Melting Asphalt

Recent Essays

  • The More the Merrier

    Lately I've been thinking a lot about (what I'm going to call) swarms and hives — two different kinds of collective animal behavior. Examples of swarms include: what gazelles do in herds, what fish do in schools, and what gnats…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • Doesn't Matter, Warm Fuzzies

    Why do humans dress up in funny clothes and perform elaborate actions with no tangible effects? Remember, we're not just human beings — we're apes. Why do apes do this? A study of ritual in ten lessons. I. indirection A…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • Parable of the Redwoods

    or What Trees Can Teach Us About Human Intelligence. My native California is home to the world's tallest tree species: Sequoia sempervirens or the coastal redwood. The tallest living specimen towers a lofty 115 meters (379 feet) above the forest…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • Border Stories

    I. National sovereignty Conservatives often clamor for strong national borders. For most of my life I had no idea why. I mean, I understood their specific (partisan) agendas — wanting to restrict immigration or keep drugs out of the country,…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • 2014 Meta

    Time again for the annual indulgence: blogging about the blog itself. Main points for 2014: Fewer posts... but higher quality(?). I published only 8 full essays this year. Granted, most of them were long — 3500 words on average —…Read more › Continue Reading »


I write things and put them here. Maybe once or twice a month. Es­says about phi­los­o­phy, hu­man be­hav­ior, and oc­ca­sion­al­ly soft­ware. It's my ex­cuse for toy­ing around with new ideas and prac­tic­ing the craft of writ­ing.

I have to un­der­stand the world, you see. — Richard Feynman