Guest Post: Ode to a Gay Bar

Let me tell you a story. In the summer of 1991, when I was 21 years old, I worked in a genetics lab at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. I wasn’t yet out, but had heard about a popular gay bar called Heaven in the city’s Montrose neighborhood. When a new friend asked me to […]

Guest Post: A Mathy Mechanism for Solving a Problem Like The Donald

Over the last several years, Harvard economist Eric Maskin has been delivering a talk asking: “How Should We Elect Presidents?” Should the candidate with the most votes win? Not necessarily, according to Maskin. Maskin blames the U.S. system of plurality voting—whereby each voter casts their vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most […]

Pain Management Hurts

I take painkillers. The kind with names that end with “done” and start with “oxy” or “hydro.” I’m not happy about it, but, like millions of others out there—actually about 100 million—I suffer from chronic pain, mine related in some way to my twisted gut and mixed-up immune system. I’ve seen all kinds of doctors, […]

Guest Post: When Everything Good Is Also Beautiful

For the better part of 30 years, my head was firmly stuck in English. But when I moved to Italy three years ago, I also started my first genuine effort at picking up a second language. My barely remembered high school Spanish prepared me for some things about Italian, like the gendered nouns and overwhelming […]

Sankofa Futurism

One of my favorite futurist quotes comes from a 1956 Ford commercial called Design for Dreaming. In it, the main character sings (yes, it’s a musical) the line: “Everyone says the future is strange, but I have a feeling some things won’t change.” I love this quote for a lot of reasons, and I use […]

See No Evil

This is a bit unusual, but I’ll start by asking you to watch this video. It’s not long, but I should warn you that it might upset you. It did me, which is why I am writing about it. It’s from a traffic cam trained on an intersection in Shandong Province, Eastern China. Here’s what it shows, […]

The Placebo President

As I have occasionally mentioned on this blog, I am currently working on a book on the many ways that our own brains can deceive ourselves. Placebos, hucksters, healers, hypnotists, and con men – it’s all in there. It’s a fascinating subject and one that constantly reminds me to be careful about what I think I […]