What Would You Really Do?

On the question of means and ends.

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is the distinction between beliefs and actions. If you’re anything like me, you likely spend a lot of time in your own head. You intellectualize everything. You might even get the idea that you have a coherent political philosophy and that it matters what that political philosophy is. At least, that’s what I do and that’s how I think. [Read More]

Beyond Sustainability and Towards Antifragility

The flaws of naive nature conservation.

Sustainability isn’t sustainable. It implies that the goal of environmental work is to insure a balance between human greed and the health of the biosphere that is similar to the present, only extended indefinitely into the future. The current status quo is unbearable. Sustainable design optimizes human systems to have as small of an impact on the surrounding environment as possible. This approach to re-designing institutions ignores that human systems are and will be deeply embedded in... [Read More]

On Living Through History

Reading history doesn't prepare you for living through it.

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 120,000 Americans (probably an underestimate) since it arrived in the US in January. The murder of George Floyd by a cop last month sparked protests against racial injustice, along with riots, across the world. More than 40 million Americans are unemployed as the country enters the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Clashes between the Indian and Chinese Armies lead to 20 Indian deaths. All of this has happened since... [Read More]

Coronatine Walking

Flaneuring in a post-apocalyptic Houston.

I love walking. I live in downtown Houston, which is one of the few places in this car dominated city where you can conceivably walk to get everything you need. The street grid is city blocks are short and the streets are one way, so I can ramble around wherever I want while avoiding cars pretty easily. [Read More]

On Plagues and Hurricanes

The invisible and the visible.

Hurricanes are eminently physical. You can literally feel the air change as they get closer. Typically the few days before a hurricane hits are extremely hot. The clouds turn a strange orange color. Then, the first fronts of the storm come. It starts to rain, constantly. In the beginning the rain is like a normal thunderstorm, albeit a bit more windy. You can here an occasional clap of thunder, but nothing crazy. As the hurricane continues to... [Read More]

Coming Back to the Church

Rediscovering my moral code.

Both my mom and dad were raised as Catholics. They met in a Catholic Charismatic church group, so when I was born I was promptly baptized into the Church and taken along to Mass. Eventually my parents became fed up with the disapproving glances cast their way by fellow parishioners, because apparently babies were expected to be kept in the quieting room so that their cries would not disturb the Mass at this particular church. So they... [Read More]
Tags: religion

Deutsch Tejas

Germany <-> Texas

Over the past two months I had the opportunity to show my friend Lea, an intern from Germany working in my department at Rice, around my hometown, Houston, Texas. The best part about taking her around town was getting to see my home through the eyes of someone with literally no preconceptions about it. I’ve lived in Houston for all of my life other than my three years at Texas A&amp;M. I love my hometown like nowhere... [Read More]
Tags: Texas