Wicked Problems and Social Planning

This article makes a simplified argument against social planning utilizing the cost of solving wicked problems. Wicked problems have a technical definition which includes many characteristics, the first of which is “There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem.”The general notion behind the concept is simply that some public policy or social planning questions … Read more

On Conspiracy Theories

I don’t like to make generalizations about conspiracy theories because sometimes the turn out to be true.   Collusion happens all the time and it need not happen at a grand scale.   Even grand conspiracies occur all the time depending on how we define a conspiracy. For example, political parties can be considered conspiracies. … Read more

Computational vs Economic Efficiency

Efficiency is a concept in both economics and programming. This article will compare and contrast these two views of efficiency. Efficient coding can be described in 3 ways. These 3 descriptions often  but not always imply essentially the same implementation: Efficient code is DRY, not duplicative. Efficient code is reusable, modular, and generalized, not overly … Read more

4 Ways the Principle of Charity is Efficient

This article will demonstrate 4 ways the principle of charity, which is not the same thing as charity itself, is good for the economy. The principle of charity is often heard of as an approach to debate. The idea is that if we genuinely seek to understand our opponent and even genuinely improve our opponent’s … Read more

The Fed isn’t LLR

This article argues that the Federal Reserve is not a lender of last resort. The purpose of a lender of last resort is that if some bank can’t obtain funds from another bank it can obtain it from the lender of last resort. However, the Federal Reserve lends on a discretionary basis. This means they … Read more

Stupid Science and Evolutionary Biology

In researching the validity of this anti-ID article I came across this pro-evolution article called Putative amphibian fossil shows “broken” bone; said to be first indication of terrestriality. The article itself is decent, but the underlying ‘scholarly paper’ is a great example of stupid science. The conclusion, from a new paper in PLoS ONE by Peter … Read more

Deflationary Theory of Bias

This article will argue that people are biased and that we should often listen to them anyway. Generally, bias is an inescapable feature of intelligent entities. The fact that a person is biased doesn’t mean they are wrong. When a person makes an argument it should be addressed head-on, rather than dancing around the issue … Read more

Cambrian Explosion? NBD

Nick Matzke at Panda’s Thumb thinks the Cambrian Explosion was not a big deal. I think it was a big deal. Here are my top 5 problems with his article: Section A is titled, “THE “EXPLOSION” TOOK AT LEAST 30 MILLION YEARS, AND WAS NOT REALLY “INSTANTANEOUS” NOR PARTICULARLY “SUDDEN”” No one worth their salt … Read more

5 Solutions to the Signaling Problem in New Autodidacticism

Autodidacticism is self-directed learning. The advent of the internet and child technologies such as MOOCs has made self-directed learning easier, cheaper, and more beneficial than in the past. Consequently it has also become more common. There is a signaling problem with this self-directed learning. The non-standard format of this kind of learning makes it hard … Read more