Help me plan my summer and learn to solder!

These are my friends...

My time at The American Conservative comes to an end this week, as the new crop of editorial assistants rotate in. I'll be heading out to California shortly afterwards to drop in to teach Bayes for layfolk, run prediction markets, and take other actions correlated with delight as a guest instructor at one of CFAR's workshops. In the fall, I'll be starting work doing statistical consulting in education, but swaths of my summer are as-of-yet unspoken for. And by swathes, I mean mostly July. I'm … [Read more...]

When “Health” Doesn’t Leave Room for Scars


Technically, I'm writing about sports this morning for The American Conservative, but, unsurprisingly, it's a feint to talk about bodily integrity and philosophy of medicine. When the Pursuit of Health Turns Pathological   Why doesn’t Tommy John surgery draw comparisons to doping? The surgery isn’t just more natural with respect to its methods, but also in terms of its aims. Although some baseball players believe that they’ll come back stronger from the procedure, the goal … [Read more...]

In Which I Am Not Moved By Pandas


  Yesterday, at The American Conservative, I wrote a little about what the ends of conservation are, and what projects properly fall within that sphere.  That's perhaps a dry way of putting it; a more vivid way would be the subject line a friend sent the article out under "Leah at her most unsentimental."  But I don't know how someone could have possibly gotten that impression from a post titled: "Save Smallpox, Not Pandas." These new setbacks only represent a marginal increase in … [Read more...]

Mothers, Monks, and Infinite Debts

Click the image to see the relevant scene

In a bit of counterprogramming for Mother's Day, Scott of Slate Star Codex has put up a meditation on the unchosen, limitless debts that family entails.  He opens by considering the responsibility of children to take care of incapacitated parents.  We all tend to agree that you have some obligation to parents, but our moral reasoning becomes very muddled when it comes to the question of whether you must become a caretaker in your own home or may outsource care to a nursing home. The excerpt … [Read more...]

The Unexpected Consequences of Laws and Lies


Two of my recent posts at The American Conservative turned out to be about unintended consequences.  The first, "Drop Those Wedding Rings in the Name of the Law," covered the suit filed by the United Church of Christ in North Carolina to be allowed to perform private, unofficial, same-sex weddings. Currently, it is illegal for anyone who can conduct legal weddings to conduct extra-legal ones.  It's a bizarre constraint on religious practice, but the original purpose of the law has nothing … [Read more...]

Keeping the Past a Foreign Country

Sculpture at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, Israel

At The American Conservative today, I'm discussing a new method of recording oral histories that would let museum curators tweak the words and even the facial expressions of the interviewee long after they have died.  For now, the goal is to make oral histories responsive and interactive--giving viewers the chance to ask the hologram questions and have a computer pick the right clip on the fly, so it feels like a conversation.  The pilot test is being done with Pinchas Gutter, a Holocaust … [Read more...]

Two Years Until Patheos Hits the Age of Reason


Patheos is celebrating it's fifth birthday this week, and they've asked us bloggers to reflect a little on our time here and to share a little list of recommended posts.  It so happens, when I was poking back in my archive, that I noticed that my blog is about a month away from it's four year anniversary, since I started it during the summer before my senior year of college.  I've done the math, and it looks like I've racked up about 86% of the posts I should have if I'd faithfully posted … [Read more...]