Author Archives: N.S. Palmer

About N.S. Palmer

N.S. Palmer is an American mathematician.

What You Don’t Know

“Every person you meet knows something that you don’t know.” That was one of my grandfather’s favorite adages. He died when I was quite young, so I don’t remember him well. I remember his appearance, his book-lined study, his beloved … Continue reading

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Trust Not in Ideologies

“Put not your trust in princes,” advises the Bible. I would add “put not your trust in ideologies.” Ideologies don’t make decisions. People make decisions, for good or for ill. Every way to organize society has advantages and disadvantages. If … Continue reading

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A High School Psychology Experiment

I’ve criticized people for not getting their minds out of high school, and I stand by that criticism. Even when it applies to me. On the other hand, high school is the first time we learn certain lessons about life. … Continue reading

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Help Wanted: Wise Leaders

I won’t be watching the State of the Union address on television tonight. It’s nothing against Trump, who will tell us about all the YUUUUGE things he’s accomplished. Nor against Pelosi, who will be sitting there stone-faced with her minions. … Continue reading

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The Bad Side of In-Groups

You’re in the bedchamber of the dying King Henry IV (1366-1413), who united England through a bitter civil war. King Henry awakens and gives some final advice to his son, Prince Harry: “God knows, my son, By what by-paths and … Continue reading

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Thought Experiments for Left and Right

Whether your politics lean left or right, a couple of thought experiments can help you understand people who lean the other way. History’s most famous thought experiment inspired Albert Einstein‘s theory of special relativity. In 1895, aged only 16, Einstein … Continue reading

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Can You Feel the Love?

Can you feel the love? It’s kind of a cliché, sometimes said as a joke. But it points to a real problem. For any society to survive, its people need to cooperate. That requires at least a minimum level of … Continue reading

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