The Real World

Slogans: What We Say and What We Mean

(1600 words, 5-6 minutes to read. Sorry in advance for the many, many quotation marks.) Growing up, my dad used to play this game where he'd dissect a word and interpret each piece literally. "Do you want to know where the word 'politics' comes from?" he'd say. "Well 'poly' means 'many', and 'ticks' are blood-sucking… Continue reading Slogans: What We Say and What We Mean

The Real World

Against the Police-Free World That Nobody is Asking For

(1100 words, ~4 minutes to read) I've mostly stayed away from the most extreme discussions going on right now regarding police reform, but it's becoming difficult to dodge. The slogans "Defund the Police" or "Abolish the Police" are tossed around frequently, with different people apparently meaning very different things by these same words. When asked… Continue reading Against the Police-Free World That Nobody is Asking For

The Real World

Zoom: The Other Exponential Growth Story of 2020

First, my own anecdotal point of view: Sometime last year I recall seeing a group on my campus handing out flyers for some (new?) video conferencing app called Zoom. I'd never heard of it! I looked at the brochure, decided that the features sure sounded a lot like what I was already getting for free… Continue reading Zoom: The Other Exponential Growth Story of 2020

The Real World

Should We Reward “Bad People” Who Unexpectedly Do Good Things?

(1100 words, 3 minutes to read) Big news this week: in Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, Mitt Romney voted to remove him from office. This is big news precisely because we live in such a tribal world, where everyone's well-justified expectation is for every Democrat to vote to remove, and every Republican to vote… Continue reading Should We Reward “Bad People” Who Unexpectedly Do Good Things?

The Real World

Everything is a Spectrum

Breaking news: Autism isn't binary (not autistic / autistic), but instead it's a spectrum (not autistic ⇄ autistic). This, per the description in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-IV, published in 1994. In the DSM-IV, autism was categorized as a discrete spectrum, with separable levels like "Asperger's… Continue reading Everything is a Spectrum