THOUGHTS

Karl Popper’s paradox of tolerance

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Photo by sasan rashtipour on Unsplash

If a society is tolerant, then surely it should tolerate intolerance?

A common rebuttal to accusations of hate speech or discrimination is the idea that calling out intolerant behaviour is itself an act of intolerance. The implication is that by calling out and rejecting intolerance, society is being intolerant. As such, it could be argued that a tolerant society should tolerate intolerance.

And breathe.

Karl Popper, the influential Austrian-born British philosopher and academic, stated that, while paradoxical, unlimited and unchecked tolerance can lead to the extinction of tolerance in its entirety. …


The dismantling of civility

Perhaps the greatest injury to the body politic in the Trump era has been the decline, no, the dismantling of, simple civility. Eroding civility was the first link in a chain of events that resulted in enabling dismantling of many social norms, especially those governing the actions of a president.

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Matched dueling pistols, necessary equipment for any gentleman of the 18th or 19th century?

I’d always wondered why in the 19th century there was so much formality in our interactions for example, addressing people by titles even if the title was only Mister of Miss or why people seemed to ask for permission when none was needed, By your leave, Sir. Things like that. …


A meaningful relationship with hundreds of people?

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

My breakup with Facebook is long overdue. We had a fun relationship at first, but it turned toxic quickly.

When I first created my account back in 2005, I enjoyed spending time on the platform. I uploaded photos and commented on people's statuses.

I “spied” on my college crush and obsessed over what their “like” meant. Does he like me back? I wondered.

The platform grew and grew. Instead of becoming a tool that brought people together, it turned into a hate-spreading machine. The comment section is a battlefield. Facebook gave away our data, and Zuckerberg doesn’t seem sorry.

It took me a long time to realize that I wasted too much time on Facebook. Whenever I entered the app, I felt overwhelmed by all the hate and ignorance. Yet, I kept scrolling and scrolling. I became addicted to the endless scroll. …


Okay, I know what you’re thinking. We’re wracked by a pandemic, an economy staring at the abyss, white supremacy and climate change: Shut up and pass the ketchup.

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Condiments add flavor to foods. Can we ever have too many?

Fair enough. Still, what’s on offer in the condiment aisle today leaves my tongue uninspired and my gut in turmoil.

Condiment tastes have changed over time and vary considerably around the world. The Romans made garum, a concoction of fish parts, salt and olive oil that was fermented and served with all kinds of food. For some Romans, a whole meal might have consisted of garum and bread washed down with some wine. …


In 1790, at about the inception of the US Constitution, the American lumber industry was centered in Maine, then part of Massachusetts. Overharvesting timber to meet the demands of a growing domestic market as well as a robust international market for ship masts, planking and other naval stores eventually started the industry’s westward migration, first to the Mid-west and ultimately to the Pacific Northwest.

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A lifeboat from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Packing up and moving west was a staple story, an origin myth, of America long before Horace Greeley advised Civil War veterans in 1865 to “Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.” If you were a lumber producer in those days, moving simply meant packing up the movable components of your sawmill and following the setting sun. …


The call for fiction labels on historical dramas says more about us than it does the programs

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Recently, Netflix felt the need to respond to calls for a “fiction warning” to be added to its popular series The Crown. According to the BBC, “the streaming giant said the series has always been billed as a drama.” Therefore, Netflix stated it has “no plans, and see no need, to add a disclaimer” to the program.

The Crown is hardly the only historical drama Netflix and other entertainment companies have produced over the years. Each has taken liberties with historical events to keep us glued to the screen.

Take Netflix’s series on the Medici family of 15th century Florence. After watching that particular program, I was moved to find a good biography of Lorenzo de’ Medici in order to learn more. …


You still have time to make a difference - vote now

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Image by Ben Hershey, Unsplash

Have you been worrying about the outcome of the election in the U.S.?

I sure have.

While we have plenty of reasons to worry, the past few weeks I’ve been increasingly anxious about who U.S. citizens will elect as president because of the huge impact this decision will have on the future of our planet. If we re-elect the current administration, our country and the world will be screwed (at least, environmentally). We cannot afford four more years of environmental policy rollbacks and federal inaction on the climate crisis and environmental justice. If we are to stop the worst effects of climate change, we must take significant action in the U.S. …


The modern social media landscape needs reform

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Image taken from Pixabay

I t was inevitable. For years, Google’s empire had been building itself up, growing more potent, and becoming an ever-present entity in American life. One couldn’t go a day without facing Google. But on Wednesday, that dynamic was faced with an unusual challenge, the Justice Department. Though dealing with controversies of its own, the Department took its shot at the social media giant via a lawsuit that accused the media giant of violating anti-trust law. And, I, for one, am thankful. It may seem odd for someone of my political persuasion to take shots at Google, or any social media company, as conservatives have used them as a boogeyman for years now, but that does not make Google worthy of my affection. Merely because Google is the target of the Right’s fury does not mean that my grievances disappear. …


The skill of making sense of the world using astrology

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Photo by Josh Rangel on Unsplash

Are you a believer in astrology? A doubter? A secret devotee? Do the planets actually exert an influence on us psychologically or spiritually? Or physically? Does your astrological sign define you or predict your behavior?

Believers in astrology hold that astrological signs, planets, constellations, stars, and their aspects to each other exert noticeable, physical, psychological, if not spiritual, forces influencing human behavior and earthly phenomena. Based on rigorous calculation of planetary and stellar movements, astrology is been considered a science by astrologers. Never mind that astrology is a geocentric cosmology, or that astronomy presents a vastly different view of the universe. …


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10 fundamental principles being taught for freshman in economics.

1-People Face Tradeoffs

We’ve probably had to decide between different things throughout all our lives and giving up on other things to obtain something. That’s called tradeoff in economics, and all decision units (households, businesses, states, etc.) have to do some sort of tradeoff to maximize their utility.

2-The Cost of Something is What You Give Up To Get It

We might think that the costs only involves something that got out of our pocket. But that’s accounting cost in economics. But in economics, the costs are the sum of something that got out of our pocket and the cost of giving something up to obtain something we bought. If we give an example to underly this principle, let’s say I’ve decided to buy a Nike sneaker for $80. But I did a tradeoff between buying a Nike sneaker and buying a t-shirt from under armor at the same price of sneakers. When we look at what I paid, it’s $80 but, when we add the cost of giving up on a t-shirt, the economic cost is $160. …

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THOUGHTS

Thoughts on economics, politics, society and sustainability.

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