Design and Neoliberalism (Intro)

This living essay is still in draft form. Please mind the typos, half-finished thoughts, and informal language. If you have comments, please email them to me. The purpose of this essay was originally to submit to the Design & Neoliberalism Special Issue of Design and Culture. I missed the deadline but Read more…

Voting as a Symbol

Summary: Arguments often end up unresolved when one side values rational outcomes but the other is more interested in social signaling. This issue commonly arises when discussing whether individual Americans should vote in presidential elections. In a narrow, rational sense, most individual votes have no effect on the outcome, rendering voting a pointless activity, Read more…

Surviving the Hedonic Treadmill

Summary: In a rapidly changing world, it is easy to get disoriented or disillusioned about the state of progress. As humans, it is far easier to make judgements relative than objective ones, so a value judgement about the present state of the world is highly influenced by what you compare Read more…

Magic Circles II: Deviations

At their best, magic circles help us ground ourselves, learn new skills, give us meaning and purpose in life, and experience moments of rapture and ecstasy. Times frequently occur, however, when the members of a group challenge the fundamental structure of a magic circle. Depending on the formality of the Read more…

Magic Circles I

Some argue that the divine quality of humans – the thing that sets us apart from mere animals – is our ability to process abstract thoughts and share them through abstract communication. To this end, one of the most important games we play with one another is the magic circle. Read more…

What is Design?

A simple way to talk about “design,” (without it feeling like a buzz word) Since Steve Jobs’ recognition with the re-emergence of Apple as a major player, “Design” has become fashionable. But the actual definition of Design can be a bit elusive. What does “design” actually mean in the modern commercial sense, Read more…

The Use of Knowledge in Society

     Welcome to Knowledge in Society – my personal blog devoted to the messy knowledge and human cleverness around us. I borrowed “Knowledge in Society” from the late economist F. A. Hayek’s pivotal 1945 essay The Use of Knowledge in Society, an essay that personally re-framed the way I Read more…

Data vs Information

This morning I was doing some reflection on the difference between Data and Information (specifically thinking about the DIKW Pyramid).  While the distinction is inherently simple, I’ve always had a difficult time describing it, so here is what I came up with – Data is Objective, Information is Subjective Data is Read more…