The Mentifuge

Ersatz analysis on the cheap

Month: April, 2012

Getting Down To Brass Stacks

by brassstacks

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17)

And brass reflects so much more nicely than iron, don’t you think?

Raised agriculturally and educated as an engineer, my primary interests are where machinery meets field, where data meets mind, and how problems of all sorts are dealt with. I also enjoy geography, history, and cooking, and the ways in which they’re all tied together. I hope Eigenrobot won’t have to remind me that this isn’t a food blog.

While my introduction might be terse, I hope my future posts will out me as someone you’ll look forward to sharpening your face with.


Simply T3ktastic

by Alexis Radcliff

Behold: a wildly introspective, thoughtful, curious blogger appears. Seriously, though, I’m flattered that Eigs invited me to come provide some discourse on his little corner of the internet. I’m a casual scholar and thinker at best, and generally far more interested in the interactions of systems than whether I’m using the right terminology to describe an unfamiliar concept or whether I’ve considered all the angles in a moral debate.

My opinions change easily and rapidly in light of new data and I constantly challenge myself to examine my biases and look at things in a new light. I’m a big fan of the devil’s advocate line of argument and arguing for the sake of discussion, both of which make me a perfect internet troll. I’m probably not nearly as smart as I like to think I am sometimes, but hey, at least I admit my flaws!

I’m a business graduate working as a program manager for a major tech firm, and I have strong interests in cognition, social issues, literature, feminism, technology, fashion, television, and nerd culture, among other things. Eclectic, you might say.

I spend a whole lot of time talking to Eigenrobot about pretty much anything and everything, and I’m fascinated by the entire world around me. Particularly why people do things that they do and why things work the way that things work.

I look forward to writing for you occasionally!

The Dark Age of EIGENROBOT, Preamble


I have to tell you, I’m stuck on a few ideas–a few theses–that are going to get a lot of play in my writing.  I intend this series, titled with no special implication The Dark Age of EIGENROBOT, to serve as a gentle introduction to the notions that will permeate my posts.

Topics I plan to cover, in order:

  1. Rationality
  2. Statistical thinking
  3. Signalling
  4. Class in the United States
  5. Markets
  6. Public Choice, or  Politicians and Voters are All Assholes

I’ll update this list with links as I complete these articles.  I might take some time to complete my little manifesto; I intend these articles to be long, backed with ample evidence, and thoroughly sourced.  Further, I may update each of these pages over time as my thinking develops (I’ll archive old versions to maintain intellectual honesty).  Finally, I may add to the list as my set of unusual beliefs grows.

In the mean time, I expect to write shorter posts about matters of the day.  These posts may contain terms and ideas that will be developed at length in Dark Age; please indulge me for the time being, and pardon the jargon!

Welcome to the Mentifuge


From the Latin mentis, mind, and fugere, to flee.  More directly from centrifuge.  Let your faculties flee their fatuous fetters!  You’re on the Internet.  No one’s looking.

This blog is one of the consequences of curious events in my life over the last two years–events that were, in turn, disastrous, triumphant, disruptive, and sexy.  I’ll write about these events over time, but most topics (perhaps) will be broader than the particulars of my social life.   I obsess about signalling behavior in politics and social hierarchies; criminal justice; gender; sex.  Yum.

I’m a graduate student in economics, interested (academically!  at present!) in the overlap between contracts and organization theory on side and political economy on the other.  My (hypothetical) coauthors on this blog are the people I most like talking to in meatspace.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.