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Three Keys to Successful Parenting

Now that Madeline is two, it seems appropriate to declare myself a success as a parent. Which means it's now appropriate for those of you with kids (as well as those of you thinking about having or abducting kids) to ask me, "Joel, what's your secret?" Which means ...

2013-05-08 06:15 AM

Fiction: The Difference Principle

Jessica pointed at a pile of rags beside a dumpster.

“This is the guy?” I asked.  I looked up and down the filthy alley we were standing in.  “This is a person?”

“It is,” she said tentatively, and then she checked the little brown Moleskine she carried everywhere.  “It is ...

2011-12-03 09:29 AM

Endogeneity, or "The Skill of the Brewmeister"

The latest OkCupid blog post is one of their more interesting ones:

No matter their gender or orientation, beer-lovers are 60% more likely to be okay with sleeping with someone they've just met. Sadly, this is the only question with a meaningful correlation for women.

Of course, once every ...

2011-02-09 07:27 AM

Sam Harris is Nonsensical in Principle

In my younger days, when I was full of libertarian bluster, I used to formulate arguments in terms of "Natural Rights." Murder was Wrong (with a capital 'W') because it violated your "right to life." I used to go on like this all day, until finally my friend Cesar (I ...

2010-10-03 05:53 PM

Blasphemy and Forced Reverence

On Facebook I list my Religious Views as "irreverence," which is pretty perfectly descriptive. This means that you can believe any crazy thing you want, but I'm allowed to make fun of you for it if I like. Basically, I'm under no obligation to "respect" your beliefs just ...

2010-09-10 12:02 PM

Book Burnings and "Americanism"

You have, I'm sure, heard the news that a church in Florida plans to acquire multiple copies of the Quran and burn them. The reaction I've seen from the "Muslim world" ranges from "that's how you dispose of them anyway, so knock yourself out" to "I'm ...

2010-09-08 08:56 AM

On the Proper Role of Government in a Free Society

There are various opinions and debates over the "proper" roles of government, but I'm pretty sure that combing the Indian Ocean to find a missing 16-year-old who's sailing around the world by herself in order to break a world record isn't one of them:

Abby Sunderland's ...

2010-06-10 12:41 PM

Great Ethicists, Webcomics, Game Theory, and the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma

The webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal today covers one of my favorite topics: Game Theory and the Social Contract.

The game theory, unfortunately, is not done very carefully. Here's the Prisoner's Dilemma setup:


                      RAT OUT                 REMAIN SILENT

RAT OUT Both get 1 year in 1 goes free, 2 ...

2010-06-05 06:26 PM

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