Our words' relationship to reality is far more complicated than we realize. Thus, when we say things we think we state facts but we also endorse certain uses of words. That has consequences, which causes public discourse to become a war zone where we fight for control over our common pool of mental and social equipment. Read more (13 min, 3300 words).
I try to interpret a Google translation of someone quoting me in Tamil. Deep insights result. Read more (4 min, 1100 words)
We feel there should be a clear answer to the question of whether some thing exists or not. I argue that often there isn't, because follwing our self-contradictory intuitions leads us to weird places. Instead we should interpret talk about what exists as talk about how we best represent the world. Read more (12 min, 3100 words)
Using the movie ”Arrival” as a jumping-off point, I rant about the ubiquity of personal drama in storytelling, defend ”flat” characters and positive emotions over negative, and criticize the ”figure it out yourself” ethos in fiction. Read more (15 min, 3700 words)
I take an article about the mechanics of intercultural communication and extend it, arguing most communication these days could be considered intercultural. Read more (6 min, 1500 words)
My experience studying sociology of science as an engineer was frustrating, and only later have I come to understand the fundamental differences between the sciences and the humanities and how they think of reality. Read more (16 min, 4100 words)
The ”war on Christmas” is an example of how a phrase can mean different things and how people typically aren’t interested in making sure they know what others mean. Also about how Christmas changing from unquestioned background norm to one of many cultural practices highlights the arbitrariness of traditions in ways that can be painful to be reminded about.Read more (3800 words)