What percentage of US marriages are religious ceremonies?

A commenter on this post pointed me towards a USA today article claiming that rates of civil marriage in the US have increased significantly over the years. According to the article, there are no nation-wide statistics on this, but in the 18 states that keep track of these things, 40% of marriages are civil marriages. [Read more...]

If you want to be honest, try explaining your culture to foreigners

One of the first things you learn as an English teacher is that you know tons of things about your language that you don’t know you know. When we speak, we’re constantly using grammatical rules that we never consciously learned. This creates odd situations when teaching English: you can tell someone what the right way [Read More...]

Will we all be workaholics in the future?

Economist Robin Hanson has long argued that in the future, most sentient beings on Earth will be computer-simulated people (for technical background on this issue, I recommend Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap). Hanson has made predictions about the details of how this will play out that look pretty dystopian: most of these beings will be [Read More...]

After hipsters, there will be more hipsters

Andrew Sullivan has a post about “what subculture will follow hipsters.” My prediction is “more hipsters.” Cultural trends have a funny way of beginning long before they began, and not ending until long after they’re over. Whenever I watch movies from the 90′s, I’m always struck by how much the 90′s looked like the 80′s. [Read More...]

Utopia

Gregg Easterbrook’s The Progress Paradox and Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature are two books both about how much better life has gotten, relative to how it used to be. But they treat the word “utopia” in very different ways. First, Pinker: [Read more...]


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