Rants

In many ways, the treatment of ethanol in societies like Canada is exceptional. It’s the only powerfully psychoactive drug top-end hotels and restaurants will provide you in unlimited quantities as long as you can pay. It’s the only drug that large groups of strangers routinely use to the point of inebriation together, in contexts ranging […]

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I find the debate about Canadian arms companies selling weapons and vehicles to Saudi Arabia a little perplexing. The media coverage seems to turn on the question of whether the arms and equipment are being used to oppress the civilian population of Saudi Arabia. I find this perplexing because there seems to be ample evidence […]

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When we think about global trends, we tend to focus on their importance and how rapidly things are changing. China’s economic rise, along with massive economic development and urbanization around the world, all have unambiguous importance, though we will endlessly disagree about how they will interact and few of us will live long enough to […]

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Step 1: British comedian John Oliver produces an absurd segment about coal CEO Bob Murray: In it, Oliver acknowledges Murray’s history of litigiousness toward critics and challenges him to do his worst. Step 2: Murray sues Oliver for defamation in West Virginia circuit court Step 3: As reported in Slate, Jamie Lynn Crofts of the […]

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A recent Economist article describes a novel camera design with the promise to be far thinner than those that exist now, with some novel features: Not only do Dr Hajimiri’s cameras have no moving parts, they also lack lenses and mirrors—in other words, they have no conventional optics. That does away with the focal depth […]

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It’s selfish, but one thing I hate about living in central Toronto is that there are sirens of one type or another audible almost all day and all night long. Even when no sirens can actually be heard, I hear them screaming in my imagination. The message: “It’s an emergency! But you can’t do anything […]

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What a relief! The last thing the world needs now is the EU falling apart, or another victory for an anti-immigration propagandist. The largest problems we face now call for us to think beyond national units, about the interests and choices of humanity as a whole. Splitting into small combative tribes is a deeply maladaptive […]

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A recent Slate article proposes a neurological mechanism for why human behaviour so frequently consists of choices where we harm our own long-term future prospects and those of others in order to satisfy near-term preferences. Not only do our brains seem to regard our future selves as strangers, but most people rarely think about the […]

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The January 21st issue of The Economist provides another strong example of how poorly our emotions serve us where it comes to evaluating and responding to abstract threats. They say: NOx emissions cause the premature deaths of an estimated 72,000 Europeans a year. This is in the context of carmakers like Volkswagen using software to […]

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Having ads on this site is pretty awful for several reasons. The site is plugged into Google via both analytics and advertising. For people not running an ad blocking plugin, this often leads to ads which are unappealing and often offensive. If you don’t want Google to know everything you (or everyone with access to […]

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