About/Start here

My title and tagline aren’t jokes. This blog is about everything, or at least everything my nerdy, hyperabstracted thinking style can be applied to.

I’m a thirty-something sociotechnical systems engineer with math, philosophy, history, computer science, economics, law, psychology, geography and social science under a shapeless academic belt. As a result my thoughts are mostly about how different fields of study, ways of thinking and people differ from each other and how some pattern somewhere looks like another pattern somewhere else.

If there was a real field called “everything studies” where you got to apply patterns to things and integrate models and theories from different fields into a “System of Systems”, I’d be all over that.

One thing I do focus my efforts on is erisology, a made up academic field that does part of what I’d wish “everything studies” would do. Erisology is about disagreement and argumentation (actual argumentation, not the idealized type you study in philosophy classes), drawing on many different fields to make sense of the complicated process that is verbal conflict. Such a field has become possible now since so much study material is available online (82% of everything on the internet is people arguing at each other and the rest is porn and cats). The conspicuous dysfunctionality of most of this cries out for explanation.

Most of my posts have some relevance to erisology, but some more directly than others. Some, like Science, the Constructionists, and Reality, Case Study: The War on Christmas and the very long Erisology of Self and Will focus on particular issues, while Partial Derivatives and Partial Narratives and Conversations Going Critical are about the mechanics of disagreement more generally. Also, People Are Different and its follow-up All the World’s a Trading Zone and All the Languages Merely Pidgins deal with the difficulties of communication between people with different temperaments, priorities and experiences.

I have a love-irritation relationship with traditional philosophy, which comes through in The Good, the True and the Undefined and a bit in The Big List of Existing Things.

When I discuss culture/media/art it quickly turns to theorizing (note tagline again), like my Reactions to Infinite Jest and Rant on Arrival, or the more abstract On Chords, Maps and Effects in Art. My statistical analysis of Black Mirror episode ratings remains my most popular post ever, thanks to its brief stint as a minor Reddit hit.

Perhaps counterexpectedly (that’s a word), I take a special interest in the fabulous spectacle known as the Eurovision Song Contest, and I try to write an article about it every year when it’s coming up. The first has the self-explanatory title Why I Love the ESC, and the second is an analysis of voting patterns called The Eurovision Song Contest Taste Landscape.

A longer backstory can be found in my first post Origin Story.

If you want to contact me by email, use jnerst at mail dot com.

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