Distributed Consensus Algorithms in the Animal Kingdom

Distributed systems and packs of animals both need to solve a common problem: who should be in charge? Who should resolve disputes? When there’s a disagreement over the way to proceed, whose lead should we follow?  The animals need a leader to coordinate pack hunts and make decisions as to where the pack should go. […]

P ⊂ NP causes Political Polarization

Some time last spring, I reached a conclusion. I was drinking my morning coffee, and the thought appeared in my mind. It was as clear as the first drop of milk into the otherwise black mug: perhaps many people aren’t capable of holding beliefs that differ wildly from those of their peers.  It seemed entirely […]

A Prayer for Sanity

Don’t respond, don’t engage, don’t reply, and don’t react.This is not communication, it’s performance, it’s an act. Don’t get angry, don’t get mad, don’t get bothered, don’t get sad.Today you’ll be more present and tomorrow you’ll feel glad. Don’t feed it any energy, and it will go away.The more that you respond to it, the […]

Are you hosting a memetic Parasite?

Do all of your thinking patterns serve you? Is it possible that a lot of your thoughts are actually harming you, and doing so in a sneaky way?  One perhaps non-obvious consequence of seeing memes as organisms is the concept of a memetic parasite.   Our brains are hosts for memes, and it may be […]

A List of Endings for Modern Fairy Tails

“… And there were no unintended consequences.” “… And they never forgot their lesson.” “… And from then on, people used evidence to guide their thinking, even when it made them uncomfortable.” “… And the problem was fixed, once and for all.” “… And they never abused their newfound power.” “… And, remembering how awful […]

The Singularity Happened 10,000 Years Ago

You may have heard this idea that some people are worried a machine would gain the capacity to understand intelligence, and in doing so, make itself more and more intelligent. This machine would rapidly augment its own capacities, until it became so powerful that humans had no way of stopping it.  If this machine didn’t […]

The Hypnotoad Pill

Please watch while I butcher this sacred cow. After I’ve cooked up one of its steaks, and you’ve tasted its juicy flesh, you will realize – more to your amusement than your horror, that you’ve been eating it all along, and enjoying it, too. Here goes: The only rational reason to believe anything is because […]