Blog

4/6/2012
The Luxury of Enough

I'm on the intercity bus right now. I'm traveling from Holland to Saginaw, spending less than I would on gas, dramatically more comfortable than if I were driving, and freed up to write this blog post on my laptop, plugged in to an outlet and connected to the complimentary WiFi. It'll take me a bit longer to get home - five hours instead of three by car - but that's five hours of my favorite sedentary activities (reading, writing, computer games, and naps) instead of three hours of operating stress-inducing heavy machinery.

3/30/2012
The Art of Data Modeling in Games

In day-to-day life, we construct mental models. One highly abstract model is the concept of identity. An object or being has an identity, and it can move and change while retaining the same identity - it is the same object. The notion is very useful, but at times becomes less so - for instance, in the George Washington's Axe paradox. (My friend just purchased the very axe with which George Washington chopped down the cherry tree! But in the last 200 years the blade has been replaced twice and the handle three times. Is it still the same axe?) Fortunately, in cases like these, we can flexibly switch to other mental models. We might at one moment think of a river as having a discrete identity that is fixed while the river flows, and the next moment acknowledge that you can't step in the same river twice. Such is the nimbleness of the human mind.

3/23/2012
What Integrity Is Not

—The Tao Te Ching, ch. 41

3/15/2012
Relational Economics

"Money and friendships don't mix." "Work and life don't mix." "Don't go into business with a friend", "don't loan money to friends", "don't make friends with your employees", "don't bring your work home". "It's not personal, it's business." You'll hear all these nuggets of advice, and more like them, in today's fractured world. But I argue that intermingling work and life, while complicated and challenging, builds strong friendships and communities.

3/7/2012
What Do I Believe?

Taking a cue from Dean, I decided it would be an interesting task to catalog my core values, in little bite-sized pieces. Inexhaustive, often redundant, and mostly unordered, here goes...

3/1/2012
Redeeming BrikWars

I am an anarcho-pacifist. I love peace. But I also love BrikWars, "the plastic-brick wargaming system that throws the peaceful worlds of your favorite construction toys into wanton chaos and destruction!"[1] Naturally, this creates some cognitive dissonance for me, so here is my attempt to reconcile BrikWars and pacifism. I argue this on two points: A) BrikWars does not actually glorify violence, and B) playing BrikWars requires an anarcho-pacifistic attitude.