Female zealots and psychic predators - An ode to our most primitive impulses Read.

Hydraulic despots and collapsing communities - Sounds pessimistic, but it's not all bad news. Read.

On predicting human behaviour and profiling cult leaders - Several new articles, and many updated. Read.

Accidental talent, trauma and memories, and teenagers aren't dumb - We explore the brain a lot, as well as motivation and success, and noscripters are supported on the site. Read.

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Successful prophets, learning mimics mythology, and explanations for ignorance - New compendium and other articles, a new kind of article, and site accessibility upgrades Read.

Defining the elusive 'emotion' and lots of updates to the site - A better way of producing content. Read.

Using Chompsky to explain why the media these days is so annoying - A mini-series and an update. Read.

Why goals are a bit shit, and so are politics - Two new articles and a few updated ones. Read.

Is democracy working? Has it ever? - New article. Read.

Plato is still useful, common sense maybe not so much - New article and an updated one. Read.

Lies about depression, catharsis is a lie, and a bit of god stuff - Updated articles, a new one, and some other news. Read.


October 20, 2020

New article on what might be the oldest and most universal religious impulse, and the crucial role of female zealots.

This one took quite some discussion with other academics and research well outside my wheelhouse, so very open to any input from classics or divinity experts.


October 17, 2020

Newsletter signup form made less obtrusive but scattered in more places around the site in response to a couple emails noting they couldn't find it.

Query string parameters implemented so javascript tab navigation remembers what tab you're on. Had quite some wine before doing this so do let me know if it's messed up somewhere.

October 16, 2020

October 10, 2020

Scholia on how we choose our psychic predators and the ancient tension between natural law and social law.

Update to the article on Bandura's famous bobo doll experiments, about how children model violence.

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October 2, 2020

September 20, 2020

New scholium on the loneliness epidemic.

More updates to ranking search results—the psychology of needs and a primer on psychological theories.

September 15, 2020

September 10, 2020

New article on folie à deux.

Large extension to Successful Prophets.

In response to questions and a general amazement that we don't take this very seriously, a new project on protecting our digital selves started, with step one complete.

September 4, 2020

August 27, 2020

New article on repressed memories. Follow up on therapeutic perspectives toward detailing traumas in response to reader questions. New article on the false narrative of teenage brain development.

Site is even thinner again. No more cover images anywhere. Vastly different styling on home and articles pages to eliminate clutter.

August 19, 2020

New category of articles for the shorter commentaries that make it into my notes, but that I'd prefer to have organised on the site since I use it as a resource.

New compendium project: successful prophets. A couple other new standalone articles too. All links in newsletter. Newsletter will now print articles in full, in response to feedback.

Moving to a lighter version of the site, which means getting rid of cover images. So far, new block quotes and styling to articles (see e.g. any of the compendia), to break up text visually. In the background, working on new article card and article layouts that we don't need images to be visually interesting.

EDIT 22 Aug: New article cards and article layouts added. No more article cover images!


August 8, 2020

Some major changes to the site composition. It's difficult to produce little self-contained articles when the more interesting ideas are so sprawling, and they also aren't the most popular content. Long form articles are preferred.

As such, I've introduced the compendia: here I'll collect articles that are more iterative, reflecting my thinking on a particular topic to date. These will get broken out into smaller articles over time, and the compendium article will eventually tie all the pieces together.

The newest compendium is On Emotion and isn't finished, but is coherent. The previous compendium, On Attraction and Love has been updated and I think that's going to remain fairly stable for a while. You can now find a list of all the articles tagged for inclusion at the bottom of the compendium article.

This will allow a more focused and project-oriented approach to ideas. To help draw attention to the interesting changes on the site, I'm now publishing my changelog here.

You can find out more about why these changes on the about page.

All previous newsletters since the new site launch can now be found here.

There have been minor updates to quite a few articles, and a major update to one. You can find those in the newsletter.

Many of the changes are inspired by gwern.net. Worth a look if you're into rabbitholes.

Also, some site speed updates, including image compression.


July 27, 2020

Big effort on Chompsky. Detailing his media model with Herman, and then applying it to current trends. Took quite some time, but worth the effort. Helps to identify the means of finding more sensible sources of news. A number of old articles updated also for an upcoming piece on emotion.

Some behind the scenes work on the site also, to speed things up and make it easier to publish directly from my notes.


June 18, 2020

A bunch of articles updated. Three of note. Two new articles. All of which, you can find in the newsletter. Reporting on the coronavirus pandemic and the US election is highlighting the tensions inherent to media reporting. Worth revisiting Chompsky, I think.


May 14, 2020

Plato excursion has led us down a little democracy rabbithole. Our democracy is most certainly not like his.


April 23, 2020

A big dig into Plato the last couple of weeks, and by extension Socrates (TIL we only really know of Socrates via Plato). Some preliminary notes here. His Republic will have to wait for another time.


April 13, 2020

Facebook relaunched. Still almost 2000 followers after a year or more of neglect. My apologies.

First newsletter sent in over a year. Mailchimp forced me to delete all subscribers and invite them to subscribe to a new list. I'm glad so many of you resubscribed.

In the newsletter I point out a new article and a couple of old updated ones, but really quite a few have been updated in the process of relaunching the site. All the old articles can be found in the archive for The Dirt.


April 2, 2020

Website relaunched. From The Dirt Psychology as The Armchair Collective. Using a static site generator (tightenco/jigsaw) since accessibility was a problem for readers with slower internet.

Turns out that brain science isn't always really psychology, and often both are philosophy. When the goal is to turn scholarship into wisdom, we need to cast the net a little wider. Several old articles were also updated as part of the upgrade for the launch article On Attraction and Love. in an effort toward more project focused research.

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