Author Archives: N.S. Palmer

About N.S. Palmer

N.S. Palmer is an American mathematician.

Why The News Is So Bad

Why is the news so bad? I’m not talking about biased news. Yes, there’s bias, and it’s getting worse. But that’s not the issue here. I’m also not talking about why the news is full of so many evil and … Continue reading

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Drug Policy: Good Is Better Than Perfect

American laws about recreational drug use are a mess. Americans rot in prison for using or selling marijuana, which is relatively harmless. They rot in prison for selling cocaine and heroin, which aren’t harmless but harm mainly heavy users, and … Continue reading

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Don’t Live Thoughtlessly

The American philosopher John Dewey argued that for most people, most of the time, thinking is a last resort. They only think when a problem or obstacle blocks their path. And he wasn’t wrong. Most of the time, we live … Continue reading

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Beware of “Exceptions” to Freedom

Yale University historian Timothy Snyder wrote a short book called On Tyranny that’s quite good. Each of its 20 chapters explains a way to preserve freedom and civilized society in the face of attacks by tyrannical government. The book came … Continue reading

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For The Chinese, Context Is Everything

It ain’t much, but it’s the first story I’ve written in Chinese. I’d wanted to write about Chinese political philosophy, but I found that my vocabulary was too limited to do it. Surprisingly, some Chinese ideas about governmental legitimacy are … Continue reading

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Character Is Destiny — For Nations, Too

China is our geopolitical adversary, but the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius had some advice that might help us in these difficult times. He said: “Only after a person has demeaned himself will others demean him. Only after a great family … Continue reading

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Kathy Shaidle, R.I.P.

Blogger Kathy Shaidle died yesterday, but she lived long enough to write her own obituary. It’s a classic of class. R.I.P., Kathy. I hope to meet you someday (but not too soon): “Kathy Shaidle 1964 – 2021 Following a tedious … Continue reading

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Don’t “Other” Other People

Most people aren’t familiar with the idea of “othering,” but they are familiar with what it is. They’ve seen it. They’ve done it to other people, and they’ve had it done to them. To “other” a group of people is … Continue reading

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Be a Winner in 2021

Life is like a game of chess. I was going to say “life is like a box of chocolates,” but apparently someone else has used that already. In high school and college, I played a lot of chess. A chess … Continue reading

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The Christmas Conundrum

(The photo shows the Japanese pop music group E-girls, which disbanded in 2020 but reunited for a Christmas farewell video.) At Christmas, it’s natural to think of Jesus, whose life and example inspired the Christian faith. Christians believe that in … Continue reading

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