Nicholas Johnson Greetings netizen! Enjoy your stay.

Social Media Alternatives

You don’t want to miss out on social media, but you also don’t want to deal with tracking scripts, ads and other nonsense that comes along with using proprietary walled garden platforms. Luckily there are publicly available privacy-respecting alternative front-ends for popular social media sites.

Atom and RSS

Atom/RSS feeds make it easy to keep your distance from proprietary walled garden social media platforms without missing out on their content. Most of the major social media networks support Atom/RSS.

Avoiding Automobile Surveillance

Your car is probably spying on you and sending your data to private companies and the state. Connected cars are a relatively new threat to personal privacy, one that is getting worse and doesn’t get nearly enough attention. Find out how the surveillance happens and how to fight back!

Site Update 004

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The Nonlinearity of Intelligence

“I know from my own experience that there is much more to ‘intelligence’ than an IQ number. In fact, I hesitate to believe that any system could really reflect the complexity and uniqueness of one person’s mind, or meaningfully describe the nature of his or her potential.” – Daniel Tammet

Site Update 003

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The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance is a creepy 1930’s relic which should be abolished from the American education system. It’s a kind of jingoist brainwashing that goes against the spirit of education. Education should include a critical, honest reflection of one’s own country, its flaws and its history, not mindless daily chanting about how great it is.

Shining Light on the Dark Side of Law Enforcement

The US constitution is supposed to protect citizens from thug overreach. However, evidence from the past decade shows that thugs have been stomping all over our civil liberties daily by colluding with intelligence agencies.

Bringing Civility to Public Discourse With the Steel Man Technique

Philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett described a method for arguing with a person that holds opposing views. If you’ve ever heard of the straw man fallacy, it’s just the opposite of that. With the straw man, you misrepresent your opponent’s argument to make it easier to take down. With the steel man, you face the most charitable interpretation of your oppenent’s argument.

Newcomb's Paradox Resolved

There is a very subtle contradiction in the definition of Newcomb’s Paradox having to do with free will. The “choice point” is assumed to be after the predictor makes its prediction. In this post I demonstrate why that can’t be the case because it only makes sense to talk about a choice point before the predictor’s prediction.