments – differs from the more common narrative that rejects such curation entirely.

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The often disturbing spectacle of the rise of Donald Trump as a leading Republican contendor in the presidential race prompts many emotional and analytical responses: about the long decline of America as a superpower since 1945, about the dysfunctional features of party politics and American politics in particular, and about the chasm between quality information […]

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