Elon Musk wants direct democracy on Mars. Will it work?

At SXSW today, Elon Musk suggested that direct democracy might be the best way to govern on Mars. Direct democracy isn’t a bad place to start, and it’s encouraging to hear one of the gods of Silicon Valley voice a commitment to democracy (here’s looking at you, Mr. Thiel). But direct democracy probably isn’t enough …

A summary of a reading of a rewriting of Heidegger

Bottom Line Up Front  All propositions are relative, and history matters more than truth. Wait, what? This is a summary of the introduction to Joel Weinsheimer’s book Gadamer's Hermeneutics: A Reading of Truth and Method. That book is a reading of Hans-Georg Gadamer's 1960 book Truth and Method, which according to Wikipedia is in turn …

Consciousness and Congress; Policy Networks and Entrepreneurship: January reading and reflections

Should an academic write non-academically? I’ve gotten both of these pieces of advice in my first semester of graduate school: Don’t have a blog. When you look for academic jobs, people will wonder why you wasted your time writing a blog instead of publishing papers. Have a blog. Writing publicly is the only way to sharpen …

How to save and invest in line with your values (Or: Who Owns Private Prisons, Part III)

(This is the third post in a three part series. For the curious, here are Parts I and II) If you're like most Americans, you have less than $1000 in savings and have a lot of debt. If you're one of the lucky few, you have some cash saved up somewhere: A six-month emergency fund, perhaps, or a growing retirement …

Despite all our rage

During my first semester of grad school, I sat in on a presentation at UT's psychology department. It was a "job talk," a part of the academic hiring process where an applicant gives a public presentation. Imagine a job interview, but with 40 people in the room, and no guiding questions. Just "show us you." In that presentation, Columbia professor and FiveThirtyEight author James Curley shared his work on …

The 7 papers I’m most nerdily excited about right now

Over the course of my first semester of grad school, I collected (/people sent to me) something like five dozen academic papers that I didn't have time to read during the semester. In pursuit of ultimately personifying the nerd emoji 🤓 , I spent the last two days reading the first two pages of each of those papers. The ones …