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Early Essays



Below you'll find several early essays that I wrote. Some of them are published, some aren't. 


In many ways, these essays were my training ground where I experimented with coming up with ideas, attempted to solve hard problems and tested many hypotheses about how best to communicate them. 


As I look back on these projects at the end of 2018, I'm tempted to rewrite them all. At the same time, the subject matter and focus of each gives a good idea of what I like to think about, especially the stuff on the left.


General Essays


While There are Prisons in Seoul, We Are Not Free 

A long essay about how to identify and evaluate societal problems, which includes explorations about how we might tackle what gives rise to our societal needs for prisons. Click here for details.




 Consciousness is an Inevitable State of Matter 

A reader-friendly yet serious attempt at a solution to the Hard Problem of Consciousness, after Rich Cohen.  Read it at The Oxford Philosopher.


The basic argument: if there is some advantage that consciousness confers, then any biological system of living things will evolve to have creatures that have conscious experience.


For a clearer exploration of the Hard Problem of Consciousness, see this 2018 blog post, where I discuss what exactly the advantage of consciousness may be. 



Homelessness and the Scientific Method 

An exploration of three ideas about how we might ameliorate homelessness.  Published at Stories Behind the Fog




Bonetown, Bacon, Battuta

This is the first long essay I ever wrote. It looked at how we might generalize the scientific method to other domains traditionally resistant to improvement. An inquiry into progress by any other name.

​​The title takes its name from three things:

  • The opening scene of people sleeping in  tents not 100 feet away from the Airbnb headquarters in SF, which I call "Bonetown," 

  • Roger Bacon, who was the first person in recorded history to explicitly articulate the idea of experimentation,

  • and Ibn Battuta, widely considered to be history's best traveler.

  • Both Bacon and Battuta were alive at roughly the same.


The link above will take you to an overview of the whole project as well as individual essay summaries.  At some point, I plan on revisiting this with much more writerly experience under my belt.

Tech- / Data- based writings


Traditional and New Approaches for Visualizing Node-Link Graphs

How Node-Link graphs are visualized and how, from a UX perspective, they could be improved.


In Space, No One Cares About The Documentation

Several meditations on the future  (of information technology, data visualization, space travel, and child-rearing, etc.) dispatched from San Francisco, CA. Published at The Carbon Culture Review. An earlier version utilized SyFy's "The Expanse" as a lens to explore future trends in technology.


Everything Wrong with Traditional Data Visualization and How VR is Poised to Fix It

Sorry 'bout the click-bait-y title


Virtual Reality and the Future of Data Analysis 

Non-entertainment use cases for VR.

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