When a Dog is a Distraction

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I've been in the midst of trying to choose the next topic for my DC debating circle.  So far, although everyone seems very excited about debating crowning a king in America (prompted by the Spanish king's abdication), we are apparently all mostly excited to tell each other about what a bad idea it would be, so I'm still looking for a high-interest topic we're actually divided on.But, in the meantime, our last resolution (R: Every Dollar spent on Dog Food is taken directly from the Mouths of t … [Read more...]

Hibernia Ho!

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Around the end of June, my mother and I will be travelling to Ireland, and I'd quite appreciate the help of the commentariat in planning the trip.  Here's where I could use your input:Recommendations for things to do/places to visit in Ireland - Have you been?  Are there things you think I might accidenatly miss out on?  (One friend has already done a great job pitching me on Kilmainham Gaol). Recommendations for books by or about the Irish - A few years ago, in preparation for a trip to E … [Read more...]

Prominent Platonic Pairings

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After writing about the dearth of celebrated platonic friendships, I realized I could think of at least one counterexample without too much trouble. Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart are public friends, and their friendship is a big part of what their fans publicly celebrate them for.What other (non-fictional) living prominent figures fall into this category?  How is their friendship celebrated similarly/differently than romantic ones.  (I notice McKellan/Stewart photos are fairly … [Read more...]

Amazon Foreshadows Internet Fights to Come

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Debates over net neutrality tend to be a bit abstract and hypothetical for consumers.  Net neutrality had been the status quo for the internet since we all started using it, so, thinking of the consequences of changing this standard requires making an imaginative leap.  That's why I did a walk through of the Amazon/Hachette fight for The American Conservative this week and traced out the way it foreshadows fights between ISPs and websites:Amazon’s War Is First in a Series The FCC is c … [Read more...]

Spiritual Overextrapolation [Pope Francis Bookclub]

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In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along. I'm non-metaphorically feverish, so my thoughts on this week's chapter from Pope Francis's book will be brief.  Here's the quote I was most struck by in this week's reading: When Jesus Christ is present, the true light shines and all s … [Read more...]

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

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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 isn’t to au … [Read more...]


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