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Note: The articles below were written years ago (mostly ~2000-2005). For more recent writings, visit the blog.

General Science

Systems Thinking: Operation Cat Drop and Chaotic Kindness - How a bunch of cats came to be parachuted into Borneo and the lesson in that.

Conditional Probability: Why A Cancer Diagnosis Isn't All Bad - If a highly accurate test says you have cancer, chances are good you do not have cancer.

Rat Park - Presenting a scientific argument for the ethical treatment of lab animals.

Why I Buy What Scientists Say - Why the limitations of human knowledge force us to rely on experts, and the saving grace of the scientific method.

Confirmation Bias: The Mind's Immune System - Our brains have a psychological mechanism built in to make it harder to change our minds.

Comparative Cognition and Behavior

Electro-Synaesthecholocation - What is it Like to be a Bat, an Elasmobranch, an Alien or a Gorilla? Alternate sensory modalities.

Do Chimpanzees Have Culture? - Examining chimpanzee behavior in the wild and captivity suggests they share this trait with us.

Love, Aggression and Sex - Taking a human lesson from our primate cousins, the bonobos. Love makes the world go 'round, as they say.

Chimpanzee Gaze-Following - A lesson in how different experimental designs can affect a study's results, and the value of replication using varied conditions.

The Rat in Your Slot Machine: Reinforcement Schedules - One way scientific findings are used by marketers to control us.

Controlling Behavior: Reward and Punishment - Does punishment work? Should we only use positive reinforcement? Are reward and punishment distinct?


Evolution: A Brief Introduction - A short description of what evolution is and is not; the difference between observational facts and theoretical mechanisms.

Gestural Origin of Language - This explains an interesting hypothesis for how complex language could have evolved out of non-linguistic communication.

Interrupting Natural Selection - How evolution maintains stable gender ratios, and how our social behavior has interfered with the process.

Bonobos: Peaceful Sex-Mongers or Just Another Ape? - Questioning previous accounts of these fascinating creatures.


Modern Eugenics: Designer Children - A look at modern trends in genetics, bringing up some important bioethical questions about what is to come.

Connecting Machines and People - Modern brain-computer interface technology and its implications.

A Transhumanist Luddite - Some realist worries about the dangers of transhumanism from a transhumanist.

Signs of the Singularity - A brief look at lucid dreaming, Google, soma, nanotech, AI and biotech.

Information Overload - Coping with a world where there is more information than any one person could possibly absorb.

Robot Welfare - Critiquing a proposed solution to the unemployment sure to be caused by a major influx of robots in the workforce.

Matrioshka Brains - Elaboration on ideas about super-advanced civilizations with some musings on meaningfulness and change.

Blood Music: Hive Minds and Immortality - Some thoughts on personal immortality through uploading into a hive mind.

Cosmology, Astrobiology, Space Travel

An Uncaused Beginning - An alternate possibility to the familiar infinite regress or first cause models for the origin of the universe.

SETI: The Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence - If life exists elsewhere in the universe, how can we discover it and establish communication?

How Do We Talk To Aliens? - If we discover an alien civilization, we still have to decide sort of message to send, and how to get over the language barrier.

Would Aliens Look Like Us? - Dismantling an evolutionary argument that alien life would resemble life on Earth. A larger lesson in evolutionary explanations.

Crossing the Universe in Weeks - Examining an interesting implication of relativistic physics, time passes differently when traveling at different speeds.

History of Science

History of the Barometer - On the struggle between mechanical philosophers and Aristotelians in the seventeenth century over whether a vacuum is possible.