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About me[edit]

I'm a college student in the U.S. that did a fair amount of writing for this project for several months. Now I mostly spend my spare time writing for my blog, The Disenchanted Idealist. I debated in high school, coach a debate team now, and am majoring in biology. My interests are mostly science and politics related, and I'll most likely end up in one of the following fields:biology (probably ecology or evolutionary biology, but possibly elsewhere), philosophy (probably either political philosophy or philosophy of science), law, or something political (probably political science).

I'm interested in evolution, especially coevolution, and that means learning a lot about parasites, which are really cool. Myxobolus cerebralis is my first parasite-related featured article.

Political views[edit]

I am not a libertarian, even though I write articles on the subject. My instincts are usually libertarian socially and economically and hawkish geopolitically, but I've been drifting leftward rapidly in recent months, mostly thanks to George W. Bush.

I am sympathetic to certain arguments from the radical left when it comes to foreign policy, epistemology, gender, and increasingly, economic structure. Geopolitically, I think the U.S. can do a lot of good, even through the use of force, but don't trust our leaders to do it, which puts me in an odd position every time the War on Terrorism comes up. I'm in a similar situation with regard to economics: I've never been convinced that a non-capitalist system can work, especially on a large scale, but I'm increasingly skeptical about the economic power it provides.

I try not to let my politics interfere with NPOV: balance is important, and while edits like this one may not be perfectly neutral, I think they're pretty good. They also illustrate my belief in citing sources, discussed below.


I read The Volokh Conspiracy, Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, Balkinization, The New Republic, and The Onion regularly, and I recommend them all. As of the beginning of January 2006, I just finished Richard Rorty's Philosophy and Social Hope, which I thought was okay, but a bit disappointing, and am trying to get started on Sir Karl Popper's The Open Society and its Enemies, which I hope will be better.

Good books that I think people should read include George Orwell's 1984, Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, and Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works. The latter two aren't political per se, but have important implications for history and human nature, and are just really really cool.

I sometimes get ideas stuff like this article and this edit from here; it's is usually worth skimming.

Wikipedia stuff[edit]

Some of the topics I work on may flirt with the limits of notability. The proportion of such articles increases when I'm especially bored or too overworked to write "real" articles.

Stability, editing, and style[edit]

I like Wikipedia because it is (in theory) so open to improvement. I think that most of the articles here need quite a bit of improvement, and I like that they're easy to fix. One of my favorite ways of improving articles is by making them shorter, as illustrated in this edit. Much of Wikipedia is filled with what David Gerard called "crappy prose," and that can often be fixed by ripping off unneeded sentences, phrases, and words. I'm a bit concerned that the push for "stable versions" will make that harder; people are already too attached to their own version of articles. Edits like these might be fought off simply because it could be "destabilizing." I also think stabililty will give people a false sense of security about what is, really, a crapshoot in terms of accuracy.

On the other hand, I do find Mihnea Tudoreanu's Average_End_Quality_Hypothesis fairly compelling, at least at first glance. Not all edits are good. Articles do deteriorate unless watched. I don't know what the answer is.

Other issues[edit]

I'm a big believer in citing sources, if for no other reason than that it solves conflicts. The best way to cite sources is probably footnotes, which can be a pain, but are necessary if we're going to avoid constant edit wars and creeping inaccuracy in our articles. I don't like {inote} because it's invisible to the reader (which is why its supporters like it).

Because Wikipedia is not paper, I sometimes put in factoids others may not find encyclopedia-worthy. If the consensus is against it, I'll remove it (see, for example, this conspiracy theory about comets being made of antimatter). I'll be more likely to remove it faster if you ask nicely.

I'm a bit concerned about systemic bias on Wikipedia, and know that I'm contributing to the problem (or at least not helping). Unfortunately, I don't consider myself qualified to write on most of the neglected topics (and the ones I am somewhat qualified to write about are POV minefields that I don't want to touch). At some point, I may get off my ass and read enough on Benin or something to write decent articles on a neglected subject. Until then, I may just keep writing articles about apples and oranges.

People I've pleased[edit]

Anyone can leave comments in this section, in addition to on the talk page