Trump dossier: A brief synopsis

I read the entire Trump dossier, downloaded from Buzzfeed. News coverage has been unfocused and overly pussyfooted, eliding the unverified, second-, third-, and fourthhand claims within. Even though some or all of the information is likely distorted or just plain wrong, the possibility that some or all of the claims are correct makes them vital to know. So here they are: Continue reading


Garbology for research on condom use

Recently I completed a systematic review of research explaining patterns of condom use in five East African countries. The most basic conclusion is that researchers failed to answer this vital question. The most informative projects employed ethnographic participant-observation, and future researchers should emphasize this methodology – as opposed to the current focus on surveys, on which people demonstrably lie in large numbers. All of this is detailed in my comprehensive report, which is freely available online.

Nonetheless, participant-observation has its weaknesses, and one of these is in producing stats. Numerical evidence of trends is important for understanding whether a public-health program is working, and it’s something that policymakers and journalists expect. Since asking people directly about their sex lives yields disastrously unreliable answers, less-direct methods are needed. Continue reading

Hadza agree: do more and live longer

Can the Hadza, a group of hunters and gatherers, help us understand how to maintain cardiovascular health? A recent study claims that the answer is yes, in two ways. First, we can correlate their health to their levels of activity. Second, we can extrapolate from these present-day hunters and gatherers to the thousands of generations in which the common ancestors of all humans lived similarly. That is, we can say that humanity evolved to thrive under certain levels of activity. Continue reading

Condoms haven’t ended HIV – but reduce it

A recent article in the New York Times included a dangerously misleading passage:

Funding decisions for H.I.V. prevention have long been mired in an ideological battle pitting condoms versus abstinence. But experts note that the conflict is fading: Neither condoms nor abstinence has stopped the AIDS epidemic among gay Americans or heterosexual Africans.

What’s wrong here? Continue reading

Cheap & easy wind power – available now

We recently signed up to get all of our home’s electricity from wind farms – 100 percent! The process took maybe 15 minutes and added a mere $5 to our monthly bill. Does that sound too expensive? We could have gotten 50 percent of our power from wind farms at no extra cost whatsoever.

What’s the secret? Arcadia Power works with our utility here in DC. Continue reading

President Coyote

Watching the presidential debates, it occurred to me that Donald Trump was Coyote. His legacy would be disruption of the Republican Party and, what troubled me, of our political norms.

By ‘Coyote,’ I’m referring to the character in various Native American tales – specifically those in which Coyote is at once tricky, buffoonish, eager, self-involved, persuasive, unreliable, and unfortunately consequential. Regardless of his intent, he engenders chaos, entropy, and lost opportunities.

Then ‘we’ elected Coyote to be president. Surprise! Continue reading

‘With’ Sanders since Day 1, I’m voting for Clinton

On the day Bernie Sanders declared his candidacy, I contributed $15 to his campaign. He came closer to representing my positions than any politician I can remember. I made several other investments in fundamental change as the Democratic primary season wore on. I still think that Sanders was spot-on in his critique of Hillary Clinton and his complaints about party officials favoring her. But I also have no doubt about joining him in voting for her. Continue reading