Chaos under control (from butterflies to Hitler)


When things are chaotic, the little details make big differences. If we can use this to control and overcome the forces of nature, we can use it in other ways, too. But how much does it really help us?

How to start a blog the right way - Less is more

Take charge of the bare necessities to be a good writer.

When physicists and philosophers collide

The Montagues and Capulets. The foxes and the hedgehogs. The peanut butter and jelly.
Physics and philosophy have always been at odds with one another. But, when they collide, it's like a thought experiment of particles tied to railroad tracks with the string theory leading the train.

Can't stop the gods from genetic engineering


The future is now. Genetic engineering, or modification of our biological genomes, has made tremendous strides over the past few years. This power would allow us to potentially find cures for otherwise untreatable diseases. But, as with many places of the intersection between science and humanity, we find ourselves in a tangle of ethical conundrums. Who can decide how to significantly affect someone's genetic offspring?

Our fragile minds under surveillance

Maybe Hippocrates would have envisioned greater security for his patients' health information.
When it comes to issues in mental health, the day-to-day problems of the mentally ill seem like they might be more than enough for anyone to handle. Mental illness is stigmatized, increasingly rising, difficult to detect and cure, culture plays a role in it, and psychiatry still struggles as the most scientifically backward field of medicine. I've written about the privacy of mental health data, the role culture plays in mental health, the nature of disease, and a bit of our stigma of depression, but I've yet to tackle one certain mystery: our existential threat to our minds.

The monsters we fight (and the ones we save) in our simulated horrors

"Kids like you should be burning in hell." - Sans
When we talk about our moral behavior and epistemic access to knowledge, video games would be the last place anyone would expect to serious discussion. Existentialism, ethics, and bad puns come together.

Sexism in science

Why learning about ethics doesn't make you more ethical

Philosophers "are always on the outside making stupid remarks." - Richard Feynman
At the heart of everything we do, we hope there's a message. We hope there's a meaning behind what we learn and the work we create. When we learn and contribute to society, we always hope that what we do not only makes the lives of other people better, but adds value or meaning to our own selves. At the end of the day, what are we if we're not making ourselves better people?

Taking risks for a brighter tomorrow

Chillin' with Vinton #FatherOfTheInternet
When I attended the Emerging Researchers National Conference in DC last February, Vinton Cerf, one of the "fathers" of the internet, gave an incredibly inspirational speech about his journey through life. He humorously opened up with, "Well, I'm not sure what you all would love to hear from an old fart like me," with a playful attitude that eased the tension in the banquet hall.

We need philosophers - and the liberal arts too

Never Let Schooling Interfere with Education

"The Education of Jupiter" Jacob Jordaens
As students, many of us struggle to realize the true gifts of a college education. We might learn and education ourselves for other purposes such as preparing for future careers, earning good grades, developing professional "skills", and other reasons, but none of them come close to what really matters when we learn about things. In reality, a career-focused education might not even be the best way to prepare for a career, good grades might not teach you everything you should understand from a course, and professional skills might just be a way to replace important skills with marketability. For these reasons, it's clear we need a better understanding of what it means to learn and what's really important from our education. As students, it's our duty to emphasize the "purpose," whatever it may be, and meditate on these values as a 21st-century philosophical inquiry.