Melting Asphalt

Recent Essays

  • A Natural History of Beauty

    A mashup of ideas from David Deutsch, Geoffrey Miller, and Richard Prum, with a little César Hidalgo thrown in for good measure. —— Of all the problems that can plague a discussion of beauty — and there are several — perhaps…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • The Elephant in the Brain

    It's finally here! The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life — my first book, coauthored with Robin Hanson — is now widely available. You can find the ebook version on Kindle, Google Play, and iBooks. It's also…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • Here Be Sermons

    I've long turned up my nose at sermons and related forms of mass moralizing. One reason, quite simply, is that they bore me. Honesty good. Violence bad. My eyes glaze over. Empathy, rah! Racism, boo! Please, don't we know this…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • Crony Beliefs

    [Note: if you prefer audio, you can listen to this essay narrated by Grognor on his excellent podcast Second Enumerations. —Ed.]   Credits up front: This essay draws heavily from Overcoming Bias, Less Wrong, Slate Star Codex, Robert Kurzban, Robert…Read more › Continue Reading »
  • A Nihilist's Guide to Meaning

    I've never been plagued by the big existential questions. You know, like What's my purpose? or What does it all mean? Growing up I was a very science-minded kid — still am — and from an early age I learned…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