Author Archives: Nick Wolven

Osita Nwanevu Almost Gets It

I’ve been thinking about David Brooks’s sandwich gaffe. A few weeks ago, Brooks wrote a column arguing that subtle cultural codes–what novelists call “manners”–were a bigger drag on social mobility than so-called structural barriers. As an illustration now made notorious … Continue reading

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On the World-Threatening Danger of Supersized Machines

One of the great things about having a blog is that you get to push back against junk science. Scientists like to say that their “research” and “reason” and “empiricism” lend them credibility. But every smart person knows this is … Continue reading

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Making the Perfect the Enemy of Humanity

As I write this, people are debating whether or not it’s okay to have “genital preferences” when it comes to sex. Suppose you’re attracted to women, but you don’t want a girlfriend with a penis. Is that wrong? Does it … Continue reading

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Clickers Anonymous

In a post on free speech, Scott Alexander envisions the following scenario: Alice writes a blog post excoriating Bob’s opinion on tax reforming, calling him a “total idiot” who “should be laughed out of the room”. Bob feels so offended … Continue reading

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Where Every Ruthless Cutthroat is Above Average

Scott Alexander at SlateStarCodex recently put up a post asking what was so bad about meritocracy: The intuition behind meritocracy is this: if your life depends on a difficult surgery, would you prefer the hospital hire a surgeon who aced … Continue reading

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HBO’s Confederate and the False Promise of Prestige TV

In my last post I wondered why people were so leery of HBO’s upcoming show about the Confederacy–and specifically why they expected it to be bad and vulgar in particular ways. Here’s my theory. People love to talk about how … Continue reading

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What’s the Big Deal with HBO’s Confederate?

I’m not sure I understand all the furor and fear over Confederate. This is the upcoming show from HBO that imagines what would have happened if the Confederacy had won the Civil War. With respect to content, we don’t have … Continue reading

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Looking Back at the Yale Mess

Two years ago I wrote about the widely reported Yale dustup over Halloween costumes. The incident has become something of a cultural touchstone, and while I’m pretty sure no one reads this blog, you never know who’s going to go … Continue reading

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Living in Trumpestuous Times

Things are heating up. From the NYT: President Trump lashed out at the nation’s intelligence agencies again on Wednesday, saying that his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, was brought down by illegal leaks to the news media All … Continue reading

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The Flynn Effect

A good point from Noah Millman, Damon Linker, and Eli Lake about Flynn’s ouster. From Linker: The United States is much better off without Michael Flynn serving as national security adviser. But no one should be cheering the way he was … Continue reading

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