I somehow just stumbled across a years-old interview with the actor John Cho, who, like me, is of Korean ethnic background. The Korean soccer team slogan, made famous in their run in the World Cup a while back, was “Fighting!” Somehow that came up during the interview, and John Cho explained:

This is our condition. Fighting.

Every once in a while, I idly consider getting a tattoo, but it never gets very far, because I can’t think of anything I’d want permanently imprinted on my body, other than a well-placed battle scar. …


“Silence is compliance” is a phrase that many people toss off without thinking through how it works. People who use the phrase earnestly think that it’s obvious that silence in the face of injustice is equivalent to complicity in that injustice. But apparently, it’s not so obvious, because many people quote the phrase with a sense of irony, as though it is some kind of slogan for Orwellian thought control.

I have never seen the logic of “silence is compliance” thoroughly explained, so I’m going to attempt that here, just for kicks. I’m sure if I looked hard enough, I’d…

In the future, the police as we know it today will not exist.

This is not a political statement, it’s simply a technological fact. Now, it’s essential to remember that all technological facts are endlessly contingent. For example, it’s a technological fact that if you click on a link, another webpage will open. But that’s contingent, usually on some very complicated and impressive infrastructure operating without fault (or rather, with sufficient fault-tolerance whose few exceptions did not affect the expected outcome, this time).

If you click a link, it will only do what technologists expect if you’re using a browser…

The first scientific mnemonic I can remember is King Philip Came Over For Good Spaghetti: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. That was a long time ago, and biological classification now seems very different (as far as I can tell from Wikipedia), though it’s unclear to me whether cladistics wasn’t the standard back then, or whether it wasn’t taught in the introductory material that came over with King Philip. Still, it remains true that binomial nomenclature is the standard for the most basic unit of biological classification: species.

When you are learning the basics, you usually don’t stop to…

In 1959, C.P. Snow delivered a lecture called The Two Cultures, about a vexing divide that he saw in the academic circles of Oxford and Cambridge in the middle of the 20th Century. Snow was a rare bird, as a professional scientist who was also an esteemed novelist. Although the two cultures he describes are often cast as “sciences” against the “humanities,” Snow noted that both regarded themselves as “intellectuals.” One set of his colleagues explored the mysteries of human nature through literature, visual arts, music, politics, and economics. The other set explored the most fundamental aspects of the world…

Many people have remarked that this month is the longest in memory, so much so that as you lie awake in bed at night, you can hardly believe that this morning was the same day. This has a very simple explanation.

At one time or another in your life, you’ve probably gotten the advice to “live in the moment.” Maybe you’ve gone so far as to adopt this as a way of life; many people call this being “present.” Some people don’t like the way that sounds, but even if you dismiss this all as hippie mumbo-jumbo, you probably know…

Rob Ellis https://www.flickr.com/photos/robellisphotography/5509819430
Rob Ellis https://www.flickr.com/photos/robellisphotography/5509819430
photo credit: Rob Ellis https://www.flickr.com/photos/robellisphotography/5509819430

or, an Outline of Everything I’ve Read on Twitter in 2020 so far

  1. The most basic criticism of capitalism is that it is inexorably tied to growth.
    a) Capitalism is the most efficient way to allocate resources.
    b) Efficiency always favors scale.
    c) Scale favors inequality, because greater extraction of resources is enabled by more underclass, so resources are effectively allocated to create larger and larger underclass, with an elite class almost as byproduct.
  2. We are now at a scale where resource extraction of some form will break some kind of infrastructure required to maintain growth.
    a) The key types…

I was wrong about why Warren would win the Presidency, bringing a merciful end to my brief non-career as a political prognosticator. (Though really, if a poor record ended dumb predictions, there would be no pundits at all.) I have a lot of the same thoughts that many other Warren supporters have; I don’t have much to add to these types of reflections on:

Clearly my Warren pick was fueled by wishful thinking, so maybe the best use I can make of this space is to try to understand exactly what I was wishing for — this will help me…

I named this blog “ginsudo” in 2007, saying that it means “the way of ginsu.” That was a lazy evasion, as the natural follow-up question should be “Sure, but what exactly is your way?” And I had no answer.

Sure, I had theories. I always have a theory. A good friend called me out on this, fifteen years into our friendship. I was regaling him with some forgettable tale about personal growth, and he listened with patience and bemusement as I concluded with the immodest judgment that I’d changed so much that I must be unrecognizable as the person he…

When I first started getting glum about the future, I thought that maybe I was just getting old and grumpy. But now I’ve noticed that an increasing number of people are concerned about the direction we’re all heading. In fact, it seems that the younger you are, the more likely you are to have some pessimism about the planet, at least to a point. And that point depends on your understanding of basic ideas from biology and sociology. This understanding doesn’t have to be so great: a little knowledge is a sufficiently dangerous thing, as I will surely demonstrate here…

Gene Yoon

at the base of every argument is the irrefutable fact that there is only one thing that everyone agrees upon

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