How big a role should the government play in impacting how people live their lives?

Does the government have a say in your everyday life? This is the second of seven pieces addressing the core philosophical questions facing Americans today. An Overview: Defining the political spectrum Question 1: How sufficient ought our personal safety net be? Today though, the focus is on the role of the government in everyday life. This is broad, but it applies to a range of key topics from education to civil liberties to influencing or governing lifestyle choices. Put another way, it covers regulation beyond the safety net. Education provides a fairly clean dichotomy: that we provide free education up through high school …

An Opinionated Take on the Value of an Opinion

Are all opinions equally valuable? My claim is “no,” and here’s why. One thing that I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about over the past few months is assessing  different viewpoints, or opinions, and how we assign value or merit to them. Eschewing political correctness, the conclusion I’ve come to is this: there are inherently more valuable and less valuable opinions, and that value is roughly quantifiable. As you can imagine, dissecting this quickly gets sticky: what is a true opinion? How do we measure it’s value? To avoid diving into this too far, I’m going to present …

Donald Trump, the Women’s March, and Flavors of Fact

A bit of a grab bag commentary on the start of Trump’s Presidency and related events Let’s start at the beginning: The Inauguration Instead of watching live, I opted for reading the transcript of Trump’s speech and associated fallout from it. If you try to find anything that resembles a center these days, George Will has been a reliable conservative for decades, yet called it “the most dreadful inauguration address in history.” Reading the transcript, I think that George’s decree may be hyperbole. Here’s a quick translation of what he’s doing: Trump is appealing to large swaths of his core …

Information, Volatility, and What It Means For Us

Information, or data, is so fundamental to the world that we often don’t think about it on its own. But when we do take a close look at information, how we transfer it, and how it varies, we get a clearer picture of just how radically we’ve changed the world and what could come from that change.  Stephen Hawking recently wrote a great piece covering why right now is “the most dangerous time for our planet.” He rightfully points out the dangers that inequality and the increasing visibility that technology brings to that inequality poses an existential threat to society. …

For Runners – Introducing the “DC Run the States Challenge”

What is the DC Run the States Challenge (RTSC)? To keep things simple, we’ll start with an “original” version with simple rules: The goal is to run on as many state-named streets in DC as possible. You must run at least one block on a street to count it. You can run for as long or as far as you want, but it must be in a single run. The Story:  Most DC locals know that there is one street named after each of the 50 states lurking in the city. All of them are “non-standard” streets – not following …