Melting Asphalt

Recent Essays

  • Minimum Viable Superorganism

    Originally published at Ribbonfarm. Of all the remarkable things about our species — and there are many — perhaps the most striking of all is our ability to band together and act as a united, coherent superorganism. E pluribus unum.…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • 2015 Meta

    Time for my annual blogging review. And only 11 days late! I'll keep it brief. Blog stats I published a paltry six full essays this year. Don't get me wrong: I'm proud of them. But still, six. It would be…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • Social Status II: Cults and Loyalty

    So my previous post on social status was recently treated to a review/​critique by Scott Alexander over at Slate Star Codex. I expect most of my readers are already big fans of Scott's blog (as am I). But for those…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • Social Status: Down the Rabbit Hole

    "After this," says Morpheus to Neo in The Matrix, "there is no turning back." You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • 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 »


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