Category: Society

Far-Ultraviolet Light in Public Spaces to Fight Pandemic is a Good Idea but Premature

Also posted here on LessWrong. Tl;dr: Far-ultraviolet light has potential as a human-safe germicide, but its safety is not established. In particular, evidence that it is not carcinogenic exists for only one of two mechanisms for ultraviolet carcinogenicity. In addition, use of far-ultraviolet light in public spaces to prevent the spread of SARS-COV-2 or other

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Marketing Shapes How We Interact With Our Bodies

Health is one of those nebulous concepts that seems straightforward and obvious, but then on closer investigation is very difficult to pin down.  Of course, some health judgements are easy, but many aren’t possible to make without aesthetic judgements that are person- or culture-specific.  How important is physical capability?  How important is longevity?  Are athletes

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The Ironic Cultural Misrecollection of Sherlock Holmes

A couple years ago, sick of all the heavy literature I had been reading, I picked up the complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, expecting, in essence, a fun romp.  Sherlock Holmes was, I thought, the original puzzle-fiction: solvable who-dunnit (or how-dunnit) mysteries that encourage the reader to exercise their reasoning skills and that maybe teach something about

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Spiritual Connection to Nature is Punk AF

In her biography of Alexander Von Humboldt (influential 18th/19th century scientist who has been largely neglected by history), Andrea Wulf convincingly argues that Humboldt’s study of American biology was an important factor in the formation of a pan-American identity that led to Latin American independence from Spain.  Up until Humboldt’s observations indicated otherwise, Europeans generally

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Knowledge is a Human Project

I. I like to be generally personally correct.  This tendency of mine is nothing special.  Probably most people like to be correct.  Or at least we think we like to be correct. Often, I notice my opinions changing according to circumstance—according to who I’m talking to.  And like, what’s up with that?  Obviously the state

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United States Foreign Policy Works in Mysterious Ways

1 In a 2015 private email conversation, published on Sam Harris’s website, he (neuroscientist and popular atheist philosopher) and Noam Chomsky (linguist and prominent critic of US foreign policy) exchange thousands of words in an attempt to reach a common understanding, and get nowhere. (I don’t particularly recommend reading this conversation. Throughout, Chomsky comes across

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