patrick 林香麟

Social Contract

A term and philosophical concept originating in French enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s 1972 treatise, The Social Contract. In an ideal and just society, people would have equal access to resources, education, technology, etc.. However in a world with scarcity, whether inherent or artificially imposed, there is a strong incentive to satisfy wants or desires throughContinue reading “Social Contract”


I’ve known about this concept and Peter Turchin, Russian population ecologist turned global historian, for some time now. Turchin approaches history in a uniquely quantitative manner which has drawn the attention of many a blogosphere intellectual, and very recently on Ribbonfarm. The concept of ‘elites’ and their ‘supply vs demand’ is one aspect of Turchin’sContinue reading “Elite-overproduction”


An explanation posited by Danko Nikolić, a neuroscientist at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, that the experience of synaesthesia (the mixing of sensory inputs, e.g. seeing a colour when hearing a sound) may be mediated semantically. In order words, it is the idea of the input, not the direct experience of the input itselfContinue reading “Ideasthesia”


A model that posits that every gene in the genome contributes to (some?) complex traits.

Dark Side of The Moon

First of all, a great album. And more than being a figure of speech, the actual phenomenon of the moon’s dark side is pretty interesting. The moon is tidally locked — it’s orbital period (how long it takes for one thing to orbit another thing) matches its rotational period (the rate at which the moonContinue reading “Dark Side of The Moon”

Trappings of Power

The idea that external traits or superficial characteristics commonly associated with the powerful are in fact poor indicators of who has in practice wields the most influence. A contentious example of this for instance could be the American political system. The president and members of congress occupy seats of traditional and formal power. However, corporations,Continue reading “Trappings of Power”

Berkson’s Paradox

A kind of survivorship bias in that when there are two positively correlating traits that are (ostensibly) negatively correlated in a population that selects for these traits. For instance, GPA and SAT scores. Although it would seem at first glance that having a higher SAT score doesn’t lead to higher grades in a particular college,Continue reading “Berkson’s Paradox”


Allows description of the probability that an event will occur based on the condition that another belief or beliefs hold true. Lets you quantify uncertainty: what about my hypothesis can I reasonably believe given that the assumptions I have made are true?

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